Click image to view full sizeWe, ordinary people coming from various sectors of society and advocates of human rights and the environment—representing women, students, professionals, the academe, the church, non-government organizations, farmers, fisher folks, and indigenous peoples communities nationwide—are strongly calling on His Excellency, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III to implement urgent actions against destructive mining practices in several parts of the country, particularly in our fragile island ecosystems.
It is clear that the Philippines has not been getting its fair share of revenues from the mining sector. The contribution of mining and quarrying to the country’s Gross Domestic Product from 2000 up to 2009 is only 0.9%. For decades, mining has made no significant contribution to the economy in terms of employment, investment, and revenues.
A glaring fact is that the poorest areas in the country are mining areas—Surigao, Bataraza in Palawan, Rapu-Rapu, among others. In addition, large-scale mining operations have continually caused human rights violations as well as environmental destruction and disasters. These have posed grave threats to agriculture and food.
Furthermore, as the government itself admits, it still has to improve environmental standards and its capability to regulate the mining industry, increase transparency and minimize, if not eliminate corruption.
Therefore, we are calling on President Aquino in line with his social contract with the Filipino people, to lend us his ears and hear the plea of his bosses.
1. Repeal the Mining Act of 1995 (Republic Act 7942) and revoke Arroyo’s Revitalization of the Mining Industry (Executive Order 270 and 270-A), which we deem as anti-Filipino, anti-environment;
2. Enact an immediate moratorium on large-scale mining and suspension and cancellation, if applicable, on all mining operations, licenses and applications, while the relevant mining policies are being reviewed.
3. Declare key biodiversity areas, water catchment areas, prime agricultural lands, ancestral domains, and marine biodiversity areas in various parts of the country as NO-GO ZONES in order to preserve, conserve, and promote the ecological integrity and services of our natural resources through ecotourism and agriculture;
4. Ensure that all mining applications and operations comply with high standards on environmental assessments and management, specifically implementing Total Economic Valuation (TEV);
5. Review, investigate, and pursue justice against violations made by mining operators against the environment, local communities and indigenous peoples;
6. Guarantee the genuine implementation of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) for all mining applications and operations in ancestral domains of indigenous peoples;
7. Respect and recognize the local autonomy of local government units in their stand on mining in their territorial jurisdictions, especially those who have issued ordinances, resolutions and orders that challenge the entry, operations or expansions of mining activities; and,
8. Certify as urgent the proposed Philippine Mineral Resources Act of 2012 (House Bills 206, 3763, and 4315) and Senate Bill 3126, pending in Congress.
With this declaration, we therefore invoke our constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology in the spirit of precautionary principle and intergenerational responsibility.
This is the clarion call of 6.5 million individuals and counting, 812 organizations and 40 local government units.
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