ATM Statement on the Lifting of the Ban on Open-Pit Mining in South Cotabato
Alyansa Tigil Mina | Press Statement | May 17, 2022
Alyansa Tigil Mina condemns in the strongest possible terms the approval of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to lift the ban on open-pit mining in South Cotabato.
The SP members railroaded the process of amending the Environmental Code of the province as they hastily approved in a regular session a motion to adopt proposed amendments, without any discussion or votation. It is worth noting that the proposed amendments carried changes that were not originally part of the proposal presented to the public.
We are appalled by the duplicity employed by the SP members. We believe that the provincial legislators cheated the stakeholders of the province in four ways.
First, the SP deceived all those who participated in the supposedly democratic process of attending public hearings and submitting position papers. It is doubtful that the SP even considered the arguments and positions presented. Given the surreptitious manner in which they approved the amendments, the earlier processes could only be viewed as a hoax, a great pretence at democratic consultation.
Second, the SP hoodwinked the newly-elected candidates by tying their hands to a decision that the latter did not make. Why did the sitting SP members decide on a policy with serious implications on the environment and lives of the people, when they can no longer be held accountable after their term ends? Why did they rob the new set of SP members of the opportunity to heed the call of the people?
Third, the SP duped the residents of South Cotabato, who had acted on a signature campaign and appealed to local government officials not to lift the ban on open-pit mining.
Lastly, the SP cheated the future generation of their right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. By allowing open-pit mining, considered to be the most dangerous mining method, the SP members put at risk the lives of the next generations.
Alyansa Tigil Mina stands in solidarity with the people of South Cotabato on their struggle against the removal of the ban on open-pit mining. Together with the sectors and civil society groups in the province, we condemn the acts of the SP members. We vow to persistently hold accountable all those responsible for the onslaught of destructive mining.
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