[Statement] Alyansa Tigil Mina challenges Duterte Admin to address mining, environmental issues

Alyansa Tigil Mina challenges Duterte Admin to address mining, environmental issues

atm-logoAlyansa Tigil Mina, a national coalition of more than 130 members and 21 local multi-sectoral alliances in the provincial Sites of Struggles collectively confronting the promotion of destructive large-scale mining in the Philippines, challenges incoming President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to stand by his promise to address mining and environmental issues.

Regarded as a change-maker and unyielding leader, Duterte has initially said that he will only allow mining if environmental laws are strictly complied with. He believes that the State is not getting a fair share from mining revenues where we get so little while there are social costs to communities and risks to the environment. He also said: mining is a privilege, not a right.

We expect President Duterte to stay true to his promise that he will not prioritize mining under his industrialization and economic policies, and that he will immediately call for a review and evaluation of all mining projects and that erring firms will be sanctioned. We expect him to suspend operations and/or revoke permits and agreements of destructive and irresponsible mining projects and those companies in utter disregard of the conditions of their contracts.

ATM is also hopeful that the Duterte administration will support policy reforms on mining, including the passage of a new mining law, increasing the taxes on mining and resolving land-conflicts brought by extractive industries. We also believe that he will support the no-go zones policy and defend the rights of local governments and communities to say no to mining as demonstrated in his support for the Davao No-Go-Zone Bill and the presence of the city’s ordinance against mining.

However, ATM notes Duterte’s pronouncements in adopting the Aquino administration’s economic policies and ensuring the attactiveness of the Philippines to foreign direct investments by changing economic provisions in the Constitution. We are wary that these pronouncements will negatively affect the communities and environment that we help to defend. We believe that Duterte will continue to stand with the communities who have struggled to defend their lands and be stewards of creation and biodiversity.

We assert that the new administration should reconsider its economic agenda and to move away from extractives and destructive industries. If Duterte is the change-maker projected in his previous months of campaiging, we look forward to a change in the government agenda that will result to improved lives of Filipino communities. But we also look with deep concern in his moves to appoint people in his cabinet, particularly those identified with the elite such as the Alcantaras and the Dominguezes who have connections with large-scale mining projects. For genuine change to happen, Duterte must base his selection process of his cabinet with competency, proven track-record and reflective of his bias for the small, marginalized and the “inaapi” (oppressed).

ATM, together with Green Thumb Coalition and human rights groups, remain vigilant in monitoring the prounouncements and actions of incoming leaders that will affect our environment and human rights. We will contribute to the genuine efforts of the Duterte administration by reporting the violations and illegal activities of destructive large-scale mining operations. We will intensify our efforts to hold irresponsible mining corporations accountable for their environmental crimes. We will continue to monitor and document human rights violations in mining affected communities and closely work with the Commission on Human Rights to ensure that extra-judicial killings are eradicated and that human rights are promoted, protected and fulfilled. Should the Duterte Administration fail to uphold human rights, social justice and the rule of law, ATM will not hesitate to raise these issues and hold the new administration accountable.

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 Alternative Minerals Management Bill.

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0917) 549.82.18 <nc@alyansatigilmina.net>
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Advocacy Officer (0915) 331.33.61 <policy@alyansatigilmina.net>


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