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A Unity Statement for the Protection of the People and the Environment: Stop the Plunder of our Natural Wealth
Stop the Plunder of our Natural Wealth
A Unity Statement for the Protection of the People and the Environment
We come from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, representing 227 sectoral and people's organizations, Church institutions, local government units, and other advocates throughout the Philippines. We have united through this historic Third People's Mining Conference to express our collective stand on the state's mining policy and practice as well as to reaffirm our aspirations for the country and the environment.
Seventeen years have passed since the Republic Act (RA) 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 was promulgated. After nearly two decades under the policy of mining liberalization, corporations have gained control over 1,125,000 hectares of the country's rich lands and have earned billions of dollars through the extraction and export of minerals.
RA 7942 has intensified the foreign and corporate exploitation of our natural resources. The law has been used to legitimize 100% foreign ownership; generous fiscal and non-fiscal incentives; paltry state shares, taxes and fees; auxiliary rights, such as private control over water and timber resources; and decision-making over mining in the hands of a few.
RA 7942 has entrenched export-oriented and foreign-dominated mining in partnership with local corporations in the Philippines: earning massive profits for a few while causing destruction, dislocation and destitution for the majority of the people:
§ Such mining is gobbling up our remaining forests and agricultural ecosystems and is draining away the life from our mountains, rivers, seas, and coasts.
§ It further perpetuates massive landlessness among the country’s peasantry, who comprise the majority of Filipinos and has contributed to aggravating the current crisis of food insecurity.
§It has caused the economic and social displacement of farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples, and even small-scale miners.
§ It has devastated and polluted our environment, leading to great misery among our people—especially women and children—and increasing our vulnerability to disasters in this time of climate change.
§ It has failed to protect the welfare and safety of mine workers, who are subjected to dangerous working conditions, paid low wages and are denied job security. Mining firms have denied and systematically violated workers' fundamental rights to associate, collectively bargain and strike.
§It has been responsible for grave violations of human rights in affected communities, where the government protects mining companies by utilizing the military, police and militia.
Aside from these, mining companies have utilized “greenwashing” to deceive the people, coopt local government units, and sow division and conflict among communities.
After 17 years, foreign and large-scale mining’s contribution to the economy remains dismal and insignificant. While foreign transnational corporations and their local associates rake in millions of pesos in profits, the national and local government collect but a pittance in excise tax and other few revenue collections. In the past ten years, mining and quarrying combined have generally contributed less than 1% annually to the country's gross domestic product and have accounted for less than 0.5% of employment.
However, President Benigno Aquino III continues to support foreign and large-scale mining as a matter of national policy and has even exempted mining operations from the logging ban. The Aquino administration continues to allow the exploration, identification, and establishment of new mineral reservations, approving more than 730 corporate mining contracts to date. Corporations are now attempting to use small-scale mining permits to further pursue their operations, to the detriment of resisting small-scale mining communities. The Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 itself euphemistically acknowledges that mining has brought about “mixed results,” including ecological destruction and displacement. However, it stops at the recommendation of more standards and completely fails to outline how mining should be strategically planned and regulated for the benefit of the people.
The people's resistance against foreign and large-scale mining all over the country continues to grow stronger and wider. It is difficult not to listen to the rising crescendo of grassroots opposition. Indigenous peoples and peasants have staged barricades and have declared war in their communities against mining companies, including armed resistance. Almost six million people have already signed the campaign “No to Mining in Palawan.” Multi-sectoral alliances against foreign mining operations are mushrooming everywhere. Local government units are imposing moratoriums on mining operations in defiance of the national mining policy: at least 12 provincial governments have passed resolutions or ordinances banning large-scale mining in their areas. All these prove that the people see behind the veneer of the government’s claim that large-scale mining will lead to development.
The wise utilization of our mineral resources for the benefit of Filipinos is premised on the defense of national sovereignty and patrimony. There is an urgent need to reorient the mining industry for domestic industrialization towards genuine development, while ensuring a healthy and balanced ecology. To uphold these principles, people's organizations have crafted the People’s Mining Bill. This was consolidated with other similar legislative initiatives in Congress for the proposed Philippine Mineral Resources Act of 2012.
Therefore, in this 3rd People's Mining Conference, as we resolve to heighten our struggle for land, life and the environment, we pledge to pursue the following calls:
§ Scrap the Mining Act of 1995 and stop the government's Mining Revitalization Program
§ Declare a moratorium on mining operations and processing of applications until a pro-Filipino, pro-people, progressive mining policy regime that is environmentally-sound is in place
§ Stop foreign and large-scale mining corporate operations and projects
§ Stop magnetite and offshore mining operations
§ Expose the deceptive “greenwashing” offensive and the manipulation of Free, Prior, Informed Consent (FPIC) process being done by mining firms
§ Defend our communities against human rights violations and militarization
§ Uphold the People's Mining Bill and pass the proposed Philippine Mineral Resources Act of 2012
§ Support grassroots initiatives against large-scale and destructive mining
§ Uphold indigenous peoples rights to ancestral land and self determination
§ Implement a genuine agrarian reform program
§ Nationalize the Philippine mining industry
Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE)
Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay)
Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP)
Kalipunan ng mga Kristiyanong Kabataan sa Pilipinas (3KP)
Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization
KARAPATAN: Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights
KASAMA – Bukidnon
KASIMBAYAN (Kapatirang Simbahan para sa Bayan)
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Compostela Valley
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Negros
Kilusang Mayo Uno
Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad sa Mindanao (KALUMARAN)
Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC)
Lumad sa Halayong Habagatang Mindanao or Federation of Indigenous People in Far South Mindanao (KALUHAMIN)
Madia-as Ecological Movement – Panay
Magsasaka at Siyentipiko Para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG)
Mainit National Park Conservation Society
Mamamayan Kontra-Mina (MKM) Palawan
Medical Mission Sisters (MMS)
Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (MSC)
Missionary Benedictine Sisters - Socio- Pastoral Apostolate (OSB SPA)
Missionary Benedictine Sisters (OSB)
Missionary Sisters of Mary (MSM)
Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (ICM)
Nars ng Bayan
National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP)
National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL)
Order of Friars Minor- Justice and Peace (OFM-JPIC)
Order of the Servants of Mary (Servites)
Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya)
Panalipdan Southern Mindanao Region
Pasakaday, Salugpungan, Kalimudan (PASAKA)
Philippine Foundation for Environmental Concern (PFEC)
Promotion of Church People’s Responses
Religious de Notre Dame de Sion (NDS)
Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP)
Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Bukidnon
SAGIP ISLA, Inc.
Salabukan Nok Gtaw Subanen (SGS)
Save Pantukan Movement – Compostela Valley
Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (SENTRA)
Sibuyanons Against Mining (SAM) – Romblon
Sisters of the Divine Savior (Salvatorian Sisters)
Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT)
Society of the Divine Word (SVD)
Stewards of Creation
Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP)
Timpuyog Kaigorotan-Nueva Ecija
Tunay na Alyansa ng Bayan Alay sa Katutubo (TABAK)
Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Kumbersyong Agraryo at Pagmimina sa Bikol (Umalpas Ka)
Upholding Life And Nature, Inc. (ULAN)
United Church of Christ in the Philippines – Christian Youth Fellowship (UCCP-CYF)
United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)
United Methodist Church – Methodist Youth Fellowship (UMC/MYF)
United Methodist Church, Board of Womens Work (UMC BOWW)
Urban Poor Resource Center (UPRC)