MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Two unity statements opposing foreign-controlled large scale mining in the Philippines

Published by MAC on 2005-04-23


Two unity statements opposing foreign-controlled large scale mining in the Philippines

South Central Mindanao environmental alliance condemns and opposes foreign controlled-mines and plantations

Soccsksargends Alliance for Genuine Development (AGENDA)

Media Release

April 23, 2005

General Santos City, Philippines—“There’s a need to put an end to foreign monopoly domination in the Philippine industries and agriculture, the root cause of development aggressions,” declared Eliezer Billanes, chair of Soccsksargends Alliance for Genuine Development (AGENDA) as the Regional Conference on Environment and Development Aggression wind up last April 22, 2005 at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Lagao, General Santos City.

The environmental conference concluded on an Earth Day commemoration with the delegates strongly condemning and opposing the development aggressions of foreign monopoly large-scale mines and plantations. The conference categorically pointed out that mines and plantations worsen environmental degradation; extensively exploit the natural resources; endanger of human health and livelihood; intensify human rights violations; and, encroach and exploit indigenous peoples’ ancestral domain.

“Foreign monopoly exploitation and plunder emanates from the insatiable super-profiteering of TNCs/MNCs that undermine the Filipino people’s control of their resources. We call to an end the agro-chemical TNCs control on seeds, foreign monopoly control on land and plunder of the natural resources,” Billanes stressed.

“We deplore globalization as the scheming mechanism of foreign monopoly corporations and their local cohorts to exploit and plunder the natural resources to the detriment of the environment, undermine the people’s lives and livelihood, and infringe human rights,” thus, states the People’s Manifesto for Genuine Development that was signed by the conference delegates.

The conference specifically underscored the aggressive mineral explorations of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. in Tampakan, South Cotabato as foreign plunder in the South Central Mindanao. The alliance expects the mining firm to operate in 3 to 5 years time. Although, the mine company has yet to reveal the mineral development plan, it expressed that open-pit mining remains the economically feasible method for the extraction of mineral ores and most likely considers valley deposition as tailings disposal method.

“Now is the time to aggressively campaign to stop the foreign mining operation. These transnational mines pose serious and imminent threats of another ecological and environmental disaster. We don’t want another tragedy like the Marcopper mine tailing spill in Marinduque last 1996 and flash floods in Aurora and Quezon Provinces last year,” sexclaimed Billanes.

“We denounce the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and Mineral Action Plan of the Arroyo government that allows the wholesale plunder of our natural resources by the transnational mining firms,” AGENDA stated further.

The alliance vehemently denounced the Arroyo government for the total sellout of national patrimony and economic sovereignty and for violating the essence of the Philippine Constitution.

“With the reversal of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 that allow 100% foreign ownership of mineral resources development, the Arroyo administration consequently protects only the interest of foreign transnational mining corporations and their local cohorts,” condemned Billanes.

“By remaining dumbfounded and blinded of the immediate, instant and transitory economic benefits of these development projects, the Arroyo government are numbed to the aggressions aimed at the people of South Central Mindanao,” AGENDA denounced.

Human rights advocates who converged in Soccsksargends AGENDA also feared the extensive, escalating and worsening human rights violations because of intensified militarization conducted by the state security forces and their agents in plantation and mines area.

“We demand to stop the militarization as state instruments maximized to drive away oppositions to development aggressions. It infringes human rights and destructs livelihood of peasant communities, Bangsamoro people and indigenous peoples,” AGENDA stressed.

The alliance resolutely push for a progressive, independent and self-sufficient economy that promotes the people’s control of natural resources, protects the environment and pursues genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization.

“We commit ourselves to intensify the struggle against development aggressions, to fight and protect our national patrimony economic sovereignty and to move forward genuine development as the agenda of the alliance,” thus concludes the Peoples Manifesto for Genuine Development.

For reference:

Eliezer S. Billanes, Chair

Elmer A. Cordero, Secretariat

Email: soccsksargends_agenda@yahoo.com


The Soccsksargends AGENDA (Alliance for Genuine Development) emerged as a convergence of church institutions, peoples’ organizations and non-government organization resolute to campaign/struggle against the incursion of development aggressions on the people and fight for genuine development. The formation of an environmental alliance was deemed imperative and realized in a gathering of various environmentalist groups that share their experiences, current undertakings and various efforts against environmental exploitation and destruction vis-à-vis economic displacement and dislocation of marginalized sectors.

Convenors:

The alliance adopted Soccsksargends to refer to the South Central Mindanao provinces of the old Cotabato Empire — South Cotabato, Cotabato Province, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani Province, General Santos City and the adjacent province of Davao del Sur.


PEOPLE’S MANIFESTO FOR GENUINE DEVELOPMENT

Soccsksargends AGENDA (Alliance for Genuine Development)

We, leaders and representatives of different people’s organizations, non-government organizations, church institutions, local government units, academe, media, youth and concerned individuals now come in unity as convenors of the Soccsksargends Alliance for Genuine Development or Soccsksargends AGENDA to struggle against the incursions of various development projects in the area of South Cotabato, Cotabato Province, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani Province, General Santos City and Davao Del Sur (Soccsksargends) in particular and the Philippines, in general.

We strongly condemn and oppose development aggressions that worsen environmental degradation; extensively exploit natural resources; endanger human health and livelihood; intensify human rights violations; and encroach and plunder indigenous peoples’ ancestral domain.

We are alarmed by massive and extensive foreign corporate exploitations in South Central Mindanao Area—having rich potential raw materials, its land, mineral and water resources are eyed for plunder by both transnational and multinational companies—to wit, the aggressive mineral explorations of Sagittarius Mines, Inc.; the massive commercialization of genetically modified corn by Monsanto, Pioneer Hybrid and Syngenta; the expansive plantation of Dole Philippines, Lapanday Group of Companies and AMS Corporation; and the extensive land-use conversions for oil palm of Agumil and KIDI and cassava plantations of San Miguel Corporation.

We denounce the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and Mineral Action Plan of the Arroyo government that allow the wholesale plunder of our natural resources by the transnational mining firms. Mining operations pose serious and imminent threats of another ecological and environmental disaster that is expectedly worse than the tragedy like the mine tailings spill in Boac, Marinduque in 1996 and flash floods in Aurora and Quezon Provinces in 2004.

We believe that the December 1, 2004 Reversal of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 allowing 100% foreign ownership of mineral resources development consequently protects only the interest of foreign transnational mining corporations and their local cohorts and putting the lives and livelihood of the Filipino people in the midst of danger and uncertainties, thereby causing the Supreme Court lose credibility as the last recourse of the citizenry.

We fear the extensive, intensified, escalating and worsening human rights violations because of intensified militarization conducted by the state security forces and their agents would continue devastate the lives and livelihood of the peasants communities, Bangsamoro people and indigenous peoples. We regret that the indigenous peoples became victims as some Lumad leaders were already bribed with the socio-economic projects traps and were being abused in massive mass-media drum beating of the exaggerated potential economic remuneration of mining operations.

We are alarmed with the extensive commercialization of genetically modified corn seeds of agrochemical MNCs that have stepped up their promotional and marketing campaigns by alluring the local farmers on the economic benefits of GM crops even with the looming danger of GM crops to the biodiversity and people’s health. We are perturbed by government’s adherence to genetically modified crops as alternative program for food security while we are troubled that patented genetically engineered seed further aggravate the elimination of indigenous seed and concentrate the corporate control and monopoly on seeds and chemicals.

We are apprehensive on the rapid expansion of multinational companies like Dole Philippines, Lapanday Group of Companies, AMS Corporation and its subsidiaries of their pineapple and banana plantations coupled with the massive destruction of the environment and human health particularly with the use of banned pesticides in aerial spraying in banana plantation. We are distressed with the massive land-use and crop conversion targeting the rich agricultural lands for oil palm plantations of Agumil, KIDI, etc. and the cassava plantations of San Miguel Corporation.

We deplore globalization as the scheming mechanism of foreign monopoly corporations and their local cohorts to exploit and plunder the natural resources to the detriment of the environment, undermining the people’s lives and livelihood, and infringe human rights.

We vehemently denounce the Arroyo government for the total sellout of national patrimony and economic sovereignty and for violating the essence of the Philippine Constitution by remaining dumbfounded and blinded of the immediate, instant and transitory economic benefits of these development projects and being numbed to the aggressions aimed at the people of South Central Mindanao.

We recognize the legal and legislative works as arena to further address and advance the struggle against development aggressions but we resist being contented on the existing laws recognizing the fact that most of them are flawed and being circumvented by the government itself and foreign corporate cohorts to their ends.

We are resolute that development aggressions will be eliminated and genuine development will be possible only when the corrupt and rotten structural system will be changed through the people’s effort and unity, and pursue a progressive, independent and self-sufficient economy that promotes the people’s control of natural resources, protects the environment and pursues genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization.

We further advance these fight to protect our children and the future generations in pursuance of the interest of the people. Thus, we commit ourselves to intensify the struggle against development aggressions, to defend our national patrimony, to fight for our economic sovereignty and to move forward genuine development as the agenda of the alliance.

To this end, we call on to:

Stop commercialization of GE crops and ban GMO products!

Cancel GE crops field testing and trial permits of Agrochemical TNCs!

Immediate medical assistance to the victims of chemical poisoning and GMO contamination!

Indemnify victims of chemical poisoning and GMO contamination!

Stop Militarization!

Implement the GRP-NDFP CARHRIHL!

Indemnify victims of human rights of violation and environmental tragedy!

Stop Land and Crop Conversion!

No to Economic Plunder!

Scrap Mining Act of 1995!

Reject Mineral Action Plan of GMA administration!

Promote People’s Mineral Policy!

Defend our National Patrimony and Sovereignty!

Done on this Earth Day Celebration 2005.

April 22, 2005 at the Fr. Jerome Memorial Hall,

Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Lagao, General Santos City

Signed by the delegates of the Regional Conference on Environment and Development Aggression


Unity Statement Aganist the Mining Act of 1995

PANALIPDAN - Defenders and Advocates for Environment, Creation and Patrimony (Southern Mindanao Alliance Against Large Scale Mining)

We, representatives of organizations and sectors, people's organizations and alliances, indigenous people communities, peasasant, workers, church groups, academe, lawyers, local government officials, and non-government organizations from different parts of the region---stand united in our
commitment to uphold our people's interests and welfare amid present conditions of adversities to oppose the entry of multinational and transnational mining in the region.

Knowing that mining operations of mutinationals (MNCs) lead destruction to forests, agricultural lands, rivers and oceans, and result to hunger, spread of diseases, amd deprivation of natural resources;

Realizing that massive mining operations result to disruption and displacement of indigenous communities and peasant communities, depriving them of their right to land;

Understanding that the Philippine Mining Act is a scheme of the national government that spells wholesome surrender of our patrimony to foreign countries;

Believing that large- scale mining desecrates the integrity of God's creation and tamplets upon the dignity of human persons;

We hereby:

Resist the entry of foreign mining operations and their counterpart companies here in Southern Mindanao;

Oppose the aggression of mining MNCs and TNCs in our country;

Condemn the practice of mining MNCs and TNCs for plundering our natural resources for profit, without holding responsibility to indemnify and rehabilitate the communities and environment;

Support the communities in their need to be vigilant in opposing the entry of foreign mining;

Support also the struggle of small-scale miners in Mt. Diwata (Diwalwal), Monkayo, Compostela Valley against "direct state intervention" by occupying 81,000 hectares which will lead to their displacement.

We commit ourselves to resist imperalist globalization through the liberalization of the mining industry in the Pilippines.

We unite to issue the following calls:

Scrap the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942) and all related anti-people mining laws and policies

cancel all Financial Technical Assistance Agreements, and other related contracts and permits on mining exploration and operations

Declare a moratorium on open-pit mining and processing of large mining applications.

Recognize and respect the rights of indigenous peoples to ancestral domain and to self determination.

Hold mining companies accountable for rehabilitation of areas ravaged by their operations.

Develop a framework for nationalist indusrialization where mining resources go to the development of the national economy. Promote genuine land reform.

Assert the sovereignty of the Filipino people against imperialist globalization and plunder

(This unity statement was adapted last 29th day of January, 2005, at the Holy Cross of Davao College, audio visual room, Davao city at the Southern Mindanao Forum on Mining

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