MAC: Mines and Communities

Philippines: Is the mining industry feeling lucky with Duterte Harry?

Published by MAC on 2016-06-05
Source: Statements, Reuters, Inquirer, Al Jazeera, ABS-CBN (2016-06-05)

The news from the Philippines is almost entirely focussed on the recent Presidential election.

The new President Elect is the somewhat colourful character, Rodrigo Duterte, the head of the de facto heredity mayoral clan of Davao, in Mindanao. He is known for his 'straight talking', and has drawn criticism from many concerned with human rights, not least for his verbal support for - and alleged links to - death squads in Davao who have targeted so-called undesirable petty criminals.

A recent row after he noted that some assassinated journalists may have deserved it has not helped his relations with the free press. His vow to wipe out crime within six months of his presidency reinforced his nickname of 'Dirty Harry' (or Duterte Harry).

Where he stands with regard to mining is not at all clear. Much of the election campaign, and its immediate aftermath, has seen both the mining industry and 'anti-mining' advocates lobbying him to support their cause.

Those with concerns over mining can point to the mining ban that has been instituted within the wide boundaries of Davao City. He has also made recent announcements stressing the problems mining can bring, saying "I have a big problem with mining companies. They are destroying the soil of our country".

However, the mining industry have been encouraged by his pronouncements on the economy, and his desire to continue with the economic policies of the previous administration, with a focus on fighting corruption and red tape.

Some mining critics note that, although he has been seen as something of an 'anti-establishment' figure, he is closely linked to the Dominguez family, who are the key promoters of the controversial Tampakan project, not too far from Duterte's power base. Carlos Dominguez, an ex-classmate of Duterte, has been named as finance minister. (Perhaps coincidentally the Japanese Toyota Tsusho Corp. has increased its equity in the local firm involved in Tampakan, Alsons Consolidated, post-election).

The key initial decision for mining will be who will head the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which oversees the industry. At the time of writing it was one of the few unfilled ministerial posts. Initially Duterte had suggested it would go to a candidate from the far left, as part of a move to incorporate those associated with the long-running communist rebellion, in the hope of promoting peace. However, his latest proposal - following similar patterns elsewhere - is to place someone from the military in the role (possibly with the President taking the Ministerial post himself, meaning the appointee would be supporting him).

The thinking behind this is that some form of military threat will ensure that companies comply with environmental laws, and that this will help root out corruption. This theory is a worrying one, given the accusations that much of the military are already financially benefiting from 'protecting' mining, particularly in Mindanao. Also the last time that an ex-military man, Angelo Reyes, was in charge at the DENR, militarization started to intensify in mining-affected communities, and was followed by the creation of the paramilitary Investment Defence Force, that has blighted many mining areas since. 

In other news, the new administration has been lobbied for its dependence on coal, and the outgoing government has initiated an urgent and comprehensive review of energy policy, to see how to cut down reliance on coal.

The campaign group Alyansa Tigil Mina, has co-authored a report, Signing away sovereignty: How investment agreements threaten mining regulation in the Philippines, tied into the start of negotiations for an EU-Philippines Free Trade Agreement.  

Communities opposed to OceanaGold's Didipio project in Nueva Vizcaya have re-affirmed their opposition to the project in time for the company's annual general meeting in Toronto.

The NGO Philippine Misereor Partnership Incorporated (PMPI), and some of its staff, have been accused of cyber libel over their criticisms of a mining company’s operation in Eastern Samar. The group sees this as a form of harassment. We have yet to see if such actions increase under the new administration of Duterte. 

Philippines' Duterte tells mining companies to 'shape up'

By Neil Jerome Morales

Reuters

5 June 2016

DAVAO, Philippines - Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte warned mining companies to "shape up", as he signaled he would prefer ownership of mining assets to be left to local investors.

He also said the incoming government may rewrite rules to limit environmental degradation in the sector.

Duterte, who assumes office on June 30, has named nearly all his cabinet members this week but has yet to appoint a new minister that will oversee the Southeast Asian country's mining sector.

The country has among the largest untapped mineral resources in the region but years of opposition from the Catholic Church and a strong anti-mining lobby, as well as insurgency and widespread corruption, have stalled many projects including the $5.9 billion gold-copper Tampakan project in the southern Mindanao island discovered in 1991.

"I have a big problem with mining companies. They are destroying the soil of our country," Duterte told a crowd of more than 100,000 in Davao celebrating his May 9 election victory.

"The mining people must shape up. It has to stop. The spoiling of the land, the destroying of Mindanao."

Swiss giant Glencore quit the Tampakan project in 2015, with the venture halted by a ban on open-pit mining in Mindanao's South Cotabato province imposed from 2010. A local company has taken over the project.

Duterte signaled that ownership of mining companies may be best be left to locals.

"I want it to be a cooperative of all Filipinos. We will support them and give them instructions how not to end up spoiling the land, he said.

(Writing by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Alison Williams)


Duterte to big mining firms: Stop destroying Mindanao

By Frinston Lim

Inquirer Mindanao

4 June 2016

DAVAO CITY – President-elect Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday night said big mining, particularly in Surigao del Norte, has to stop.

“They have to stop,” Duterte said before some 200,000 people who attended the thanksgiving party held at the Crocodile Park here.

“Mining people must shape up. Most of what you do today, especially in Surigao, is dig holes. And they are destroying Mindanao, and they are only a few (who operate) who are from Manila,” he said.

As an alternative, Duterte said he will have all Filipino mining workers organized into a cooperative and “give them instructions on how not to end up spoiling the land.”

“Lahat ng mining na malalaki na sumisira, they have to stop,” he said.

Duterte said this was the reason he did not give the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) portfolio to Leoncio Evasco, his national campaign manager.

Evasco, a former political detainee, was once a city administrator of Duterte when he was mayor of Davao City.

Duterte said Evasco wanted to be DENR secretary, but he did not give it to the mayor of Maribojoc town in Bohol, because he needed someone from the military.

He said he expected resistance from mining firms, and that someone from the military as DENR secretary could rally government soldiers in implementing Duterte’s order.

“The problem with DENR is that I have a big problem with mining companies. They are destroying the soil,” he said, adding that he has “to use the military” against it.


Duterte stand against destructive mining lauded: ‘make an example out of PH’s 10 worst big mines’

Kalikasan PNE press release

7 June 2016

Environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) lauded incoming president-elect Rodrigo Duterte's recent pronouncements to punish destructive big miners. The group proposed for Duterte to punish what they deemed as the 10 worst mine sites that have extensive track records on environmental destruction, community displacement, and human rights violations (HRVs) but did not received proper action from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

"We welcome Mayor Duterte's ultimatum against destructive large-scale mining and encourage him to expand his scope to cover not only the worst in Mindanao, but across Luzon and Visayas as well. There are so much violations and destruction brought about by corporate mining all over the country yet the Aquino administration had been very lax in penalizing these corporations and prosecuting their erring officials," said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

“Incoming President Duterte will make history if he demonstrates that these much-reviled big polluters and pillagers no longer have a place in the Philippines. He has the legal and moral authority to shut down violators’ large-scale mining operations and kick them out of the country,” Bautista added.

In his recent victory party speech, Duterte said the big miners have destroyed the environment especially in Mindanao, and promised that Filipino interests will be prioritized over corporate interest in mining.

The group identified the following mining companies in their priority list:

1. Taganito Mining Corporation’s nickel mine in Claver, Surigao del Norte

2. OceanaGold’s FTAA gold mine in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya

3. DMCI’s nickel mine in Sta. Cruz, Zambales

4. Citinickel’s nickel mine in Sofronio Espanola and Narra, Palawan

5. Philex Mining’s gold and copper mine in Padcal, Benguet

6. Golden Summit Mining Corporation’s illegal gold mine in Cordon, Isabela

7. Sagitarrius Mines Inc.’s gold copper mine in Tampakan, South Cotabato

8. Lepanto-Goldfields’ gold mine in Mankayan, Benguet

9. Filminera Resources’ gold mine in Aroroy, Masbate

10. Nickel Asia’s nickel mine in Manicani Island, Eastern Samar

Repeated offenders, said MGB

Meanwhile, Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB) Director Leo Jasareno reported that half of the 44 operating metallic mines in the country have been repeatedly been warned because of environmental violations. Kalikasan noted that only a few mining companies have been slapped with suspension orders, and no corporate mining executives have been prosecuted in court. Violations vary from toxic contamination, air and water pollution, to forest and agricultural degradation.

“These big mines are notorious violators of environmental laws and have time and again trampled upon people’s rights in their host grassroots communities. The Taganito mine, which was subjected to punitive action by New People’s Army rebels in 2011 for its continuous massive siltation of adjacent rivers and coasts, comes to mind first when Duterte zeroed in on Surigao del Norte during his speech,” said Bautista.

“Big miners such as OceanaGold, DMCI, Citinickel, Philex, Filminera, and Nickel Asia are similar to Taganito in the scale of plunder, pollution, and community displacement that they have caused, and yet many of these companies have been awarded various ‘responsible mining’ accolades under the previous regimes,” Bautista further explained.

The group noted that projects such as the Tampakan and Mankayan mines have yet to start extracting minerals, but have already spurred various HRVs against the host communities. Harassment suits have been filed by Lepanto-Goldfields against leaders of a people’s barricade against their entry in Mankayan, and a series of extrajudicial killings have been inflicted by SMI against indigenous Lumad leaders who oppose the Tampakan project.

“President-elect Duterte can expect massive support from the vigorous protest movements by communities in these 10 mine sites. We challenge the incoming President to suspend these large-scale mining companies and cancel their mining permits,” ended Bautista.

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: secretariat[at]kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net


 

Duterte wants to be environment secretary

Karlos Manlupig

Inquirer Mindanao

31 May 2016

DAVAO CITY—President-elect Rodrigo Duterte wants to be his own environment secretary, according to an Inquirer source.

The source said Duterte wanted to handle the Department of Environment and Natural Resources “for at least a year with the help of a former military officer.”

Earlier reports said Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate was nominated by the National Democratic Front to be DENR secretary, but he begged off claiming that he preferred to continue his work in Congress.

Duterte offered the post to the NDF but later took it back. He said he wanted a former military man to head the department.

As of this writing, Duterte is still holding a meeting with personalities he earlier named to be part of his Cabinet.


Philippines: Rodrigo Duterte names new cabinet

Philippines President-elect announces 34 new officials giving assurances on their "honesty and integrity".

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/05/philippines-rodrigo-duterte-names-cabinet-160531125428618.html

31 May 2016

Philippines President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has named the members of his cabinet from his home town of Davao, a day after a joint session of Congress declared him the winner of the May 9 presidential elections.

Carlos Dominguez, an ex-classmate of Duterte, was named on Tuesday as finance minister, while US-educated Ernesto Pernia, a former lead economist for the Asian Development Bank, will assume the role of minister of economic planning.

"I can assure you, they are men of honesty and integrity," said Duterte, announcing the 34 new officials at a news conference in Davao City, where he was mayor for more than two decades before he was elected president.

Dominguez, who was mining and farm minister in two previous governments, hails from a wealthy family that has interests in mining and hotels.

Duterte also named Nicanor Faeldon, who led an uprising about a decade ago against then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo over corruption concerns, as the head of the customs bureau, the country's second largest revenue agency.

Faeldon, a former marine, has the job of reining in smuggling, which the government of President Benigno Aquino struggled to check.

Duterte's cabinet also includes former soldiers, police officers from Davao City and officials from the past five administrations.

At the news conference, Duterte reiterated plans to streamline the bureaucracy, cut red tape and fight crime.

He said he would recruit two army divisions and 3,000 police officers to help to tackle national security, drugs and crime.

Asked about relations with China, including the topic of the disputed South China Sea, Duterte said he would pursue an independent foreign policy and not rely on the US, a longtime security ally.

"I will be chartering a course on its own and will not be dependent on the United States," Duterte said.

China and the Philippines are locked in a territorial dispute in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway through which $5 trillion worth of ship-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

The challenger

Duterte, 71, will be sworn into office on June 30.

After being declared the winner of the May 9 presidential elections on Monday, he snubbed the nationally televised event, reinforcing his image of a challenger of the nation's political establishment.

"I am not attending the proclamation. I've never attended any proclamation (in) all my life," said Duterte, who vowed to wipe out crime within six months.

He pledged to give security forces shoot-to-kill orders, and vowed that tens of thousands of criminals would die. Since the election, Duterte has continued to encourage police to kill drug suspects, and said he would bring back the death penalty.

Duterte railed against the elites and promised to fight for the poor, despite having created his own political dynasty in Davao and his own vice presidential running mate coming from one of the nation's richest families.


Green groups clamor for a progressive secretary and a crusade against corrupt officials in DENR

Kalikasan PNE press release

2 June 2016

The environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) lauded recent statements of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte on rooting-out corruption in the bureaucracy and addressing the wanton environmental violations besetting the mining industry, saying he should be firm in appointing a progressive leader as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to support his stance for the environment.

In his latest press conference, Duterte presented his cabinet secretaries, which include progressive Left personalities former UP faculty regent Judy Taguiwalo for Social Welfare and Development and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas chair Rafael Mariano for Agrarian Reform. While Duterte has yet to appoint a secretary for DENR, and has previously expressed that he wants a “military man” for the job, he said yesterday that the agency was a concession to the Left.

“We will take with a grain of salt President Duterte’s pronouncement that he will appoint a military man in the DENR so that he can solve these issues, and encourage him to stick to his original plan of allocating the environment agency for progressive leaders. We strongly advice the incoming President that he should be firm in deposing Aquino-appointed officials in corruption-ridden offices of DENR, especially the Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB),” said Clemente Bautista national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

Citing a source that has requested not to be named, the environment group said the MGB recently approved several midnight deals from April through May involving multi-million dollar large-scale mining projects, particularly the Villar family-owned KingKing Gold Mining project in Compostela Valley and Balabag Gold and Silver mining project in Zamboanga del Sur, the Sy and Dominguez-owned Sagittarius Mines Inc.’s Tampakan Project in South Cotabato, the Russian-owned Peniel Resources black sand mining in Cagayan, and the Australian-owned OceanaGold mining’s expansion project in Nueva Vizcaya.

“This alleged spike in the MGB’s approval of different large-scale mining permits during the dying months of the Aquino administration is highly suspect and seemingly reeks of corruption. It seems grassroots communities and environmental organizations were not consulted by the national MGB or even their regional bureaus,” said Clemente Bautista.

Engr. Leo Jasareno is currently the director of MGB. MGB is in charge in approving different mining permits and agreement.

“If the Duterte administration is serious in addressing environmental problems and curbing violations by erring mining companies, they should start by investigating and reversing these alleged midnight mining deals, and prosecuting corrupt officials found to be involved. Duterte can expect the full support of various national environmental movements if he embarks on a crusade against corruption and oligarchic interests in the DENR,” said Bautista.

The group said it suspected mining corporations to be likely lobbying to make Jasareno DENR Secretary or at least maintain him as MGB Director under the Duterte administration, given the director has collaborated with mining companies for the longest time during his tenure.#

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: secretariat[at]kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net


Environmentalists caution Duterte: ‘Military man as DENR chief a mistake’

Kalikasan PNE press release

31 May 2016

National environmental alliance Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) expressed their unsolicited advice to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte not to appoint a military man as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“It is better for President Duterte to appoint a civilian who has no trace of corruption, has a proven track record of environmental service, and is a clear defender of people’s rights. It is amiss to militarize a civilian agency such as the DENR that is supposedly oriented towards public service, not ensuring ‘peace and security’,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

“The relationship of big polluters like mining companies with the Philippine military has always been reciprocal over the past decades, to the detriment of the people and environment. Former military top brass become the security consultants and defense contractors of big mining, logging, and plantation interests. It will be the military man listening to miners and loggers, and not the other way around like what the Duterte administration might be hoping for,” Bautista furthered.

“The last time we had a military man as DENR chief was the appointment of former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Angelo Reyes. Reyes was involved in a midnight deal for a useless air pollution project worth a total of USD6.1-million, and came out with the controversial decision on reopening the Rapu-Rapu mining project in Albay. During his reign, militarization started to intensifise in mining-affected communities like in Albay, Masbate and Mindanao,” Bautista added.

In 2008, right after Reyes’ tenure as DENR secretary, the Arroyo administration instituted the Investment Defense Force or IDF which allowed private corporations to have regular military forces to secure their business interest or operation, particularly large-scale mining. This move resulted in a spike of human rights violations and killings in mining-affected communities.

Duterte originally offered the DENR posts to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), who in turn nominated leaders and experts from the legal progressive movement. This was seen as the incoming president’s recognition of progressive political principles and leadership as much-needed interventions in the national government.

Various news reports have named different progressive personalities to be included in the nominations of the CPP, such as current Bayan Muna Partylist nominees Karlos Zarate and Teddy Casino, as well as AGHAM – Advocates of Science & Technology for the People national chairperson Dr. Giovanni Tapang.

 “If Duterte intends to rein in extractive companies through the DENR, it should strengthen the government’s capacities to enforce regulations. As we’ve seen with the appointment of former secretary Reyes, this cannot be changed by simply placing a militarist at the helm of DENR. We need an environment secretary that will not only implement our environmental policies, but will go out of his or her way to work with the legislative and judiciary branches of government to address the gaping flaws in our environmental programs and laws,” explained Bautista.

“At this early stage, it seems the Duterte administration is already beset by pressure from big-business interests. The progressive environmental movement is ready to support all environmental leaders who will consistently stand with the people’s interests. Duterte can expect the environmental movement and the Filipino people at large to vigorously support the pro-people, pro-environment leaders he will appoint to the DENR. He can also expect our relentless opposition to anyone who is in the pockets of big business,” ended Bautista.

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: secretariat[at]kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net


 

National Democratic Front submits list of Cabinet nominees

By David Santos

CNN Philippines

26 May 2016

Davao City (CNN Philippines) — Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday (May 26) the National Democratic Front (NDF) submitted its list of nominees to the new Cabinet after his three-hour meeting with a representative of the rebel group.

The incoming president declined to disclose the names on the list of less than 10 "impressive nominees," submitted by NDF peace panel spokesperson Fidel Agcaoili on Tuesday (May 24). The list included four women.

He earlier said he will open the labor, agrarian reform, environment and social welfare departments to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

CPP founder Jose Maria Sison said they will nominate persons who are not members of the party.

"If it's just a matter [that] they are identified with the left, it is not an issue with me," Duterte said.

He said he talks to the left because he wants peace in the country.

The government and the NDF, which represents the communist rebels, have had on-and-off talks since 1986 to end the 47-year-old Maoist insurgency. The latest round of negotiations under President Benigno Aquino III is being brokered by Norway.

Duterte said he is now having second thoughts about his offer of the environment department to the rebels.

"I forgot that we have a very serious problem (in) mining and the only way you can deal with the mining people is you have to use the military," he said.

He said he won't accept hardcore rebel leaders in his government but he wants Sison, who was once his teacher in college, to be a consultant.

Sison fled to the Netherlands when the Marcos regime ended and peace talks failed in 1987. He has since been living in the Dutch city of Utrecht where the NDF negotiators hold office.

Duterte is also reaching out to Nur Misuari, founder of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

He plans to visit Misuari in Sulu, where the rebel leader has gone into hiding after facing criminal charges over the 2013 Zamboanga siege, which displaced over 10,000 people and left more than 200 dead.

He said he will not ask Misuari to surrender. Instead, he said he will give Misuari a safe conduct pass, but he will bring up the issue of people linked to MNLF who are involved in crime.

“That (will be) one of the critical points of our talk,” he said.

Duterte said he will also revive the Sulu Sultanate's claim to Sabah, which is seen as one of the root causes behind the Moro rebellion in the south.

While the claim may put a strain on the ties between the two countries, Duterte did not say how he will manage relations between Manila and Kuala Lumpur.


Environment agenda pushed in the accelerated peace talks

Kalikasan PNE press release

26 May 2016

The environmental group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) welcomed the prospects of accelerated peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Philippines (GPH) under incoming president Rodrigo Duterte, challenging both parties to ensure an environmental agenda especially in the negotiations on socio-economic reforms.

“It is a welcome development that incoming president Duterte has reiterated that he will ‘fast track’ the NDFP-GPH peace talks. We hope both parties would ensure an environmental agenda towards a joint solution in addressing the scourge of destructive mining, logging, plantations, toxics, and other forms of development aggression, as an important aspect of a just and lasting peace that we all seek,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

The group noted that previous agreements such as the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL) should immediately be upheld to move on to discussing the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) where provisions on environment and natural resources are discussed.

“Duterte should follow through with his assurance that he will unconditionally release all political prisoners, as it would set the tone of the negotiations in good faith. Such a move is a clear gesture that we are finally ready to address social injustice as the root of armed conflict, which includes environmental destruction, natural resource plunder, and the violation of people’s rights,” explained Bautista.

“The NDFP draft on the CASER, which has previously gone through consultations with scientists and environmentalists, is a good starting point in pursuing the environmental agenda in the peace talks. It has pertinent provisions on national patrimony, agricultural development, national industrialization and economic planning, and environmental protection and rehabilitation,” Bautista furthered.

In 2011, Kalikasan PNE alongside the Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines and the AGHAM – Advocates of Science & Technology for the People organized a roundtable discussion and workshop in the environment, science and technology sectors on socio-economic reforms, which was attended by representatives of both the NDFP and GPH.

“Duterte can expect the support of the broad environmental movement to his pro-people, pro-environment policies if he delivers the various promises he has opened to progressives, including the peace talks fast track and the opening of positions in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to the progressive environmental advocates and the Left at large,” ended Bautista.#

Reference:  Clemente Bautista, national coordinator – Kalikasan PNE – 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: secretariat[at]kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net


Kalikasan bats for ‘people’s champs’ like Zarate in DENR

‘We need a DENR secretary who will stand for the people and environment for a change’

Kalikasan PNE press statement

21 May 2016

The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, the largest progressive national environmental network in the Philippines, throws its full support behind Bayan Muna representative Carlos Zarate, who was reportedly the top recommendation of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte earlier offered four cabinet positions including the DENR to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the NDFP. The CPP has reportedly reciprocated the offer by recommending progressive leaders from the legal democratic movement.

A long-time human rights lawyer from the Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao, Zarate has long fought for the rights of displaced peasant farmers and indigenous Lumad, grassroots activists, and illegally detained political prisoners, among others, in various court battles.

During his tenure as a two-term congressman of Bayan Muna, Zarate contributed to his party’s distinction as among the most prolific in terms of number of legislative measures filed and passed. Among the pro-people, pro-environment measures they filed was House Bill 171 or the People’s Mining Bill, and House Resolution 787 proposing a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants.

We witnessed Rep. Zarate in action among the people he serves ourselves, when he joined us in a national fact-finding and solidarity mission in 2014 with the Talaingod Manobo communities in the Pantaron mountain range besieged by mining and logging interests and intense militarization. Along with his fellow Bayan Muna activists, Zarate has also always been part of our annual protest actions against the destructive Mining Act of 1995.

A Zarate appointment embodies Duterte’s campaign promise that “change is coming.” While possible meaningful reforms will be limited in the face of destructive policies and programs and well-entrenched big business interests in government, we need a people’s champ who will resolutely fight the good fight within the belly of the beast.

There are many other green leaders who have the capacities and principles to help Zarate confront the problems in DENR, such as UP Diliman-College of Science associate dean and AGHAM national chairperson Dr. Giovanni Tapang, former Climate Change commissioner Naderev ‘Yeb’ Sano, and Biodiversity Management Bureau director Mundita Lim.

We hope Duterte ensures that more progressive leaders will join his administration to ensure encompassing environmental and social reforms. We have had enough of bureaucrats in the pockets of plunderers and polluters. We need a DENR Secretary who will stand for the people and the environment, for a change.

Reference:  Clemente Bautista, national coordinator – Kalikasan PNE – 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: secretariat[at]kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net


Alyansa Tigil Mina challenges Duterte Admin to address mining, environmental issues

ATM Statement

17 May 2016

Alyansa Tigil Mina, a national coalition of more than 130 members and 21 local multi-sectoral alliances in the provincial Sites of Struggles collectively confronting the promotion of destructive large-scale mining in the Philippines, challenges incoming President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to stand by his promise to address mining and environmental issues.

Regarded as a change-maker and unyielding leader, Duterte has initially said that he will only allow mining if environmental laws are strictly complied with. He believes that the State is not getting a fair share from mining revenues where we get so little while there are social costs to communities and risks to the environment. He also said: mining is a privilege, not a right.

We expect President Duterte to stay true to his promise that he will not prioritize mining under his industrialization and economic policies, and that he will immediately call for a review and evaluation of all mining projects and that erring firms will be sanctioned. We expect him to suspend operations and/or revoke permits and agreements of destructive and irresponsible mining projects and those companies in utter disregard of the conditions of their contracts.

ATM is also hopeful that the Duterte administration will support policy reforms on mining, including the passage of a new mining law, increasing the taxes on mining and resolving land-conflicts brought by extractive industries. We also believe that he will support the no-go zones policy and defend the rights of local governments and communities to say no to mining as demonstrated in his support for the Davao No-Go-Zone Bill and the presence of the city’s ordinance against mining.

However, ATM notes Duterte’s pronouncements in adopting the Aquino administration’s economic policies and ensuring the attractiveness of the Philippines to foreign direct investments by changing economic provisions in the Constitution. We are wary that these pronouncements will negatively affect the communities and environment that we help to defend. We believe that Duterte will continue to stand with the communities who have struggled to defend their lands and be stewards of creation and biodiversity.

We assert that the new administration should reconsider its economic agenda and to move away from extractives and destructive industries. If Duterte is the change-maker projected in his previous months of campaigning, we look forward to a change in the government agenda that will result to improved lives of Filipino communities. But we also look with deep concern in his moves to appoint people in his cabinet, particularly those identified with the elite such as the Alcantaras and the Dominguezes who have connections with large-scale mining projects.  For genuine change to happen, Duterte must base his selection process of his cabinet with competency, proven track-record and reflective of his bias for the small, marginalized and the “inaapi” (oppressed).

ATM, together with Green Thumb Coalition and human rights groups, remain vigilant in monitoring the pronouncements and actions of incoming leaders that will affect our environment and human rights. We will contribute to the genuine efforts of the Duterte administration by reporting the violations and illegal activities of destructive large-scale mining operations. We will intensify our efforts to hold irresponsible mining corporations accountable for their environmental crimes.  We will continue to monitor and document human rights violations in mining affected communities and closely work with the Commission on Human Rights to ensure that extra-judicial killings are eradicated and that human rights are promoted, protected and fulfilled. Should the Duterte Administration fail to uphold human rights, social justice and the rule of law, ATM will not hesitate to raise these issues and hold the new administration accountable.

--

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs 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 Alternative Minerals Management Bill.

For more information:

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0917) 549.82.18 <nc[at]alyansatigilmina.net>
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Advocacy Officer (0915) 331.33.61 <policy[at]alyansatigilmina.net>


An Open Letter to President Duterte to Defend our Environment, Resources and People

16 May 2016

Dear Mr. President,

We, Amianan Salakniban (Defend the North) the environment and human rights network in North Luzon congratulate you on your landslide victory this recent elections. As the newly elected President and the father of this country, we urge you to look into the plight of the marginalized people battling the negative effects of destructive large-scale mining to the environment and people’s livelihood.

For decades, communities in the Regions of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley and Cordillera has been suffering from the ill effects of large-scale mining. Inland open pit mining operations caused erosion, landslide, subsidence and the destruction of watershed areas, residential and agricultural lands.

Along the coastal areas of Ilocos and Cagayan Valley, magnetite mining has caused massive shoreline retreat, flooding, and has made communities near the sea vulnerable to sea surges. With the use of high-tech sensory analysis, US experts studied that NL coastal communities with magnetite mining operations were observed to be subsiding annually and will be underwater in 30-70 years.

Large scale mining in Benguet has long polluted the Agno River affecting the lowlands of Quirino and Cervantes in IIocos Sur. It has also caused the drying and siltation of the rivers and streams. Hundred of hectares of farmlands were deemed useless because of this. The biodiversity of affected areas are in grave danger. Species of fish, plants and corals are affected. The source of livelihood of millions of farmers and fisher folks are at stake.

Mining communities in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya also lost their sources of potable water due to ground disturbance caused by blasting operations of foreign large-scale mining companies. In Brgy. Runruno, people report that the springs that provide clean water for the whole community suddenly disappeared when the FCF Minerals started its drilling exploration.  Oceana Gold Philippines Incorporated (OGPI) with a Free Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) caused massive destruction to the environment and the people of Brgy. Didipio. OGPI’s mine tailings have been polluting the adjacent river systems affecting several barangays surrounding the mining site. Community reports that their cattle die upon drinking the water from rivers that are scientifically proven to be contaminated with high levels of copper and cyanide. Existing forests in the hills and mountains surrounding the once Dinkidi Hill, are being threatened to be denuded, excavated as the company plans to expand its operations.

Water source for irrigation dried, or has been contaminated with high levels of toxic chemicals. In Cordon Isabela, their irrigation systems were ruined when the illegal mining company Golden Summit Mining Corporation covered the rivers with excavation debris preventing the water to flow to dozens of farm and corn lands. Drought caused by climate change aggravates this situation forcing farmers into brink of starvation and some even to commit suicide.

Environmental advocates and anti-mining community leaders are being threatened, harassed, vilified, and killed. Indigenous peoples are displaced and their connection to their own land, lost. Instead of hearing the people’s concerns, the previous administrations responded by militarizing communities opposing the entry and operation of mines.

We believe that the mining industry is crucial to our economic growth. But in our neo-liberal economic system, our country is always at a loss. Based on MGB data in 2015, the contribution of the mining sector to our GDP remains insignificant at 0.7% since 2012 and its employment rate remains irrelevant at 0.6%. The country’s history of mining disasters proves that responsible mining of foreign and local mining companies remains a myth. No mining company ever rehabilitated the destroyed ecosystems they gobbled up.

Promises of development to mining communities and municipalities are bubbles in the wind. In Didipio, the people are angry at OGPI’s failed promises of roads, schools, hospitals and jobs. Justice for them remains elusive. When the Commission of Human Rights found grave evidence of human rights violations committed by the company when it demolished hundred of houses in 2008, the Supreme Court immediately sided with the OGPI. It is the company’s constitutional rights to displace hundreds of families under the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. It is also their right to cut hectares of forests to use in the construction of their facilities and also to dump their wastes in rivers is their ‘water right’. Apparently in our country, foreign companies have more rights to our land than we Filipinos. And now, this OGPI is bragging of its super profit gained from the ‘lowest cost gold mines globally’ which is Didipio. Our land, our gold, their profit.

Mr. President, our mineral resources are finite. Once taken, they can never grow back. Let’s make the most out of it by building our own industries with it and ensuring that we do it responsibly. Let us ensure that the profit from our resources remains ours. If we use our iron, copper, nickel, gold and other minerals to build our own industries that make industrial and agricultural machines, we can create more jobs for our people, minimizing the need for our people to find greener pastures overseas. If we support our science and technology sector, we can encourage them to discover cleaner and safer methods of mineral extraction and ensure proper rehabilitation.

Amianan Salakniban, believes that we can only do this through a nationalized mining industry that prioritizes people over profit and by scrapping the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 that has caused grave suffering for the environment and the people for over two decades. So long as foreign and local corporate greed and interests reign in our economy, there can never be a significant and holistic change for the lives of our poor people.

For our indigenous peoples in the North, “Land is Life… Nobody can own what can outlive us”. It is our responsibility to the future generations that they can still breathe the same fresh air we breathe today. It is our responsibility to protect our lands and maintain a clean environment that they may use it for their own sustainability and also protect it for the next.

Mr. President, the Filipino people believed that you will be the CHANGE that this country needs, please prove us right.

Sincerely Yours,

Fernando Mangili
Convener and Spokesperson
Amianan Salakniban
 (+63) 0998 864 9167, 09291349449
amianansalakniban2011[at]gmail.com
amianan.salakniban.wordpress.com


An Eco-Challenge for President Duterte

Kalikasan PNE Release

16 May 2016

With over 16 million votes garnered in the 2016 elections, presumptive president-elect and outgoing Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte captured the pulse of protest of the Filipino people.

We in the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment welcome the Duterte administration’s call for change. We challenge the new President to break free from the anti-environment and anti-people policies of the past Arroyo and Aquino administrations that have resulted in the massive destruction of our ecosystem, rapid depletion of our natural resources, and heightened repression and impunity against the people.

In the recently concluded Green Vote electoral platform campaign, we identified positive track records of Mayor Duterte on environmental protection. I personally witnessed how Mayor Duterte engaged and supported environmental activists in their cause against large-scale mining, toxic aerial spraying, and various land grabs of the ancestral lands of Lumads.

But with the pros come the cons. We know Mayor Duterte was an unapologetic supporter of Aboitiz coal-fired power plant project in Davao City. He also welcomed the establishment of vast tracts of agri-industrial plantations. Mayor Duterte rationalizes that these would bring progress to Davao City and would outweigh the negative environmental impacts, a justification used time and again for various forms of ‘development aggression’.

This time of transition period is especially of concern, where the Duterte camp begins to flesh out the strategic direction of the new presidency. We did not see any substantial policy platform on the environment during Duterte’s campaign trail up to the present.

There is already much anxiety and doubt among environmentalists upon learning who are closest in Duterte’s circle of power. Among Duterte’s economic team are corporate loggers and miners Tom Alacanara, Paul Dominguez and Carlos Dominguez, who are part owners of Sagittarius Mining Inc. (SMI). SMI owns the controversial and much reviled $5 billion gold-copper mining project in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

Carlos Dominguez, likely a candidate to the cabinet, was the president of the Lafayette Mining Philippines that caused massive fish kills and a health crisis in the island of Rapu-Rapu, Albay. Paul Dominguez and Tomas Alcantara are owners of Alsons Consolidated Resources (ACR), which has major stakes in large-scale mining, logging and power mostly located in Mindanao.

Worse, when the economic team of Duterte laid out their eight-point agenda, it reiterates that it will continue to give more privileges to foreign corporations to entice them to invest in the country. Economic charter change was also an immediate deliverable they promised.

Duterte’s first hundred days, or less, in Malacanang will show his mettle if he will stand for the people and the environment. We environmentalists challenge Duterte to make 12 immediate actions for the environment:

1.       Order the stoppage of large-scale mining in environmentally critical and agricultural areas;

2.       Order the banning of chemical aerial spraying nationwide;

3.       Return the Canadian toxic waste illegally dumped into the Philippines;

4.       Impose a moratorium on the expansion of agro-industrial plantations;

5.       Reconsider the new regulations on GMO crop usage and reinstate the ban on its use until a sufficiently robust regulation is put in place;

6.       Impose a moratorium on the construction of new coal-fired power plants;

7.       Junk the already once failed Laguna Lake Expressway Dike Project reclamation;

8.       Deliver immediate recovery assistance to all recent typhoon and El Nino victims and lay down a disaster risk management plan on the incoming El Nina phase;

9.       Rescind the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and suspend joint military operations especially in sensitive ecosystems declared as ‘agreed locations’ such as Palawan;

10.   Investigate the unsuccessful PHP5.9 billion reforestation program of DENR and prosecute corrupt high government officials in DENR.

11.   Jail and immediately prosecute suspects in killings of environmental activists, particularly the cases of the Dr. Gerry Ortega assassination, Kananga Three massacre, and the Liangga killings.

12.   Resume peace talks with rebel groups and prioritize discussion on the joint management of our remaining natural resources;

These are doable and achievable, and the Duterte administration can at least make public pronouncement with regards to these issues. Tough-talking Digong Duterte can and should rise above traditional politics and walk his talk, especially on these urgent environment issues. It’s time to draw the line: is change really coming for the people and the environment?

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: secretariat[at]kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net


New administration must end country’s dependence on pollutive coal, environmental advocates urged

Kalikasan PNE & BUKAL Batangas release

14 May 2016

Calaca, Batangas – Days after the country’s national and local elections, Batangueños and environmental group staged protest action against the expansion of Calaca Coal fired Power plant in Batangas. The protesters challenge the incoming President Rodrigo Duterte to declare moratorium on new coal power plants.

“Batanguenos have long suffered from the adverse impacts of Calaca power plant’s three (3) decades of operation. It will be more perilous for our health and livelihood if the plant continue to expand and emit more toxic and hazardous pollution. Five presidents have passed, but all are deaf and blind to the suffering of Calaca residents caused by the dirty coal plant. Incoming administration should immediately order the stoppage of its expansion and compensate damages caused in the communities” says Petti Enriquez, spokesperson of  Bukluran para sa Inang Kalikasan – Batangas (BUKAL Batangas)

Calaca Coal Power Plant, a 600 Megawatts (MW) coal based plant were constructed in 1981. The said plant supplies the energy need of Luzon grid. Currently, DMCI eyes its expansion - increasing its production capacity to 1000 MW. Records from the local government of Calaca indicated a high prevalence of lower respiratory tract infections, pneumonia, hypertension and diarrhea – ailments related to coal operating plants.

“Philippines has an existing commitment to international organizations to reduce its carbon emissions down to 70%. However, current regime has act ironically, permitting more power plants to operate or expand in our country. Incoming administration should break free from coal – declare moratorium on new coal plants and seek a cleaner energy source” added Zeph Repollo of climate activist group, 350 Pilipinas.

Philippines is one of the signatory of the recently launched Paris agreement that aims to reduce the carbon emission of countries. However, under President Aquino alone, forty-seven (47) coal plants were approved and operating coal plants.

“As the new administration set its foot in power, we are challenging him to ‘walk the talk’ of implementing ‘radical change’ in our energy industry. Duterte should reverse the ill effects of environmental policies implemented by the Aquino and Arroyo administrations. There must be immediate stoppage of on-going construction of dirty coal power plants, review of current energy program and policies. Instead of allowing foreign and private corporations control our energy industry, President Duterte should break their monopoly and put the ownership and management of the industry under public control. In this way, the state can ensure enough power supply by establishing clean, safe and affordable power from renewable and indigenous energy sources,” says Clemente Bautista of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).

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: secretariat[at]kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net


Japanese firm wants increased participation in Alsons’ projects

By Riza T. Olchondra

Philippine Daily Inquirer

30 May 2016

TOYOTA Tsusho Corp. of Japan is keen on increasing its equity in the projects of its partner, Alsons Consolidated Resources Inc. (ACR), according to top officials of the local firm.

ACR chair and president Tomas I. Alcantara said on the sidelines of the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting that Toyota Tsusho wanted to raise its stake in future projects to about 35 percent.

“They are interested in increasing their share and they want it soon,” Alcantara said, noting that demand for electricity was rising especially in ACR’s home region, Mindanao.

CFO Luis R. Ymson Jr. said that, at the moment, Toyota Tsusho had 25-percent equity in existing projects of ACR, including the first 105-MW generating unit of the 210-MW Sarangani Energy Corp. (SEC) baseload coal-fired power plant in Maasim, Sarangani.

ACR is set to spend more than $750 million for three power projects in Mindanao this year.

Alcantara said the company’s projects for the year were the second 105-MW generating unit of the SEC coal-fired power plant; the 15-MW Siguil River run-of-river hydroelectric plant also in Maasim, Sarangani, and the 105-MW San Ramon Power, Inc. baseload coal-fired power plant in Talisayan, Zamboanga City.

For coal power plants, the benchmark cost is about $300 million to $350 million per 105MW at today’s cost. ACR may spend about $700 million for the second unit of the Sarangani Energy Corp. (SEC) coal-fired power plant in Maasim, Sarangani province as well as the 105-MW San Ramon Power, Inc. baseload coal-fired power plant in Talisayan, Zamboanga City.

The second energy generating unit of that facility will break ground in the third quarter and is expected to begin operating in 2018, Alcantara said.


Mining industry to work hand in hand with Duterte

http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Nation&title=mining-industry-to-work-hand-in-hand-with-duterte&id=127367

11 May 2016

THE mining industry has expressed willingness to comply with “stringent environmental standards” raised by presumptive president-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte in the course of the recently concluded election campaign.

“We assure President Digong [Mr. Duterte’s nickname] that our responsible mining companies around the country are adhering and will continue to uphold stringent environmental standards as we continue to explore new technologies to mitigate the industry’s environmental impact and footprint,“said Nelia C. Halcon, executive vice-president of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines in a text message to BusinessWorld.

The group congratulated Mr. Duterte for his landslide win in the 2016 presidential election, going by the unofficial count. His leading contenders, Senator Grace Poe and former interior secretary Manuel A. Roxas II, conceded this week and expressed support for Mr. Duterte.

“With the good Mayor soon taking on the highest mandate, the mining industry vows to work hand in hand with government to attain peace and order, economic stability and progress, and inclusive growth across the country,“the Chamber said in a statement on Wednesday.

Mr. Duterte, outgoing mayor of Davao City, cited in the past a resolution by the city council on the total ban of mining in this area.

“No approval shall be granted or issued by the city through its Sangguniang Panglungsod to any person, natural or juridical, to undertake any and all forms of mining operation in any area within the territorial jurisdiction of Davao City, except rocks and mineral substances classified under the quarry,“a city council ordinance read in part.

The local legislation, however, is up for deliberation before the Supreme Court. -- Janina C. Lim


PH joins global wave of actions to “Break Free from Fossil Fuels”

Greenpeace Southeast Asia - http://www.eco-business.com/press-releases/ph-joins-global-wave-of-actions-to-break-free-from-fossil-fuels/

4 May 2016

Around 10,000 Filipinos marched here today, five days before the elections, to demand that the next administration cancel all proposed coal plants nationwide and hasten a transition to renewable energy.

“We are facing a planetary emergency. Now more than ever, we need leaders who are pro-people and pro-environment, not pro-coal and pro-climate change,” said Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, who led the march to the Batangas Provincial Sports Complex.

The anti-coal march highlighted a national campaign called “Piglas Batangas! Piglas Pilipinas!” symbolized by the struggle against the proposed 600-megawatt coal plant of JG Summit Holdings in Barangay (Village) Pinamucan Ibaba, Batangas City. The opposition to the plan is led by the Lipa Archdiocesan Ministry on Environment, local fisherfolk, and other concerned citizens.

“Even without the coal plant, the existing plants of JG Summit are already poisoning our air, water, and land. The proposed coal plant would only make it harder for us to breathe, much less fish,” said 27-year-old Reymond Mendoza, a fisherman from the nearby barangay of Simlong, which also hosts the Gokongwei family-owned complex. The complex has a petrochemical and naphtha cracker plant.

The local anti-coal groups were joined by other coal-affected communities from Quezon and other parts of the country, as well as people’s movements and civil society groups from Metro Manila and other provinces in Southern Luzon.

“Piglas is a call for the incoming president and other new government officials to scrap the Pinamucan coal plant and the other 26 proposed coal plants currently in the pipeline. It is also a demand for the phase-out of the 19 existing coal plants nationwide,” explained Ian Rivera, national coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.

“The next administration must review the current one’s commitment to reduce 70% of our country’s emissions by 2030. It must also demand climate finance from developed countries, as well as mobilize its own resources, so it can implement a swift and just transition to clean and renewable energy,” added Ruel Cabile, national coordinator of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas.

The campaign is part of a worldwide movement and the first in Asia to join “Break Free from Fossil Fuels 2016”, a global wave of peaceful direct actions across 12 days and six continents. Mass actions are scheduled until May 15 in other countries including Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, the United States, Germany, and Australia.

“Under the banner of Break Free, the global climate movement is proclaiming the end of fossil fuels, challenging governments to concretely respond to the climate crisis and the urgent need to keep global warming below 1.5⁰C,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development and global steering committee member of Break Free.

Other communities will also be holding solidarity actions in Cebu and Calaca, Batangas, which hosts the oldest coal plant in the country, among other areas.

“Piglas Batangas, Piglas Pilipinas is our battlecry for a safe, peaceful, and sustainable society. Batangas and the rest of the Philippines will not bow to those who think of nothing but profit instead of people and plunder instead of protecting the environment. Coal represents darkness, and Break Free is our source of light, especially for all communities who are standing up in the face of the fossil fuel industry’s relentless expansion despite climate change and the people’s clamor for climate justice. Today we declare that we will break free from coal,” said Naderev ‘Yeb’ Saño, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

For photos, FAQs, and more details on Break Free and Piglas, access our media kit at http://bit.ly/1QyeSw0. You can also visit https://breakfree2016.org/ and https://philippines.breakfree2016.org/.


Philippines moves to cut dependence on coal

ABS-CBN News

27 May 2016

MANILA - The Climate Change Commission said Thursday that President Benigno Aquino III has set into motion an urgent and comprehensive review of the government’s energy policy to cut down reliance on coal and move to a low-carbon future.

Aquino, who chairs the Climate Change Commission, signed a resolution mandating the commission to facilitate "a national policy review and framework development on energy, through a whole-of-nation approach, in accordance with a low carbon development pathway and national goals and targets for climate change mitigation and adaptation, disaster risk reduction and sustainable development" with other government agencies in the next six months.

The new resolution sets a clear government position on coal-fired power plants, which comprises the biggest source of man-made carbon emissions.

“We are happy that President Aquino signed the resolution, which is a major step to steer the country away from coal and accelerate the transition to clean, renewable energy that is consistent with our efforts to fight climate change and pursue the development of a green economy,” Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman, vice chair of the Climate Change Commission, said.

According to De Guzman, the intended policy review will pave the way for a faster transition to renewable energy.

The new development in the country's energy agenda was welcomed by the non-government organizations and the business sector.

Red Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC), said the new energy policy provides an opportunity to reshape the country's investment agenda.

"This is an opportunity to reshape the country's investment agenda. We need to grow and bring in the right kind of capital and certainly civil society is prepared to collaborate with and support the new leadership, if it favors sustainable, inclusive, resilient development driven by clean energy sources like solar and wind rather than lethal, climate-destroying coal plants," Constantino said.

Meanwhile, Tim Buckley of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said that the government's clear position on its energy source will avoid the increased stranded asset risk already evident in other countries.

"This move by the Philippines is entirely commercially logical, and avoids the increased stranded asset risk already evident across Europe, America and China’s electricity sectors," Buckley said.

De Guzman is hopeful that the new policy will positively impact the country's economy.

“Philippine climate ambition is predicated on changing our energy pathways that ensure we send the right policy signals to the investment community and generate jobs for the modern economy,” De Guzman said.


Is 'responsible mining' possible without strong regulations?

By Cecilia Olivet, Jaybee Garganera, Farah Sevilla and Joseph Purugganan

ATM press release

24 May 2016

In the last decade, the resource-rich country of the Philippines has bet heavily on the mining industry as a strategy for development, but this focus has come under growing scrutiny.

With 47 large-scale mines in operation and growing evidence of their social and environmental costs, all the presidential candidates in the May 2016’s election were forced to explain their position on, and their financial ties, to the extractive industry.

Most candidates, including newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte, argued for “responsible mining” and an end to “exploitative contracts.” Yet few candidates addressed whether a new Philippines administration could effectively enforce new regulations on a largely foreign-controlled mining industry.

Our briefing paper “Signing away sovereignty: How investment agreements threaten mining regulation in the Philippines” argues that the possibility of properly regulating or even reversing damaging mines will be severely constrained by the network of investment treaties the country has signed which provide excessive protection for foreign investors.

This legal investment straitjacket will only draw tighter if the Philippines proceeds with the EU-Philippines Free Trade Agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Human and environmental costs prompt national movement against mining

The need for further regulation of the mining industry in the Philippines has become ever more obvious since 2004 when mining was declared a priority for “national economic development.” Despite promises of economic growth, industrialization and jobs, the industry contributed less than one per cent of the country’s Gross Development Product. Moreover many mines have been found culpable of illegal demolitions, harassment of residents, polluting of water including the Rapu Rapu Gold Silver Copper and Zinc Mining Project and mining operations in Didipio.

Indigenous communities have been particularly hard hit as it is estimated that 66 percent of officially recognized ancestral domains of indigenous peoples are covered by mining concessions. Environmental damage has also been a major concern as almost 50 percent of all key biodiversity and protected areas are impacted by mining.

The government has had to suspend several mining operations (Surigao del Sur, Zambales and Cagayan), mainly as a result of investigations on compliance with environmental policies.

Growing anger at the mining companies’ impacts led to the creation of the Alyansa Tigil Mina, a coalition of organizations and groups that have decided to collectively challenge the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. They initially sought the scrapping of the 1995 Mining Act (RA7942), an end to full foreign ownership, a stop to large-scale mining and the formulation of the alternative minerals management bill that would require strict regulations for mining. These demands became part of a national debate in the run-up to Philippine’s national elections.

Mining industry protected by BITs

However, as the paper shows, the mining industry has a very effective line of defense against regulation, the existing network of investment treaties that the Philippines has ratified: 31 Bilateral Investment Treaties and seven Free Trade Agreements that include an investment protection chapter. These include treaties with Canada, Malaysia, Australia, South Korea, UK, Japan and China -- all host nations of major multinational mining companies.

All of these treaties, bar a very few exceptions, allow investors to sue the government at international arbitration tribunals when they consider their profits have been unduly affected. Extractive companies have been one of the sectors most prone to launch arbitration lawsuits, with 109 current cases globally relating to mining and extraction. Based on the 44 cases where there is available data, mining companies have sued States for a total of $53 billion.

The Philippines has yet to receive an investment arbitration case related to mining, but has already experienced one very costly case launched by German company Fraport. Although the Tribunal (the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes or ICSID under the World Bank) eventually dismissed the case, the Philippine government still ended up paying $58 million solely in legal fees, equal to the salaries of 12,500 teachers for 1 year.

Regulation of the mining industry will almost certainly lead to more ISDS cases

In May 2015, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao challenged those opposing the newly passed ordinance in Davao City banning mining to “sue us.”

While Duterte’s tone might have changed slightly with his more recent pronouncements supporting responsible mining, statements like these from Filipino politicians on regulating the mining industry -- if followed through -- will almost certainly lead to more arbitration lawsuits.

Denying or revoking mining permits because of environmental concerns or violation of the human and social rights of the indigenous communities is the reason that has led to at least ten investment treaty cases. The governments of Bolivia, Peru, South Africa, Indonesia and Mongolia have all faced costly lawsuits after taking measures towards the mining industry that aimed to tackle tax fraud, make a company comply with an agreed pollution clean-up, and remedy past discrimination.  Meanwhile, Indonesia and South Africa ended up lowering environmental standards in order to put an end to lawsuits.

Time to roll-back Investor protection, not extend it

Growing numbers of countries are realizing the financial, social and environmental costs of the system of investor rights -- with countries as diverse as Indonesia, India, Bolivia, Australia and South Africa revising their investment treaty policy. In Europe, massive public concern on the issue (that prompted 150,000 public comments to the European Commission, 97 percent of which rejected ISDS) has almost derailed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

That is why the Philippines’ move to negotiate RCEP and the EU-Philippines FTA, which will extend investor rights with more countries, is a dangerous step and one that will prevent effective regulation of Philippine’s mining industry. Worst of all, unlike the existing Bilateral Investment Treaties that can be terminated, it will be much harder for the Philippines to get out of these regional trade agreements.

The stark reality that communities across the Philippines facing pollution in their rivers and destruction of their lands have realized is that they are not just up against some of the most powerful transnational mining companies, but they are also up against an international trading system stacked against them.

This complex web of trade and investment agreements has created an architecture of impunity that has made rejecting or even effectively regulating mining operations increasingly impossible. It is crucial that the Philippines starts to unravel this web by halting negotiations for further treaties and seeking to revise those in existence.

Negotiating away our right to regulate

From May 23-27 outgoing officials of the Department of Trade and Industry will start formal negotiations with the European Union for an EU-Philippines free trade agreement. Similar to the much talked about Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, the FTA with the EU is a new generation agreement that goes beyond the liberalization of trade in goods and services. It is an ambitious agreement that would impose standards on intellectual property rights, and stronger investor protection including ISDS.

Can the incoming Duterte government reverse the path towards more FTAs pursued by the Aquino administration? Will it have the political will to defend the State’s right to regulate investments particularly in contentious sectors like agriculture, oil and gas, mining and extractives in the interest of the Filipino people?

For more information and to request a copy of the report please get in touch with:

* Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina - Email: nc[at]alyansatigilmina.net
* Joseph Purugganan, Focus on the Global South - Email: josephp[at]focusweb.org; Mob:+639228299450
* Cecilia Olivet, Transnational Institute - Email: ceciliaolivet[at]tni.org; Mob: +32 474972501


Signing away sovereignty: How investment agreements threaten regulation of the mining industry in the Philippines

https://www.tni.org/en/publication/signing-away-sovereignty

24 May 2016

Mining firms have been one of the main corporate sectors worldwide to take advantage of investor-state dispute mechanisms to sue states for regulation of mining, having sued governments for a total of USD 53 billion so far. The Philippines, one of five countries worldwide with the highest overall mineral reserves, has a web of investment treaties which severely constrain the government's ability to regulate or close polluting mines. This legal straitjacket will become even tighter if the EU–Philippines Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) proceed.

Executive summary

In the last decade, the resource-rich Philippines has bet heavily on the mining industry as a development strategy, an approach that has come under growing scrutiny. With 47 large-scale mines in operation and growing evidence of their social and environmental costs, all the presidential candidates in the May 2016 election were forced to explain their position on, and their financial ties to, the extractive industry. Most candidates, including President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, argued for “responsible mining” and an end to “exploitative contracts”. Yet few candidates addressed whether a new government could effectively enforce new regulations on a largely foreign-controlled mining industry.
This briefing argues that the country’s ability to properly regulate or close polluting mines will be severely constrained by a network of investment treaties the Philippines has signed, which provide excessive protection for foreign investors. This legal straitjacket will become still tighter if the government goes ahead with the EU–Philippines Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Human and environmental costs prompt national movement against mining

The need for further regulation of the mining industry in the Philippines has become ever more obvious since 2004 when mining was declared a priority for “national economic development”. Despite promises of economic growth, industrialisation and jobs, the industry has contributed less than 1% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Moreover, many mines have been found guilty of human rights violations including illegal demolitions, harassment of local residents, and of environmental impacts such as water pollution, as documented in the Rapu Rapu Gold Silver Copper and Zinc Mining Project and the Dipidio Gold and Copper Mine.

Indigenous communities have been particularly hard hit as it is estimated that two-thirds of officially recognised ancestral domains are covered with mining concessions. Environmental damage has also been a major concern as almost 50% of all key biodiversity and protected areas are affected by mining. The government has had to suspend several mining operations, such as those in operating in Surigao del Sur, Zambales and Cagayan, mainly as a result of investigations into their compliance with environmental policies.

Growing anger at the impacts of mining on the communities and environment, and the policies that allow it, led to the creation of the Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)—a coalition of organisations and groups that has decided collectively to challenge the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. They initially sought the scrapping of the 1995 Mining Act (RA7942), an end to full foreign ownership, a stop to large-scale mining and the formulation of an alternative bill that would require strict regulations on mining. These demands became part of a national debate in the run-up to the national elections.

Mining industry protected by International investment agreements

As this briefing shows, however, the mining industry has a very effective line of defence against regulation, namely the existing network of investment treaties that the Philippines has ratified: 31 Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) and seven Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), all of which have an investment protection chapter. These include treaties with Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and the UK—all host nations of major multinational mining companies. All of these treaties, bar very few exceptions, allow investors to sue the government at international arbitration tribunals if they consider that their profits have been unduly affected. Extractive companies have been one of the sectors most given to launching arbitration lawsuits, and 52 current cases worldwide are relating to mining. Based on the 44 cases for which data are available, mining companies have sued governments for a total of $53 billion.

Denying or revoking mining permits because of environmental concerns or violation of the human and social rights of indigenous communities has already led to at least ten investment treaty cases. The governments of Bolivia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Peru and South Africa have all faced costly lawsuits after taking measures to tackle fraud within the mining industry, make mining companies comply with an agreed pollution clean-up, and remedy past discrimination. Indonesia and South Africa eventually lowered environmental standards in order to pre-empt such lawsuits.

The Philippines has yet to face a mining-related arbitration lawsuit, but has already experienced a very costly case launched by the German company, Fraport. Although the Tribunal eventually dismissed the case, the Philippines government ended up paying USD 58 million solely in legal fees, equal to the annual salaries of 12,500 teachers.

Time to roll-back not to extend investor protection

A growing number of countries are beginning to understand the financial, social and environmental costs of the system of investors’ rights—with countries as diverse as Australia, Bolivia, India, Indonesia and South Africa revising their investment treaty policy.

That is why the Philippines government’s move to negotiate RCEP and the EU–Philippines FTA, which will extend investors’ rights with more countries, is a dangerous step that will prevent effective regulation of the country’s mining industry. Worse still, unlike the existing BITs, it will be much harder for the Philippines to revise its investment policies in the future since regional trade agreements (unlike BITs) do not expire.

The stark truth that communities across the Philippines who are facing pollution in their rivers and destruction of their lands have realised is that they are up against some of the most powerful transnational mining companies, and that an international trading system is stacked against them. This complex web of trade and investment agreements has created an architecture of impunity that has made it increasingly impossible to reject or even effectively regulate mining operations. It is crucial that the Philippines starts to unravel this web by halting negotiations on further treaties and seeking to revise those that are already in existence.

Download: Signing away sovereignty (pdf, 992.11 KB)


Our message to OceanaGold Corporation: ‘We will fight until you are vanished’

A Solidarity Statement

26 May 2016

Warmest solidarity greetings!

 From Amianan Salakniban (Defend the North), SAPAKKMI Didipio, Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Novo Vizcayano para sa Kalikasan (ANNVIK), Defend Patrimony Alliance,  and the Kalikasan Peoples Network for the Environment (Kalikasan), we wish you success in your action today and campaign against the environmental criminal OceanaGold Corporation.

Thank you for your support and solidarity to our struggle to defend our rights and environment against the pillage and destruction by such a greedy foreign corporation in our country.

Let us reiterate that we vehemently denounce and oppose Oceana Gold’s large-scale gold mining operations in the village of Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya province, Philippines.

Since their entry in Didipio, land grabbing has intensified, human rights violations have proliferated, and ecological destruction has been exacerbated in the area.

The award declaring OceanaGold as the Most Environmentally Responsible Mining Company by the Philippine government came as no surprise to us. The greenwash award, which was boastfully announced by Mick Wilkes, President and CEO of Oceana Gold, last March, is nothing but a greenwashing ceremony that depict polluters and rights violators such as OceanaGold as responsible and environment friendly in their business operations.

If the people of Didipio will decide, OceanaGold deserves the Most Irresponsible and Abusive Mining Company.

Erenio Bobola, a local resident in Didipio and indigenous people’s leader of SAPAKKMI, contested that the company’s award is a sham. To them, the only thing OceanaGold is responsible for is the displacement of their community and the continuing degradation of their environment. Bobola asserted that OceanaGold deceived them with promises of economic progress and social services once they start mining operations in their lands.

Two of Didipio’s communities were wiped out in Didipio. In 2008, OceanaGold started to illegally demolish houses of indigenous people in the communities. These areas were later converted into a tailings pond that persistently leaks toxic chemicals to the Didipio River and adjacent water bodies.

Independent scientific studies conducted by progressive scientist group AGHAM and national environmental network Kalikasan demonstrates point-blank the pollution in the Didipio river system caused by OceanaGold’s mining operations. According to a 2014 AGHAM report, the level of copper contamination in Didipio River exceeded the maximum safe level both for irrigation use and for the survival of aquatic organisms.

OceanaGold’s blasting operations also reportedly caused the community’s potable water supply from the springs to dry up. Several sitios (communities) were abandoned because of this. Entire families were forced away from their homes. Neither rehabilitation nor relocation was ever conducted by the company.

The Barangay or Village Health Center has also reported an increase in incidences of respiratory diseases ever since OceanaGold started its operations.  More than a thousand residents complaining of respiratory problems were documented by the barangay health workers in Didipio.

Since its full scale operations in 2013, none of their promises to the community were delivered. Schools remained as they were before the entry of the mines: lacking in teachers, school facilities, computers, chairs and school buildings. The promised establishment of a hospital is still non-existent.

The forests, hills and mountains surrounding the once verdant Dinkidi Hill, were heavily devastated and still under threat of complete decimation as the company plans to expand its operations.

Is this responsible mining and progress? Oceana Gold brought nothing but suffering to us. This is the common response you will get from the locals.

According to Fernando Mangili, spokesperson of Amianan Salakniban, the network for the environment and human rights in North Luzon, there is no doubt that OceanaGold became the lowest-costing gold producer in the world. This is all because of the Philippines’ lenient laws, cheap labor policies, and their neglect of their corporate responsibilities to the community of Didipio.

In their more than five years of full operations, the government of the Philippines only received measly taxes from the company. With the Financial Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) granted through the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, the company is allowed to repatriate 100% of its profit for seven years. They also have guaranteed auxiliary rights to water, timber, and the right to ease out—demolish, in other words—houses within the scope of their operations.

As a whole, the foreign dominated Philippine mining industry has barely made a dent in contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product with only 0.7% contribution since 2012. Since 2011, mining contribution to employment remained at 0.6% despite the increase in approved mining tenements nationwide.

The industry employs a contractualization scheme in their labor force to further lower their cost of production and increase their profit. Contractual workers do not have job security, get lower wages than the regular workers, plus they receive lesser health care and benefits. If they die inside the mines, they won’t get any pittance from the company. They also have no right to form unions. If they question the management, they will easily be fired.

For the people of Didipio, OceanaGold’s massive profit is definitely rooted in its exploitation of Didipio’s natural resources, its workers and violation of rights of the communities.

Since last year, the people of Didipio had organized themselves and collected over 10,000 signatures from barangays in municipalities surrounding the mine site to stop the expansion and operation of OceanaGold. They have already launched petition signing drives, information and education missions and are planning to file a legal case to protect what was left of their environment. They have launched various militant protests from the gates of the mine site, to the façade of national conferences of miners.

We will continue to fight OceanaGold’s exploitation of our natural resources and our brothers and sisters in Nueva Vizcaya, until we are able to kick them out of our country.

We will continue to lend our hands to organizations, communities, peoples, and nations who are facing the same repression and oppression from greedy environment criminal corporations. Particularly, we extend our solidarity with the people of El Salvador, the workers of New Zealand, and the people of Australia and the United States who are facing different challenges and violations from OcenaGold interest and operations.

We are very thankful for your continuing support and solidarity in our struggle.  We hope that you will continue to help us to pressure the government of the Philippines to scrap the neoliberal policy of Philippine Mining Act of 1995, the law that is the root of the peoples suffering for two decades. We hope that you can also help the community of Didipio in their legal battle to protect the environment in any way you can.

OceanaGold, environmental criminal and rights violator!

OceanaGold, out of the Philippines and El Salvador now!

People of the World: resist mining plunder!

Stand up for our rights and environment!

Long live International Solidarity!

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: secretariat[at]kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net


Didipio People to Oceana Gold: “Your Profit Is Our Demise”

Amianan Salakniban Press Release

27 May 2016

Didipio anti-mining community lashed back at Oceana Gold Corporation’s claim as the Most Environmentally Responsible Mining Company in a statement released by Mick Wilkes, the President and CEO of Oceana Gold during the Sydney Mining Club last May 5, 2016.

“All lies,” said Erenio Bobola, a local resident of Didipio and an active anti-mining leader in the community under SPPKKMI Didipio. “The only thing they are responsible for is the destruction of our environment and the failure in delivering the ‘progress’ and basic social services they promised us before its operations”

According to Bobola, two of their barangays were wiped out, illegally demolished by the company in 2008 and the area was converted into a tailings pond that leaks toxic chemicals to the Didipio River and all rivers connected to it. Their cattle die upon drinking the water from the rivers connected to Oceana Gold’s tailings pond.

The pollution of Didipio’s river systems that provide water for farmland irrigations were repeatedly proven by several fact-finding missions of scientists under AGHAM and Kalikasan PNE and international groups since 2013 to 2015.

He further added that its subsidiary here in the Philippines, Oceana Gold Philippines Inc.’s (OGPI) blasting operations also caused the community’s potable water supply from the springs to dry up. Several sitios were abandoned because of this. Entire families were displaced. No rehabilitation or relocation was ever set up by the company.

The Barangay Health Center has also reported an increase in cases of respiratory diseases ever since Oceana Gold started its operations. More than a thousand residents complaining of respiratory problems were documented by the Barangay health workers in Didipio.

Existing forests in the hills and mountains surrounding the once Dinkidi Hill, are being threatened to be denuded and excavated as the company plans to expand its operations. Last March, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) granted a five-year extension to its mining contract, legalizing their exploration works in the region surrounding Didipio.

“Since its full scale operations in 2013, none of their promises to the community were delivered. Schools remained as they were before the entry of the mines, lacking in teachers, school facilities, computers, chairs and school buildings. The hospital is still non-existent. “

“Is this responsible mining?” Bobola added. “Oceana Gold brought us nothing but suffering.”

According to Fernando Mangili, spokesperson of Amianan Salakniban, the network for the environment and human rights in North Luzon, “There’s no doubt that OGPI became the ‘lowest cost gold producer’ in the world. This is all because of the Philippine’s lenient laws, cheap labor policies, and their neglect of their corporate responsibilities to the community of Didipio.”

Mangili added that in more than five years of full operations, the government of the Philippines only received measly taxes from the company. With the Financial Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) granted through the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, the company is allowed to export 100% of its profit for seven years. They also have auxiliary rights to water, timber, and the right to demolish houses in the scope of their operations.

According to Mines and Geosciences Bureu data in 2015, the mining industry’s contribution  to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) doesn’t go beyond only 0.7% since 2012 while its contribution to employment remains at 0.6% despite the increase in approved mining tenements nationwide since 2011.

According to Kilusang Mayo Uno-Kordilyera, mining companies are adapting the contractualization scheme legalized by the Republic Act 6715, better known as the Herrera Law. Contractual workers get lower wages than the regular workers, no health care and other benefits. If they die inside the mines, they only get a small pittance from the company. They also have no right to form unions. If they question the management, they will easily be fired.

“For the people of Didipio, Oceana Gold’s massive profit is definitely due to its exploitation of Didipio’s rich natural resources, its workers and its failure to deliver social services to the community,” Mangili added.

Since last year, the people of Didipio had organized themselves and collected over 10,000 signatures from barangays in municipalities surrounding the mine site to stop the expansion and operation of Oceana Gold Philippines Inc. They have already launched petitions signing, mass actions in DENR and MGB regional and national offices,  information and education missions in adjacent barangays and municipalities.Currently, they are planning to file a Writ of Kalikasan in the area to protect what was left of their environment.

For follow-up;

Fernando Mangili
Amianan Salakniban Spokesperson
09174676337


Taguig fiscal recommends indictment of PMPI 4 on Cyber Libel

PMPI Press Release

2 June 2016

A TAGUIG prosecutor has endorsed the filing of cyber libel charges against a civil rights group for reporting a mining company’s operation in Manicani Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar, allegedly for post-typhoon rehabilitation.

Prosecutor Patrick Noel De Dios submitted the resolution to the Taguig Prosecutors’ Office more than five months after the cyber libel complaint filed by Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) against civil society network Philippine Misereor Partnership, Incorporated (PMPI) and four PMPI personnel. HMC is a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corporation.

HMC’s cyber libel complaint stems from a press release of PMPI reporting a June 2015 incident where a barge hired by the mining company to carry its equipment ran over and destroyed small fishing boats off the coast of Manicani Island.

“Just like what we said on our counter-affidavit, we believe that the complaint of the HMC is a form of SLAPP [strategic legal action against public participation] and plain harassment for our organization that is instrumental why HMC’s operations in Manicani Island is suspended until now. It is sad that the prosecutor failed to see that but the fight is not over,” said Yolanda Esguerra, PMPI National Coordinator.

De Dios has recommended cyber libel charges be filed against Esguerra, as well as PMPI staff members Candy Hidalgo, Edel Garingan and Victor Morillo (together called the “PMPI 4”).

HMC’s operations in the island of Manicani have been suspended since 2002 upon the request of the Diocese of Borongan on behalf of Manicani residents due to the mining operations adverse impact on the environment. Since the early 2000s, PMPI and the Diocese of Borongan have been helping the resistance put up by islanders led by the Protect Manicani Island Society, Inc. (PROMISI) – formerly the Save Manicani Movement (SAMAMO).

“Acknowledging how powerful and connected the complainants are, we have prepared for the worst. We will not be shocked if a warrant against us will soon be issued and we are ready. In fact, we are elated with the number of lawyers and organizations that have signified their intent to help us in our case,” Esguerra said.

While the complaint was recommended to be heard in court, only one of the three counts of Cyber Libel raised by HMC will become the basis for the case.

“The prosecutor considers as libelous the PMPI report regarding the destruction of three fishing boats by the mining company’s barge,” Atty. Macki Maderazo, the PMPI 4’s legal counsel, explained.

He added that they will challenge the part of the resolution that says a mining company cannot be considered a public figure because Philippine jurisprudence and several expert legal opinions have repeatedly asserted that corporations may also fall under the public figure category. ###

--
 
The Secretariat
Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc.
Unit 204 Pacific Century Tower
1472-1476 Brgy. South Triangle, Quezon Ave. Quezon City, Philippines
Landline/Fax No.: (02) 961 5956
Mobile No.: +63 922 850 1843
Website: http://www.pmpi.org.ph/
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/philmisereor


Metal production drops in 2015

http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=metal-production-drops-in-2015&id=127843

20 May 2016

VALUE of metal production dropped by about a fifth annually last year due to depressed world ore prices, a reversal from the 40% increase seen in 2014, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said in a statement uploaded on its Web site on Thursday.
MGB said metal output value dropped 23% to P108.21 billion last year from 2014’s P140.15 billion.

“The lackluster performance of metal output last year can be traced to the downward trend in world metal prices brought about by excess supply and weaker global trade.

Reduction in values of nickel, copper, iron or and chromite offset increases in gold and silver -- the only two metals that saw increments in volume as well that made up for decreases in world prices.

Of total metal production value, nickel direct shipping ore and mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide remained at the top spot, accounting for half at P54.20 billion. But value of nickel direct shipping ore dropped 41% to P36.733 billion worth of 32.304 million dry metric tons (DMT) from P62.702 billion worth of 33.127 million DMT, while that of mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide fell 14% to P17.471 billion (84,995 DMT) from P20.311 billion (87,280 DMT).

Gold placed second with a 31.64% share, edging up 4% to P34.24 billion worth of 20,643 kilograms (kg) from P32.97 billion worth of 18,423 kg.

Copper concentrate came third with 17.49%, dropping 17% to P18.921 billion (337,185 DMT) from P22.758 billion (349,269 DMT).

Iron ore posted the biggest fall of 81% to P86.166 million (41,942 DMT) from P455.257 million (153,775 DMT), while chromite saw the second-biggest reduction of 66% to P113.528 million (15,502 DMT) from P337.204 million (47,056 DMT).

Silver, the only other metal whose value increased, went up 5% to P647.017 million (29,780 kg) from P616.437 million (23,005 kg).

MGB noted that prices of gold and silver actually declined: by 8.35% to $1,163.59 per troy ounce from $1,269.57 per troy ounce, and by 17.62% to $15.72 per troy ounce from $19.08 per troy ounce, respectively.

“Base metals are always vulnerable to economic slowdown mainly because they thrive on the degree of economic activities across the globe,” MGB said in a statement.

“As it is, China -- which accounted for the largest metal consumption in the past 10 years or so -- has… been reducing its demand for the said metals. China has been the country’s major market for nickel, copper, chromite and iron ore.”

The Philippines’ 10 biggest project contributors to output last year were the:

• Didipio Copper Gold Project of Oceana Gold Philippines Inc. that straddles Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino provinces that brought in P12.24 billion worth of copper, gold and silver;

• copper operations in Carmen and Lutopan, Toledo City in Cebu City of Carmen Copper Corp. that raked in P11.12 billion;

• Coral Bay High Pressure Acid Leach (HPAL) Project in Palawan owned by Coral Bay Nickel Corp. with P10.4 billion;

• Philex Mining Corp.’s Padcal Copper-Gold Project in Benguet (P9.35 billion);

• gold project in Masbate of Filminera Mining Corp. and Philippines Gold Processing and Refining Corp. (P9.27 billion);

• Taganito HPAL Nickel Corp.’s project in Surigao del Norte (P7.07 billion);

• Mindanao Mineral Processing and Refining Project in Agusan del Sur of Philsaga Mining Corp. and Mindanao Mineral Processing and Refining Corp. (P5.74 billion);

• Platinum Group Metals Corp.’s Cagdianao Nickel Project in Surigao del Norte (P5.18 billion);

• Taganito’s Claver Nickel Project in Surigao del Norte (P5.17 billion); and

• Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp.’s Rio Tuba Nickel Project in Palawan (P3.69 billion).

The country hosts some 44 operating metallic mines, consisting of 27 nickel mines, six gold mines with silver as co-product, three copper mines with gold and silver as co-products, three chromite mines; and five iron mines.

These are in addition to the numerous small-scale gold mining operations.

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