Philippines – 20 years of mining plunder, pollution and destruction must end.

Original Source bulatlat.com. Article and photos by Dee Ayroso.

MANILA — Some 300 protesters belonging to indigenous peoples and environmentalist groups today called for an end to 20 years of liberalized mining under the Mining Act of 1995, which, they said, only resulted to “environmental destruction, pollution and plunder.”

Most of the protesters were indigenous peoples and farmers whose homes and farms were affected by large-scale mining and militarization. They marched to Mendiola bridge in Manila at 10 a.m., and burned a 10-foot effigy of President Aquino, depicted as a bulldozer cum backhoe.

The Philippine Mining Act, or Republic Act 7942, was enacted by President Fidel V. Ramos on March 3, 1995, opening the country to the entry of large-scale, foreign mining companies.

“On this fateful date, the government surrendered the country’s welfare and interest following the demand of foreign investors,” said Piya Macliing Malayao, spokesperson of the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Kamp).

“Twenty years and three administrations after, the anti-people and anti-indigenous peoples law ravaged our land, plundered our resources, and violated the rights of our people,” she said.

Calling President Aquino the “Plunderer-president,” protesters said the Mining Act adds even more weight to reasons for his ouster.

The groups also called for the enactment of the People’s Mining bill, proposed as House Bill 171, which has been pending at the House of Representatives since it was refiled in 2013.

Simultaneous protests calling for an end of the Mining Act and the Aquino administration were also held in Isabela in Cagayan Valley region.

Kamp spokesperson Piya Macliing Malayao (Photo by D. Ayroso)

Destructive, ‘legal landgrabbing’

Kamp said that the Mining Act has violated the indigenous peoples right to self-determination, as they have become victims of “legal land-grabbing” and “extensive destruction of livelihood and homes.”

“We indigenous peoples have been mining our ancestral lands for centuries, and have kept a sustainable environment,” Malayao said. But the Mining Act gave way to full ownership of ancestral territories to big, foreign mining corporations.

“After the passing of the Mining Act of 1995, Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements were granted to Australian mining corporations Climax-Arimco, now known as OceanaGold, and Western Mining Corporation, which later changed its name to SMI-Xstrata,” Malayao said.

These lands were inhabited by Bugkalot, Igorot, Blaan, and Tiboli indigenous groups in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, and Davao del Sur, she said.

Several environmental investigation missions conducted in Nueva Vizcaya, where mining operations began as soon as the law was passed in 1995, showed serious pollution and destruction of the environment and water systems.

In Mindanao, communities who have been resisting the SMI-Xstrata have been subjected to militarization and a number of indigenous peoples activists have been killed by soldiers.

Kamp said the government had approved 999 mining application covering some 1 million hectares.
The government even continues to “showcase and peddle” the country’s untapped mineral resources in “mining roadshows around the world,” as it ignores the destruction made by mining companies.

Malayao lamented that “billions worth of minerals mined in the Philippines are exported” to countries such as the USA, Australia, Canada, UK, China, Japan, Korea, and Malaysia. These are “resources meant for the industrialization of our country and for the benefit of most Filipinos,” she added.

“If we lose all our national patrimony, all our resources, then our dignity and future of the next generation is also lost,” Malayao said, speaking in Mendiola.

(Contributed photo by Jed dela Cruz)


EO 79

The environmentalist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) said the Aquino administration carried out the Mining Act, and strengthened it with Executive Order 79, “which overrode local environment codes and mining moratoriums and other national laws concerning large-scale mining.”

“That Aquino perpetuated more of the same is a betrayal of the people and is basis enough for his resignation.”

“It is only under the Aquino regime that colonial-era mining patents, which essentially grant full and perpetual rights over mineral lands to mining corporations, were revived,” said Clemente Bautista, Kalikasan PNE national coordinator.

“This goes to show Noynoy Aquino’s disregard of our constitutionally guaranteed national patrimony, and how shameless pro-corporate his Administration is,” Bautista said.

Clemente Bautista, Kalikasan PNE national coordinator (Photo by D. Ayroso)

EO 79 centralized the approval of mining applications to the national government, which cancelled the moratoriums against mining by local governments. “The deceptive EO 79 only reinforced the ‘one-stop-shop’ for mining applications, thereby accelerating the process for mining operations,” Kamp said.

The Aquino administration had also prioritized House Bill 5367 in Congress which would minimally increase taxation, but had ignored the People’s Mining bill first proposed in the 15th congress.

Lies

Kalikasan belied claims of contribution to economic development by mining companies, saying that “trillions of pesos” which could have been invested for national industrialization were “squandered.”

“From 1997 to 2013, the country only received a paltry P1 in every P10 profit of the large-scale mining industry, which reaped an estimated total of P1.14 trillion in mineral exports,” said Clemente. “This is not just a case of lost revenues but of our squandered national patrimony.”

The Mining Act only requires 2 percent of income for taxes, said Kamp.

In 20 years, only three smelting plants of nickel, copper, and iron were built, and even these only provide low-level processing of ores. Industrialization from our mineral wealth is far from happening under the Mining Act of 1995.

Kamp cited data from the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (Ph-EITI) which said that mining employs only 252,000 or 0.7 percent of the total 33 million Philippine workforce.

“The benefits of mining argued by mining corporations as compensatory for its immense social costs and environmental destruction is a lie,” said Malayao.

Human rights violations

Kalikasan said 66 anti-mining activists have been killed under the Aquino administration. Of these, 50 were indigenous peoples, including six women and six children, who were slain by the military and paramilitary groups.

“The violation of human rights of indigenous peoples worsened as a result of mining and militarization,” said Malayao.

She cited the killing of eight months-pregnant Juvy Capion, a Blaan woman and one of the leaders of those resisting the mining operations of SMI-Xstrata on October 18, 2012, by members of the 26th Infantry Battalion. Her two young sons were also killed when soldiers strafed their home.

Malayao also cited the killings of Kitari Capion, Datu Anting Freay, and 16-year-old Victor Freay, other Blaan who were killed “by suspected military forces in the SMI-Xstrata mining site between 2012 and 2013.”

Malayao said military operations, conducted by soldiers along with paramilitary men recruited among indigenous peoples, have pushed thousands of indigenous peoples repeatedly in areas targeted for mining in Mindanao, such Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, Compostela Valley, and Bukidnon.

The use of paramilitary groups as “investment defense forces” under the Arroyo Executive Order 546 was also reinforced by Aquino when he revived the formation of the Martial law-era Special Civilian Active Auxiliary (Scaa) to protect mining areas in 2012.

“We are the children of indigenous warriors, and our land is our life. It is but right to defend our lands with our lives. We will continue the struggle,” Malayao said.

Related Posts

The Philippines, a nation rich in precious metals, encounters powerful opposition to mining
Philippines bans new open-pit metal mines
In Indonesia, women farmers crush cement mining and production factories
Resistance, exchange, (post)extractivism: YLNM Coordinators meet in Galicia- in photos
Safeguarding People and the Environment in Chinese Investments- A guide for community advocactes
To change a BIT is not enough
Philippines: Green group calls for immediate enforcement of suspension, closure orders on 26 large-scale mines
VICTORY! OceanaGold loses ISDS claim against El Salvador
Philippines: Indigenous Peoples Rally in Support of El Salvador against Oceana Gold
Interview with freed environmental defender Beejin Khastumur
Beejin Khastumur: Environmental defender’s trial saga continues
All that Glitters is Not Gold: Resisting Mining Plunder in The Philippines
REVIVING RIVER MYNTDU, REVIVING A LOST CULTURE
Take Action: A Fair Trial for Environmental Defender Beejin Khastumur
Victory! Oceana Gold Pulls Out Drilling Operation after people’s barricade
Save Dory’s home from toxic mine waste!

Save Dory’s home from toxic mine waste!

  • Written on: 17 June 2016
  • Posted under: Campaigns
300 Tibetans protest gold mining at a sacred mountain in Tibet
Outcry as Adivasi activist Gladson Dungdung is prevented from traveling to the UK
Open Letter: Adivasi rights activist Gladson Dungdung prevented from boarding a Delhi-London Air India Flight
Good news for the only place on Earth where tigers, rhinos, orangutans and elephants live together
Filipino environmentalists join global protests to demand justice for Honduran activist Berta Caceres
Nueva Vizcaya stops entry of mining firms

Nueva Vizcaya stops entry of mining firms

Global Civil Society Organisations Call for Release of Mongolian Environmental Defender Beejin Khastumur
Urgent Action: Call for the release of imprisoned Mongolian environmental defender
Leader of NGO Opposing Illegal Mining in Mongolia Arrested
Bayto, the village that stood up to mining

Bayto, the village that stood up to mining

Shan civil society groups call for gold mining suspension
India: Tribe set to resume David & Goliath battle with mining corporation
Burying the Law to Make Way for a Coal Mine

Burying the Law to Make Way for a Coal Mine

The Coconut Revolution: Resisting Rio Tinto’s Panguna Mine

The Coconut Revolution: Resisting Rio Tinto’s Panguna Mine

  • Written on: 19 February 2016
  • Posted under: Videos
Adivasis’ Last Stand: The New Battleground Against Mining is Khandadhar
Voices of Indigenous Women Human Rights Defenders from the Philippines
Philippines: Indigenous Peoples Seeking Lepanto Mine Closure
Mongolia: YLNM members DMNN suffer threats and assault for investigating illegal mining
Balok Sea Turns Red from Bauxite Mining

Balok Sea Turns Red from Bauxite Mining

  • Written on: 06 January 2016
  • Posted under: Videos
Villagers in Myanmar retake land from mining company
Mongolia: Demonstrators stage sit in to demand an end to illegal mining
At COP21, the people and future generations will be failed once again
LAKBAYAN 6: RESIST IMPERIALIST PLUNDER, STOP LUMAD KILLINGS!

LAKBAYAN 6: RESIST IMPERIALIST PLUNDER, STOP LUMAD KILLINGS!

  • Written on: 17 December 2015
  • Posted under: Campaigns
Climate Change and Coal Mining in India

Climate Change and Coal Mining in India

Protesters demand Aquino government close mines linked to paramilitaries
Inside the indigenous movement to protect India’s commons
No Response, No Accountability for Tenasserim Coal Mine Damage
YLNM Coordinator ‘Enteng’ Bautista tailed and harassed by suspected military agents
Coal, Which Built a Chinese City, Now Threatens to Bury It
Indonesia: Farmer Anti-mining Activist killed in Selok Awar-Awar
Heed the Costs of Gold Mining

Heed the Costs of Gold Mining

Philippines: Environmental groups and communities protest Mining Philippines 2015 Conference
#StopLumadKillings | Philippine Groups protest mining conference
Addressing Lumad killings, mining abuse & internally displaced people
India’s Coal Rush

India’s Coal Rush

  • Written on: 09 September 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Our Resistance, Our Hope: Unity Statement of the International People’s Conference on Mining
Lianga Massacre: Lumad leaders killed in Philippine ‘mining capital’
Photo Story: Communities tell OceanaGold to abandon Didipio mine
Bangladesh Government says NO to Phulbari Coal Mine
How radio protects community forest land- Cambodia

How radio protects community forest land- Cambodia

  • Written on: 21 August 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Against Letpadaung: copper mining in Myanmar and the struggle for human rights
Achievements of the Global Day Against Mega Mining
Philippines: Environmentalists hold protest-dialogue to reject multinational mining in Lobo
Greenpeace, villagers fight to keep coal mining from ‘life-giving’ Mahan forest in India’s energy capital
Villagers oppose laterite mining on Koraput hill
Mapping Gender Based Violence and Mining Infrastructure in Mongolian Mining Communities
Soil mining continues unabated on Palora Hill
People’s Victory – Environmentalists hail exit of mining giant in Tampakan
The Horrors of Rat Hole Coal Mining

The Horrors of Rat Hole Coal Mining

  • Written on: 24 June 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
The Bloody Illegal World of Sand Mining

The Bloody Illegal World of Sand Mining

  • Written on: 22 June 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Mining Affected Peoples to Unite at International Peoples Conference on Mining, Manila 2015
Glencore? No More! London protestors call for end to Glencore’s mining abuses in the Philippines and worldwide
Palawan Brooke’s Point Pastor

Palawan Brooke’s Point Pastor

  • Written on: 08 April 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Philippines: Palawan Indigenous Group calls on Citinickel to stop all mining operations
‘We will never give our land’. In India millions protest removal of the need for local consent in land acquisition for mining.
Philippines – 20 years of mining plunder, pollution and destruction must end.
Hunger Strike and Protest: Mongolian Government Gives Green Light to Hundreds of Mining Projects
CONDEMNED: Russian Coal Mining and Shor Displacements

CONDEMNED: Russian Coal Mining and Shor Displacements

  • Written on: 05 February 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
At a Glance: The Philippine Mining Situation
Alyansa Tigil Mina: Mining in the Philippines

Alyansa Tigil Mina: Mining in the Philippines

  • Written on: 10 December 2014
  • Posted under: Campaigns
Coal Mines Polluting South Kalimantan’s Water
Vedanta & Niyamgiri: Supporting Evidence
Mining in India: Films

Mining in India: Films

Mining in India: Reports

Mining in India: Reports

Greenpeace: Coal in India

Greenpeace: Coal in India

The God of the Mountain: Vedanta’s Assault on Niyamgiri

3 Reader Comments

Start a Conversation. Share Words of Solidarity.

This website is about building a movement. We can only build a movement when we connect with one another. We invite you to do just that…

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *