[Statement] Visayan people’s declaration on mining and the ecology

Visayan people’s declaration on mining and the ecology

Scrap the Philippine Mining Act of 1995,
Enact the Philippine Mineral Resources Act of 2011!

WE, the PARTICIPANTS to the 1st Visayan Conference on Mining and Ecology, representing various organizations of farmers, indigenous people communities, women, urban poor, workers, service workers, students, professonals, the church, media, and business from the many islands of Visayas, conscious of our right to a balanced and healthy ecology in the spirit of precautionary principle and inter generational responsibility are deeply concerned.

Our economy is based on agriculture, forestry, fishery–both fresh water and marine–and expanding tourism, which all require adequate and unpolluted sources of water. Because of this, we are deeply concerned that there is an onslaught of commercial mining applications and operations in the region, all driven by profit and greed.

AGRICULTURE

Panay is the Philippines’ second biggest rice producer. Add to this the fact that the mangoes of Guimaras have earned international distinction due to its unique taste and texture. As such, damage to our farmlands will bear huge adverse effect not only to the people of Panay but, more importantly, to the FOOD SECURITY of the entire country!

FORESTRY

Mining operations in the Visayas region are causing large scale destruction of our forests, which is affecting our rivers, streams, and aquifers, carrying with them pollution, silt which flow into the sea thus posing an extremely grave threat to our marine resources and to the livelihood of people belonging to our coastal communities.

FISHERY

Our shallow seas are vital fishing and breeding grounds, which are easily damaged by pollution from the mines. The Visayan Sea is one of the richest areas in terms of marine resources. This is why Estancia has been recognized as the Alaska of the Phillippines which is also why. Several areas in the region such as the Tanon Strait, Danajon Double Barrier Reef, Sibuyan Sea, and Guiuan protected seascape and landscape among others, are also rich in marine resources,

TOURISM

The Visayas region is home to some of the world’s finest tourism destinations. In fact, Boracay Island has been distinguished as the world’s second best beach, and Asia’s No.1 overall for the second straight year.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Mining companies, in collusion with government institutions and forces, wittingly or unwittingly, have committed human rights violations, dividing and exploiting and displacing indigenous people from their ancestral domains.

We claim our right to clean sources of water, clean air and sustainable livelihood. Mining is putting all these under threat.

We hereby call for:

A moratorium not only in the processing and approval of mining applications, but in all large-scale mining projects and operations until an alternative policy on exploration, development, and use of mineral resources, that is pro-Filipino, pro-people, pro-environment, and pro food has been enacted and developed;

The scrapping of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and the Mining Revitalization Program and the enactment of the Philippine Mineral Resources Act.

We demand that the agricultural, forestry and fishery resources of the Visayan Region be conserved for generations to come!

God has blessed the Visayan Region with rich natural resources, and we the Visayan People will not allow these resources to be ravaged by selfishness, greed and political machinations.

Mr. President, hear our plea. We are making a stand for our people. The time is now.

APPROVED BY the participants to the 1st Visayan Conference on Mining and the Ecology,
this 25th day of February 2012,
at the Rose Memorial Auditorium,
Central Philippine University, Jaro, Iloilo City

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