Environmental advocates want 16 year old mining law scrapped

DAVAO CITY —  A local environmental alliance Panalipdan Southern Mindanao Thursday held a protest action calling for the junking of the widely- contested  mining law.

Farmers and members of the small scale mining industry also joined the protest outside the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) where they destroyed an image showing the negative impacts of RA 7942.

“The Mining Act is the culprit behind the massive pillage of our mineral resources and the destruction of thousands of hectares of forest covers, watershed areas and water systems. The people have long been demanding for the scrapping of this unconstitutional law and we urge the current president to listen to do the country, the planet, a big favor,” said Francis Morales, Panalipdan secretary general.

Yesterday, small scale miners filed a petition at the province of Governor Chongkee Uy demanding that the mineral rich province declare a local law that prohibits the operation of any large-scale or foreign mining transnationals (TNCs). This  is part of a local environmental code that Panalipdan member organizations have been pushing all over the region.

Meanwhile, farmers from Paquibato District strongly opposes the 16,200 – hectare mining application of Indophil  Resources  covering the areas of Davao City, Talaingod and Bukidnon; the 8,100 hectare application of ALBERTO Mining and the 8,100 hectare application of PENSIONS MINING Corp in Paquibato.  The residents of Brgy. Lumiad and Mapula  also contested the mining application of a certain Superfields Mining Company which covers more than 6,000 hectares of their barangay.

A local code vs largescale,foreign minging

“We urge the local governments all over Davao region to adopt a code against large scale and foreign mining. Despite the Mining Act, the people should have the right to assert that their localities reject foreign and large-scale mining ”said Morales.

As an alternative, Panalipdan – SMR supports House Bill 4315, An Act Re-Orienting the Philippine Mining Industry, Ensuring the Highest Industry Development Standards, and For other Purposes,  which progressive partylist representatives Teddy Casino, Luz Ilagan, Neri Javier et al filed in the lower house  yesterday (March 2).

Also tagged as the “Peoples’ Mining Bill,” this alternative mining policy aims to “address the need for an alternative framework for the mining industry which should be anchored on the principles of social justice, respect for peoples’ rights and welfare, environmental conservation, defense of national patrimony and national industrialization.”

“We recognize the importance of mining but developing the mining industry should be on the framework of providing minerals needed for national development rather than for foreign extraction   and profit. The national government has the burden of uplifting the status of the small scale mining industry for the welfare of the small scale miners and to minimize the harmful impacts of mining on the environment,” said Morales.

He adds, “Technology, research should be maximized to develop sound small scale mining practices. Mining should also not be allowed within areas of great environmental significance.  It is also important that the mining industry remain under government control to avoid foreign monopoly of the mining industry.

The group also stressed that national development must not rely on extractive industries like mining.
“Genuine land reform is still the key to national progress. Pump-priming agriculture is still the number one step to rehabilitate our environment. This is incontrast to the rehashed globalization policies of the Aquino government like the Public Private Partnership agreement which emboldens foreign corporations like mining TNCs for the large-scale plunder of our natural resources,” said Morales.


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