July 19, 2014
Green activists and rights groups launch campaign asking PNoy to prioritize peoples’ rights and environment over profit from mining
A week before President Benigno Aquino’s 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 28, rights groups, environmental activists and advocates intensified their call for PNoy to act decisively on what according to them is the root cause of grave abuses on human rights and environment impacted on mining affected communities.
They reiterated the need to scrap the Mining Act of 1995 and certify as urgent the legislation of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB).
The group is holding a nationwide appeal addressing President Aquino, through maximizing all forms of actions, including appeal letter sending, mass actions and social networking site. They are initiating a simultaneous and nationwide campaign which they dubbed as “Sa SONA: Dapat Tao Muna Hindi Mina! Dapat AMMB Ipasa NA!” a week before the SONA.
“Not acting on this law is a clear violation of human rights. It is submitting the peoples’ rights and welfare to corporate greed and thus promoting corporate impunity,” Jaybee Garganera, head of Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) said pertaining to the Mining Act of 1995,.
“We have recorded numerous human rights abuses perpetrated by Mining Companies and human rights violations by some government personnel but the government remains numb and we received no decisive actions to address them,” Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) lamented.
“The bill to increase revenue from mining that was proposed and crafted by the MICC and that was submitted to the Office of the Presidents is not enough,” Garganera added.
“Although we welcome this proposal as a development, we see it as treating issues on mining as mere income and profit concerns and neglecting the issues of rights and environment,” he added.
The group explained that, “what our country needs is a law that would benefit us as a nation in a holistic manner – rights- based , environment friendly – and not in a profiteering, greed driven and destructive way. Facing the problems in piece meal legislations will not answer and justify the destruction that the said law has caused the environment.”
“It has been exposed many times, that the Mining Act of 1995 is a law that mainly prioritizes profit for the few over the rights and welfare of the many and at the expense of our environment. It has been proven to worsen the life of the people in the affected communities over claims and promises of progress and development,” Said Amistad.
In the middle of plunder, graft and corruption controversies in the government, the group cited that on the issue of mining, there are also alleged practices of corruption that concerned government agencies are allegedly involved in.
Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who is facing charges on PDAF Scam is also the head of a political dynasty in Cagayan which has condoned and abetted the proliferation of black sand mining in the province despite repeated raids and arrests of miners with no proper permits.
“There are only two years left for President Aquino to once and for all heed the call for the scrapping of this law that causes not only too much suffering on our people but also destruction to our environment, PNoy must act now!” Amistad concluded.###
For more information pls contact:
Egay Cabalitan, TFDP Advocacy Staff, 09288443717, firstname.lastname@example.org
Check Zabala, ATM Media and Communications Officer, (0927) 623.50.66 email@example.com
Sa SONA: Dapat Tao Muna Hindi Mina! Dapat AMMB Ipasa NA!