The Aquino government was urged by the “Alyansa Tigil Mina” (ATM) coalition to certify the urgency of the enactment of alternative mining law by Congress.
ATM, a coalition composed of over a hundred of organizations and is a part of the “Tao Muna, Hindi Mina” campaign, said that Republic Act 7942, or the Mining Act of 1995, has failed to deliver on its promise of economic gains and jobs to communities where large-scale mining firms are operating. Instead of additional revenue for the government, this flawed law has resulted in disasters harmful to the communities.
“In our report in 2005, we pointed out significant percentage of the forest loss in the Philippines was attributed to mining, in which detrimental impacts to the environment include the deterioration of water catchments, soil erosion and surface run off, the loss of biodiversity and worsening of rural poverty.” Maria Belinda de la Paz, chief operating officer of Haribon Foundation.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action Executive Secretary Fr. Edu Gariguez called for a moratorium on the issuance of new mining permits and the passage of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB) has been made more urgent by one mining disaster after another due to flawed framework of the Mining Act of 1995.
“There is a need to push for this AMMB because the Executive Order [EO] 79 is not the solution to our problem,” Gariguez said.
EO 79 has expanded the “no-go” mining zones in the country to include 78 tourism sites, and farms, marine sanctuaries and island ecosystems in response to the public clamor to protect the environment from mining.
“Again, we reiterate our call to the government to repeal the Mining Act of 1995 and to pass the AMMB, ‘which offers a far more sustainable approach to utilization and protection of our country’s natural resources,’” said Jaybee Garganera, ATM national coordinator.
Dubbed as “Mining Hell Week,” this week is a time of reckoning of the tragedies and the irreversible damage mining activities have continuously inflicted on communities since the enactment of Mining Act of 1995.
ATM led various actions including a roving caravan to different government agencies and the House of Representatives calling for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and enactment of the AMMB.
ATM is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of non-government organizations, people’s organizations, and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB.