Indigenous peoples call for the revocation of EO 79

PROGRESSIVE indigenous peoples under the KATRIBU partylist together with different environmental organizations held a picket protest at the front of SOFITEL Hotel, where different mining companies held its annual conference.

Armed with different noise making paraphernalia, the group calls the conference as “Plunderers’ Conference.”

According to Kakay Tolentino, a dumagat spokesperson of KATRIBU, “this gathering is nothing but a conference of plunderers and exploiters of our rich natural resources.”

“It’s repulsive to think that our government has the gall to sponsor such activity. This only show how our government is hell-bent to exploit and trade our natural resource to large foreign companies at the expense of the indigenous peoples’ right to land and our nations patrimony. This sponsorship is a clear example on how the Aquino administration maintained the previous administration’s policy of liberalized mining,” Tolentino said.

“Even with the issuance of Executive order (EO) 79, which the government dubs as a policy for responsible mining, the Aquino administration cannot hide its stinking bias towards liberalized mining. The EO 79 is nothing but a policy that sustains the current liberalized and foreign-dominated mining industry, which will not serve the interest of the indigenous peoples and the Filipino nation as a whole.”

EO 79 does not address the loopholes of the Mining Law that has allowed mining corporations to disregard the protection of our environment and the respect of indigenous peoples’ rights. Its has affirmed the continuation of environmental destruction done by the the large mining companies.

“And this mining conference is a proof that large foreign mining companies are not affected by the EO 79. It is business as usual to them, large mining companies presently operating in our country will just continue their plunder.”

What we need right now is not a palliative measure but a genuine policy that will address our need towards national industrialization. As long as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 is in place, no executive order can stop the people for clamoring for a nationalized and pro-people mining industry. We call on the Aquino government to pass the People’s Mining Bill, a bill that seeks to re-orients the current destructive , lopsided and export-oriented character of the present mining industry, Tolentino said.

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