Today is World Environment Day 2018. Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), a coalition of environmental organizations, civil society groups, and mining-affected communities, took the streets of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in protest of DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu’s blatant inaction to the destructive effects of mining to the ecology and the people.
Victims of mining – displaced communities, harassed anti-mining activists, poisoned locals due to toxic mine waste and spilled tailings – with their dead rivers, denuded forests and polluted air, have no environment to celebrate today.
Activists shouted “Pagkain, tubig, lupa… hindi mina!” as they marched towards DENR gates, 9 AM this morning, June 5, 2018. ATM members from Masbate and Zambales, and national partners SANLAKAS, PMCJ, AKBAYAN and Piglas Pilipinas were present in the said rally.
A representation of Cimatu dressed in plastics was featured during the program’s creative action. The group tagged Cimatu as “Plastic King” after his rushed closure of Boracay.
DENR closed down Boracay due to focal contamination and business permit issues; and even plans to continue its crackdown to other well-known tourist destinations such as Panglao, Bohol; Mactan, Cebu and Palawan. Meanwhile, communities continue to suffer from the grave effects of mining on the ground.
“We will not be fooled anymore! Cimatu is not a real DENR Secretary. He is a secretary for the mining industry. He is plastic! Acting on popular issues is not his mandate but the protection of the environment and the people’s needs! People are dying in the mining communities and he dares turn a blind eye. Kasama ang Green thumb Coalition, ang ATM ay maninindigan sa kalikasan! (In solidarity with Green Thumb Coalition, ATM will stand for the protection of the environment!)” said Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator.
“President Duterte said in his departure speech last Sunday that he will ban open-pit mining before the year ends. We will not forget this promise,” Garganera added.
Cimatu stated after his appointment, “Mining is not the only environmental problem”. Now he has proved that mining will never be ‘his’ environmental problem for he is a protector of mining interests. Mining continues despite his dialogue with the KAMPO ng Manicani, Samar last December; where he promised that mining will end in the Guiuan protected area. After one month of the Zambales protest camp, his only answer was its demolition.
“No, we will not let this slide, Cimatu. We will monitor your every move and continue this campaign because people’s lives matter. The people will not stand still and we will assert our rights to water, food, livelihood, clean and healthy environment, and of human rights,” said Benito Molino, ATM Chairperson.
This protest rally is a part of a series of actions for the Green Thumb Coalition’s call for environmental protect and celebration of the World Environment Day 2018.
Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB.
For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator – 0917 549 8218; email@example.com
Caryl Pillora, ATM Policy Research & Advocacy Officer – 0926 007 8294; firstname.lastname@example.org