ATM Press Statement
Sepet. 21, 2018
Photo from the press conference last September 17, 2018 by Alyansa Tigil Mina
Green groups support Congressional moves to ban open-pit mining
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) fully supports the initiatives of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to pass a bill that puts a ban on open-pit mining in the Philippines.
Our alliance recommends to Speaker Arroyo that the House review DENR Administrative Order (DAO 2017-10) issued by former DENR Sec. Gina Lopez. This order provides policy arguments why a ban on open-pit mining is necessary and desirable for the Philippines.
ATM believes that open pit mining is the most destructive form of mining, as experienced in mining provinces in the country. Open pit mines have left many mining areas devastated since miners explored and exploited the country’s mineral resources.
A very glaring example is the Marcopper Mines in Marinduque Island, which has been closed down for over two decades already but still remains a threat to communities. By-products of mines, mostly open pit mines, remain even after mine closure. This leaves the task of long-term and perpetual maintenance of mined areas to the government.
The recent experiences in Sta. Cruz (Zambales), Aroroy (Masbate), Bataraza (Palawan), Cantilan (Surigao del Sur) and Itogon (Benguet) prove that open-pit mining have disastrous impacts to livelihoods, access to water, agriculture and coastal resources. These impacts then introduce environmental issues, social conflict and even increasing the risks and vulnerabilities of mining-affected communities to extreme weather events.
We also urge DENR Sec. Cimatu to ensure the full implementation of DA 2017-10.
“We believe that the implementation of DAO 2017-10 is a big step forward on the part of DENR – the agency tasked to balance the protection of environment and natural resources and exploitation of our national wealth. While the Mining Act of 1995 allows for all methods of mining, we believe the DENR has the power to impose a stronger regulatory of banning open-pit mining policy for the right reasons,” said ATM national coordinator Jaybee Garganera.
DAO 2017-10 was signed into order by then Sec. Gina Lopez who led the audit of more than 40 large-scale mining projects. During Lopez’s stint in the DENR, a study on open pit mines in the country was down which resulted in a strong evidence of perpetual damage and liabilities caused by such mines.
While Congress will deliberate on the proposed bill, we call on Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to issue his Executive Order to ban open-pit mining.
For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0927) 761.76.02 <firstname.lastname@example.org>