[Press Release] Advocates push PNoy to repeal the Mining Act of 1995 and declare alternative bill as urgent during 4th SONA -SOS YB

Advocates push PNoy to repeal the Mining Act of 1995 and declare alternative bill as urgent during 4th SONA

Quezon City – The Executive Council of SOS-Yamang Bayan (SOS-YB) Network met in July 10, 2014, Thursday, to reaffirm their commitment to urge President Benigno Aquino III to repeal the Mining Act of 1995 and certify as urgent the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB) during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) this July.

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Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr. graced the meeting and led the discussion and situationer for the group. “We reaffirm our commitment to push for the enactment of the AMMB this congress,” He said.

“Large scale mining gravely damages our environment and disrupts peoples’ lives. There are also heightening and continuing accounts of human rights abuses by mining companies. Worst, there are violations by some government officials and personnel who prioritize profit and income over peoples’ rights and welfare. What we still have today is a law that tolerates all these in favor of corporate greed,” said Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines.

Judy A. Pasimio, head of Lilak (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), member of SOS-YB Executive Council reiterated that “while the government works hard to protect the interests of the investors, there should be more protection for the rights and interests of its constituencies”.

“The country needs a just and equitable mining policy which covers not only the economic benefits but also the participation and opportunities for development, especially for the affected communities,” she added.

Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez III of AKBAYAN, also an SOS-YB council member, believes that President Aquino needs to certify as urgent the AMMB. “It is a legislative action that is our best alternative to the current mining policy that promotes large-scale mining and exploitation of the country’s mineral resources and communities.”

“If we really want the future generations to benefit and experience our rich environment, we should help alter the global condition of our environment today and AMMB is a vital solution,” Gutierrez explained.

According to the group, it has been more than two years since they called for the Aquino administration to certify the Green Bills, including AMMB as urgent, because it will significantly contribute to the rehabilitation of the country’s depleted ecosystem. Their call however, has so far been ignored.

The members of the group also said, that with all the violations caused by mining operations, they will remain steadfast in their appeal to the government to prevent further catastrophic impacts to the indigenous communities and the rural poor who directly benefit from the remaining natural resources.

The group demanded, “Dapat tao at kalikasan ang una, hindi tubo at kita! AMMB isabatas na!” ###
About AMMB
The Alternative Minerals Management Bill aims to change the current Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942) through the enactment of “Philippine Mineral Resources Act”. The proposed law pushes for the conservation of the non-renewable minerals for the benefit of the future generations of Filipinos through executing a sustainable, organized and based-on-demand management of our mineral resources towards its effective utilization for the national industrialization and modernization of our agriculture

About SOS-Yamang Bayan Network

The SOS-Yamang Bayan Network is a national, multi-sectoral movement composed of individual advocates, 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, leaders and personalities advocating for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and the enactment of a new minerals management bill.

Contact
To learn more about AMMB and SOS-YB please contact:
The Secretariat
c/o Task Force Detainees of the Philippines 4378054, tfdp.1974@gmail.com
Razaile Elaine Besa, SOS-YB Coordinator, 09054978388, razaile_elaine@yahoo.com
Egay Cabalitan Jr., TFDP Advocacy Staff, 09288443717, egay.advocacytfdp@gmail.com

PRESS RELEASE
July 13, 2014

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