[Press Release] Envi groups renew call to scrap Mining Act -ATM

Envi groups renew call to scrap Mining Act

Photo by ATM

Photo by ATM

Environmental activists in chains dragged by a “golden grim ripper” marched towards the House of Representatives to call on the Congress to Scrap RA 7942, also known as the Mining Act of 1995 as the law marks its 20th year.

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The action spearheaded by the group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) which is celebrating their bi-annual movement ‘Mining Hell-Week’ gained the support of 100 strong activists,

Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and Non-government organizations (NGO) that shared the call to repeal the mining law and enact the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB).

“This year marks 2 decades of impunity and injustice that the Mining Act of 1995 has brought to our country and countrymen.” said Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of ATM “We stand here today to call on our legislators to assess this flawed law and to bring justice where justice is due.”

In a statement released by ATM, the group noted that the Mining Act of ’95 brought more negative impacts as opposed to its promised supposed benefits.

ATM also stated that the academe and economists can attest that the industry has very little impact to our economy with 0.7-1% and 0.7% contribution to GDP and employment, respectively.

“We have been told time and again that the Mining Act will bring sustainable development to our country, however data clearly show that this is not the case.

“We have had enough with the false pretense and we would like to push the government to open their eyes on the reality that the Mining Act has done more harm than good.

“Right now we are not sure how the government define ‘sustainable development’, but we hope that destroying forests and watersheds, marginalizing indigenous and rural communities, putting peoples’ health at risk and robbing off people’s means of livelihood, aren’t it.” said Garganera.

Environment and Human Rights campaign center Tao Muna! Hindi Mina! (TMHM),also expressed their solidarity for the protest and backed the call noting that the “Mining Act of 1995 has not only spurred environmental destruction, but human rights violations as well.”

“Because of Mining Act of 1995’s corporate-centered and lenient provisions, we have been witnessed to extra-judicial killings brought by militarization in mining sites.” said Egay Cabalitan of TMHM.

“These unresolved killings brought by the inefficiency of the mining act to protect and uphold human rights clearly scream an injustice that needs to stop now.” added Cabalitan.

Meanwhile, lawmakers also showed their support to the environmental CSO and NGO communities calling for the repeal of the Mining act of 1995.

Nueva Viscaya Representative Carlos Padilla and AKBAYAN partylist Representative Barry Gutierrez were two among the legislators that voiced out their call for the scrapping of the law and the enactment of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill.

“The two decades of environmental destruction and degradation of human rights should be enough for the Supreme Court to rule against the constitutionality of the mining act of 1995.

“It is about time that we stop favouring the large-scale mining companies that are shamelessly exploiting and corrupting the real value and worth of our natural resources. We need an alternative policy that will stop the plunder of our country’s natural richness.” said rep. Gutierrez.

Representative Padilla shared the sentiments of Gutierrez while adding that “the mining act that the world dubbed as one of the ‘greatest’ in existence has brought irreparable destruction to our mountains, bodies of water and farmlands in Nueva Viscaya.”

According to the lawmaker, the Mining Act “has displaced communities, legitimized the plunder of our mineral resources and downgraded the capacity of communities to have a sustainable livelihood and food sources”.

“The country needs a policy that prioritizes the people and the environment, a policy that upholds human dignity, biodiversity and rightfully value our country’s mineral resources.

We have a bill that can make all these reality, I urge my co-lawmakers to take a stand against this impunity and enact the Alternative Minerals Management Bill.” he added.

—-

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB.

For more information: Check Zabala, ATM Media and Communications Officer, (0927) 623.50.66, media.comms@alyansatigilmina.net or checkzab@gmail.com

Press Release
10 March 2015

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