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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Civil Society United in Support of DENR Secretary Gina Lopez’s Campaign Against Destruction of Communities By Irresponsible Global Extractive Mining


Wazzup Pilipinas!

After years of untrammeled destruction of our communities and environment, we finally have the courageous leadership needed to halt the pernicious and irresponsible actions of the global extractive mining industry.

We, members of civil society organizations, non-government organizations, and people’s organizations, have come together to manifest our full support for Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez’s campaign to hold irresponsible global mining interests accountable and to halt operations found to be running afoul of environmental standards.

Under Republic Act (RA) No. 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act, large-scale foreign owned mining has destroyed our natural resources and displaced countless communities, especially in the rural areas. Government has already given mining concessions covering more than 600,000 hectares of land. Despite the hype, these were not able to provide additional revenues for the government, nor uplift the lives of the affected communities. Instead, hectares upon hectares of forest lands have been denuded, rivers and lakes have been contaminated, and agricultural lands have become unproductive. These destructive economic activities must stop.

We believe that Secretary Lopez is a crusader who has the sincere desire to preserve the environment, alleviate poverty, and address social and environmental injustices that have hobbled the poor.

We welcome her campaign against illegal logging, illegal mining, and other destructive practices that aggravate the devastation of our natural resources. Towards the success of this campaign, we recommend that DENR review all permits granted to mining, logging and other environmentally sensitive activities to ensure compliance with government standards. If warranted, they should amend, suspend or revoke these permits.

We are encouraged by recent developments made possible by the mining audit that Secretary Lopez initiated. Some 20 out of 30 mining contracts have already been recommended for suspension. With the suspensions, the mining companies concerned should rehabilitate the natural resources they ravaged. At the same time, government should provide alternative jobs and sources of livelihood to workers in the mining industry affected by the suspensions.

More importantly, we support the Secretary’s campaign against corruption within the DENR and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau. Many mining permits and Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs) have been issued to mining companies in the past, even if some of these companies failed to comply with certain environmental standards and communities were not consulted in the process of such approvals. Corruption in the mining industry and in the agency supposed to regulate it, if left unaddressed, will bleed our natural resources dry, imperil our environment, and beleaguer the future of generations to come.

Lastly, we urge Secretary Lopez to act swiftly against China’s virtual occupation of the Philippine mining industry. The Chinese stranglehold over mining interests in the Philippines began during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, when Chinese corporations registered in the Philippines to mine for gold, iron ore, nickel, copper, manganese, lead, zinc, chromite and cobalt.

These Chinese mining corporations have since operated in 16 provinces in the country including: Cagayan, Benguet, Zambales, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Palawan, Leyte, Eastern Samar, Bohol, Cebu, Misamis Oriental, Davao Oriental, Surigao del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga del Norte, and Zamboanga del Sur.

We have long awaited the type of bold leadership currently being displayed by Secretary Lopez in the DENR. The interests of impoverished communities and environmental sustainability have, for far too long, lost out to powerful global mining players. We hope that she will continue to provide the leadership needed to fulfill DENR’s mandate to current and future generations of Filipinos. In every step of the way, in every danger she may face in her crusade, so long as it is for the preservation of our environment and for the welfare of our communities, we will be there to stand by and support our DENR Secretary: Secretary Gina Lopez.

Thank you.

Signed,

KA TRINING DOMINGO (KABAPA) • KA JIMMY TADEO (PARAGOS Pilipinas) • KA ED MORA (PKMP) • KA MANING ROSARIO (PKSK) • KA ELVIE BALADAD (Samahang 53 Ektarya ng Macabud) • AMPARO MICIANO (PKKK) • MA. DIVINA “KA IZA” MUNOZ (IRDF) • DANNY CARRANZA (KATARUNGAN) • RIC REYES (Rights Network) • MEANNE MANAHAN (Focus on the Global South) • ROMEO “OMI” C. ROYANDOYAN (Centro Saka Inc.) • DINNA UMENGAN (Tambuyog Development Center) •ALVARO “AL” O. SENTURIAS, JR. (Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement• FROILYN TENORIO (Teduray Lambangian Women’s Organization) • MOHAMMAD ABAS (TASBIKKA) • JOSE “JUN” ADORABLE, JR. (Alyansa Maglulubi Mindanaw) • EUGENE QUIRANTE (Negros Farmers Council) • ARZE GLIPO (IRDF) • JHUN PASCUA (PKMM) • KA ELOY MAMPLATA (Laguna Lake Cons. Council) • KA JAIME EVANGELISTA (MAPAGPALA) • KA MELCHOR MAGANO (MAPAGPALA) • MINERVA GONZALES (CERD) • ZENY MANSILIOHAN (KALALAGAN CARAGA) • DAVID SANTOS (Ka Tribu ug and Lasang Foundation) • PATRICIA FE GONZALES • MARILOU C. TAPIA (BRETHREN Inc.) • PABLO ROSALES (PANGISDA-Pilipinas) • ERNESTO LACTAO (Isabela SE-LED Network) • PRINCESS NEMENZO (WomanHealth Philippines/ Campaign for a Life of Dignity) • MARIVIC RAQUIZA ISAGANI R. SERRANO (PRRM) • MARGARITA C. ROYANDOYAN (Women’s Initiative for Social Development)  AUREA MICLAT-TEVES (National Food Coalition/FIAN Philippines/Peoples Development Institute) • MARITA RODRIGUEZ (Aksyon Klima Pilipinas)

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