Environment groups to raise alarm over mining across Verde Island Passage at upcoming International People’s Conference on Mining

Kalikasan PNE Press release

23 July 2015

Environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the
Environment (Kalikasan PNE) will be raising the specter of large-scale
mining interests across the famed Verde Island Passage (VIP) in the
upcoming International People’s Conference on Mining 2015 (IPCM) that
will be held in Quezon City, Metro Manila from July 30 to August 1.

“The Verde Island Passage, the global center of marine biodiversity, is
of international and inter-generational importance yet currently
threatened by different large-scale mining threats across its coastal
provinces. We hope to raise this concern and gather support for the
Filipino people’s struggles to protect one of the world’s richest marine
bioldiversity corridors at the upcoming International People’s
Conference on Mining,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of
Kalikasan PNE, one of the IPCM organizers.

The group announced this in a press conference today attended by various
advocates and supporters for the protection of the VIP, including
various governors and other top elected officials across the VIP
provinces of Batangas, Mindoro, and Marinduque, and various leaders of
civil society.

The snowball of support is coming off the heels of a successful protest
movement led by the Batangas-based groups Bukluran para sa Inang
Kalikasan, the Archdiocesan Ministry for the Environment, and the people
of Lobo Town, Batangas, which recently succeeded in compelling the
pull-out of the Lobo government’s resolution endorsing the impending
mining operations of Canadian-Australian mining company MRL-Egerton.

“While the people’s movement has recently gained ground through its
initial victory in the revocation of the local government’s endorsement
to the MRL-Egerton mining operation, threats are still abound in the
VIP. The threat will not cease to exist until the DENR enforces the
pull-out of MRL-Egerton. Other mining threats, such as the Norwegian
Intex Resources proposed mine in Mindoro, and the abandoned
Canadian-owned Marcopper mines in Marinduque, are still unaddressed
across the VIP,” explained Bautista.

The group noted how the threat of big mines is present across the entire
Coral Triangle, a marine biodiversity corridor to which the VIP is part
of that straddles the countries of Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia,
Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste that contains no less
than 500 coral reef species. Tin mining on Bangka Island, Indonesia, and
sea-bed mining in the Solomon Islands are just some of the current
mining controversies that beset the Coral Triangle.

“The ecological integrity of the VIP and the entire Coral Triangle is
interconnected to the productivity of various seas in the Pacific that
is contiguous it. The potential and actual benefits harnessed by
research and development from the VIP and the Coral Triangle far
outweigh the immediate profitability promised by large-scale mines that
pepper the region,” noted Bautista.

Around 140 participants from 28 different countries are expected to join
the IPCM, composed residents of mining-affected communities, indigenous
peoples, church workers, lawyers, legislators, artists, alternative
media practitioners, environmental activists, and scientists, among others.

“We are optimistic that the IPCM will serve as an impetus to launch the
‘Save Verde Island Passage’ call as a global people’s campaign, and we
likewise hope to share our experiences in protecting critical ecosystems
and people’s livelihoods from the negative impacts of large-scale
mining,” ended Bautista.

The IPCM is jointly organized by various environmental and social
movements in the Philippines and the world, namely the Kalikasan
People’s Network for the Environment, Center for Environmental Concerns
– Philippines, Jaringan Advokasi Tambang Mining Advocacy Network
(Indonesia), Kairos Canada, Canadian Catholic Organization for
Development and Peace, EcuVoice Philippines, International Association
of Democratic Lawyers, Pacific Asia Resource Centre, London Mining
Network, Geneeskunde Derde Wereld (Belgium), War on Want (United
Kingdom), Australia Action for Peace and Development in the Philippines,
Solidagro (Belgium), Asia Indigenous People’s Pact, and the
International League of Peoples’ Struggle – Commission 13.

Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: +63 (2) 924 8756 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site:
www.kalikasan.net