Legal Rights Natural Resources Centre
May 13, 2009
Quezon City, Philippines–Indigenous peoples representatives, environmentalists and Church leaders will bring their struggle against government’s pro-mining policies to the legislative arena today as they file a proposal for a new mining law to replace the Mining Law of 1995 (R.A.7942).
“We must put an end to the continued plunder of our country’s wealth under R.A. 7942 and the Arroyo government’s aggressive promotion of mining. We are here today to show our all-out support for the Alternative Mining Bill (AMB),” Rovik Obanil of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources (LRC) said.
Obanil revealed that the proposed legislation was the result of extensive consultations among mining-affected communities as well as with experts on economics, governance, social sciences and geosciences.
“The Mining Law of 1995 was practically written by the mining industry. During legislative deliberations prior to it’s passage, the legitimate concerns of the people with respect to environmental protection, human rights, ancestral domain and food security were brushed aside. It is no surprise therefore that in 14 years of implementation of this law, we have seen a pattern of abuse from Luzon all the way to Mindanao ,” Obanil argued.
“Minerals are a strategic resource which should be utilized in a judicious manner. If we are going to allow the mining of our mineral wealth, it should be done as part of a clear national development strategy which promotes the creation of downstream industries to maximize benefits for our people,” Obanil said.
The current Mining Law according to LRC, merely promotes extraction of minerals for ex-port which means very few jobs are created and very little income is generated beyond the taxes mining companies pay.
“The time has come to say, ‘Enough!’ to government’s pro-mining policies that result in human rights violations and only endanger our food security. After two decades of the Mining Law, it is clear that it does not serve the interests of the country and results in continued marginalization of poor communities and indigenous peoples like us,” Peter Duyapat, leader of the Didipio Earthsavers Movement (DESAMA) OF Nueva Vizcaya.
“We want to democratize decision-making with regard to the entry of mining in our areas. If any mining is to be done at all, it is people like us who will be affected who should make the decisions, not Malacañang,” Timuay Lucenio Manda, of the Piksalabukan Gukom de Bayog (PGB) of Zambaonga del Sur said.
Supporters of the AMB staged a motorcade from the Quezon City Memorial Circle to the Sandiganbayan. They then marched to the House of Representatives to join the bills authors, representatives Risa Hontiveros of Akbayan of the Liberal Party, Lorenzo Tañada III, Walden Bello, Carlos Padilla and Rufus Rodriguez.
Reference: Rovik Santiago Obanil
Legal Rights and Natural Resources Centre
Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth, Philippines