Philippines: Environmental groups and communities protest Mining Philippines 2015 Conference

In response to the Mining Philippines 2015 Conference held this week, YLNM Network members Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) and allies launched numerous actions protesting the destructive impacts of mining in the Philippines and worldwide. The three ATM press releases that comprise the following article give the details of their protests, the reasons behind them and the group’s demands. All photos are from ATM.


 

ATM Press Release

15 September 2015

Environmental groups slams mining confab, launches week-long activity against mining

Environmental advocates headed by Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) once again called for the protection of the environment against the destructive impacts of mining through a prayer rally and candle lighting activity in Plaza Raja Sulayman , on September 15, Tuesday, along Roxas Boulevard.

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The prayer rally which is just a jump-starter for the coalition’s bi-annual week-long actions according to its National Coordinator Jaybee Garagnera, is the group’s welcome gesture to the participants of Mining Philippines 2015 Conference and Exhibitions currently being held at Solaire Resort & Casino Manila.

“It’s the time of the year where the Chamber of Mines in the Philippines (COMP) has once again opened our country for auction to the plunderers of our natural mineral resources.” says Garganera.

“As COMP welcomes the mining industry players including investors and mining firms, we want to make an equal effort to stress that our country is not for sale and our environment has suffered enough degradation and plundering from the extractive industry.” he added.

The prayer rally and candle lighting activity entitled DASAL PARA SA INTEGRIDAD NG BUHAY AT EKOLOHIYA (Prayer for the Integrity of life and creation) was attended by environmentalists and activists who are pushing advocacies and reforms against the current mining policies and situation in the country.

“Our activity is an answer to his Holiness Pope Francis’ call for integrity of creation.” says Garganera.

“So far, mining has done nothing to our country but defile and destroy our environment and displace our people. For the longest time it has plundered our mineral resources and devastated the creation his Almighty has lent us.

“We can never let corporate greed triumph over the integrity of creation. We will not just sit and watch as COMP sell us out.” Garganera added.

After the mass, a candle lighting and human chain action was done by the group along Roxas Boulevard to show their opposition to the mining conference.

Local Simultaneous Actions

In Solidarity with the launch of ATM’s week-long activity, anti-mining groups and communities all over the country held their individual actions in their respective areas.

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Participating are anti-mining communities in Nueva Viscaya, Cagayan, Lobo Batangas, Marinduque, Zambales, Leyte, Cantilan Surigao del Sur and Masbate.

“In the spirit of honouring the integrity of creation, we must be one in the fight against the destructive impacts of mining.” said Fr. Dakila Ramos of the Archdiocesan Ministry on Environment (AMEn) in Lobo, Batangas.

“We should all stand together for our environment and our people, for the future generations and for the gift of nature God has given us.” he added.

Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) one of ATM’s partners in its anti-mining advocacies also organized related actions in their respective areas in Manicani and Homonhon Eastern Samar, and Kibungan to show their support to the week-long activity.

“We are one with ATM in this activity in upholding human life and ecology.” said Ed Garingan, PMPI Project Officer for Anti-mining campaign.

“What we need is ecological rehabilitation and conservation.The corrupt, plundering, and destructive ways of the extractive industry have no part to play in this.” Garingan added.

Alyansa Tigil Mina’s week-long action with the theme INTEGRIDAD NG TAO AT EKOLOHIYA IPAGLABAN, GANID NG PANDAIGDIGANG INDUSTRIYA NG MINA WAKASAN! (Uphold the integrity of human life and ecology, end the greed of the global mining industry!) will run from September 14 to 18.

It aims to challenge the global mining industry by supporting the call of Laudato Si for ecological integrity.

 


 

ATM Press Release

16 September 2015

Shame campaign launches against pro-mining countries

Following their activity in Plaza Raja Sulayman in Roxas Boulevard entitled DASAL PARA SA INTEGRIDAD NG BUHAY AT EKOLOHIYA (Prayer for the Integrity of life and creation), national environmental group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) continued its week-long activity by visiting various embassies of countries with big mining investments in the Philippines.

Huge banner-sized letters carried by activists in Philippine national costumes were paraded by the group in front of the embassies of Canada, Australia, United Kingdom (UK), and South Korea (SoKor) asking the countries to pull out their mining investments, Wednesday, September 16.

The group also picketed in front the United Nations office in RCBC Plaza in Makati City while carrying a banner-sized letter addressed to the intergovernmental organization asking it to hold the countries of Canada, Australia,UK, SoKor, and China accountable to the destructive impacts their mining investments have brought the country.

“These countries and their mining investments in the Philippines have contributed to the grave deterioration of our environment, displacement of our Indigenous Peoples, rampant human rights violations and abuses and widespread poverty in mining-affected areas in the country.” said Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of ATM.

Aside from the environmental impacts brought by the mining companies, the group also highlighted the alleged human right abuses caused by the operations.

In Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, the project site of Australia-based OceanaGold (OGPI), gold and copper mining pushed through despite strong opposition of the community.

After the evictions and demolition of houses, and despite the community’s outward rejection of the mining operation OGPI went on commercial production by April 2013.

To date, concerns on the human rights violations and abuses caused by the entry of OGPI in the area, as affirmed by the Commission on Human Rights Resolution No. A2011-004, has not been resolved.

Meanwhile, situation in Tampakan South, Cotabato reached a critical status after Bla’an and anti-mining leader Daguil Capion was captured on July 15, 2015.

Daguil Capion, is a Bla’an chief tasked to implement the defense of the ancestral lands, particularly against the entry of the Tampakan mining operation. Capion’s wife Juvy Capion and two sons were killed by the Task force KITACO, in a supposedly armed encounter.

At least three incidents of extra-judicial killings are directly linked to the Tampakan mining project, all victims are families and relatives of Daguil Capion.

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In Boac Marinduque, communities are still struggling 21 years after the Maguila-guila dam tragedy.

On December 6, 1993, the Maguila-guila Dam that was supposed to contain toxic silts from the Marcopper operation site spilled siltation after the dam collapsed due to intense flooding. The incident destroyed homes, rice fields and affected some bodies of water around the area.

Currently, a case instituted by the affected residences of Baranggay Magpua and Bocboc in the RTC Branch 38 is being heard as local organizations continue to seek justice for the destruction brought by the collapsed of Maguila-guila Dam.

Garganera said that the public action aims to call the attention of the host countries of the major large-scale mining industry players in the Philippines and expose the damages their extractive investments have caused the country.

“They have no right to come here in our country, destroy our environment and plunder our mineral resources and wreak havoc in our communities as if they have bought our country.

“They say that their mining investments are helping the country with its economic progress, but the less than one percent contribution of the mining industry in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) says otherwise. Our country does not need their few loose changes. The Philippines is not for sale!” asserted Garganera.

According to Mines and geoscience Bureau data as of July 2014, the extractive industry’s contribution to the Philippines’ Gross Domestic Product is only 0.7%, a relatively low return for the 4.01 billion USD worth of mineral exports the country ships all over the world.

 


ATM Press Release

17 September 2015

Green group marches to Mendiola, holds PNoy accountable for mining disasters

“INTEGRIDAD NG TAO AT EKOLOHIYA IPAGLABAN, GANID NG PANDAIGDIGANG INDUSTRIYA NG MINA WAKASAN! PNoy panagutin sa mga disgrasya, pagpaslang at panlilinlang na dulot ng pagmimina!”

After two-consecutive days of public actions slamming large-scale mining operations in the Philippines and highlighting the call for ecological integrity, environmental group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) headed to Mendiola to demand accountability from the Aquino administration for its alleged inactions to the injustices brought by mining in the country.

Environmental advocates performed a die-in near Mendiola bridge and used their bodies to spell-out “NO TO MINING” while other participants held up posters reiterating the group’s calls to stop large-scale mining operations in the Philippines.

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The activity is part of ATM’s week-long action to challenge the global mining industry by supporting the call of Laudato Si for ecological integrity and challenge the globalization of the mining industry.

“We hold the Aquino government accountable for its inaction—for the mining disasters, human rights violations and deaths, and the many negative impacts of mining.” said Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of ATM.

“These inactions have led to unresolved pressing issues that continue to haunt the everyday lives of anti-mining advocates all over the Philippines.” he added.

According to the group, 28 environmental activists including three (3) children have been victims of mining-related killings in the Aquino administration alone. All killings up to this date remain to be unresolved.

“People are literally dying to protect their lands against the mining companies which want to savage their environment. Most of these people are from the Indigenous groups, one of the most vulnerable sectors here in our country.” Garganera said.

“It such a shame that those who are fighting for the integrity of creation are the ones who are being hunted down. It is downright wrong that those who are fighting for ecological integrity are the ones who are living in fear of their lives and the lives of their loved ones.” he added.

Aside from the unresolved cases of killings, ATM also lambasted the government’s lack of action in the rehabilitation of damages caused by mining.

To date, there are 800 abandoned mines in the Philippines that simply fell into disrepair and neglect.

Mining tragedies, such as the 1996 Maguila-guila Dam disaster also remain to be unresolved. 21 years after the calamity, affected communities are still struggling for justice.

Currently, a case instituted by the affected residences of Baranggay Magpua and Bocboc in the RTC Branch 38 is being heard as local organizations continue to seek justice for the destruction brought by the collapsed of Maguila-guila Dam.

Anti-mining communities have also experienced reversal of victories in the Aquino administration’s last year.

Reversals of anti-mining victories include the reinstatement of INTEX’s Environmental Compliance Cerificate (ECC), NCIP regions XI and XII’s complete disregard of anti-mining communities in Tampakan for non-Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) coverage,

the lifting of suspension orders of four mining companies in Zambales(also read Envi groups oppose resumption of Benguet Corp. operation in Zambales), the non-compliance of Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. (MMDC) of their Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) in Surigao del Sur, the resumption of hauling activities of Hinatuan Mining Corporation in Manikani, Eastern Samar, and the expansion of Oceanagold Philippines (OGPI) in Nueva Viscaya despite the communities’ lack of consent.

ATM also strongly opposed the government’s claims that mining has played a big role in the country’s economic development as the group claims that most mining-host communities have the highest and most consistent poverty rates.

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“The Aquino administration has done almost nothing to alleviate the worsening situation of the environment and the mining-affected communities.” said Garganera.

“ Even Executive Order 79 (EO79), the highlight of the administration’s contribution to the Philippine mining situation proves to lack substance and efficiency with its glaring gaps in ensuring environmental and ecological protection and preservation and upholding human rights.” he added.

For the group’s final call for the activity, ATM demanded that the Aquino administration put a moratorium on all extractive activities until a more efficient mining law has been established.

Alyansa Tigil Mina also called for the SCRAP of RA7942 also known as the Mining Act of 1995 and the ENACTMENT of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill—a new minerals management law that prioritizes the protection, conservation and proper utilization of mineral resources.


 

ATM Press Release

18 September 2015

Green groups push for cancellation of mining in Batangas and Cagayan

Green group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) demanded the cancellation of mining contracts in Lobo, Batangas, citing a resolution of the Dept. of Tourism declaring the area as a tourism hotspot. In a position paper submitted to the DENR today, ATM referred to the Municipality of Lobo as part of the Batangas Coastline and Verde Island Passage as a Tourism Zone and Marine Reserve declared in 1978 through Presidential Proclamation No. 1801.

More than 100 rallyists joined ATM who teamed teamed up with Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) and the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) in an activity that started at the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Office and ended at the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) office, September 18, Friday.

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Green ribbons were tied to the gate and fences of DENR to symbolize the group’s anger to the destruction brought by mining and other forms of development aggression in the country.

“We are holding DENR and MGB accountable for the destructions mining have brought our country.” says Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina.

“Because of these offices’ inefficient mining regulation, mining companies have freely plundered our resources without any repercussions.” he added.

ATM also submitted a separate position paper to DENR, opposing offshore mining and calling for cancellation of mining contracts in foreshore areas in Cagayan.

Rosbin Martin, leader of Alliance for Buguey Committed for Development Association (ALBUCODA) in Cagayan expressed the people’s organization’s full support in the ATM position paper submitted to DENR.

“The destructions brought by offshore mining here in our area are yet to be rehabilitated by the mining companies which caused them. Despite that, they are pushing new offshore mining operations to start dredging our sands. This is a direct mockery to Cagayan, to the people and the environment. We will not let them destroy us.” said Martin.

“We are calling for the cancellation of mining contracts of all offshore mining operations in Buguey and all other parts of Cagayan.” Martin added.

Another position paper was submitted stating the group’s opposition to the possible issuance of environmental compliance certificate (ECC) and calling for the cancellation of MPSAs 176-2002-iv and 177-2002-iv in Lobo, Batangas.

“The hearts and spirits of Batangueños in Lobo are in solidarity with the submission of ATM’s position paper against mining in our area.” said Fr. Dakila Ramos of the Archdiocesan Ministry on Environment (AMEn) of Lobo, Batangas.

“We strongly condemn the possible issuance of an ECC in Lobo and we urge the DENR and the MGB to uphold ecological integrity and not let mining destroy our towns.” he added.

The group’s position paper against mining in Lobo also stated that the municipality and nearby areas are tourism development and protected areas, and therefore should not be open to destructive development projects.

According to ATM, the argument in itself is a strong ground to cancel MPSAs 176-2002-IV and 177-2002-IV together with other mines in the area.

In the letter addressed to DENR Secretary Ramon Paje, ATM reiterated their call for the proper implementation of DILG Memorandum Circular No. 44, s. 2014 declaring foreshore and beach mining to be illegal.

The group also asked DENR to cancel all offshore mining operation contracts until a clear basis for its regulation has been established.

“Up until this moment, DENR has not released a proper set of guidelines and regulations on off shore mining.” said Garganera.

“This is a big threat to the environment and the people since there will be no guidelines for the mining companies to comply with and there will be no clear basis if a violation is being made or not.” he added.

ATM also urged MGB to revise its No-Go Zone Map to include specifically the foreshore areas and environmentally critical areas that should be closed to mining.

It also suggested that DENR should work with the Department of Public Works and Highways and local governments units in investigating illegal black sand mining operation in other areas disguised under dredging permits.

“We are really hoping that DENR and MGB take immediate and serious actions on the worsening situation of areas being mined in the Philippines.” said Garganera.

“Alyansa Tigil Mina will continue to eagerly engage the DENR and MGB in addressing mining- and environment-related problems in the country and we will not stop until justice has been brought to the people and the environment.” Garganera concluded.

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One Reader Comment

  1. Leo says:

    E should t alll senator and congresssman who rrejjectedd Gia LOPES.
    Let. Us stat a campaign against their reelection.
    Let u start a membership against them
    Leo

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