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Human rights struggle at center of anti-mining resistance - ATM

ATM Statement | December 7, 2023

In commemoration of Human Rights Week, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) joined the mobilization of human rights groups and civil society organizations in Quezon City today as it stressed that the “the struggle for human rights is at the center of the anti-mining resistance.”


Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, said they stand in solidarity with the groups marching in the streets today, carrying the theme “A Celebration of our Struggle for Human Rights”


“Mining affected communities have not only been fighting for the preservation of their environment but also pushing for the fulfillment of their human rights,” he said.


Rene Pamplona, Chair of ATM and one of the leaders against mining in Tampakan, South Cotabato, said “The local government and residents of Tampakan are standing firm on our human right to self-determination as we demand that mining companies and the national government respect our right to craft our own development path, without large-scale mining.”


Engr. Teodorico Fadrigo, Jr., Federation President of South Cotabato Irrigators’ Association, said: “Mining endangers and violates our right to work, right to clean water and right to a safe and healthy environment, among many other rights. How can government aggressively push for mining when it results in the denial of our rights?”


Meanwhile, Atty. Grizelda “Gerthie” Mayo-Anda, Executive-Director of Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC) pointed out that “environmental defenders are usually the target of human rights violations and killings”. She noted that international group Global Witness has documented 11 killings last year, making the Philippines the most dangerous place in Asia for environmental defenders.


Vic Colili, Councilor of Brooke’s Point, Palawan and an Indigenous Peoples’ leader said “the defense of the environment and the human rights of the people go hand-in-hand, especially among IP groups.”


“Our human dignity is strongly tied to our environment, our ancestral domain. A destruction of our ancestral lands translates to a violation of our human rights,” he said. “This is why we demand a stop to mining operations in our region.”


Mamilmar Dubria, a youth leader and a member of the ATM Council of Leaders, said he hopes government would veer away from destructive mining and instead legislate the proposed Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB).


“A new law that rationalizes the use of our minerals for the country’s development and the preservation of our environment is crucial. The younger generation deserve to enjoy a protected and healthy environment,” he said.


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