For 20 years of continuing pollution and plunder, indigenous peoples,
environmental advocates demand: ‘Scrap the Mining Act, PNoy resign!’

Kalikasan PNE Press Release

3 March 2015

On the 20th year anniversary of the Mining Act of 1995, hundreds of
indigenous peoples, environmental advocates and grassroots activists
marched to Malacanang today bearing torches, makeshift spears, and a
10-foot effigy depicting President Noynoy Aquino as a backhoe-bulldozer
monster. The protesters called for the scrapping of the mining law and
the resignation of Aquino, saying “this policy brought two decades of
pollution and plunder, and this pernicious president pushed its
implementation to the breaking point.”

“The Mining Act of 1995 is a complete failure—from its sell-out of our
national patrimony, to its perpetuation of a culture of impunity towards
mining-affected communities, down to its unending string of
environmental disasters. That Aquino perpetuated more of the same is a
betrayal of the people and is basis enough for his resignation,” said
Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s
Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).

Sr. Mary Francis Anonuevo, spokesperson of the Defend Patrimony!
Alliance, further explained that “under BS Aquino’s five years of
presidency, we experienced the biggest mining disaster in history, the
most number of anti-mining activists killed, hundreds of billions of
pesos worth of minerals depleted, and massive destruction of our
biodiversity rich areas. Mining-affected communities have long suffered
from Aquino’s criminal greed and neglect, and are calling for the
scrapping of the Mining Act and for Aquino’s resignation.”

With Aquino’s presidency not taking any measures to reverse the
orientation of the Mining Act, two decades under this policy regime have
produced the following:

· The number of large-scale mine projects increased from 17 to
46, and the number of approved mining applications increased from 282 to
999 covering 869,292 hectares (1997-2014)

· The Philippines received only 10 percent of the average total
gross production value in mining, as mining production value amounted to
P1.31 trillion while taxes, fees and royalties amounted only to P132.39
bilion (1997-2013)

· The industry contributed only 0.44 percent to the employment
rate and 0.7 percent to the GDP (1997-2013)

· A total of at least 19 major mining disasters were recorded,
none of which were properly or sufficiently rehabilitated and
compensated to date (1995-2015). Philex mining spill in 2012 was the
worst accident in recent mining history.

· A total of at least 66 cases of extrajudicial killings of
anti-mining activists were recorded, none of which have been resolved in
any court to date (2001 to 2014). Thirty seven of these cases occurred
under Aquino.

“It is only under the Aquino regime that colonial-era mining patents,
which essentially grant full and perpetual rights over mineral lands to
mining corporations, were revived. This goes to show Noynoy Aquino’s
disregard of our constitutionally guaranteed national patrimony, and how
shameless pro-corporate his Administration is,” Bautista explained.

Amidst growing public clamor to pass proposed new mining policies such
as House Bill 171 or the People’s Mining Bill, Aquino responded with the
Executive Order 79 (EO 79) which overrode local environment codes and
mining moratoriums and other national laws concerning large-scale
mining. The Aquino administration also prioritized House Bill 5367 in
Congress which would only minimally increase taxation, albeit still
favoring corporate mining.

“BS Aquino should resign. It would be much better for our environment
and indigenous peoples if such a callous and incompetent president will
be removed from Malacanang!” Anonuevo ended.#

Reference: Clemente Bautista, national coordinator – Kalikasan PNE –
0922 844 9787

Andy Whitmore (Whit)
Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLinks)
Finspace, 225-229 Seven Sisters Road, London, N4 2DA
Ph: +44 (0)775 439 5597
Skype: mantissa88

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the
intelligent are full of doubt.” – Bertrand Russell