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Friday, September 04, 2009


The Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), an alliance of 80 civil society organizations nationwide, has urged President Arroyo to exercise her role as the protector of the environment by stopping the scheduled conference and exhibit of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CMP) scheduled from September 15 to 17 at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel in Pasay City.
ATM national coordinator Jaybee Garganera said the conference "is an attempt to drumbeat the revitalization of the Philippine mining industry. This revitalization strategy is an erroneous development policy of the Philippine government."
Garganera said based on official statistics, the contribution of mining to the national economy is minuscule, the jobs generated are not even one percent and even the investments made are off the mark by 80 percent.
In seeking the scuttling of the event, Garganera said Arroyo, who ironically authored the Philippine Mining Act that paved the way for the influx of Canadian, Australian and US mining companies into the country, should realize that "large-scale mining poses serious threats to asset reform gains as it displaces and continues to displace indigenous peoples from their ancestral domains under Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act (IPRA). It poses risks to protected areas and critical watersheds covered by the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS), directly impacts on irrigation and agriculture lands of farmers under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and will contaminate municipal waters and coastal areas, something that is condemned by the Fisheries Code."
Blas Tabaranza of Haribon Foundation, a member-organization and convenor of ATM, stressed that mining operations are contradictory to constitutional duty of the President to protect the people from environmental harm and save land, sea and air from devastation, noting that the principal mining method applied in the Philippines, open pit mining, affects disastrously about 60 percent of protected and critical eco-system areas.
"Large-scale mining is in direct conflict with sustainable development initiatives," Plantilla noted, "with less than 20% forest cover, our priority should be to restore forests and not further subject them to mining. He also added that "healthy forests ensure that water will always be available for agriculture, industry and domestic uses. Mining our forests does not make us winners, we all end up losers.
Tabaranza is the Executive Director of Haribon.
Judy Pasimio of the Legal Rights and Natural Resource Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth Philippines slammed the mining grand show, explaining that "revitalization of mining is a misplaced economic policy, since the mining industry is still reeling form the impacts of the global financial crisis. Statistical and economic history (1974-2007) data tell us that mining has never contributed more than 2 percent of the gross domestic production (GDP), has never employed more than 250,000 workers at its peak in the late 80s, which translates to no more than 0.4 percent of the labor force."
Garganera meanwhile, repudiated the claim of the CMP about the glowing accomplishments of the mining industry, explaining that from 2004 to 2008, the industry never actually generated 20 percent of its targeted investments. "In a cumulative computation, the accomplishment for the targetted mining investments for the period 2003-2008 is only about 10 percent of the trumpeted P250 billion," he concluded.
The Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), an advocacy group and a people's movement that upholds the rights of the present and future Filipinos against the persisting injustices related to mining. ATM is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations convened by HARIBON, Legal Rights and Natural Resource Center, – Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC/FOEI) and PhilDHRRA.

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