17 February 2016
Be wary of pro-mining plunder presidential candidates, green groups warn
Environmental advocates under the ‘Green Vote’ campaign once again reminded voters to be watchful of pro-mining track records and platforms of presidential candidates, reacting to recent exposure of a mining corporation funding the campaign of Liberal Party presidential bet Mar Roxas.
“The continuous and contentious issue of big mining under the Aquino administration did not bring genuine development but rather billions in damages, disasters, and casualties. Now that the open secret that Mar Roxas and the Liberal Party has long been funded and supported by nickel miner SR Metals Inc. has been publicly outed, the voting public should be consciousof the platforms and track records of the presidential candidates on addressing mining plunder,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), a convening organization of Green Vote.
The Green Vote, a campaign of various environmental organizations seeking to have a ‘clean and green’ May 2016 Elections, said that voters should deny votes from candidates that will have the same implemented policies and programs as the previous administrations such as the Mining Act of 1995 and Executive Order 79 (EO 79). Conveners of the campaign commented on the current presidential aspirants.
“It is no wonder that the platform of Mar Roxas on mining is only to continue Aquino’s ‘Tuwid na Daan’ dogma, and we expect no significant change to take place if he is elected as president. Binay has also been vocal about pushing for greater mining liberalization in the country and in opposition to increasing taxes for mining companies,” said Bautista.
The groups warned that a presidency under the two aspirants would ensure a continuity of the current destructive and pollutive mining regime.
“Rodrigo Duterte, as mayor of Davao City, implemented a mining ban in the city during his term, but recently expressed support for the controversial concept of ‘responsible mining.’Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile,also subscribed to ‘responsible mining’ but pushed for a more transparent disclosure of records of mining companies. Sen. Miriam Santiago, on the other hand, pursued a senate investigation on some illegal small-scale mining sites,” said Kim Gargar, spokesperson of Mindanao-based alliance Panalipdan-Southern Mindanao.
The groups furthered that in spite of the track record of the three presidential aspirants, the current efforts are insufficient to halt the current adverse impacts of foreign and large-scale mining in the country.
“We are urging Duterte, Poe and Santiago to have firmer stands on the issues of mining. They should support the call of the people to scrap the Mining Act of 1995, the root cause of mining plunder in the country, and seek to reorient country’s current policy on mining towards people’s needs and environmental safety. Only through this way that the plunder of our natural resources will end and mining can genuinely deliver development to the Filipino people,” ended Bautista
The Green Vote said that they will release a comprehensive study on the platforms of presidential, vice presidential and senatorial candidates’ track record and in the standpoint of the environment in the coming March.
The Green Vote campaign was initiated by the AGHAM – Advocates of Science & Technology for the People, AGHAM Youth, Amianan Salakniban, Ban Toxics, Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines, Defend Ilocos, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap, Kalikasan PNE, Kalikasan Youth, Katribu, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Panalipdan- Southern Mindanao, PoliSEA, Protect Sierra Madre, Religious of the Good Shepherd – JPIC, Save Freedom Island Movement, UP Saribuhay, and 350.org Pilipinas.#
Reference: Clemente Bautista 0905 432 5211
Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: +63 (2) 433 0184 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Site: www.kalikasan.net