[Press Release] Groups protest against DENR, reject mining policy – alyansatigilmina.net

Jaybee Garganera, Natl. Coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina together with other advocates protest inside DENR compound. Photos by ATM

Groups protest against DENR, reject mining policy
Indigneous peoples shout ‘no to mining our ancestral lands!’

Manila – About a hundred protestors held a rally in front of DENR yesterday, demanding that the government stop the entry of large-scale mining in ancestral lands of indigenous peoples.  The event coincided with the 4th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples or UNDRIP.

Indigenous peoples from the Cordillera region, Central Luzon, and the islands of Mindoro and Palawan are in Manila participating in the UNDRIP celebrations, and are holding national consultations on pending bills in Congress, including proposed laws on forestry, mining and land use.  Participants represented the various ethno-linguistic groups including Ifugaos, Aetas, Dumagats, Mangyans and Palaw’ans.

IP solon Teddy Brawner Baguilat, Jr., from Ifugao Province, issued a statement stating that UNDRIP was a landmark international policy but he wishes to highlight the struggles that indigenous peoples are still facing now.

“Even with UNDRIP and our very own Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 or IPRA, the implementation of policies protecting the rights of IPs in the country is quite weak. Conflicting laws and policies and the priority economic development strategy of the government are among the many hindrances to the full enjoyment of the indigenous peoples of their rights due them,” said Baguilat.

Baguilat, who is the chairperson the House Committee on National Cultural Communities, is referring to the liberalization of the mining industry that has led to the increased manipulation of free prior and informed consent (FPIC) by mining companies, and displacement of indigenous communities due to aggressive promotion of large-scale mining.

Baguilat further added, “My committee has found that mining has led to the impairment of the rights and culture of indigenous communities. We must therefore approach mining initiatives with caution, if not trepidation, and if we must err, let it be in favour of our indigenous brothers and sisters.”

Meanwhile, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) national coordinator Jaybee Garganera said, “We are here today to reiterate and remind the DENR leadership that indigenous peoples and mining-affected communities altogether do not want mining.”

ATM has documented that almost 2/3 of claimed and titled ancestral domains are directly impacted by mining applications and projects.  These conflicts with mining are in ancestral lands in Nueva Vizcaya, Zambales, Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Palawan, South Cotabato, Zamboanga del Norte, and almost the whole of CARAGA region.

The protest at the DENR also coincided with the opening of an International Conference on Mining, hosted by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, being held at the Sofitel Hotel, Pasay City.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines.

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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