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Monday, November 23, 2009
GROUPS DISMAY OVER ATIENZA RESPONSE TO MINDORENOS HUNGER STRIKE
MANILA, PHILIPPINES –Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), an advocacy group and a people's movement composed of more than eighty (80) organizations from mining-affected communities and civil society organizations nationwide, is dismayed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) response to the Mindoreños hunger strike, which is clamoring for the revocation of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) issued to a Norwegian company – Intex Resources' Mindoro Nickel Project.
Yesterday, DENR Secretary Joselito Atienza signed a suspension order on the Intex ECC after the dialogue with the Mindoro contigent composed of the chief executives and local officials of Mindoro, Mangyan tribal leaders, civil society representatives and with the presence of Bishops Broderick Pabillo and Warlito Cajandig held during the second day of the hunger strike.
"The Mindoreños had a dialogue with Secretary Atienza in good faith but upon closer inspection of the signed order, the Mindoreños felt dissatisfied by Secretary Atienza's response, which merely gave a 90-day suspension to the ECC and failed to reflect accurately the address the issues and agreements during the dialogue such as the call of Mindoro local officials to respect Oriental Mindoro's 25-year mining moratorium ordinance issued in 2002 prohibiting the entry of all large-scale mining in the province and the presented local resolutions opposing the mining project ," said ATM national coordinator Jaybee Garganera, belonging to support groups of the Mindoreños.
Yesterday, the Mindoreños have also acquired a copy of the letter issued by Environmental Impact Assessment Review Committee (EIARC) that recommended an ECC denial on the Mindoro Nickel Project. With the series of dissappointments from the DENR's actions the Mindoro Hunger Strike being staged in front of the DENR will continue.
"We, in ATM, is dismayed by Secretary Atienza's obvious bias on Intex Resources over the interest of the people of Mindoro when he ordered a suspension instead of a revocation of the Intex ECC. Despite the lack of social acceptability of the mining project and the EAIRC's recommended denial of the ECC, Secretary Atienza still signed Intex ECC!", exclaimed Garganera.
"Secretary Atienza, should be held accountable to this continued tense situation, ATM will continue to provide utmost support to the decision of the Mindoreños to continue with their battle against the unjust actions of the DENR and Intex Resources" concluded Garganera.
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 Resources Center – Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC/FOEI) and PhilDHRRA.