Green group urges citizens, officials to challenge Palace mining EO

KALIKASAN Partylist today expressed support for a new citizens’ movement opposed to the new Executive Order No. 79 institutionalizing mining reforms in the country.

Called the People’s Caucus on the Mining Executive Order, the movement was launched earlier this morning at a public forum in the Balay Internasyunal, University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City.

The movement is an expression of citizen’s broad unity against ecological destruction and plunder of the Philippine’s finite mineral resources promoted by the new mining EO. It calls for a new mining policy to replace the 17-year old Republic Act (RA) 7942 and the EO: one which will respect people’s rights, protect the environment, and protect the country’s national patrimony for the future generation.

Conveners of the People’s Caucus are united in their critique of the new mining EO. In a joint statement, they asserted that the EO “deceptively banners a moratorium on the approval of new mining applications” but recognizes around 771 kinds of large-scale mining permits (approved as of June 30, 2012) covering more than 1 million hectares of the country’s total land area. They cautioned that the EO will give more rights and privileges to existing foreign and large-scale foreign investors interested in more profit-taking and override current local government decisions stopping big mining projects from continuing. Lastly, they added that the EO will not significantly address the problems of the country’s small-scale mining communities who contribute more economic benefits to the country than large-scale mining, nor will it bring in revenue that the country deserves.

The People’s Caucus is currently composed of close to 40 convenors representing environmental organizations, NGOs, Church institutions, regional alliances, indigenous people’s groups, professionals, scientists and health organizations. Prominent individuals such as Bishop Arturo Bastes of the Diocese of Sorsogon and UP Manila Department of Social Sciences Chairperson Prof. Carl Ramota have also joined the alliance.

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