Anti-mining activists face greater risks under Duterte admin: Environmental defenders and indigenous peoples are under attack

July 29, 2020

ATM Press Release on the launch of the Global Witness report

 

Quezon City – Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is extremely distressed with the Duterte administration as a global report was launched today citing the increasing threats and murders of environmental activists in the Philippines.  In “Defending Tomorrow”, Global Witness notes that cases in the Philippines have gone up, and in fact recorded the worst situation in Asia in 47 killings.

 

Mining industry is the worst offender globally and the highest number of cases was in the Philippines. Global Witness also pointed out that indigenous peoples were disproportionately impacted.

 

ATM warned that with the implementation of the recently-passed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, more harassment, threats and killings will happen, when local communities continue and intensify their resistance against destructive mining in the Philippines.

 

The alliance noted that red-tagging and legal harassments of anti-mining leaders were recorded in Nueva Vizcaya, Palawan, Masbate, Leyte and South Cotabato.

Most of these increased resistance activities were allegedly traced to the reversal of the suspension and closure orders issued by former DENR Sec. Gina Lopez.   Sec. Roy Cimatu has recommended the lifting of the suspension orders to at least nine (9) mining projects.  During the COVID19 quarantine, mining companies were allowed to transport and haul their ores, despite the lockdown guidelines. 

“In the past six months alone, starting January 2020, the national government has supported the resurgence of mining projects, contrary to the previous announcements of Pres. Duterte” Jaybee Garganera said, national coordinator of ATM. 

The alliance also recently hit the recommendation of DENR We that mining and river-dredging become part of the economic stimulus program of the government, as part of the recovery from COVID19.  ATM claimed that there is no historical or statistical information that mining can bring in significant number of jobs, investment or tax payments.

 

Additional Notes:

  1. To access the Global Witness report, please download it here - https://www.globalwitness.org/defenders

  2. Mining operations enjoyed a return of their operations during the pandemic locdown.  In April, fuel tankers were allowed to enter the Didipio mines in Nueva Vizcaya, despite the expired mining contract of Oceana Gold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI).  The Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) of the Tampakan Mining Project was reinstated, despite the numerous violations.  Mining companies were allowed to re-enter or continue their operations during this pandemic in Zambales, Palawan, Masbate, Leyte, Samar Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Norte, despite the vigorous resistance of local communities.

  3. The Green Thumb Coalition (GTC) issued their Green Scorecard 2020 on the Performance of the Duterte Administration.  A specific rating and assessment on mining and extractive industries is included in the scorecard.  Download the GTC scorecard here - https://www.facebook.com/1555870994728210/posts/2789784901336807/

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