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Anti-mining groups stage rally in front of international mining conference venue Demand a stop to the plunder of our mineral wealth

Anti-mining groups stage rally in front of international mining conference venue
Demand a stop to the plunder of our mineral wealth

Photo by ATM

Photo by ATM

Community leaders from mining-affected areas and their support groups in Manila marched to Sofitel Plaza Hotel to demand a stop to the plunder of our mineral wealth as the Chamber of Mines and international miners open their International Mining Conference.

Rallyists wore masks of ex-Senate President Enrile, former Sen. Manny Villar, Manuel Zamora, former DENR Secretary Mike Defensor, infamous pork barrel queen Janet Napoles, Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa—and of sad faces. The identified people are allegedly cohorts of the mining industry in Malacañang, if not miners themselves.

“We are here to expose to the public who the bigger, more powerful and worse thieves than Janet Napoles – the global miners and their allies among the Filipino government officials,” Judy Pasimio, coordinator of Purple Action for Indigenous Women Rights said.

“The Filipino people have expressed so much anger about massive corruption among our elected officials. We should be able to bring this same anger, if not stronger, and repulsion to the issue of high-level and systematic theft of our minerals, forest and waters by transnational mining corporations aided by Filipino government officials-cum-businessmen who profit from this themselves. The impacts of such thievery of our natural resources by large-scale commercial mining operations have great adverse impacts not just for the communities affected, but for all the Filipino people who are part of this whole web of eco-system – not just now, but for generations to come. They steal not just our resources, but also the future of all the communities who rely on these resources for survival,” Pasimio added.

The annual international mining conference is welcomed for the past five years by activists and mine-affected communities, who oppose the aggressive promotion of Philippine mining. This year, with the theme “Moving Forward—Harnessing Opportunities,” the mining conference will talk about Executive Order 79 and the proposed changes in the mining fiscal regime.

Meanwhile, advocates of a new mining law believe that higher tax and other mining fees is not enough to compensate for the negative impacts of mining to the environment, and people’s lives.

“The present mining law allows for the plunder of our mineral resources at the expense of communities, Indigenous Peoples, and the environment. The list of human rights violations, killings and environmental disasters brought about by mining operations necessitates an overhaul of the policy. To amend the law to raise revenue from the industry is not enough. We need a new law, we need the alternative minerals management bill enacted now,” SOS Yamang Bayan Coordinator Erwin Quinones said.

Rene Pamplona, advocacy coordinator of the Social Action Center of Marbel in South Cotabato concluded, “We have seen how the government is actively supporting the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project, but we also know that it is not ready to manage such large-scale project. Secondly, it is unable to resolve possible conflicts; in our context these are present conflicts, which the government cannot respond to.

For instance, it doesn’t have an immediate remedy for mining mishaps—there are no grievance mechanisms and immediate response for complaints of mining-affected communities. While there is delay in establishing these mechanisms, directly-affected communities are threatened by more violations.”

During the midterm elections, ATM launched a NO CAGE campaign against senators who were linked to mining—Cynthia Villar, Angara, Gordon, and Enrile.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB. (30)

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0927) 761.76.02 nc@alyansatigilmina.net

Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Advocacy Officer (0915) 331.33.61 policy@alyansatigilmina.net

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