Invites misled columnists, news writers to discuss mining
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), a coalition of more than 90 organizations from mining-affected communities, their support groups and NGOs. We would like to clarify some points that columnists and some editors have been arguing about ATM in the past weeks.
First, our alliance was formed more than six years ago to challenge the misplaced policy of GMA administration in revitalizing the mineral industry in the Philippines. We believe that the claimed benefits of investments, employment and revenues or taxes by mining are misleading, inaccurate and sometimes, bordering on lies. We have studies and published researches done by economists that show that the promises of the mining industry for the past seven years have been dismal failures. We strongly argue that mining is not an efficient driver of economic development, and it is far from an effective poverty-reduction strategy.
Second, we associate ourselves with the Save Palawan Movement, because we share in their vision and the commitment to protect Palawan and we will gather 10 million signatures not just for Palawan but also for all key biodiversity and agricultural areas in the country.
Even if there is less than 1 million population in Palawan, we must remember, the richness of Palawan is for all the Filipinos, and we are tapping into that more than 90 million hearts and minds who share the belief that Palawan had more than to offer the Philippines and the whole world other than nickel, especially if its extraction threatens to destroy lives, culture, food and biodiversity.
Third, to label all mining activists as supporters of communism or rebellious acts are both dangerous and ignorant. And that is a volatile mixture. We know that a lot of decision-makers, policy-makers and opinion-makers want the new president to succeed. We share that same passion. Members of ATM supported and campaigned for President Aquino and many in the alliance still believe and continue to work and engage the PNoy administration. However, our support and engagement do not necessarily mean we will abandon our position on the mining issue. PNoy being the head of government does not necessarily mean that the ills of mining that were perpetuated by GMA have either been corrected or gone away. The attacks on Taganito mining projects, the activation of militias as a response, and the killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio are clear evidences that the issue is still burning, the violence is escalating, and the conflicts remain unresolved.
ATM desires change towards sustainable development. Unfortunately the righteous path that has been offered by the PNoy administration on the mining issue has been riddled with potholes. We will never stop being activists until this is remedied.
We encourage media people, especially columnists and commentators to engage Alyansa Tigil Mina to clarify and understand better our positions on the controversial mining industry. We are more than eager to converse in an objective and rational manner. (30)
Farah Y. Sevilla
Policy Research and Advocacy Officer
Alyansa Tigil Mina National Secretariat
c/o Haribon Office, 2F Santos and Sons Bldg.
#973 Aurora Blvd., Cubao, Quezon City.
Telephone: +63 (02) 434-4642
Fax: +63 (02) 434-4696