Tag Archives: Mining Act of 1995

[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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[Press Release] More Marcopper mine tragedy, Philex’s mine disaster due to flawed mining law -ATM

More Marcopper mine tragedy, Philex’s mine disaster due to flawed mining law

From left to right, Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Beth Manggol, Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MaCEC) and Gerry Arances, Coordinator, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) during a press conference held this afternoon in Quezon City. Photo by ATM

From left to right, Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Beth Manggol, Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MaCEC) and Gerry Arances, Coordinator, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) during a press conference held this afternoon in Quezon City. Photo by ATM

After nearly two decades, the Mining Act of 1995 (Republic Act No. 7942) has failed to deliver on its promise of economic gains and jobs to communities where large-scale mining firms are operating. The flawed Mining Act of 1995 has so far resulted in disasters that render the revenue share it has allocated for government ridiculous.

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In a bid to stop the mining disasters from happening, several environment, human rights and Church groups led by Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) have set March 10-14, 2014 –dubbed “Mining Hell Week” –as a time of reckoning of the tragedies and the irreversible damage mining activities have continuously inflicted on communities since the enactment of Mining Act of 1995.

ATM, a coalition of more than one hundred organizations, said the past mining disasters were tragedies waiting to happen due to fatal flaws of the mining law.

In a statement, the ATM said “nineteen years is more than enough time to see that the law has not been working for the national interest, so much so that a number of key questions that have cropped up need to be resolved immediately and decisively by the government to avoid the repeat of past disasters that have inflicted irreversible environmental damage, caused deaths and community impoverishment but even to those who will be born in the future.”

Brandished by government as “attempt to revitalize the mining industry,” RA 7942 only proved to be a recipe for disasters, highlighted by the Marcopper toxic mine tragedy in Marinduque in 1996, the Philex’s Padcal mine spill in August 2012, and Kingking mines landslide in Compostela Valley in 2012 and many others.

According to ATM, the Mining Act of 1995 allows for 100% ownership of minerals by foreign entities through the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA), permits for more open areas to mining than mining-free zones—exploitation over protection and conservation, and sanctions many tax holidays and deductions that leave us with mere cents of income from our own mineral resources, among others.

Situation of Mogpog river now in Marinduque, it is one of the few tributaries that originates from the Mogpog town's main watershed area. Mogpog has long suffered from recurring floods due to siltation caused by the collapse of Marcopper Mining Corporation's Maguilaguila siltation dam in 1993. There, the colors of the water range from peach to brown to gruesome red and toxic green or violet ending up in Tablas Strait.

Situation of Mogpog river now in Marinduque, it is one of the few tributaries that originates from the Mogpog town’s main watershed area. Mogpog has long suffered from recurring floods due to siltation caused by the collapse of Marcopper Mining Corporation’s Maguilaguila siltation dam in 1993. There, the colors of the water range from peach to brown to gruesome red and toxic green or violet ending up in Tablas Strait.

“Since the 1990s, the presence of large-scale mining in the provinces of Marinduque, Benguet, Compostela Valley, and Nueva Vizcaya have led to acute changes in the environment and the community,” Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator said.

Mining in the country has taken severe tolls on “access to water, health, and the development of agricultural activity” and brought about drastic “change in the environment,” Garganera said.

Moreover, he said: “With climate change already upon us, mining disasters are most likely to happen with a flawed mining law and inadequate regulatory environment. Geo-hazard areas should be declared ‘no-go zones’ to mining.”

On the other hand, he said that even if the government manages to get the bigger share in the mining sector’s declared profits, the revenue would be nothing compared to the hundreds of lives that have been and would be sacrificed and the dislocation of communities in mining affected areas.

“As indicated by several studies, the Mining Act of 1995 has been disastrous to communities and the environment and the promised economic benefit is a pittance compared to the dislocation of communities, especially of indigenous peoples, who face constant health risks and whose livelihoods are threatened by massive environmental destruction due to large-scale mining,” Garganera added.

Thus, the ATM calls on government to repeal the Mining Act of 1995 and to pass the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB), “which offers a far more sustainable approach to utilization and protection of our country’s natural resources.”

Press release
March 10, 2014

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[Statement] NCCP Statement on Executive Order No. 79 re Philippine Mining

NCCP Statement on Executive Order No. 79 re Philippine Mining

National Council of Churches in the Philippines:
Statement on Executive Order No. 79

“The profit of the earth is for all” (Ecc. 5:9)

On July 6, 2012, President Benigno Aquino III signed Executive Order No. 79 “institutionalizing and implementing reforms in the Philippine Mining Sector providing policies and guidelines to ensure environmental protection and responsible mining in the utilization of mineral resources”.

This latest Executive Order stands on Republic Act 7942 or the Mining Act of 1995 which is seriously flawed, tilted heavily in favor of foreign mining firms. The National Council of Churches in the Philippines has opposed the Mining Act from the beginning as it “intensifies the extraction of our mineral resources endowed by the Almighty Creator” and “violates the patrimony and sovereignty of the country with the expropriation of the people’s land for foreign mining corporations” (Executive Committee, November 4, 1996). The NCCP has since joined the clamor for its repeal.

We affirm this stand today. Executive Order No. 79 does not negate the inherent character of the Mining Act of 1995. It opens the floodgate wider for foreign firms to plunder our mineral resources. What other evidence do we need to see? Foreign mining firms are already exacting untold environmental destruction in many parts of our country from the north to the south. We are very concerned that in essence, EO 79’s main and sole intent is to be a bargaining chip of the government to acquire a bigger cut from these mining firms, lippy to other important long-term considerations.

In recent months, we have seen the growing opposition to massive resource extraction by no less than local government units. They have added their voices to those of indigenous peoples, non-government organizations, people’s organizations, faith-based groups and many others concerned with the degradation of our natural resources. There is sufficient basis for this groundswell, not only in the wanton destruction of our resources and in the disasters that wreaked havoc on life and property but also in the enduring concern for the proper stewardship of natural resources and the welfare of future generations of Filipinos.

This concern is most evident among indigenous peoples and faith based groups. We are therefore, very concerned that this executive order intends to stifle the initiatives of local government units for environmental protection and posterity. The intent of the national government to impose its will over the will of the local government units speak loud and clear in this executive order. It subverts other regulations hitherto provided, that respect the rights of these units. It does not empower these units but emasculates their initiatives for the well-being of their constituents.

The executive order pays lip service to the fact that human rights violation are committed to indigenous peoples communities, activists and other groups in regions where there is strong opposition to mining. These human rights violations range from vilification, harassments, forced evacuations and extrajudicial killings. Opposition to mining activities has been associated with anti-government activities and part of insurgency, thus justifying the deployment of state security forces in these areas to augment private security forces of mining companies.

Thirteen anti-mining activists were killed under the watch of President Aquino, the latest among them Jimmy Liguyon in Mindanao, Romualdo “Waldo” Palispis in Aurora and Willem Geertman in Pampanga. The case of Agnes Mesina, a lay worker of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines based in the Cagayan Valley is a recent example of harassment of anti-mining advocates. In terms of human rights, it is already known in the international community, that the Philippine government has much more work to do to comply with international human rights protocols it has signed.

We are very much dismayed and extremely disappointed. Instead of scrapping off the Mining Act of 1995 in favor of a more rational piece of mining legislation another recipe is put in place that heightens economic plunder, furthers the wanton destruction of our already frail environment and disturbs irreversibly the balance of our ecology. We are for a mining policy that places the primacy of the industrial development of this country and benefits for the people of this republic. We are for a Mining Bill that places serious regard to the defense of our national sovereignty and patrimony as our Constitution so declares.

We urge our Congress to legislate a people’s mining bill that considers well the just sharing of our resources to help arrest the growing gap between the rich and the poor. We want a mining bill that can push our industrial development rather than a bill that confines our country as a supplier of materials for the development of other countries. Certainly, we are not devoid of women and men who can spur our country towards national industrialization.

We recognize the leadership role of indigenous peoples in broadening our understanding of the relationship of land and people and of responsible stewardship that sustains the earth. We are encouraged by the growing astuteness of local government units towards the preservation of our natural resources over and against the onslaught of corporate greed. We are edified by the sacrifices people’s organizations and activists undergo to ensure that future generations of Filipinos enjoy the benefits of God’s earth. As Christians, we seek to uphold the primacy of the development and sharing of what we have so that all may benefit (Acts 4:34-35) and we do not trade our birthright for “a pair of shoes” (Amos 8.6).

The Most Rev. EPHRAIM S. FAJUTAGANA
Chairperson

Rev. REX RB REYES, JR.
General Secretary

July 13, 2012

http://www.canadaphilippinessolidarity.org

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness…” Howard Zinn

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[Event] World Environment Day – Launching of Save our Sovereignty—Yamang Minerales Nagsisilbi sa Bayan Network (SOS-Yamang Bayan)

One hundred bikers together with environmental advocates in Congress and religious groups will do seven (Jericho) rounds along QC Memorial Circle for the environment, and launching of Save our Sovereignty—Yamang Minerales Nagsisilbi sa Bayan Network (SOS-Yamang Bayan)! On June 6.

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