Tag Archives: Department of Environment and Natural Resources

[From the web] Anti-mining groups stage rally in front of international mining conference venue -ATM

Press Release
September 10, 2013

Anti-mining groups stage rally in front of international mining conference venue
Demand a stop to the plunder of our mineral wealth

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Community leaders from mining-affected areas and their support groups in Manila marched to Sofitel Plaza Hotel to demand a stop to the plunder of our mineral wealth as the Chamber of Mines and international miners open their International Mining Conference.

Rallyists wore masks of ex-Senate President Enrile, former Sen. Manny Villar, Manuel Zamora, former DENR Secretary Mike Defensor, infamous pork barrel queen Janet Napoles, Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa—and of sad faces. The identified people are allegedly cohorts of the mining industry in Malacañang, if not miners themselves.

“We are here to expose to the public who the bigger, more powerful and worse thieves than Janet Napoles – the global miners and their allies among the Filipino government officials,” Judy Pasimio, coordinator of Purple Action for Indigenous Women Rights said.

“The Filipino people have expressed so much anger about massive corruption among our elected officials. We should be able to bring this same anger, if not stronger, and repulsion to the issue of high-level and systematic theft of our minerals, forest and waters by transnational mining corporations aided by Filipino government officials-cum-businessmen who profit from this themselves. The impacts of such thievery of our natural resources by large-scale commercial mining operations have great adverse impacts not just for the communities affected, but for all the Filipino people who are part of this whole web of eco-system – not just now, but for generations to come. They steal not just our resources, but also the future of all the communities who rely on these resources for survival,” Pasimio added.

The annual international mining conference is welcomed for the past five years by activists and mine-affected communities, who oppose the aggressive promotion of Philippine mining. This year, with the theme “Moving Forward—Harnessing Opportunities,” the mining conference will talk about Executive Order 79 and the proposed changes in the mining fiscal regime.

Meanwhile, advocates of a new mining law believe that higher tax and other mining fees is not enough to compensate for the negative impacts of mining to the environment, and people’s lives.

“The present mining law allows for the plunder of our mineral resources at the expense of communities, Indigenous Peoples, and the environment. The list of human rights violations, killings and environmental disasters brought about by mining operations necessitates an overhaul of the policy. To amend the law to raise revenue from the industry is not enough. We need a new law, we need the alternative minerals management bill enacted now,” SOS Yamang Bayan Coordinator Erwin Quinones said.

Rene Pamplona, advocacy coordinator of the Social Action Center of Marbel in South Cotabato concluded, “We have seen how the government is actively supporting the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project, but we also know that it is not ready to manage such large-scale project. Secondly, it is unable to resolve possible conflicts; in our context these are present conflicts, which the government cannot respond to.

For instance, it doesn’t have an immediate remedy for mining mishaps—there are no grievance mechanisms and immediate response for complaints of mining-affected communities. While there is delay in establishing these mechanisms, directly-affected communities are threatened by more violations.”

During the midterm elections, ATM launched a NO CAGE campaign against senators who were linked to mining—Cynthia Villar, Angara, Gordon, and Enrile.

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. (30)

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0927) 761.76.02 nc@alyansatigilmina.net

Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Advocacy Officer (0915) 331.33.61 policy@alyansatigilmina.net

http://alyansatigilmina.net/2013/09/11/press-release-anti-mining-groups-stage-rally-in-front-of-international-mining-conference-venue/

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[Press Release] Solon, advocates call SC to declare mining law unconstitutional -ATM

Solon, advocates call SC to declare mining law unconstitutional
Call current mining tax system a scam

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Anti mining groups called on the High Court to come out with its decision on a 2008-petition questioning the constitutionality of Sections 80-81 of the Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7941) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order 2007-12.

Specifically, the sections pertain to supposed income derived from Mineral Processing Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) and Financial and/or Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAAs).

Decision despite government pronouncements on new mining fiscal regime

Years after the petition were filed; it was only this July this year when the Oral Arguments were concluded. Meanwhile, Senate President Drilon and executive officials are announcing the government’s initiative to push for a new mining fiscal regime, increasing income from mining produce.

Akbayan Rep. Ibarra “Barry” Gutierrez said, “It is my fervent hope that the Supreme Court decides quickly and favorably on our petition against Sections 80-81 of the Mining Law, which are deemed inimical to the national interest. Under the prevailing policy regime, there is a huge inequitable distribution of benefits and costs that puts the host communities and the government at a disadvantage. The 1995 Mining Act favors large mining companies, neglects social, health and environmental problems that mining entails, and has failed to uplift the lives of our people.”

Furthermore, since mining activities are in areas where the most vulnerable sectors reside, such Indigenous Peoples, farmers and fisherfolks, the prevailing policy works to the detriment of the rights and interests of those that need the most in terms of government support and protection, Rep. Gutierrez added.

“The communities who petitioned this, together with the petitioners of the La Bugal case filed in 1997, are waiting for the Court’s decision. We believe that despite initiatives to increase income from mining—the Filipino people is being scammed by the current tax system in mining. There is a need to put an end to all these questions,” added ATM national coordinator Jaybee Garganera.

He also said: “We have heard during the Oral Arguments how the La Bugal-B’laan vs. Ramos case decided in 2004 has failed to give a fair sharing of benefits from mining, between the State and the mining companies. In effect, in our mining contracts, we are at the losing end.”

The two were guest speakers at the Kapihan sa Quezon City held at Annabel’s Restaurant Saturdays.
Push for a new minerals management law

Rep. Gutierrez is also one of the authors of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB)—a bill that seeks to repeal RA 7942. SOS Yamang Bayan Network pushes for the AMMB; it aims to put in place framework for the sustainable and responsible use of our mineral resources.

SOS Yamang Bayan Network National Coordinator Erwin Quiñones added: “What we need is not a piecemeal reform by way of amending the fiscal regime of the flawed Mining Act of 1995 but a totally new policy framework that will not only ensure equitable sharing of mineral products but also ensure the protection of community rights and environmental sustainability.”

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. (30)

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0927) 761.76.02 nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Erwin Quiñones, SOS YB National Coordinator (0921) 304.48.84 wenquins@gmail.com
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Advocacy Officer (0915) 331.33.61 policy@alyansatigilmina.net

Press Release
September 7, 2013

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[Statement] ATM Statement on the Downscaling of the Tampakan Mining Project

14 August 2013

ATM Statement on the Downscaling of the Tampakan Mining Project

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This is a victory for the B’laan people, the local communities in Tampakan and the Provincial Government of South Cotabato.

Contrary to the claims of SMI, Indophil and Xstrata, the government rules on mining projects are clear.  The miners have i) failed to secure the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of the indigenous B’laan communities; ii) failed to secure the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the DENR, and iii) failed to convince the local government to overturn its ban on open-pit mining.

SMI, Indophil and Xstrata had failed to comply with Philippine laws and regulations, and can’t be allowed to proceed.

Employment and livelihoods will not be drastically affected with this downgrading of operations.  In fact, 80,000 farmers will continue to benefit from the Mal River as water source to irrigate more than 200,000 hectares of farmlands in South Cotabato alone.  Around 4,000 hectares of forestlands will be preserved, to mitigate the impacts of climate change. The rights of indigenous peoples will now be respected.

The struggle continues.  ATM will sustain its support to the struggle of B’laans to resist the entry of mining in their ancestral domains.  We will work with farmers and women groups to upscale and expand sustainable agriculture.  We stand in solidarity with the local government of South Cotabato to define its own path of sustainable development, without destructive and irresponsible mining.

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. (30)

For more information:

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 0927.7617602

Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Research and Advocacy officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[petition] DENR Sec. Ramon Paje: That Pres. Aquino Cancel the FTAA of SMI-Xstrata Tampakan Mining Project

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Ramon Paje: That Pres. Aquino Cancel the FTAA of SMI-Xstrata Tampakan Mining Project

Petisyon ni
Fr. Oliver Castor, CSsR
Quezon City, Philippines

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Despite the existing ban on open pit mining issued by the local government unit of South Cotabato, the residents and indigenous peoples community are still under grave threat from the world’s fouth largest copper producer Xtrata Copper and its Philippine contractor SMI Philippines.

This is because of the existence of the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement signed by the Office of the President that allows SMI to large-scale exploration, development and utilization of an estimated average of 360,000 ounces of gold and 375,000 tons of copper per annum within a mine area covering approximately 10,000 ha (SMI 2013: 11). The open pit would reach an extent of 500 ha and a depth of 785 m while the topsoil stockpile would cover an area of 5 ha and the pit ore stockpile 49 ha (AECOM 2011: 2-9).

If realized, the Tampakan Copper-Gold Mine would be the largest open-pit mine in the Philippines and one of the largest of its kind worldwide. It straddles the jurisdiction of two regions, four provinces, four municipalities and nine barangays. The area is predominantly characterized by rainforest. About 5,000 people – approximately 1,000 households – inhabit the affected area and will require resettlement of inhabitants majority belonging to indigenous communities

An independent Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) on Tampakan conducted by the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) exposed various moments of government deficiencies referring to the human rights of people possibly affected by the Tampakan Project. The HRIA observed a context which is characterized by a combination of government failures, prevailing poverty, a high level of marginalization and discrimination against indigenous groups, especially in terms of basic services, and a generally volatile conflict situation.

It pointed out already occurring and high risks to the human rights of vulnerable population should the project proceed, as the rights to an adequate and meaningful Information and participation, livelihoods, Health, education, culture, and the fundamental right to life, security, and liberty .

Para kay:
Secretary Ramon Paje, Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
That Pres. Aquino Cancel the FTAA of SMI-Xstrata Tampakan Mining Project
Dear Mr. Paje,
Greetings of Peace!
We, residents of South Cotabato together with our fellow Filipinos from the rest of the country respectfully request your good office to help us stop the human rights violations and grave attack to the environment in South Cotabato by cancelling the Financial and Technical Assesment Agreement of Sagittarious Mines, Inc in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

An independent Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) on Tampakan conducted by the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) as commissioned by MISEREOR, the German Catholic Bishops’ Organization for Development Cooperation, the Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund (Fastenopfer) as well as the Swiss protestant development organization Bread for All, recently published on June 13, 2013 observed a context which is characterized by a combination of government failures, prevailing poverty, a high level of marginalization and discrimination against indigenous groups, especially in terms of basic services, and a generally volatile conflict situation.

It pointed out already occurring and high risks to the human rights of vulnerable population should the project proceed, such as violations against the rights to an adequate and meaningful Information and participation, livelihoods, Health, education, culture, and the fundamental right to life, security, and liberty .

In conclusion, a high degree of social volatility and hightened risk of environmental depredation highlight that the possibility to conduct large-scale open-pit mining in a way that is responsible from a human rights perspective does not seem feasible in Tampakan in the current situation.

If realized, the Tampakan Copper-Gold Mine would be the largest open-pit mine in the Philippines and one of the largest of its kind worldwide.

Please do not let this happen to the people of Tampakan. Please do not let this continue to happen to the B’laan tribe. Please be instruments of human rights and stewards of the Philippines’ environment.

Sincerley yours,

Rev. Fr. Oliver Castor, C.Ss.R.

Sumasainyo,
[Ang iyong pangalan]

Sign petition @ https://www.change.org/ph/mga-petisyon/department-of-environment-and-natural-resources-denr-sec-ramon-paje-that-pres-aquino-cancel-the-ftaa-of-smi-xstrata-tampakan-mining-project?utm_campaign=share_button_chat&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

[From the web] On the 25th Year of CARP, farmers demand justice -Kilos Ka

On the 25th Year of CARP, farmers demand justice

kilos ka blog

With the theme “ Security of Land Tenure, Justice for the Farmers”, various civil society organizations- the Kilusang Maralita sa Kanayunan (KILOS KA), the Demokratikong Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (DKMP)-Lanao, the Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement (MPPM), and the Lanao Fisheries Advocacy Network (LFAN)- converged and launched series of activities in Lanao del Norte to demand justice for the peasant leaders and farmers who were harassed, threatened, ejected from the lands they are tilling, and slain for strongly advocating land distribution, during the commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and the First (1st) Death Anniversary of Venecia “Inday” Natinga, on June 19, 2013.

Among the activities conducted were the Forum on the Implementation of Agrarian Reform Policy and the Challenges to Rural Workers, the Legal Cliniquing, the Mass Mobilization to Demand Justice for the Death of Venecia “Inday” Natinga, and the Concert for Justice.

The series of activities were participated by farmers and fisherfolks who are facing legal cases, problems on access to land and resources, and relatives and family of farmer leaders slain because of their strong advocacy for agrarian reform.

It was also participated by public and private lawyers and provincial personnel of line agencies involve in land distribution such as the Department Agrarian Refrom (DAR) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

According to Lydia Mangcao, DKMP Chairperson and Secretary General of KILOS KA, many farmers have suffered in the slow implementation of the agrarian reform program. Many of these farmers have lost the lands they have struggled for years after they were forcibly ejected by their land owners with the use of security guards and police officers. Some farmers were killed after they resisted the harassments of their landlords.

Read full article @kilusangmaralita.blogspot.com

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[Press Release] Anti-mining campaigners led bike tour against Ph mining law -SOS Yamang Bayan

Sikad Padyak Laban sa Mining Act 95 Photo by Susan Corpus Lilak

Sikad Padyak Laban sa Mining Act 95 Photo by Susan Corpus /Lilak

Anti-mining campaigners led bike tour against Ph mining law
Sikaran! Tadyakan! Mining Act of 1995 Wakasan!”

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Manila — Anti-mining advocates and bikers led a bike tour from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Office to the Supreme Court in Manila today to highlight the negative social and environmental impacts of mining and call to repeal the Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942).

This is in relation to the upcoming Supreme Court Oral Arguments on a petition questioning the constitutionality of Sections 80 and 81 of RA 7942 and DENR Adm. Order 2007-12 that establishes the supposed income derived from Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) and Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAAs) set on June 25.

Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina and one of the convenors of Tao Muna Hindi Mina! Campaign said: “We would like to emphasize the need to revisit the current mining regime, present how mining activities have impacted host communities, and let the public judge if the failed promises of development are worth the social and environmental injustices caused by this destructive industry.”

Tao Muna-Hindi Mina! Campaign puts large-scale mining as a major issue that the government should respond to. It reiterates the cry of mining-affected communities for the government to prioritize people and environment over mining.

Incoming Akbayan Representative Barry Gutierrez also urged the Supreme Court to rule against the constitutionality of the Mining Act of 1995 and vowed to file the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB), a bill being pushed by SOS-Yamang Bayan Network.

The AMMB would serve to offset the negative impacts of mining on the environment, strengthen stakeholder participation in mining contracts and ensure that local communities and the government have a greater share of mining profits.

“The Supreme Court should listen to the millions of voices that are opposed to the current system of mining in the country. The current mining law has only favored the large mining companies at the expense of indigenous peoples, local governments and communities, and the environment,” Gutierrez said.

SOS-Yamang Bayan Network Coordinator Erwin Quiñones further explained: “The petitions for prohibition and mandamus were filed in March 2008 to defend the lives, dignity, livelihood, land, and environment and rights of mining-affected communities and Indigenous Peoples. We believe that we should not allow this policy to legalize the attack against our land and people. Despite our call to the Supreme Court to immediately resolve the constitutionality of Sections 80 and 81 of the Mining Law, we also question the constitutionality of the law as a whole.”

The groups are united in their call to repeal the current mining law and enactment of a pro-people, pro-environment alternative minerals management bill that will be filed as the Congress opens in July 1.

“We’re hopeful that we can pass an alternative mining bill in the incoming 16th Congress and correct the years of disastrous mining policies that came as a result of the current. Mining Act,” Gutierrez concluded.

Garganera and Quiñones spoke in behalf of communities opposing MPSAs and FTAAs in Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino Provinces; and South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur. The activity was organized in support of lawyers who will represent the petitioners during the Oral Arguments on June 25—a continuation of the initial hearing last April 16 held in Baguio City.

25 bikers were sent off from DENR in Visayas Ave to Supreme Court in Padre Faura Manila where they were met by a hundred rallyists. (30)

The SOS-Yamang Bayan Network is a national, multi-sectoral movement composed of individual advocates, mining-affected communities, national peoples’ alliances, environmental organizations and networks, church-based organizations, human rights organizations, national NGOs, sectoral organizations from the indigenous peoples, youth, women, farmers, congressional representatives, leaders and personalities advocating for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and the enactment of a new minerals management bill.

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, 0927.671.7602, nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Erwin Quiñones, SOS-YB Network Coordinator, 0921.304.4884, erwin.quiñones@lrcksk.org

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[Appeal] An open letter to the Senators of the Philippines on the proposed Senate Bill No. 3326

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE SENATORS OF THE PHILIPPINES

29 May 2013

Dear Senators,

Peace.

This is with reference to the proposed Senate Bill No. 3326, “An Act Providing for the Delineation of the Specific Forest Limits of the Public Domain and for Other Purposes” also entitled “Forest Limits Act of 2013” and which, we understand, is up for voting on its third reading on 5 or 6 June 2013.

We respectfully request that the concerns listed below are taken up in the process of deliberation, having had no opportunity to share these during the public consultations and technical working group (TWG) meetings undertaken for this proposed bill.

1. We understand that the spirit and intention of the proposed bill are not to limit forest lands, but rather to enact a law that legalizes the identification and demarcation of the country’s permanent forest line beyond which the land may not be utilized for other purposes. Hence, the proposed title is inappropriate. It may be a matter of nuance but in this case, nuance is all. We emphasize that the title as well as references to forest limits in several parts of the bill convey the idea that forest may not be expanded beyond the line. We believe that the line should indicate the minimum, not the maximum, extent of forest.

2. As reported, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) completed the forest line demarcation last year, totaling 79,245 kilometers. It would be good to understand where this “forest line” runs across the country’s landscape and how this “forest line” will impact on existing land uses and watershed situation, as part of the deliberation for this proposed bill. What areas does this forest line encompass and will this forest line ensure the percentage of forest cover needed by our country to ensure sustained ecological services, especially water?

3. Areas within the “forest line” are to be classified as permanent forest lands (Section 9) and further sub-classified into protection and production forests. In this proposed bill, the definitions for forest lands (Sec. 3, d), production forest (Sec. 3, e), protection forest (Sec. 3, g), and tenured migrant (Sec. 3, h) beg for more appropriate operationalization that should go beyond the usual DENR definitions and that reflect the present forest and social conditions. As a reference, we wish to refer you to the extensive definitions developed for these terms when the proposed “Forest Resources Act of 2010” was deliberated at both the Senate (Senate Bill No. 2822) and House of Representatives (House Bill No. 3485).

4. The forest line definition and the ensuing demarcation of protection and production forests are primarily undertaken for the sustained ecological services, especially fresh water supply that our country and our people need now and for the years to come. The economic expectations will have to take a backseat in this critical and urgent action that will greatly assist in arresting the continued degradation and deforestation in the country’s remaining forest areas. Much care and critical reviews need to be undertaken in determining protection and production forest areas and cannot just be left for when the Implementing Rules and Regulations will be drafted.

We appreciate and do laud this effort and action from government, specifically DENR, and even if this is a very delayed response to a constitutional mandate since 1987, this is still very relevant, timely, and much needed. We also thank President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino, III for the inclusion of forest bills in his priority legislative agenda. No genuine comprehensive land use in the country can be drafted without a demarcated forest line. The impact of extreme climate events from drought to heavy rainfall to typhoons, the loss of biodiversity, the growing encroachment of agriculture crops such as bananas, pineapples, and genetically modified maize in upland areas, the persistent marginalization of communities in many upland areas are some of the realities that we need to integrate in the forthcoming discussions and decisions.

The proposed bill, as it is now stands, will not fully serve its intention and engender the support from government and the private sector, along with civil society stakeholders. We therefore request for the active engagement of environmental groups, other civil society organizations and academics in further consultations before this bill gets to a final reading and approval.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

 

Sylvia Miclat
Executive Director
Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC)

Angelina Galang, Ph.D.
Lead Convenor
GREEN CONVERGENCE
for Safe Food, Healthy Environment, and Sustainable Economy

Patria Gwen M.L. Borcena, M.A.
President
GREENRESEARCH Environmental Research Group

Ma. Belinda E. de la Paz
Officer-in-Charge
Haribon Foundation

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[Blog] Atienza: Buhay’s dilemma by Rodne Galicha

ATIENZA: BUHAY’S DILEMMA
by Rodne Galicha

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Rod Galicha2

Buhay Hayaang Yumabong or BUHAY party-list got three seats for the next Congress as it gained victory, garnering 1,265,992 votes equivalent to 4.74 percent of the total votes cast.

Buhay’s core principles are based on the Pledge of Allegiance to the Philippine Flag: for God, people, environment and country. Being pro-God is to recognize the sole right of God being the Creator to give and take away human life – the reason to oppose the Reproductive Health (RH) law. The second principle speaks of human rights in the perspective of belief in the first principle.

In being maka-kalikasan or pro-environment, Buhay believes that the Creator gave us abundant and overflowing natural resources which must be developed and used justly for the benefit of all Filipinos and the next generation – not only for the chosen few.

For country, Buhay sees that the Philippines was formed by God to be emulated by the world through the promotion of good and effective governance.

And here comes the second nominee of the top party-list: the incoming congressman Lito Atienza. Personally, I saw fiery swords falling from the heavens!

I first met Mr. Atienza in his office in 2007 when we discussed mining in Sibuyan Island and the killing of an environment activist, and again in 2009 when the Mangyans from Mindoro camped outside the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ national office.

Atienza headed DENR from 2007 until 2009 under the baton of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The latter was bullish in promoting the mining industry left and right through Executive Order 270-A and the Mining Act of 1995 despite lack of social acceptability and environmental threats to communities.

One working day, on December 23, 2009, before Atienza resigned as DENR secretary, he signed five mineral production sharing agreement permits and three exploration permits. What was questionable? All these are midnight deals. How come? December 24th was non-working holiday, 25th a regular holiday, 26th was a Saturday and 27th was Sunday. He resigned December 28th, Monday.

In 2007, he vowed to help us in Sibuyan as we personally delivered our petitions and opposition letters against nickel mining. After an anti-mining activist was shot to death, even the three mayors of our island, namely Ibarra Manzala, Nanette Tansingco and Nicasio Ramos that year signed a memorandum of agreement that destructive mining shall not be allowed. Even the barangay councils revoked former recommendatory resolutions. But lo and behold, in 2009, Atienza signed through a midnight deal an MPSA for 1,581 hectares of land to mine nickel, iron, cobalt, chromite and other associated mineral deposits.

This abominable act of Atienza is a total deviation from the very principles of Buhay party-list. It is against the integrity of creation, the right to life of the communities which also includes basic human rights, and good governance.

Atienza must be held accountable by Buhay itself, in the first place. By approving mining in my island, the source of our almost 95% clean energy is threatened – Cantingas River. It is also the source of our irrigation for our town’s rice granary on top of being the summer tourism capital of Sibuyan and apparently, of Romblon province as a whole.

Read full article @rodgalicha.com

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[Featured Video] #Taomunahindimina! Campaign Theme Song

Listen to #Taomunahindimina! Campaign Theme Song original composition and performed by Fr. Oli Castor, PMPI.

Dapat Tao at Kalikasan Muna, hindi Tubo at kita. Dapat Tao Muna-Hindi Mina!

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[Press Release] Gina Lopez, Ms Earth runners-up join Sibuyan, Romblon Officials’ launching of Tao Muna, Hindi Mina! Campaign

Gina Lopez, Ms Earth runners-up join Sibuyan, Romblon Officials’ launching of Tao Muna, Hindi Mina! Campaign

2012 Miss Earth Philippines runner-up Princess Manzon, ABS-CBN Foundation Managing Director Dr. Gina Lopez, 2012 Miss Earth Air Stephanie Stefanowitz and Romblon Office of the Governor Chief of Staff Ms. Trina Firmalo - all for TAO MUNA, HINDI MINA campaign. Photo ATM.

2012 Miss Earth Philippines runner-up Princess Manzon, ABS-CBN Foundation Managing Director Dr. Gina Lopez, 2012 Miss Earth Air Stephanie Stefanowitz and Romblon Office of the Governor Chief of Staff Ms. Trina Firmalo – all for TAO MUNA, HINDI MINA campaign. Photo ATM.

2012 Miss Earth Philippines runner-up Princess Manzon, ABS-CBN Foundation Managing Director Dr. Gina Lopez, 2012 Miss Earth Air Stephanie Stefanowitz and Romblon Office of the Governor Chief of Staff Ms. Trina Firmalo - all for TAO MUNA, HINDI MINA campaign. Photo ATM.

2012 Miss Earth Philippines runner-up Princess Manzon, ABS-CBN Foundation Managing Director Dr. Gina Lopez, 2012 Miss Earth Air Stephanie Stefanowitz and Romblon Office of the Governor Chief of Staff Ms. Trina Firmalo – all for TAO MUNA, HINDI MINA campaign. Photo ATM.

More than a thousand residents of Sibuyan Island in the province of Romblon marked Earth Day (April 22) with the rejection of mining approval and applications through a simultaneous caravan and prayers through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecological protection.

Ten thousand prayer cards with the image of the saint were embedded along the seven-kilometer stretch national highway in San Fernando town. They were joined by Bantay Kalikasan Managing Director Gina Lopez, 2012 Miss Earth Philippines runner-up Princess Manzon, 2012 Miss Earth Air Stephanie Stefanowitz and Romblon Office of the Governor Chief of Staff Ms. Trina Firmalo.
Gina Lopez, champion of eco-tourism said: “Let us eradicate poverty through eco-tourism and the protection of the environment with integrity and compassion. Mining will destroy the beauty of Sibuyan Island, choose candidates who will defend the environment – for God, country and people!”

Considered as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspot, Sibuyan Island has been dubbed by conservationists as Galapagos of Asia: home to the world’s densest forest and the country’s cleanest inland body of water, river category, the Cantingas River. The whole island is protected as it has been proclaimed as a mangrove swamp forest reserve and its core zone is the Mt. Guiting-guiting Natural Park.

“Protected as it is, a large-scale mining permit has been granted by former environment Secretary Lito Atienza through a midnight deal three days before he resigned in 2009 opening almost 1,500 hectares of land for mineral production sharing agreement,” said Mayor Dindo C. Rios of San Fernando, Romblon.

“The national government’s Mining Industry Coordinating Council or MICC mandated by President Aquino’s Executive Order No. 79 must review the approved agreement as soon as possible, thus, we are strongly calling the members of the council to visit our island and see for themselves how delicate our island is,” stressed Mayor Rios.

Different churches and religions through an ecumenical forum have gathered petitions and more than 120 thousand signatures to halt mining in the province of Romblon especially in Sibuyan Island. They are calling to uphold the integrity of creation.

Fr. Noel Sixon, parish priest of Our Lady of Remedies Parish said: “We must protect creation, the earth is abused and dying. We must save Sibuyan Island, God-given gift to us. I will not endorse names in the coming elections but choose candidates who are pro-God, pro-People, pro-Family and pro-Environment.”

Joining Sibuyan Island Earth Day Celebrations, and endorsing Tao Muna Hindi Mina 2012 Miss Earth Air Stephanie Stefanowitz said: “We should protect, preserve and conserve our environment for us and the future generations to come; let us make everyday Earth Day.”

For more information, please email taomunahindimina@gmail.com, or contact 0921-9645017 (Egay) or 0923-5122374 (Farah).

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[Press Release] Groups challenge electoral candidates to heed victims’ call to stop destructive mining in PH -Tao Muna Hindi Mina

Groups challenge electoral candidates to heed victims’ call to stop destructive mining in PH
Demand human rights be top priority over environmental destruction

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Photo by R. Yamzon

Quezon City – Today, 200-strong activists from church, human rights, and environment groups launched the campaign in celebration of Earth Day and in time for the May elections to remind the mid-term electoral candidates to take a firm stand on different mining issues that have plagued the country.

To dramatize their stance on these mining issues, the group locked down the head office of Mines and Geosciences Bureau in North Avenue and marched to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The group also demanded a moratorium on mining activities in the country and that the 10-Point Human Rights Agenda on Mining be prioritized.

“The Tao Muna-Hindi Mina campaign seeks to put at center stage large-scale destructive mining as a major electoral issue that candidates need to respond to,” said Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines.

“But even before and beyond elections, candidates as well as government itself must be able to heed the peoples demand for an end to large-scale destructive mining.”

Meanwhile Fr. Marlon Lacal, Executive Secretary of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines AMRSP) challenged the electoral candidates to put people first before profit, people first before power, God and Creation first before Mammon and greed. “It demands no less than a shift from “soulless development” to a development paradigm that takes paramount the care of Creation wherein our generation and future generations’ survival depend on”, he added.

Noting the different agenda of electoral candidates specifically at the local level, anti-mining groups reminded the future leaders to prioritize the social issues of mining-affected communities and victims.

Judy A. Pasimio of LILAK – Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights said: “We are at this point where mining is no longer just an issue among environmentalists. Mining is a human rights issue. The different forms of human rights violations being experienced by the women, men and children especially from the indigenous communities in mining areas, need to be recognized, and be addressed by the government and those who are wanting to join the government through this election.”

Specifically, the groups demand that justice be given to families and victims of human rights violations in mining affected areas as well as an end to large-scale destructive mining in the country. They added it is time to seriously consider the Alternative Minerals Management Bill as a just resolution to the conflict engendered by the current corporate-biased, exploitative, unjust mining policy.

No CAGE Campaign

Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina, a coalition of communities and organizations that call for a new policy on mining said: “We challenge the candidates to take a stand on mining. At the national level, we are campaigning against senatoriables who have interests in mining and who we believe will push for their agenda to promote pro-mining policies.

They are Cynthia Villar (own Queensberry Mining—directly involved in the King-king copper-gold project in Compostella Valley), Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara (member of the board of directors of Aurora Pacific Ecozone and Freeport Authority (APECO)), Richard Gordon (independent director of Atlas Mining Corporation), and Rep. Jack Enrile from Cagayan where anti-mining advocates threatened and some killed.“

Mining-affected communities in different parts of the country also mobilized yesterday (April 22, Earth Day) and today to launch the campaign in support of anti-mining and human rights advocates running for leadership posts, and in opposition of pro-mining candidates. This includes Marbel in South Cotabato, Zambales, Nueva Vizcaya, Cagayan, Palawan, Romblon, Leyte, Agusan del Norte and Surigao.


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Press Release

23 April 2013

Iboto ang iyong #HRPinduterosChoice para sa HR CAMPAIGN.

Ang botohan ay magsisimula ngayon hanggang sa 11:59 ng Nov 15, 2013.

Ikaw para kanino ka pipindot? Simple lang bumoto:
• i-LIKE ang thumbnail/s ng iyong mga ibinoboto sa HRonlinePH facebook, i-share at ikampanya.
• Bisitahin ang post sa HRonlinePH.com (links sa bawat thumbnail) at pindutin ang button sa
poll sa ilalim ng bawat nominadong post.
• Most number of the combined likes sa FB at sa poll buttons ang magiging 3rd HR Pinduteros
Choice na kikilalanin sa 2013 HR week celebration.

Makiisa sa pagpapalaganap ng impormasyon hinggil sa karapatang pantao. Pindot na!

WHAT IS 3RD HR PINDUTEROS CHOICE AWARDS? https://hronlineph.com/2013/10/01/3rd-human-rights-
pinduteros-choice-awards/

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[Statement] Earth Day 2013: start of seed propagation & local site selection-Partido Kalikasan

Earth Day 2013: start of seed propagation & local site selection

Partido kalikasanGreens PH (Partido Kalikasan) commemorates EARTH DAY 2013 today with the launch of our NATIONWIDE REFO DAYS CAMPAIGN.

This campaign is initially targeting, this year, 100 local chapters of the Party nationwide to identify, set-up and maintain for perpetuity their own respective permanent local reforestation sites nationwide.

In the next 3 years, we hope to contribute 1M trees in 400 local reforestation sites nationwide.

This Earth Day 2013, we begin the process with the start of SEED COLLECTION and PROPAGATION.

The Party’s approach to reforestation is a combination of agro-forestry and rainforestation. Thus, all local chapters are hereby asked to mobilize their members at the household and community-levels to start up seed banks and nurseries of not just the appropriate endemic hardwood species but also viable fruit tree species.

Local chapters starting today will be asked to coordinate with appropriate local government offices like the municipal or city environment offices of the local government units, local DENR offices, NGOs working on biodiversity and forest conservation work and other groups, even private entities to identify the appropriate local reforestation sites that this campaign in perpetuity will be implemented.

The campaign is a MONTHLY REFO DAY in each local chapter’s selected reforestation sites starting JUNE 2013, during the World Environment Month and every month in perpetuity.

Planting and maintaining your trees is part of the regular membership requirement of all Party members.

The nurseries and seed banks will also be manage sustainably as social green enterprises by local Party chapters in order to sustain our work and even market seedlings and saplings of endemic tree species for other communities and groups engage in reforestation.

The campaign is inspired by successes in rainforestation approaches all over the country, including that of the many initiatives in rainforestation in Leyte and Eco Village development in Zambales initiated by some Party leaders over the past decade.

This is part of the Party’s CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION CAMPAIGN for both mitigation and adaptation purposes. Depending on what is priority in each locality where Party local ecosystem chapters are operating, this reforestation sites will be for terrestrial, mangrove and even urban greenbelts.

This is also a major component of the Party’s local Bioregional Green Agenda Program Approach called “ECO-VILLAGE GREEN DEVELOPMENT” where the requirement is 70% forest cover.

This is also our proactive contribution to the ongoing NATIONAL GREENING PROGRAM targeting 25M trees plated by 2016. Having said this, we remain consistent with our position that besides a serious national reforestation program, the following policies and programs for STRONGER MANAGEMENT OF LOGGING in the Philippines must be instituted:

(1) Impose a 25-year nationwide ban on all forms of commercial logging. In this ban, non-commercial use by IP communities and CBFM holders shall be allowed subject to close monitoring by local multi-sectoral bodies to be created to implement the ban

(2) Adopt with full financial, technical, institutional and legal support the community-based forest management (CBFM) as our national framework for forest ecosystem management.

(3) Build sufficient capacity & effective law enforcement against illegal logging.

The Philippines has less than 3% primary forest cover and less than 23% secondary forest cover. And even this figures are being contested. Studies shows that each island ecosystem must have 54% forest cover for it to sustain critical ecosystems that provide life-giving environmental services to communities, especially the poor.

In the 1900s we had 70% forest cover nationwide. By 1999, by some estimates, it was 18.3% While it has improve in recent years, the effects of deforestation, as aggravated by the ill-effects of climate change has cost countless lives and property over recent disasters. There is no denying that more efforts must be done.

For more information, please contact:

Roy Cabonegro
Secretary-General
Mobile 0916 2304515
Email: roy@greensph.org

—-
Partido Kalikasan (Philippine Green Party)
Website:http://www.greensph.org
Email: info@greensph.org
Telephone number +63 2 4358454 (TTH only) | Mobile Phone 0916 2304515
2nd floor, 80 Kalayaan Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/greenparty.ph

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[In the news] Earth Day: the Philippine State of Nature Assessment

Earth Day: the Philippine State of Nature Assessment.
By Rodne Galicha
April 20, 2013

Rod Galicha2Presidential Proclamation No. 1482 was signed in 2008 declaring that year as Year of Planet Earth and the month of April every year thereafter as the Month of Planet Earth in the Philippines. The following year, the United Nations adopted a resolution designating April 22 as International Mother Earth Day.

Originally, Earth Day was conceptualized in 1969 at a global conference in the United States and proposed March 21, 1970, the first day of spring – the equinox, which was then adopted by the United Nations. The following month, another Earth Day movement was founded by American senator Gaylord Nelson after witnessing the Sta. Barbara oil spill environmental disaster. With the aim of teaching students and communities environmental conservation, the senator was “convinced that all we need to do to bring an overwhelming insistence of the new generation that we stem the tide of environmental disaster is to present the facts clearly and dramatically.” Earth Day was then celebrated April 22, 1970 with over 20 million people participating. With Earth Day Network leading the global activity, Earth Day has been observed by many national governments and civil society movements.

Is there need to celebrate? Celebrating the existence of our planet is recognizing our dependence on its abundance. Participation in this annual activity means acceptance of the full responsibility and accountability to bring back the original role of human beings in the grand preservation of harmony and order in nature. But how can we celebrate if Mother Earth weeps?

This year’s Earth Day challenge is to reflect on the theme: The Face of Climate Change. Earth Day Network stresses that ‘climate change can seem like a remote problem for our leaders, but the fact is that it’s already affecting real people, animals, and beloved places. These Faces of Climate Change are multiplying every day. Fortunately, other Faces of Climate Change are multiplying too: those stepping up to do something about it.’

How has climate change affected you? What are you doing to be part of the solution?

The Philippines is the most vulnerable to typhoons and Manila is the second most at risk from climate change.   We have experienced series of catastrophes due to irresponsible environmental management largely induced by climate-risk industries implemented by the government.

What are the problems? What is the state of the Philippine environment?

Read full article @manilastandardtoday.com

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[People] SMI-Xstrata Mining Company funds paramilitary groups by Judy A. Pasimio

SMI-Xstrata Mining Company funds paramilitary groups
by Judy A. Pasimio
LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)

Judy Pasimio photo from lilakIt is appalling to hear the confirmation of Kiblawan Mayor Marivic Diamante and military officers that Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) is providing funds for Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit or CAFGUs and military operations in the areas of its operations.

While this has always been the suspicion, given the scary and deadly enthusiasm of the military in eliminating opposition against SMI, the brazen admission of Mayor Diamante of the regular funds the local government has been receiving for Task Force Kitaco and the CAFGUs seems so callous of the plight of the B’laans under the hands of the military. Task Force Kitaco (Kiblawan, Tampakan, Columbio), according to the military, was created to provide peace and order in these areas.

The disclosure was made in the Congressional hearing of the National Cultural Communities Committee chaired by Cong. Teddy Baguilat, Jr. held in Koronadal City.

The funds, which are supposed to be used for the implementation of SMI’s community-based peace and security plan, are given to the local government units. How much exactly is being received by the LGU from SMI, this was not disclosed by Mayor Diamante. But from the testimony of the military, it was revealed that there is a monthly allocation of P9,000 for operations, P11,000 for gasoline, and P5,000 allowance for each CAFGU. There are currently 60 CAFGUs deployed in the municipalities of Kiblawan, Tampakan and Columbio. Imagine how much is being given to the LGU monthly. And we need not imagine how rabidly Mayor Diamante and the military defend SMI, even in the face of the clear involvement of the military in the B’laan killings – Juvy Capion and her two sons; and lately, Kitari, the brother of Daguil Capion. Daguil Capion is one of the B’laan leaders who have been defending their ancestral domains, and fighting the SMI. Daguil is the husband of Juvy and the father of the Jordan and John. Mayor Diamante also admitted that she had to put up a bounty of P300,000.00 on the head of Daguil as incentive for the B’laans to turn over Daguil.

So it is SMI’s hand which feeds the military and paramilitary operations in the B’laan territories. And it is SMI’s hand which breeds violence.

But it is the Office of the President, through Exec. Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. which hurried the DENR to issue the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to SMI. And it is the DENR, through Secretary Ramon Paje, who finally issued the ECC. This, despite the recent killings of B’laans in SMI’s mining areas, the volatility of the peace and order situation in these areas.

Go figure.

judy.lilak@gmail.com

(Note: I attended the Congressional Hearing of the National Cultural Communities Committee in Koronadal, chaired by Cong. Teddy Baguilat / Feb. 21, 2013)

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[Event] A group of students from the DLS-CSB joins #FREEourDEFENDERS campaign

A group of students from the DLS-CSB joins #FREEourDEFENDERS campaign

E poster CSB

TFDP logo smallGreat! A group of students from the DLS-CSB joins #FREEourDEFENDERS campaign. They are launching their online campaign in February 23, 2013 as contribution in making their fellow youth aware about human rights issues like the existence of victims of political incarceration in the country. Visit and like their page @ https://www.facebook.com/CsbFreeOurDefenders?fref=ts. Sama na! Express your support and help us campaign #FREEourDEFENDERS!

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[In the news] Govt draws flak over Tampakan ECC as groups warn of more environmental disasters, rights violations -InterAksyon.com

Govt draws flak over Tampakan ECC as groups warn of more environmental disasters, rights violations
By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, InterAksyon.com
February 20, 2013

InterAksyon logo2ANGELES City, Pampanga – The government is coming under fire for granting an ECC to Sagittarius Mining Inc., with senatorial candidate Migz Zubiri saying the move ‘disregards’ concerns for the environment and local stakeholders.

“I’m saddened by the decision because it shows disregard for a provincial ordinance that bans open pit mining in the province” of South Cotabato, Zubiri said on Wednesday.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources – acknowledging South Cotabato’s ban on open pit mining – had earlier denied an ECC to Sagittarius, the local unit of mining giant Xstrata Plc, which seeks to operate the $5.9-billion Tampakan copper-gold project.

SMI appealed the decision to Malacanang and, earlier this month, the Palace ordered the DENR to “resolve the company’s ECC without any consideration of requirements other than those imposed under the Environmental Impact Study system.”

Read full article @www.interaksyon.com

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[In the news] S.Cotabato gov snubs go-signal for Tampakan mine -RAPPLER.com

S.Cotabato gov snubs go-signal for Tampakan mine
By RAPPLER.COM
February 20, 2013

rappler_logoCOTABATO, Philippines – The governor of South Cotabato province, which hosts the Tampakan copper-gold project, rejected the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued on February 19.

The ECC allows Sagittarius Mining Inc. (SMI) to start commercial operations at the US$5.9 billion mine. The grant of the ECC was delayed for over a year largely due to the open pit ban imposed by the local government of South Cotabato.

“We have existing environmental code for the province and it includes ban on open pit mining. It’s still legal. Unless the government declare it illegal, then we will continue to implement it,” Governor Arthur Pinggoy said by phone when asked to comment on the latest development.

“If the government will nullify our environmental code, I am going to gather the people and those who are supporting our code to get their views about our possible next steps,” he added.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje told reporters in Manila on Tuesday, February 19, that they issued the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to the SMI project upon the recommendation of the Environmental Management Bureau, an agency attached to the DENR.

Read full article @www.rappler.com

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[In the news] South Cotabato Provincial Board supports Governor Pingoy vs SMI project | Sun.Star

South Cotabato Provincial Board supports Governor Pingoy vs SMI project | Sun.Star.
By Bong S. Sarmiento
February 20, 2013

sunstar-network copyKORONADAL CITY — The Provincial Board (PB) of South Cotabato rallied behind the environment code that bans open pit mining, as the local Catholic Church urged the public to intensify the opposition to the Tampakan copper-gold project now that it obtained an environmental compliance certificate (ECC).

“The SP (PB) of South Cotabato will maintain its stand that the open pit ban provided for in its environment code will remain until a competent court declares it ultra vires (beyond one’s legal power or authority),” Vice Governor Elmo Tolosa, the PB’s presiding officer, said Wednesday.

He said the board was not surprised that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) eventually granted the ECC permit of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) because it was in favor of the project all along.

Read full article @www.sunstar.com.ph

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[Press Release] Groups Condemn Government for Awarding ECC of SMI/Xtrata -PMCJ

Groups Condemn Government for Awarding ECC of SMI/Xtrata:
TAMPAKAN MINING WILL WORSEN CLIMATE RISK IN MINDANAO

pmcj logoIn a recent development that will worsen the vulnerability of the country, particularly Mindanao, climate justice and environmental groups strongly denounce the P-Noy Administration for recently awarding the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) of SMI/Xtrata and pursuing the construction of the mining project in Tampakan, South Cotabato amidst strong protest.

“We strongly condemn this decision of the DENR and Malacanang!” said Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), “Typhoon Pablo proved that Mindanao is not safe from disasters brought by typhoons and flooding. The approval of mining in Tampakan, as well as other areas in Mindanao, will only aggravate these climate risks and impair the adaptive capacity of communities near the area.” said Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ).

Yesterday, February 19, 2013, the DENR granted Xstrata and its local subsidiary Sagittarius Mines Inc (SMI) its ECC after pressure from Malacanang. Last February 4, 2013 Malacanang through Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, the national government lambasted the decision of the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) of denying SMI/Xtrata its application for an ECC.

SMI/Xtrata was twice denied by the DENR of its ECC “until the issues and concerns on the use of open pit mining method shall have been clarified and resolved by the Company (SMI) with the Provincial Government of South Cotabato.”

“Studies have shown that recent devastations caused by Typhoon Pablo (2012) in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, parts of CARAGA region, and Typhoon Sendong (2011) in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan are directly and indirectly caused and worsened by logging and mining in those areas” Arances stressed, “Malacanang have condemned the people of South Cotabato, Saranggani, Davao del sur, and Sultan Kudarat with this act!”

Anti-mining and environmental campaigners agree to these assertions. “Even with great care, mining will always be a threat to our natural resources and to human beings alike. Tampakan will not only exhaust the minerals for the interest of big foreign mining corporations, but it will also fuel climate disasters and can potentially replicate the Philex disaster in Padcal, Benguet.” said Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina, also a member PMCJ.

Last August 2012, the leading promoter of responsible mining in the country, Philex Mining Corp. faced charges from the government due to the leaking of 20 million metric tons of mining waste into the two major rivers in the Cordillera region when its tailings pond burst due to heavy rains. According to DENR, this is the biggest mining disaster in the Philippines.

Tampakan: A Disaster Waiting to Happen

Based on SMI/Xtrata’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the basis for the granting of its ECC, it will have to cut 800 hectares of virgin forest in the area, will use up and waste billions of litres of freshwater, displace thousands of indigenous peoples from their ancestral domain and erect the largest tailings dam in the country, where 1.1 BILLION tons of toxic tailings/wastes will be stored.

“In an area where rainfall is rising and is expected to rise even further, erecting the biggest tailings dam in the country, is a disaster in the waiting, ala Marinduque and Padcal disasters” adds Garganera.

A recent data of the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) culled from the mid-range scenario study of PAGASA stating that Region XII will expect 14.8 percent increase in rainfall with a 0.9C to 1.3C increase in temperature. Rains last month affected the provinces of Saranggani, South Cotabato and General Santos City where 1,102 families where affected by severe flooding due to intense rains in three days.

“With the impacts of heavy rains that our province had just recently experienced, all the more that we cannot allow the contruction of the Tampakan project.” exclaims Agapito Dimol, Program staff of Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) Socsargen Chapter and a resident of General Santos City

FDC Socsargen Chapter sees that climate impacts, mainly due to storms, will only get worse and will not spare their region.

“The residents of South Cotabato have voiced its rejection of the Tampakan project since the beginning, as embodied in our provincial ordinance banning open-pit mining. The national government should recognize this.” Dimol adds, “we demand that they revoke the ECC.”

“Mining has no place in highly vulnerable areas in the Philippines. The P-Noy Administration must heed the call of its citizens and once and for all reject the Tampakan project. We must prepare ourselves for disasters and not do the opposite. Arances concludes.
About PMCJ:
The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) is a broad movement consisting of 103 national networks/alliances and local organizations representing basic sectors, grassroots communities, the marginalized and most vulnerable, including women, indigenous peoples, fisher folk and coastal communities, farmers and rural communities, forest communities, formal and informal workers, environmental groups, urban poor, and others in the Philippines that aims to lead the joint struggles, campaigns and actions in putting forward the climate justice framework as a fundamental element of solving the climate crisis.

 

Please refer to:

Gerry Arances, PMCJ Coordinator, 09328778578,gerry.arances@gmail.com

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, 09277617602,nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Agapito Dimol, FDC Socsargen Program Staff, 09212861341,gscfdc@yahoo.com

PressRelease
February 20, 2013

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[Press Release] Romblonanons pass Environment and Natural Resources Code -ATM

Romblonanons pass Environment and Natural Resources Code
Mining identified as crucial environmental concern

atm-logoOn Monday, February 11, the Provincial Council of Romblon passed its Environment and Natural Resources Code that intends to legislate measures to protect and conserve its environment and natural resources, specifically on destructive industries such as mining and logging.

Gov. Eduardo Firmalo said: “Finally, the Environment Code is passed! We are firm with our decision that Romblon is a special province, with beautiful resources that we should not forgo because of its promised development. As caretakers of our province, we agree that to protect the environment and natural resources is one of our important roles.”

Romblon provincial board member Felix Ylagan, the principal author of the environment code, said that it is timely to approved the ordinance to correct the errors made against the environment.

“The people have spoken very clearly, let there be liberality, it has been said time and again to ‘apply the law not by the letters that killeth but by the spirit that giveth life’; the legislation has far reaching benefits which will protect us now and those of our children’s children,” Ylagan said.

Among the most controversial sections include Sec. 64 on Mining where it stated:

Mining shall not be allowed within one (1) kilometer radius from a declared watershed or watershed areas as identified by the municipality concerned; Mining shall not be allowed above watershed areas regardless of its distance from the declared watershed areas; Mining shall not be allowed in tourism and agricultural areas as identified by the municipality concerned; in areas identified by Presidential Executive Order No. 79, series of 2012; and in Section 19 of Republic Act 7942 as provided shall be applicable within the purview of Section 64 of this Code.

Reacting to the recent passage of the ordinance, Sibuyan Islands Sentinels League for Environment (Sibuyan ISLE) said that the legislation challenges local government units to integrate climate change action and disaster risk reduction management plans in their development programs.

Sibuyan ISLE director Rodne Galicha said: “The path to sustainable development has been laid down and the decision-makers must implement programs which will not worsen the effects of the climate crisis—conservation, protection and rehabilitation of the environment are top priorities as well.”

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) welcomed this development and encouraged more local governments to legislate regulations to mining despite reported intimidation by some national government agencies to give favor to mining operations.

“We are pleased to find out that the provincial policy has been passed already, mainly because we believe that the local policy makers should take a stand and ensure that their environment is safe from critical industries. We congratulate the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Romblon,and the people for the strong political will!” Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of ATM said.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Romblon Ecumenical Forum Against Mining (REFAM) led by Msgr. Ernie Fetalino of the Roman Catholic Church and Bishop Ronelio Fabriquer of the Philippine Independent Church said: “Indeed the strong will of the people reigned after many years—it is the moral obligation of the Provincial Council to decide on the fate of the people towards a genuine environmental stewardship.”

REFAM further said that the approval of the environment code is a significant gift to Romblomanons on the second year commemoration of the province’s biggest anti-mining rally on February 14.

The Romblon Environment Code is passed three years after the South Cotabato Environment Code was passed. This is one of the reasons why the Department of Environment and Natural Resources cannot issue SMI-Xstrata’s Environmental Compliance Certificate for the Tampakan mining project.

Sibuyanons Against Mining (SAM)/Sibuyan Isle, Alliance of Students Against Mining (ASAM) and REFAM together with other lay leaders awaited the adoption of the said Environmental Code.

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. (30)

For more information:
Felix Ylagan, Sangguniang Panlalawigan, 0928-5031215
Pearl Harder, REFAM Secretariat, 0917-5927932
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 0927-7617602
Farah Sevilla, Policy Research and Advocacy Officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net, 0915-3313361

PRESS RELEASE
February 13, 2013

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