Tag Archives: Alyansa Tigil Mina

[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.”

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[Event] Youth Against Destructive Mining: Cultural Night 2021 | ATM

#HumanRights #Mining

ATM Youth Network invites you to watch the event “Youth Against Destructive Mining: Cultural Night 2021” at 8PM, October 26, 2021

The cultural night will provide an avenue for participants and relative networks to share each others’ sentiments with regards to mining in a fruitful yet informational entertainment event.

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[Event] Launching of the ATM Mining Hell Week

#HumanRights #Environment

Launching of the ATM Mining Hell Week

Every March and September, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) embarks on a Mining Hell Week (MHW) to surface the issues surrounding destructive large-scale mining and its impact on mining-affected communities.

The March MHW is to denounce the continued implementation of the flawed Philippine Mining Act, while the September MHW is to counter the narrative of the mining industry led by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) to entice more investors and companies to dig minerals in the Philippines.

This September 2021, the COMP did not organize a mining conference. Nevertheless, ATM deems it crucial to counter the pro-mining stance of the Duterte regime and the agenda of the COMP in the coming elections. ATM will challenge the proposed continuity of exploiting the country’s natural resources at the expense of nature and marginalized communities.

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[Statement] Passage of UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution recognizing the right to a safe, healthy and sustainable environment | ATM

#HumanRights #Environment

Passage of UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution recognizing the right to a safe, healthy and sustainable environment

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) welcomes the recent passage of the UN Human Rights Council recognizing the right to a safe, health and sustainable environment, in Geneva.
While the resolution is not binding to all member-states, this sends a strong message to all countries on the urgency of addressing climate change impacts and listening to the demands of the most vulnerable countries as we face greater risks especially in the midst of this pandemic.

ATM believes that the Philippine government must immediately pass domestic laws and national policies that will subscribe and fulfill this mandate. It is necessary to recall that the 1987 Philippine Constitution already recognizes this under Article 2, Section 16 which states “The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature”.

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[Off-the-shelf] 𝗥𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝘀 𝗙𝗔𝗞𝗘 𝗡𝗘𝗪𝗦 | 𝗔 𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸𝗹𝗲𝘁 | ATM

𝗥𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝘀 𝗙𝗔𝗞𝗘 𝗡𝗘𝗪𝗦 | 𝗔 𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸𝗹𝗲𝘁

𝘞𝘩𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘸𝘴?

  1. It was a fall-back position after sustainable mining was discredited by environmental groups.
  2. Responsible mining has no legal definition, no parameters and is not measurable. Best practice is not enough.
  3. Mining must be done in the context of other Philippine laws. Responsible mining cannot merely be the implementation of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
  4. The current proposed model of responsible mining by the DENR or the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CoMP) has never been completed in one single mine in the Philippines.
  5. It is only possible if given free, prior or informed consent (FPIC) by indigenous peoples or social acceptability by non-indigenous peoples.
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[Statement] Lifting ban on new mining projects: another incompetent COVID-19 response from the government | atm

Lifting ban on new mining projects: another incompetent COVID-19 response from the government

Executive Order 130 only serves the business interests of few, not the Filipino people

Quezon City — Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) partners and members were devastated by the issuance of Executive Order (EO) 130 lifting the ban on new mining projects. The group stated in a press conference that the order is another incompetent COVID-19 response from the Duterte administration only serving the business interests of few in power, not the Filipino people.

One week before Earth Day, President Duterte issued EO130 citing the “significant economic benefits” of opening the country to new mining agreements. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) identified mining and river dredging as primary economic drivers of post-pandemic recovery.

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[From the web] Clergy, scientists oppose seabed mining in Cagayan -ATM

#HumanRights #Mining

Clergy, scientists oppose seabed mining in Cagayan

Quezon City – Local clergy and scientists involved in marine conservation expressed opposition against the reported seabed mining project in Cagayan that will start operations this month.

In a statement signed on January 8, 2021, the Cagayan Advocates for Integrity of Creation (CAIC) called on Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Roy Cimatu to re-consider decision to allow the offshore mining project, citing the potential decrease of fish-catch of the more than 37,000 registered fisherfolk in Cagayan Province.

CAIC also mentioned the negative effects the mining project might introduce to several endangered species in the area. “It is clear to us that the black sand is a God-given resource to protect the ecological integrity of the whole province. Removal of it will cause irreversible damages to the entire bio-network” according to the statement signed by at least nine priests and nuns based in Cagayan province.

JDVC, owner and operator of the offshore mining project has asserted that their operations will not disturb the environment and has been accepted by local residents.

In a separate position paper, 78 environmental organizations and science-experts detailed the documented impacts of offshore or seabed mining.

Read complete article @www.alyansatigilmina.net

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[Press Release] Pandemics are linked to mining and climate change -ATM

Pandemics are linked to mining and climate change

Quezon City – In this 25th anniversary of the Philippine Mining Act and in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic, we face bitter lessons on the links between mining, deforestation, climate change, and pandemics. Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is holding a Mining Hell Week from Sept. 24-Oct 2, 2020, to highlight these links and demand-responsive actions from the DENR and the mining industry. We stand with the many mining-affected communities and local governments that demand accountability from the DENR and from President Duterte to stop destructive large-scale mining operations in the Philippines.

To illustrate clearly the links between mining, climate change, and pandemics, we issued our briefing paper today “Mining and COVID19”. This paper explains how pandemics arise because of deforestation and permanent land-use change brought by mining. This in turn fuels climate change and eventually contributes to zoonosis and potentially drives pandemics.

Our alliance rejects the recommendation of DENR and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to open more mines as part of the economic stimulus and recovery program of the government as a response to COVID19. History and statistics inform us that the economic benefits of mining are minuscule in terms of employment, tax revenues, or contribution to Philippine GDP.

We also reject the plan of DENR-MGB to re-open nine mining operations that were ordered suspended or closed by former DENR Sec. Gina Lopez. Before re-opening any mining project, DENR must disclose and release any report that justifies such actions.

Equally disturbing is the priority of our national leaders that seem to be more concerned in “opening up the economy” at the expense of public health considerations. We re-echo the call of various stakeholders, we must listen to public health experts and the medical frontliners in crafting and implementing policies to address COVID19, and not put a premium on economic or business interests.

It is important to remind Pres. Duterte and his cabinet, there is no business in a dead planet, and if we proceed in the dangerous track of opening up more mines and destroy more forests and watersheds, we risk repeating the bitter lessons brought by COVID19.

We also remind Prs. Duterte to immediately issue an executive order to ban open-pit mining, a campaign promise that he made and repeated several times in his public statements. This single act of regulating destructive mining will probably reduce significantly our risks related to climate change and pandemics.

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[From the web] Green groups denounce DENR plan to mine and dredge rivers as economic stimulus: Mining will not stimulate economic recovery -ATM

Green groups denounce DENR plan to mine and dredge rivers as economic stimulus: Mining will not stimulate economic recovery

QUEZON CITY – Alyansa Tigil Mina denounced the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) plan to push for more mining and river dredging to jumpstart economic recovery due to COVID19.

ATM said that the minuscule economic contribution of mining to the Philippine economy poses a bigger threat to rural and indigenous communities and the environment. The group urged the national government to find better, greener, and more sustainable solutions to contribute to stimulating the economy under a new normal.

Economic data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) reveal that the mining industry contributes less than 1% to Philippine GDP and employs only about 0.4% of the total labor force of the country. Research by Bantay Kita also estimates more than Php 50 billion pesos of taxes are foregone by mining companies because of too many exceptions and incentives.

On June 10, 2020, DENR announced mining and river dredging as part of the country’s economic recovery response amid the coronavirus pandemic. DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu noted their plan to treat mining as an essential industry rather than a destructive activity.

This was strongly condemned by green activists. “Just because they want to ‘treat’ mining differently, does not eliminate the reality of environmental destruction, displacement, and its adverse impacts on agriculture and livelihood,” said Daipen Montes of Homonhon Environmental Rescuers Organization (HERO) from Homonhon Island, Eastern Samar.

“Another thing is the arrival of foreign vessels that loaded chromite from our island. We do not have a doctor nor a functioning hospital. It threatens the safety of our families during COVID19,” she added.

DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda clarified that they will be introducing responsible mining to resuscitate the economy; citing that the DENR will be stricter in the implementation of environmental policies on mining-activities.

ATM National Coordinator Jaybee Garganera however, criticized this claiming that, “responsible mining is fake news. It solely relies on the voluntary compliance of scale mining companies, there is no legal definition and therefore no parameters to monitor or measure compliance.”

While the country was under enhanced community quarantine in March, cargo ships allegedly staffed with Chinese crew operated in Homonhon Island, Eastern Samar. Additionally, mining companies in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya; Brooke’s Point, Palawan; Aroroy, Masbate; and Macarthur, Leyte were also reported operating despite quarantine protocols.

“It is evident that DENR’s approach to mining is irrational. They allowed the continued operations of mining and further endangering the lives of mining-affected communities with possible exposure from

COVID19. Human rights violations have also become more unrestrained during the quarantine,” Garganera concluded.

“It is a disgrace that DENR is campaigning for what they call as responsible mining”, said Judy Pasimio, National Coordinator of LILAK-Purple Action for Indigenous Women. She accused DENR of turning a blind eye to people’s complaints against mining.

In April, OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI), together with about 100 elements from the Philippine National Police violently dispersed a peaceful sit-in protest of indigenous peoples in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya. The protest was to prevent the entry of fuel tankers to the mine site whose mining contract has expired last June 2019. “It is laughable that DENR would call it “responsible” when human rights violations are rampant in mining-affected communities,” added Pasimio.

COVID-19 has multiplied the challenges faced by affected communities. Residents constantly fear for the health of their families, causing anxiety and sleepless nights especially to women who tend to the young and the sick. Livelihood and food security have also been affected. Similarly, areas with river dredging projects worry about the negative impacts of such extractive activity.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of the Diocese of San Carlos City said, “The concept of river dredging can easily be used as a front for magnetite mining activities. Our rivers in Negros are rich in black sand minerals. Without achieving the level of transparency needed by host communities, we will continue to disapprove of this development on our island.”

Read complete article @www.alyansatigilmina.net

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[Statement] Alyansa Tigil Mina skeptical of mining company’s human rights policy

Alyansa Tigil Mina skeptical of mining company’s human rights policy

Oceana Gold must dutifully act and not simply pay lip service about human rights.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is skeptical about OceanaGold’s commitment and sincerity to meaningfully respect human right in its mining operations. Our experience with their Philippine company OGPI (Oceana Gold Philippines, Inc.) has been a series of human rights abuse and lip-service to complaints of affected-communities.

On June 19, OceanaGold, the parent company of OGPI, released its human rights policy. The company stated that it’s committed to respecting all human rights that “includes respecting the human rights of our employees, individuals and groups in the communities where we operate, workers in our supply chain, and other stakeholders affected by our business activities.”

Based on the track record of OGPI in the province of Nueva Vizcaya, it had disregarded the community’s rights by disrespecting community consultations, disregarding LGU demands and impeding the rights of the local community. Last April 6, 2020, OGPI diesel tankers forcibly entered the mining site. This incident led to the violent dispersal of a peaceful sit-in protest that resulted in the illegal arrest of a local leader and injuring other community members.

Read complete statement @www.alyansatigilmina.net

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[From the web] Estado ng Kalikasan – Mayu Uno Virtual Rally – Pagbabahagi ng ATM/Kalipunan

Estado ng Kalikasan – Mayu Uno Virtual Rally – Pagbabahagi ng ATM/Kalipunan

1 Isang maka-kalikasan at mapag-palayang araw sa ating lahat. Nakiki-isa ang ATM at marami pang ibang maka-kalikasang grupo sa paggunita ng Araw ng Paggawa. Kasama rin po natin ang KALIPUNAN ng mga Masang Kilusan sa hanay natin ngayon.

2. Maganda ang paunang paliwanag kanina ni Kasamang Josua. Naniniwala kami na batay sa syensya at mga pag-aaral, malaki ang ugnayan ng pandemya at ng nagbabagong-klima. Ang mga mapanirang gawain ng kapitalista at tao – tulad ng pagmimina, pagto-troso at pag-gamit ng maduming enerhiya galing sa coal power plants – ang nagpapabilis at nagpapalala ng “climate change”. At dahil nauubos na ang mga puno, kalbo na ang gubat, madumi na ang mga katubigan at malala ang polusyon sa mga syudad, apektado ang mga hayop at insekto. Nagbabago ang kanilang mga gawi, kilos at biolohiya, at sila ay nagdadala ng mga bagong sakit tulad ng pandemyang ito.

3. Batid din natin na ang paglala ng air pollution ay masama para sa kalusugan ng mga manggagawa na araw-araw susuungin ang trapik at init at usok sa kalsada. Mas madali tayong makakapitan ng covid19 dahil sa lumalalang polusyon.

4. Ngayong COVID19 lockdown, nakakalungkot at nakakagalit ang sitwasyon ng ating kalikasan at likas-yaman:

a. Ilegal na pagmimina sa Homonhon, Leyte, Palawan at Nueva Vizcaya

b. sa Nueva Vizcaya kung saan ang isang mapayapang protesta ng mga katutubo ay marahas na na-disperse ng mahigit 100 pulis para lang makapasok ang mga diesel sa isang minahan

c. Ang paglo-load ng coal sa Semirara, kung saan Chinese shipping vessels ang pinigilan sana na maka-daong

d. Ang mga manggagawa sa mga minahan ay exposed sa sakit, at meron tayong alam na mga minahan na nagkaroon ng kaso ng COVID19, pero tuloy pa rin ang mga operasyon.

e. Batid din natin ang kalagayan ng mga simpleng manggagawa na mahirap ang karanasan ngayong COVID19 lockdown. Mga waste workers na walang PPE (kahit na nga patuloy ang pagkolekta ng mga basura kahit lockdown)

f. Lalong pagdami ng plastic pollution dahil sa disposable na PPEs, masks at plastic bags para sa relief goods.

g. Ang pag-payag ng DENR sa pag-gamit ng incineration o pagsusunog ng mga basura ng hospital. Ito ay malinaw na paglabag sa Clean Air Act.

5. Ang ilang sa ating mga panawagan:

a. Huwag maging bulag ang DENR sa mga banta na dulot ng mapanirang industriya at ng mga maling polisiya ngayong panahon ng Covid19 lockdown. Hindi essential economic activity ang pagmimina, kaya dapat itong itigil ngayong lockdown. Sa pagsasara ng mga minahan, dapat ay siguruhin ang lahat ng benepisyo para sa mga mine workers.

b. Pangalawa, siguruhin ang sapat na ayuda sa mga apektadong komunindad, lalo na ang mga katutubo at kababaihan, kasama na ang mga manggagawang apektado ng lockdown

c. Ayusin ang koordinasyon ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno para maging kumpleto at sapat ang ayuda sa lahat ng apektado ng lockdown dulot ng Covid19

6. Sa pagtatapos, gusto naming ipaalala sa lahat na ang “bagong normal” ay naririto na. Kaya naniniwala kami, na ito na ang tamang panahon para igiit natin ang isang bagong porma at anyo ng kaunlaran na hindi dikta ng kapitalista. Ito na ang tamang panahon para isulong ang kaunlaran na hindi sinisira at sinasakripisyo ang likas-yaman. Isang lipunan at kaunlaran na tao at kalikasan ang nasa gitna. At sa pangunguna ng mulat na uring manggagawa, sigurado kami na makakamit natin ang pangarap na lipunang ito.

Magandang araw po sa ating lahat at mabuhay ang uring manggagawa!

Source: www.alyansatigilmina.net

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[Statement] Blinded by profit and greed, we must protect Mother Earth if we want to be healthy -ATM

Blinded by profit and greed, we must protect Mother Earth if we want to be healthy
ATM Statement for Earth Day 2020

On this 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) strongly encourages the Filipino people to continue our efforts in safeguarding the environment from destructive large-scale mining operations and protecting the lives and livelihoods of mining-affected communities. It is during these difficult times that we must come together in solidarity. Because only by working together hand-in-hand can we end this pandemic and save our planet.

Various environmental groups and scientists have linked the emergence of the COVID-19 virus to the destruction of forests and essential ecosystems. The continued destruction of forests has led to the rise of temperatures, which in turn causes wildlife to change their eating and behavioral patterns. These behavioral changes lead to mutations that contribute to the rise of new diseases such as COVID-19. Allowing the continuous destruction of our planet for the sake of profit will only promote the cycle of climate change and pandemics.

However, in the past six weeks that the country has been under enhanced community quarantine, various mining companies continue to operate disregarding the health and welfare of their workers, and especially those of the mine-affected communities.

Mining companies continue to operate by bringing in heavy equipment and resuming construction activities in their sites, such as those documented by ATM in MacArthur, Leyte; Brooke’s Point in Palawan, and Brgy. Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya. Others have continued to transport and load mineral ores for export, in the cases of Homonhon Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar; in Aroroy, Masbate, and in the CARAGA Region.

There continued operations are a persistent threat to the lives of the community. These mining companies continue to operate, knowing that they had caused the loss of the communities’ source of livelihood and food when they polluted and destroyed their irrigation, forest resources, water systems, and coastal areas.

Additionally, mining companies have also resorted to violence and intimidation. In the case of Didipio, in Kasibu town, Nueva Vizcaya, a violent dispersal occurred during a sit-down protest to stop the entry of diesel tankers in a mine owned by Oceana Gold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI). This violent dispersal resulted in injuring several members of the community as well as arresting the Chairperson of DESAMA.

In the case of MacArthur, Leyte, a local community leader, the President of UNLAD-BLFFA, a fisher and farmer organization, received threats because of their opposition to the reentry of a mining company.

The continued profit-seeking behaviors of large-scale mining companies are the same behaviors fueling intensified development aggression. These aggressive development practices for the sake of profit are leading to the destruction of our planet. The destruction of the Earth has contributed to the rise of COVID-19. Thus, we must put a stop to this behavior of acquiring individual gains; after all, no individual can weather the storm of the pandemic alone.

ATM calls on the national government and the respective line agencies responsible to put a stop to the continued operations of these large-scale mining companies. We demand that the DENR immediately stop all these mine operations, as mining is not an essential economic undertaking. The DENR and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau must not be blindsided by the pursuit of profit and revenues from mining.

We also insist that all and any permit or instructions from the government related to allowing increased or additional mining activities are directly in conflict with the principles of the quarantine guidelines.

Secondly, we call on the local government units to support the call of its communities and protect their people from the risks and threats brought on by these mining companies. The Covid19 quarantine has already doubled the sufferings of mine-affected communities. Allowing the continued mine activities are increasing the risks and vulnerabilities of the rural poor.

Finally, we call on our brothers and sisters to continue to support the protection of our environment and the people affected by mining. We call on you to continue to seek accountability and transparency from our government to put a stop to companies that continue to destroy our planet.

Let us work together in safeguarding the environment and protecting each other. Only by working together and understanding each other can we weather this storm.

We can stay safe, but we need not stay silent. This is the least that we can do for Mother Earth.

For Alyansa Tigil Mina
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator
nc@alyansatigilmina.net
(+63917) 549-82-18 (also for WhatsApp/Viber/Signal)
@jaybeegarganera

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[Statement] Condemnation of violent dispersal of peoples’ barricade in Nueva Vizcaya -ATM

April 6, 2020

Quezon City – Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) strongly condemns the violent dispersal by the police against indigenous community leaders in Brgy. Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya, late afternoon today.

More than 100 personnel of the Philippine National Police from the regional and Quirino provincial units escorted a diesel tanker and forcibly entered the premises of the Didipio mine of Oceana Gold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI).

Violence erupted when local residents resisted the entry and stood their ground to prevent the entry of the diesel tanker. A barricade has been set-up by local groups in July 2019, when the mining contract of OGPI expired. Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement No. 1 (FTAA #1) expired last June 20, 2019, and has since been left pending at the Office of the President.

Reportedly, the mining company and its escort brandished a letter dated January 2020 from the Office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea endorsing the entry of fuel trucks inside the mining area.

This forced entry of the diesel tanker is illegal and against the people of Nueva Vizcaya. The mining contract has expired so there is no activity allowed inside the mine. The local governments have not given any permit for the mining company to operate. The area is part of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) order of Pres. Duterte, therefore no work activity is permitted.

This is a clear violation of the work-stoppage, the physical distancing and the quarantine procedures imposed by the ECQ in the whole Luzon island.

More importantly, the barricade set-up by local organizations DESAMA, BILEG, AMKKAS, and SAPAKKMI is a clear indication of the rejection of the people to the continued illegal operations of OGPI in Brgy. Didipio.

We call on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to immediately conduct an investigation of this tragic and unnecessary confrontation. We demand that DENR urgently issue a cease-and-desist order to OGPI on their illegal operations in Didipio. We insist that the DILG conduct an investigation on the conduct and performance of PNP elements in Region 2, Quirino Province and the Municipality of Kasibu, but specifically violations of the quarantine rules by the OGPI itself.

The use of violence by the police today is a reflection of the blind and draconian measures that this government is willing to use to pursue the greedy interests of the mining industry. The local leaders sustained injuries when the police used unnecessary force in dismantling the barricade. Our alliance strongly denounces this ferocious and aggressive behavior of the PNP against a non-violent and legitimate protest action of Didipio residents.

We note with anger similar instances in the past few weeks of illegal mining activities in the town MacArthur (Leyte), the island of Homonhon in Guiuan, Eastern Samar and clandestine drilling operations in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

We support the continued resistance of the people of Kasibu against the mining operations of OGPI in Didipio. The recent quarantine procedures have harshly impacted the people there when they lost income and livelihoods. Their access to food and health supplies were severely constrained. This violent dispersal has only added more misery to their fragile lives. #

For details:

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator – (+63917) 549.82.18 / nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Emer Perocho, ATM Campaign Officer – (+63956) 759.15.24 / atmsosluzon@alyansatigilmina.net

#StopMiningInDidipio

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[From the web] Palawan Rock Pile and Protest Action -ATM

BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN – Citizens of Barangay Maasin led a protest action on March 7, 2020, against the Ipilan Nickel Inc. that resulted in the local government declaring the mining company permanently closed.

The Samahan ng Magsasaka Ayaw sa Pagmimina (SMAP) led a local action in Brgy. Maasin to protest the continued operation of the Ipilan Nickel mine. In 2016, The Department of Environment and Natural Resources revoked the Environmental Compliance Certificate of the Ipilan Nickel mine. Additionally, on August 26, 2018, the company’s Mineral Production Sharing Agreement with the government expired and has not been renewed since. As such, SMAP conducted a protest action in front of the Ipilan Nickel Inc.’s Main Gate to question the continued construction of inner roads and a small hydroelectric plant within the compound of the mining site.

SMAP’s action enabled them to converse with the management of the mining company and the local government unit of Brooke’s Point, led by Mayor Jean Feliciano. After, their dialogue Mayor Feliciano declared the mine permanently closed. Additionally, members of SMAP dismantled the mining checkpoint and fences and created a rock pile to prevent entry into the mining site. This rock pile represents a people’s barricade and the continued opposition of the citizens of Brgy. Maasin against destructive mining.

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[From the web] Position Paper on the 25th year of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 -ATM

Photo from ATM FB

Position Paper on the 25th year of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995
Released on March 09, 2020

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) remains steadfast in its campaign to repeal the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and replace it with the Alternative Minerals Management Bill. An alternative that has strict safeguards that will uphold the rights of communities affected by mining, and ensure the protection and conservation of the environment.

Historical Context

On March 3, 1995, former President Fidel Ramos signed into law Republic Act No. 7942 or most commonly known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. The bill was enacted as an effort to revitalize the Philippine mining industry and increase foreign investment.

Attracting foreign investments was achieved through the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAA). The FTAA was embedded within the law allowing multinational companies to own 100% of mining rights. It provided the requirements that would enable the legitimization of foreign ownership and control of our country’s minerals and natural resources. Additionally, generous tax incentives are provided through a tax and duty-free capital equipment imports, four-year income tax holiday, value-added tax exemption, and income tax deduction with accelerated depreciation.

This Philippine Mining Act of 1995 determined the agreements for mineral exploitation, worsened by Former Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Executive Order 270-A in January 2004. All factors that led to the aggressive promotion of large-scale, environmentally destructive mining in the country. As of July 2019, a total of 707,077 hectares are mineralized lands or areas where there are mining operations.

Challenging the Law

Anti-mining groups made up of environmentalists, indigenous people’s organizations, and church groups challenged the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 for its unconstitutionality. However, the Supreme Court declared the Mining Act as constitutional in December 2004 following the shift of the Arroyo Administration. This was done so to aggressively promote large-scale mining to attract and increase foreign investments. Various local government units responded by passing a resolution banning open-pit mining to prevent large-scale mining companies from operating in their areas.

Nonetheless, anti-mining groups continue to oppose the Mining Act opting for an alternative minerals management bill. An alternative that ensures the protection of the environment and upholds the rights of the communities affected by mining. As opposed to the environmental damages and human rights violations that stemmed from the current Mining Act.

Several incidents have been documented since the enactment of the 1995 Mining Act, despite its promotion of waste-free and efficient mine development. In March 1996, Marcopper mines in Marinduque spilled out 3 million metric tons of mineral tailings into the Boac River. The spill resulted in the contamination of the river’s fresh water, a source of their food and livelihood, resulting in the displacement of 400 families in the area. In July 2012, the Nicua Mining Corporation operating in McArthur, Leyte, released mine wastes in Lake Bito, resulting in fish kill. In November 2012, the Citinickel Mines and Development Corporation in Narra, Palawan spilled waste into the nearby river and irrigation system that affected farms and a fish pond.

These incidents are just among the few that have been documented that resulted in the dislocation of thousands of families, degradation of communities’ health, loss of livelihood, and the massive environmental destruction. Besides these incidents post-mining operations, several mining companies have evicted, and in the worst cases, threatened the lives of indigenous peoples, upland farmers, and fishers in order to operate their mining companies.

Thus, anti-mining groups continue to oppose this policy that falls short in ensuring that the country’s forests, freshwater sources, and seas are protected. Most of all, they continue to oppose it because of the lack of protection and respect it provides to indigenous communities or communities living within the vicinity of mining operations.

Shrinking Democratic Spaces

ATM, together with its local partners in the sites-of-struggle affected by mining, has been at the forefront of advocating for an alternative minerals management bill. However, due to the current stand of the administration on rights and environmental defenders, it has become harder for defenders to advocate against environmentally destructive mining.

According to the Global Witness Report in 2018, the Philippines rank 1st in being the most dangerous place for environmental activists. Activists who are at the forefront of stopping destructive mining operations, illegal logging, and development aggression, have been the victims of intimidation, falsified legal suits, and violence.

The institutionalization of the whole-of-nation approach through Executive Order No. 70, s. 2018 has only increased the risk amongst environmental activists who oppose the continued aggressive development practices. This policy enables individuals and groups from destructive mining operations to act violently against those who would oppose their harmful practices.

In this context of violence, mining companies and their allies have grown brazen in their pursuit to continue operating to increase their bottom line. There has been an increase of midnight deals in mining particularly during the 2016 election campaign period. Between March 2016 to June 2016, 44 large-scale mining-related transactions in DENR failed to undergo due process. More recently, the repealing of the late environment Secretary Gina Lopez closure order of 21 and suspension of 5 mining companies.

Despite the suspension and cancellation orders, however, the 26 mining companies continued to operate after submitting a Motion for Reconsideration. It is stated in Executive Order (EO) 79 that once a mining company appeals to inter-agency Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) and/or the Office of the President, its status shall remain ‘business as usual’.

In December 2018, DENR together with the MICC, resolved the appeals of 13 mining companies. Three out of the 12 mining companies that were previously ordered closed were resolved to remain closed; 9 companies were resolved suspended, and 1 suspension order was lifted. The removal of these companies’ cancellation order enables those who have been proven to break environmental laws to continue to operate.

Profiting from the mineral resources of the country is the focus of the government. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the DENR, together with the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CoMP), are actively campaigning for “responsible mining.” A concept that has not been successfully implemented in any single mining operation. ATM asserts that this concept will only increase corporate and state corruption because it highly depends on the ability of the government to enforce the policy. Additionally, compliance with the safeguards mentioned in the proposed concept is voluntary for large scale mining companies. More so, Congress continues to push for easing foreign ownership by advocating for charter change and lobbying for bills.

It is clear that the existing policies, as well as the current political context, detract the campaign to protect and conserve the environment. But most of all, it threatens the lives of community members in mining areas. The continued profit-seeking nature of mining companies, supported by some government agencies, is even more alarming, given the global climate emergency. Thus, it is essential not only for the government to act on these abuses but also for the masses to advance policies that are pro-people and pro-environment.

President Duterte should make good on his promises – on an executive order on ban open-pit mining, and endorse the passage of an alternative minerals management law. Additionally, he must support the struggle of environmental defenders and prevent their continued vilification.

In conclusion

The alliance, its members and partners, and communities who resist large-scale mining in their area will continue to be vigilant and challenge the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. ATM will carry on with empowering and supporting women, indigenous peoples, and the youth. We will persist in the fight to uphold human rights, climate justice, and social justice. Ultimately, we will continue to push for more sustainable alternatives and campaign for a more inclusive and pro-people mining law.

Read more @www.alyansatigilmina.net

For more information, please contact:
Jaybee Garganera
ATM National Coordinator
nc@alyansatigilmina.net
(0917) 549 8218

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[Statement] on the Mass Layoff in OceanaGold Mining Project -ATM

ATM Statement on the Mass Layoff in OceanaGold Mining Project
March 2, 2020

On the report that more than 800 workers will be laid off by the OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI) in its mining project in Didipio mine in Nueva Vizcaya, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is making its position clear.

We understand the anxiety and distress being faced by the mine workers of OGPI. However, this mine closure should not have been a major surprise to the management and the workers.

The closure of the Didipio Mine is a foreseeable event, in as much as the mining contract had a clear expiration date. Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement No. 1 (FTAA # 1) was scheduled to expire on June 19, 2019. OGPI failed to secure a renewal of its mining contract, and therefore, mine closure was effected by local authorities.

A just transition should be implemented by OGPI immediately.

OGPI should ensure that full compensation, severance and retirement benefits must be accorded to all affected mine workers. In addition, all affected mine workers should undergo re-tooling, training or referral to possible new jobs or employment. Whenever feasible, OGPI should also launch livelihood interventions for the affected workers, particularly those who are based in Brgy. Didipio or within the Municipality of Kasibu.

OGPI must disclose, explain and continue the complete implementation of the Mine Rehabilitation and Decommissioning Plan (MRDP) which is an attached document to its approved mining contract. In addition, the elements and commitments elaborated in the Social Development Management Plan (SDMP) must be fully implemented by OGPI.

These just transition activities must be implemented with the full cooperation of the local governments of Nueva Vizcaya, including the barangay, municipal and provincial officials. Meanwhile, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the DENR must supervise these implementation activities.

OGPI must start accepting the fact that it has no license to operate, and that it has failed to secure its renewal permit, and therefore, urgently implement its commitments spelled in the MRDP and SDMP.

For more details, please contact:

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net / (+63917) 549-82-18

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[From the web] Environmental groups oppose the renewal of the mining contract of Ocean Gold Philippines, Inc. -ATM

Various environmental groups led by local organizations in Nueva Vizcaya, expressed their strong opposition against the renewal of the mining contract of Ocean Gold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI).

Green group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) supported the call of Didipio Earth Savers Multisectoral Alliance (DESAMA) and demanded the immediate cancellation of Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement No. 001(FTAA # 1) owned by OGPI, after learning about management change in the mining company.

ATM said that the transition of leadership from Joey Leviste to Mick Wilkes should not pave the way for the renewal of the FTAA. They reminded OGPI that management should respect the decision of the local government and the local communities of Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, to stop the destructive mining operation in the area.

The province of Nueva Vizcaya passed Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 2019-3107 last June 17, 2019, actively opposing the extension of the mining contract.

Governor Carlos Padilla re-stated the position of the province, demanding the termination of the mining contract of OGPI. “This issue created political and social division and increased crime incidence in the region. The mine operations contaminated watershed. Its tailings do not only pollute Didipio but the entire Nueva Vizcaya. What has been destroyed by mining could not be repaired,” he said.

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[From the web] Envi group condemns South Cotabato midnight mining deal -ATM

Alyans Tigil Mina (ATM) condemns the recently uncovered DENR order extending the contract of an open-pit mining in South Cotabato, signed by former Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Leo Jasareno in 2016.

On June 8, 2016, the MGB through former Director Jasareno, signed a 12-year extension of the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) of Sagittarius Mines, Incorporated (SMI) covering the Tampakan Gold Copper Project.

ATM said the illegal FTAA extension circumvented the autonomy of the local government of South Cotabato. The provincial government of South Cotabato previously passed a local ordinance banning open-pit mining on June 29, 2010, preventing the massive 23,571 hectares Tampakan copper-gold mining project from causing irreparable damage in the province.

SMI, together with the Tampakan Mining Group, is the project holder for the Tampakan copper-gold mining project. It is the largest open-pit gold project in Asia. Its operation will displace an estimated 4,000 the indigenous tribes of B’laans and about 10,000 lowland farmers from neighboring communities that rely on the nearby watershed for agricultural use.

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[Statement] Communities are not Targets: Defend the People -ATM

QUEZON CITY – Alyansa Tigil Mina joins various human rights and advocacy groups in marching to celebrate the International Human Rights Day. They are voicing out their concern on the alarming threats against human rights defenders, caused by the politics of fear perpetuated by the current administration.

Global Witness, an international human rights NGO, identified the Philippines as the most dangerous country for environmental and human rights defenders. Human rights defenders have been attacked and in some cases, killed by unknown men allegedly part of illegal logging, destructive mining, and corrupt agribusiness operations.

“Mga biktima kami ng mapanirang pagmimina. Kami ay nag hahangad lang ng magandang kinabukasan para sa aming pamilya tapos gagawin pa kaming target. Ginagawa lang nilang mas mapanganib ang buhay namin,” argued Malou Verano, Council of Leader, Alyansa Tigil Mina

We are the victims of destructive mining practices. We only aspire for a better future for our family, but we have become targets. They have endangered our lives.

The institutionalization of the whole-of-nation approach through Executive Order No. 70, s. 2018 has only increased the risk amongst anyone who would oppose the continued aggressive development practices. This policy enables individuals and groups from destructive mining operations to act violently against those who would oppose these harmful practices.

“Instead of targetting communities that have already been victimized, we call on the government to stop endangering environmental defenders and start holding these companies accountable for the destruction they have caused our environment,” stated Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator, Alyansa Tigil Mina.

Alyansa Tigil Mina continues to uphold and defend the rights of environmentalists and activists that continue to protect the environment.

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