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ATM Solidarity Statement | June 05, 2023

In celebration of World Environment Day, members of Alyansa Tigil Mina are mobilizing in different parts of the country this week to highlight the environmental destruction caused by mining and to demand a halt to destructive mining operations.

โ€œThe push for the revitalization of the mining industry by the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. imperils our natural resources and local communities,โ€ said Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator.

โ€œAs an extractive industry, mining has irreversible environmental impacts. In many Sites of Struggles (SoS), mining destroys the biodiversity, water sources, and ecosystems of the region as well as the livelihoods of the people. Even protected areas such as Mount Guiting-guiting in Sibuyan Island, Romblon and Mount Mantalingahan in Brookeโ€™s Point, Palawan are affected by mining operations,โ€ Garganera said.

Elizabeth Ibaรฑez, Coordinator of Sibuyanons Against Mining (SAM), said: โ€œAltai Philippines Mining Company in Sibuyan has done great damage to the environment by cutting trees despite the lack of a permit.โ€

Victor Colili, Councilor of Brookeโ€™s Point, Palawan pointed out that โ€œIpilan Nickel Corporation likewise violates laws and disrespects local autonomy by continuing to operate without a Mayorโ€™s permit.โ€

Rene Pamplona, ATM Chairperson from South Cotabato said that โ€œTampakan mining will destroy the watershed of the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani and Davao del Sur. This will also affect the thousands of hectares for food production and the potable water supply. Loss of livelihood ang threat to life will be the long term impact of the Tampakan mines..โ€

Judy Pasimio, Coordinator of Purple Action for Indigenous Womenโ€™s Right (LILAK) stressed that โ€œAs the environment crisis worsens, food insecurity worsens. This is why rural and indigenous communities stand up against destructive mining. And this is why they are targets of threats and harasssments, even killings by those in power.โ€

Garganera added that: โ€œLarge-scale mining as practiced today is highly unfavorable to our country and people. The Philippine Mining Act, which allows for rampant large-scale mining, must be repealed in order to give way to a mining law that rationalizes the mining industry.โ€

Mai Taqueban, Executive-Director of Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC), said that an Alternative Minerals Management Bill must be passed in Congress to protect the environment and work for the countryโ€™s economy and the communities. โ€œThis proposed law would allow for the management of our minerals for national industrialization, prohibit mining in areas that are sources of food and water, and place better safeguards to mining-affected communities,โ€ she said.

The environmental leaders pledged to continue their staunch resistance against destructive mining as well as work for the repeal of the mining law and the passage of an alternative minerals bill.


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