Environment activist group calls for genuine mining moratorium

PRESIDENT Aquino should implement a nationwide moratorium on new large scale foreign mining projects and operations to save our environment from further destruction. Better yet, he should issue an administrative order similar to what he did on the logging moratorium,” said environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment.

Kalikasan PNE, in partnership with Defend Patrimony! Alliance, the Center for Environmental Concerns- Philippines, UP Explore and UP Youth for Earth Alliance held the forum Eden Lost: Mining Situation and its Impacts on Biodiversity in the Philippines, on February 23, 2011, one o’clock in the afternoon at the UP Institute of Biology.

In earlier statements, the group said President Aquino’s cancellation of some 600 mining permits and applications, though welcome, is not enough to protect the environment. It does not curb the current destructive operations of mining companies. Also, the basis of cancelling these permits and applications is not because of the damages they caused to the environment nor the  violation of the human rights of the communities covered in the mining claims, but because these permits and applications are either incomplete and ageing or just into speculation.

“After being ‘cleansed’ of old and incomplete mining applications, areas once closed will again be opened for mining projects and operations. A genuine mining moratorium is needed. This will greatly help in the rehabilitation and recovery our degraded environment. It will allow the replenishing of our flora and fauna. Likewise, the government should also hold accountable mining companies like Marcopper in Marinduque, Oceana Gold in Nueva Vizcaya, TVI in Zamboanga del Norte, and KORES in Rapu-rapu, Albay for the environmental destruction caused by their operations,” explains Clemente Bautista, Jr, National Coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

Meanwhile, Loi Manalasan, President of UP Explore said “this is not only about saving trees, animals or beautiful places in the Philippines; this is about our saving our future and the next generations. The youth should stand against large scale foreign mining operations before the time comes when what is left for us to call our country is a wasteland left by the mining companies after taking our mineral resources.”

According to Defend Patrimony! Alliance, a multisectoral network of organizations against foreign plunder of our natural resources, the extractive and minerals-for-export orientation of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, plus the corruption inside government agencies concerned on mining operations facilitates the destruction of the environment and violation of the human rights of the communities in the mining concession areas.

“The environmental plunder caused by Mining Act of 1995 should stop. On March 2, we will file the People’s Mining Bill in Congress together with the progressive party list Bayan Muna. The People’s Mining Bill contains the people’s vision of what mining should be. Mining in the Philippines should be pro-people, takes environmental precautions seriously, respects and protects human rights, and supports national industrialization,” said Bautista.

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