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ATM Statement on the launch of the report of Global Witness

ATM Statement | September 13, 2023

We condemn the continued impunity against environmental and land rights defenders under the Marcos administration. In particular, mining-affected communities continue to face harassment, violent dispersals, red-tagging, criminalization and threats to their lives and livelihoods, as they continue to resist the destruction of their land and water resources.

Alyansa Tigil Mina members in various landscapes in Sibuyan Island in Romblon; Brooke’s Pt., in Palawan and in Homonhon Island in Eastern Samar have intensified their resistance against destructive nickel starting early this year, only to be dismayed by the inaction of the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources. Instead, what they got are illegal arrests, legal harassment and public threats against their safety.

Our alliance recognizes that these aggressive entry and expansion of nickel mining projects in these islands and protected areas are fueled by the increasing demand of battery for electronic vehicles and the production and roll-out of renewable energy technologies. While we join the pursuit of a just energy transition, we believe that we are witnessing the creation of more sacrifice zones in these areas, in the name of profiting from mining projects.

In addition, we note with deep concern the expansion of seabed quarrying and offshore mining activities from Cagayan Province, Pangasinan, Bataan, Cavite, Quezon and Palawan that pose serious threat to our costal and marine aquatic resources.

It is clear that the government, including the DENR and the Office of the President, must immediately order the suspension of all mining projects that encroach in protected areas, indigenous lands, geohazard areas and fragile island ecosystems. This is the first step to materially reduce the risks and threats that environmental defenders face.

We also call on Congress to immediately enact a new minerals management law that will address the root causes of mining conflicts in the country. In addition, it is imperative that we pass the Human Rights Defenders Bill that will ensure that the protection of human rights defenders, including environmental and land rights defenders.


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