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[Press Release] Group challenges PNoy to side with victims of human rights abuses and environment destruction and not with the greedy few

July 25, 2014

Group challenges PNoy to side with victims of human rights abuses and environment destruction and not with the greedy few
Demands Government to prioritize the scrapping of Mining Act of 1995 and the legislation of AMMB as urgent in his SONA

Photo by ATM

As part of the week-long pre-SONA campaign expressing their demands for President Benigno Aquino III (“Sa SONA: #DapatTaoMunaHindiMina! #DapatAMMBisabatasNA! Campaign) to Scrap the Mining Act of 1995, rights groups and anti-mining activists staged a pre-SONA creative picket protest in front of Mining Geo-Science Bureau (MGB) compound in North Avenue, Quezon City.

Mimicking a “Placards dance” usually seen in Football games ceremony, the group performed their own to creatively deliver to the government and to the public their demands and to reiterate the state of the peoples’ rights and environment in mining affected communities.

“We strongly demand that the Aquino administration act decisively on the issues of human rights and environment destruction.  We demand government’s respect, protection and fulfillment of our peoples’ rights and protection of our environment from corporate greed and impunity,” said Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of the human rights group Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP).

“Inuuli-ulit po namin ang panawagan sa pamahalaan. Dapat kalikasan at tao ang inuuna hindi ang hungkag na kinikita ng pamahalaan at interes ng mga ganid sa tubo na mga korporasyon sa pagmimina,” Amistad lamented.

“Peoples’ lives and our environment are at stake here. Our Government must act according to its obligation.  Mining has failed to deliver its promises of increased revenue and benefits to the community.  What kind of government will tolerate these failures at the expense of peoples’ rights and environment,” said Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM).

According to reports the mining industry was only able to give the government 1% of the total GNP that led to the drafting of a mining revenue bill that will increase taxes from mining.

Garganera stressed that, “The Mining Act of 1995 or RA7942 is causing our environment and nation plunder, corruption and destruction that is equally unforgivable as DAP and PDAF. Worse like the DAP, what the government did is to recommend reforms that only prolong the much criticized ill-effects of this law to our peoples and environment. Instead of providing cure to rights violations and environmental destruction, the current mining law exacerbates the situation.”

He also said that, “We are very disappointed with government’s band-aid solutions that will not answer and provide remedy to victims of human rights abuses, natural resources exploitation and environmental degradation caused by mining that we have been reporting. We remind President Aquino that he must act for the rights and welfare of the majority of the Filipinos and not for the greedy few.”

Finally the group asked President Aquino,“How many more Glencore of Tampakan, Oceana Gold of Nueva Vizcaya, and others  must our people endure before you heed and take the side of the indigenous peoples, women, farmers, and other sectors in the mining affected communities that you tagged as your Bosses?

“President Aquino, you must scrap the Mining Act of 1995 now. You must certify as urgent the Alternative Minerals Management Bill!” the group demanded. ###

The “Sa SONA: #DapatTaoMunaHindiMina! #DapatAMMBisabatasNA! Campaign is initiated by members of the SOS Yamang Bayan Network. SOS YB is a network of human rights groups, green activists, women, workers and faith-based pushing for the enactment of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB).

The campaign is also part of the colorful pre-SONA action tagged as July 25 GREEN MARCH calling for the passage of the three green bills, the Alternative Mineral Management Bill, Forest Resources Bill and the National Land Use Act.

For more information please contact:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0917) 549.82.18  <nc@alyansatigilmina.net>
Check Zabala, ATM Media and Communications Officer, (0927) 623.50.66 <checkzab@gmail.com>
Egay Cabalitan, TFDP Advocacy Staff, (0928) 844.37.17, <egay.advocacytfdp@gmail.com>


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