[Statement] ATM Statement on the SONA of Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte

ATM Statement on the SONA of Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte
July 26, 2016

atm-logoQuezon City – ATM welcomes the clear pronouncements of Pres. Duterte related to environment concerns.  Specifically, Pres. Duterte gave instructions that permits and contracts of mining, logging and other environment-sensitive projects will be reviewed.  He further stated that should it be needed, these permits and contracts will be amended, suspended or canceled.

This is consistent with the campaign statements that Pres. Duterte publicly espoused during the campaign.  The appointment of Sec. Gina Lopez at the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is a continuing confirmation that the President is serious in addressing the many issues and concerns plaguing the mining industry.

Our alliance also welcomes the pronouncement of newly-elected House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that Congress will consider the requirement of a legislative franchise for mining operations.  This proposal will require the review and amendment of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942), and again, this is consistent with the demands of ATM that the Mining Act be opened for legislative review and the 17th Congress should now consider the proposed mining bills – including the Philippine Mineral Resources Act (HB 54 and HB 113 ), the EITI law and the new fiscal regime (tax) for mining. While we still need to study further the details of the legislative franchise requirement, we believe that this added layer of regulation will benefit all stakeholders, especially the mining-affected communities and the local government units.

We are grateful that President Duterte affirmed his correct decision in appointing Gina Lopez as DENR Secretary.  ATM fully supports the initiatives of Sec. Gina Lopez, in her effort to introduce substantial reforms at the DENR.  Mining-affected communities and support groups are ready to engage in the Mining Audit.  We will contribute in submitting evidences and documentations of the violations of mining companies and their abuse of human rights in mining communities, particularly of indigenous peoples.  We will participate in the schedule Environmental Summits at the various island-regions and specific provinces. This is crucial in order for the DENR to acquire the necessary feedback and peoples’ agenda on preserving and managing our forests and natural resources.

There are several concrete actions that Pres. Duterte and Sec. Lopez can immediately put in effect to fast-track the implementation of changes at the DENR.  Specifically, we recommend:

a)       The establishment of a Technical Working Group to study the policy issues and legislative measures that will operationalize the passage of a new mining law, including the requirement of a legislative franchise for mining operations.

b)       Issuance of a DENR administrative order clarifying the timeline, parameters and decision-making process of the on-going Mining Audit

c)       Review of all pending cases, complaints and petitions at the regional and national Mine Adjudication Boards. This is exceptionally important so that the suspension orders or cancellations of mining permits and contracts stand on strong legal basis

Alyansa Tigil Mina is hopeful and optimistic that substantial changes will happen at the mining industry and in DENR in general with the policy directions set by Pres. Duterte. #

For details, please contact:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, (0917) 549.82.18

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