[Press Release] After EO was released, Lake Mainit, Sibuyan Island and others still unsafe from mining -ATM

After EO was released,
Lake Mainit, Sibuyan Island and others still unsafe from mining

Manila – With the new mining Executive Order 79 exclaiming that all mining contracts, agreements, and concessions approved before the issuance of the policy will remain valid, binding and enforceable, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) remained doubtful that several potential eco-tourism landmarks like Lake Mainit in Agusan del Norte and the Sibuyan Island in Romblon will not be spared from the threat of large-scale mining.

ATM maintained its position that EO 79 is just continuing the misplaced policy detailed in the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 or RA 7942, as the EO did not clarify which provisions will be given premium in its implementation. “There are eco-tourism sites and even potential eco-toursim locations where mining had been approved for exploration and even actual extraction activities are happening, so what will happen now?” asked Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of ATM.

Lake Mainit, Agusan del Norte
“That is just one problem in the EO; we cannot use it fully to resolve our on-going and very real issues with the mining industry just like the case in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte.” Garganera added.

Garganera pointed out the struggle of the Mamanwa community around Lake Mainit who had been campaigning to halt the proposed mining project of Mindoro Resources Limited which will extract in ancestral domains just a few kilometers away from the lake.

“The lake has so much potential in terms of tourism, it is in fact already drawing local and international tourist. It is also a proclaimed protected area. We want the President to state directly that he is not just banning new mining permits around the area, but at the same time, in harmony of its intention to conserve Lake Mainit and its ecological significance, he is automatically suspending the operations and will be rejecting further proposals from MRL” Garganera exclaimed.

Sibuyan Island, Romblon
ATM also cited the on-going case in Sibuyan Island, Romblon where Sibuyan Nickel Properties Development Corporation challenged in court last May, the constitutional merit of the local ordinance declaring a moratorium on large-scale mining in Romblon.

“Again, what will happen now to this case? It is still business as usual, the threat to the wonderful rivers and biodiversity of Sibuyan is still there. The president has to understand that these are the cases we have to address, and unfortunately the EO falls short in this matter.” Garganera explained.

The group also mentioned that the same threat still present in other prospective areas such as Mount Matutum in South Cotabato which will be impacted by the planned Tampakan mining project of Sagittarius Mines Inc. and Xstrata

The group is frustrated that the EO is misleading in many aspects and no direct prescriptions or guidance that are useful to the communities.

“The provisions of EO 79 are all subject for debate and discretion of the implementing agencies; DENR will review existing contracts applying the same standards that they should have enforced anyway in the past years, while congress is tasked to decide over the adjustments in revenue sharing. When you have a law that all are still subject to decisions and prone to biases of the implementers, it is just the same with having no new policy at all. This is why we urgently need a new law for rational minerals managament,” Garganera said.

Alyansa Tigil Mina 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. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of Executive Order 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and passage of the AMMB. (30)

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator – 09277617602
Farah Sevilla – policy@alyansatigilmina.net; 0915-3313361
Edel S. Garingan – communications@alyansatigilmina.net; 0922-8918972

ATM Press Release
July 13, 2012

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