[Statement] A Restrained Celebration for Mother Earth -ATM

Alyansa Tigil Mina Statement For Earth Day
22 April 2015

A Restrained Celebration for Mother Earth

On April 22, 2015, the world celebrates the 45th anniversary of Mother Earth. Alyansa Tigil Mina, a coalition of more than a hundred organizations joins this celebration of 2015 Earth Day. As an environmental and human rights organization, today is celebrated as we renew our vows of upholding environmental and climate justice. With this vow, we stand firm and vigilant to pursue justice. Sadly however, the glaring truth is that this celebration is not one of victory, but a swelling of renewed commitment drawn from defeats.

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This is not a time for the country to hold its head high as the world celebrates mother Earth. This is a time for vigilance; a time to collect dues from those who are accountable for the continuous destruction of our environment as 2015 did not start off promisingly for environmental advocates especially to those upholding advocacies on anti-mining.

Assaults against Mother Earth were felt by anti-mining communities. The continuing illegal activities for the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) of Blaans in Tampakan, South Cotabato; the lifting of suspension orders against mining companies in Zambales; MMDC’s disregard of the Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur; the resumption of ore hauling in Manicani island, in Guian, Samar; the illegal expansion activities of Oceana Gold in Nueva Vizcaya; and just recently, the reinstatement of Intex’s Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) in Mindoro are all consequential proof of this. These were successful resistance of communities against mining companies, but have been reversed by misplaced government priorities and ineffective regulations.

As we commemorate Earth Day, we scream betrayal; betrayal from our own national government that paved the way for greed and injustice to overpower the welfare of our environment and our countrymen. To our government, to Secretary Ramon Paje of the Department of Environmental and National Resources, to President Benigno Aquino III, we pose the challenge – is this the way to celebrate Earth Day? Is permitting the mutilation of our lands, our mountains, our bodies of water the way to show commitment to the betterment of our country? Will the less than 1 percent contribution of the mining industry to the country’s Gross Domestic Product be enough to disregard the victories environmentalists fought so hard to win for the environment, for climate justice and for Mother Earth?

With the worsening climate crisis, with disasters overlapping destructive environmental activities such as mining, it is so incomprehensible why the capitalistic intentions that prove to be major threats to our environment are prioritized by the very same institutions who have sworn to protect it.

We have heard promises time and again that the government is for the environment and the people but with all the reversal of environmental victories, continuous human right violations and abuse associated with mining, these promises are starting to sound like the new definitions of greed, deceit and betrayal.

As we renew our vows to protect our patrimony and our environment, we demand from the Aquino government to walk with us in the genuine “tuwid na daan.” We challenge the government to reclaim not just our lands’ dignity but their very own dignity as governing institutions as well. We challenge you to fulfill your duties to our environment and country. We challenge you to recall where your loyalty and commitment should be, and since it seems like you have been forgetting where they should really be, let us remind you that it should be to the Filipinos, to Philippines, and to Mother Earth.

Do not turn your back on us. Do not turn your back on our environment. No matter where you end up facing, our commitment to protect and preserve our environment will be there: Bigger, deeper and stronger. From every defeat we will rise higher, for environmental and climate justice, for our country and for Mother Earth.

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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:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0927) 761.76.02 nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Check Zabala, ATM Media and Communications Officer (0927) 623.50.66 media.comms@alyansatigilmina.net

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