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ATM Reaction to Joint Declaration of Policy Reforms between Mining Industry and DENR

ATM Statement | June 28, 2024

Just recently, a Joint Declaration of Policy Reforms between the Philippine Mining Industry and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was released.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is extremely disappointed that mining-affected communities were not involved in this process. Residents, especially indigenous peoples, women and youth, of mining sites bear the brunt of the consequences of mining, yet they are the ones who are blatantly ignored in the crafting of mining policies.

This utter disregard of the voices of the grassroots communities is consistent with the lack of respect of mining firms and the DENR to the resistance against large-scale mining in many sites of struggles.

Without the involvement of communities, the carefully-worded commitments of the mining firms and the DENR to policy reforms could only mean that the proposed changes are intended to advance the agenda for more profits. For how can the interests of the communities be ensured when they are absent in policy-making processes?

In particular, we are wary of the declaration’s pronouncement that “the DENR is committed to streamlining the administrative process in the evaluation and issuance of mineral agreements”. We are concerned that this would result in the lack of compliance with environmental laws and requirements by mining firms, as well as in continuing the corporate practice of deceit and manipulations to obtain the communities’ consent.

We are also disturbed about the imbalance between government’s aggressive promotion of mining and its lackluster performance on conservation and care of protected areas. Worse, in some areas, large-scale mining virtually encroaches on protected lands and these violations are condoned.

We reiterate the need to legislate green bills, foremost of which is the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB). We need to repeal RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act and replace it with the AMMB, which would rationalize the use of minerals and utilize mining for national industrialization. We need this new law that would prohibit mining in areas that are sources of water and food, and would put greater safeguards for communities.

Overall, we question the Joint Declaration. We highly doubt the sense of accountability of the mining industry and the DENR to mining-affected communities. Not involving the communities in this Joint Declaration signify that they do lack that sense of responsibility.


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