[Press Release] Church, green groups unite in pushing for pro-people and pro-environment leaders in the May 2022 elections | ATM

#HumanRights #Mining

Church, green groups unite in pushing for pro-people and pro-environment leaders in the May 2022 elections

Environmental human rights defenders announced in a press conference today that it will actively push for the election of pro-people and pro-environment leaders in the May 2022 elections, especially those who are already allies and champions of green bills. They also said they will engage in the elections by exposing corporate donors from the extractives industry who are funding candidates for electoral positions.

Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) National Coordinator, said that “politicians funded by mining companies are already compromised.” He clarified that “when elected, these candidates will certainly repay their political debt and push for the agenda of large-scale mining at the expense of the public they are sworn to serve.”

Garganera added that along with candidates who have mining corporate backers, the alliance will also actively dissuade the public from voting in politicians who have had vested interests in the extractives industry, such as presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos. “The Marcoses were co-owners of Marcopper Mining Corporation, which is accountable for the mining disaster in Marinduque. We remember and will never forget the destructive legacy of the Marcoses. We won’t allow them to further entrench themselves in power and enrich themselves,” said Garganera.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Ibanez of Bayay Sibuyanon of Sibuyan Island Romblon and ATM Women and Mining Group said that the current Duterte administration should likewise not be allowed to remain in power as they are “traitors who backtracked on their anti-destructive mining stance and now indiscriminately allows again mining operations.” She added that “our very lives and future are at stake and we must change our current leaders for us to have a chance at a better life.”

In a video message to ATM members, CBCP Bishop Colin Bagaforo said: “It’s Mining Hell Week again. It’s a fitting name for what our small communities, especially those of the Indigenous Peoples, go through everyday of their lives living in a mining area. We have seen our fair share of destruction of lives and ecosystems in Marinduque, in Rapu-rapu, in Simirara and in Surigao. Are these not enough for us to finally say: No to Mining in the Philippines? When will we ever learn from the mistakes of our past? We only have one common home. Let us preserve it while we still can.”

Jing Henderson of CBCP-NASSA encouraged active engagement in the 2022 elections in order to bring about critical changes in government and people’s lives. “Let us awaken and enliven our love for the country. Let us unite in order to achieve our collective ambition for a brighter and better future for all, especially the poor and marginalized.”

On the other hand, Jhay de Jesus, National Coordinator of In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) announced its campaign “Human Rights Vote 2022 (#HRvote2022): Ipanalo ang Karapatang Pantao”.

“We’ve had six years of killings and gross human rights violations under the Duterte administration; six years of devastation of civic spaces and democratic freedoms. It is high time that we put an end to this murderous regime and usher in a system of governance where human rights are upheld and respected. It is crucial that we elect leaders with proven track records and a solid platform that promotes justice, accountability and human dignity for all,” de Jesus said.

Garganera concluded that “ATM will challenge the proposed continuity of exploiting the country’s natural resources at the expense of nature and marginalized communities, and will actively engage the elections to stop putting the wrong people in positions of power.”

“It’s critical that leaders with a pro-people and pro-environment agenda are elected so that social movements and advocates can hold them accountable to their campaign platforms. We could together work for the passage of green bills such as the Alternatives Minerals Management Bill (AMMB) and pursue a mining policy that puts the environment and communities above destructive mining.”

From October 25 to 29, ATM held a series of activities and actions tackling the current issues surrounding mining. Public forums, learning sessions and community mobilizations were undertaken with the themel: #NeverForget EO 130 AT MGA DEKADANG MAPANIRANG PAGMIMINA; MAKATAO AT MAKAKALIKASANG PAMAMAHALA NG MINERALES NG BANSA, IPAGLABAN!

For more information, please contact:
Jaybee Garganera (0917-5498218)
Rhoda Viajar (0917-8250346)

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