[Statement] Statement of support for the immediate passage of Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB)- HRDP-Murciellagos Bay chapter

August 10, 2013

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We the officers and members of Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas, Murciellagos Bay chapter (Dapitan City, Sibutad and Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte; Sapang Dalaga and Baliangao, Misamis Occidental) express full support for the enactment of House Bill 984 entitled AN ACT TO REGULATE THE RATIONAL EXPLORATION, DEVELOPMENT AND UTILIZATION OF MINERAL RESOURCES, AND TO ENSURE THE EQUITABLE SHARING OF BENEFITS FOR THE STATE, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES otherwise known as the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB).

We, the mining-affected communities in Murciellagos Bay backed by our elected Barangay Council officials would not allow the entry and operation of any form of mining activities whether from Phelix Gold Phils. Inc. (PGPI) or otherwise within the Rizalina hills watershed and around the coastal watershed vicinity of Murciellagos Bay due to its destructive impact to the source of water supply, rice and coco farms, marine and fisheries ecosystems of Murciellagos Bay as well as to the over-all socio-economic and physical well-being of the affected Barangays.

We believe that we need a new mining law that would effectively address the policy gaps and enforcement inefficiencies and other infirmities of RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. We need a new mining law that:
1. Rationalizes the extraction of minerals, based on the development needs of our country and our people, in areas duly designated for mining, in a period that would allow ample time for operations and rehabilitation.
2. Ensures the equitable share of government on mineral wealth, and consenting communities; provides for the timely and effective collection of just taxes from mining operations and the creation of rehabilitation fund;
3. Promotes and protects the rights of indigenous peoples to give their genuine free, prior and informed consent and participate in decision-making regarding mining projects;
4. Ensures that local governments exercise their local autonomy in effectively managing and regulating mining projects in their jurisdictions, and therefore, chart their sustainable local development;
5. Respects and recognizes human rights and peace concerns as a consequence of a stable rules governing regarding mining applications and mining operations;
6. Complies with and integrates new realities such as climate change, disasters and geo-hazards, and compels mining projects to adhere to our environmental laws and policies such as protected areas and conservation of key biodiversity areas;
7. Adheres to the government’s international obligations and multi-lateral commitments such as Agenda 21, UNDRIP, UNCERD and other human rights norms and standards, as well as international standards on transparency and accountability in the extractives industry.

We believe that proposed Alternative Minerals Management Bill exemplified in House Bill 984 and Senate Bill 43 embodies all of the above, knowing that it has been a product of years of consultations, negotiations, legal analysis and dialogues with affected communities and a broad spectrum of civil society.

We demand for the immediate passage of the bill.


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