Progressive groups assail big mining firms

ANG BAYAN
7 March 2012
Download PDF

Hundreds of environmental activists marched towards Malacañang on March 3 to show the Aquino government their strong opposition to the policy of liberalization and foreign mining in the country. It was the opening salvo in a series of mass actions marking a stepped up nationwide campaign against destructive mining.

The protest action was timed to coincide with the 17th anniversary of the Mining Act of 1995 and the conclusion of the Third National People's Mining Conference held March 1-3. The conference, which was attended by delegates from all over the country was organized by Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), Defend Patrimony! Alliance and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN). They demanded the abrogation of the Mining Act of 1995 and a stop to widespread mining in the country.

BAYAN secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. belied claims by big businessmen that it is the mining industry that will bring development to the country as long as it is done responsibly. In fact, said Reyes, mining has contributed a mere 1.5% to the economy in the past decade.

Kalikasan PNE coordinator Clemente Bautista said that plunderous mining corporations have controlled more than a million hectares of land in the Philippines in the 17 years that the Mining Act of 1995 has existed. Conflicts and violence have erupted in mining areas and there has been massive environmental destruction and poisonong of streams, rivers and seacoasts.

Large-scale mining operations have also led to human rights abuses. Since 2001, there have been 40 human rights violations against environmental activists, including 37 extrajudicial killings, two attempted murders and one case of involuntary disappearance. Militarization and terrorism by government armed forces exist side by side even as residents are blinded by various gimmicks cooked up by multinational corporations and their cohorts among local officials, added Kalikasan PNE.

Instead of the antipeople, anti-environment and pro-foreign capitalist Mining Act of 1995, the environmental activists called for support for the People's Mining Bill filed by Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño. The bill aims to make the country's mineral resources serve the goals of national industrialization, particularly manufacturing and agricultural modernization.

Hundreds of environmental activists marched towards Malacañang on March 3 to show the Aquino government their strong opposition to the policy of liberalization and foreign mining in the country. It was the opening salvo in a series of mass actions marking a stepped up nationwide campaign against destructive mining.

The protest action was timed to coincide with the 17th anniversary of the Mining Act of 1995 and the conclusion of the Third National People's Mining Conference held March 1-3. The conference, which was attended by delegates from all over the country was organized by Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), Defend Patrimony! Alliance and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN). They demanded the abrogation of the Mining Act of 1995 and a stop to widespread mining in the country.

BAYAN secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. belied claims by big businessmen that it is the mining industry that will bring development to the country as long as it is done responsibly. In fact, said Reyes, mining has contributed a mere 1.5% to the economy in the past decade.

Kalikasan PNE coordinator Clemente Bautista said that plunderous mining corporations have controlled more than a million hectares of land in the Philippines in the 17 years that the Mining Act of 1995 has existed. Conflicts and violence have erupted in mining areas and there has been massive environmental destruction and poisonong of streams, rivers and seacoasts.

Large-scale mining operations have also led to human rights abuses. Since 2001, there have been 40 human rights violations against environmental activists, including 37 extrajudicial killings, two attempted murders and one case of involuntary disappearance. Militarization and terrorism by government armed forces exist side by side even as residents are blinded by various gimmicks cooked up by multinational corporations and their cohorts among local officials, added Kalikasan PNE.

Instead of the antipeople, anti-environment and pro-foreign capitalist Mining Act of 1995, the environmental activists called for support for the People's Mining Bill filed by Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño. The bill aims to make the country's mineral resources serve the goals of national industrialization, particularly manufacturing and agricultural modernization.