ATM Statement: Resumption of mine operations is a big mistake
April 14, 2021
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) condemns in the strongest possible terms the DENR decision to allow the resumption of mine operations in the middle of a surging and worsening pandemic.
DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu and DoF Sec. Carlos Dominguez reportedly recommended to the Office of the President the issuance of a “Stay Order” for mining projects that were ordered suspended or closed by former DENR Sec. Gina Lopez in 2017.
Our alliance rejects the twisted argument of DENR and DoF that these mining projects will contribute to the economic recovery brought by the COVID19 pandemic. Whether we look at the short-term in the past three years or from a longer perspective of more than two decades, mining has never been a significant contributor to GDP, taxes or employment.
It is the height of callousness of government officials from DENR and DoF that they disregard the basis of the suspension and closure orders issued by Gina Lopez. The Mine Audit Reports from 2016-2017 clearly illustrate that these mining projects violated environmental laws or failed to comply with their own contractual obligations.
Since 2018, communities and green groups have been demanding that the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) disclose the findings and recommendations of its own internal review process that initially recommended the reversal of the suspended mine projects. But the MICC has chosen to hide behind legal and technical justifications in preventing transparency on this process.
Possibly standing on shaky grounds, the MICC may have simply decided that issuing a legal memo will be the easiest and quickest way to allow mining operations again in this country. Such is the work ethic of lazy and incompetent government officials, with utter disregard for the complaints of displaced communities.
Allowing the resumption of mine operations will increase the risks and vulnerabilities of affected-communities. As we confront the impacts of climate change and this pandemic, more environmental destruction from mining is the last thing that our rural poor and forest-dependent communities need.
We demand that the Office of the President immediately cancel this “Stay Order” of mine operations, and that President Duterte urgently confirm and enforce the suspension and closure orders issued by Gina Lopez.
The DENR and DoF must stop this foolish track of insisting that mining will bring economic recovery from this pandemic. How many times must we say it – there is no market economy in a dead planet. #
For more details, please contact:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator / firstname.lastname@example.org / (+63917) 5498218