IPs, farmers join caravan to call for the passage of a new minerals management bill
Nueva Ecija, Pampanga leg calls for food security to be top priority over mining
Today, the group will stop in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija where farmer leaders will discuss the negative impacts of mining in their agricultural lands and increase their risk to disasters brought by heavy rains in the area. As they reach the last leg of the day in San Fernando, Pampanga, they will converge with the IP contingent from Zambales.
“We have seen in several provinces affected by large scale mining that food security has been put aside,” said Gerry Arances, AMMB Coordinator of Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center.
He added: “Mining is one of the most water-intensive industries globally. Ad ounce of gold, for example, would need 32,000 liters of fresh water to produce—this water will be polluted and diverted from domestic and agricultural needs of indigenous peoples and farmers.”
The Likas-Yaman Caravan for the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (Likas-Yaman Caravan para sa AMMB) is a 4-day caravan that started from Bayombong in Nueva Vizcaya last October 14 and will culminate in Mendiola on the 17th.
IP’s call to action
The Indigenous people from Dupax, Quirino and Didipio, Kasibu of Nueva Vizcaya calls to the government to heed their call against large-scale mining.
Remo Bolhayon of the IP coalition SALAKNIB said: “[that] the government should revoke the FTAA of the OceanaGold Philippines (OGPI), that the government should impose a mining moratorium in Nueva Vizcaya and to pass the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (Philippine Mineral Resources Act of 2012).”
Church leaders support the call, action
The caravan is supported by the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the Philippines—National Secretariat for Social Action—Justice and Peace (CBCP-NASSA) and the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines, who together with the communities call upon President Benigno Aquino III to immediately repeal the Mining Act of 1995 and prioritize the passage of the Philippine Mineral Resources Act of 2012 a.k.a. AMMB.
CBCP-NASSA executive secretary Fr Edu Gariguez said: “The impacts of mining to farmers, indigenous peoples, the poor in our country—are undeniable. It will be completely unfair if this government will not heed their call to ensure food security first, before prioritizing the continued large scale mining operations in the country.”
That is why the CBCP-NASSA has been asking the government to put a stop to mining first, and enact a rational mining policy, which for us is embodied in the AMMB,” he added.
The Technical Working Group of the Natural Resources Committee of the 15th Congress is now deliberating the AMMB. Said committee is expected to meet on the morning of October 17 to deliberate on and adopt the consolidated minerals management bill—including House Bills 206, 4763, 4315 and several minor mining-related bills.
SOS-Yamang Bayan Network is a national, multi-sectoral movement is composed of mining-affected communities, national peoples alliances, environmental organizations and networks, church-based organizations, human rights organizations, national NGOs, sectoral organizations from the indigenous peoples, youth, women, farmers, Congressional representatives, known leaders and personalities advocating for the repealing of the Mining Act of 1995 and the enactment of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill.
For more information, contact the SOS-Yamang Bayan Network Secretariat through?
Gerry Arances, 0939.241.5575, firstname.lastname@example.org
Farah Sevilla, 0915.331.3361, email@example.com