MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Environmental Groups Commend The Fact-finding Report Of Former Uk Minister Clare

Published by MAC on 2006-01-25
Source: Kalikasan-PNE Press Release

Environmental groups commend the Fact-finding report of Former UK Minister Clare

Short on Philippine mining

Kalikasan-PNE Press Release

25th January 2006

Defend Patrimony, an alliance opposing the mining liberalization policy of the Arroyo administration, in a statement commends the report made by UK parliamentarian Clare Short which said that "Mining in the Philippines is being developed at a speed and scale, and in a manner likely to cause massive long-term environmental damage and social problems."

A team of environmental and human rights experts led by Clare Short MP, the former UK secretary of State for Overseas Development, and Fr. Frank Nally, an Irish Columban missionary priest who was recently barred entry and blacklisted in the country last January 5, 2007, conducted a fact-finding mission in the Philippine in July and August 2006 to investigate the impact of mining on the environment and the livelihood of the local people.

In their report, the fact finding team stated that "In attempts to woo foreign direct investments, the Philippines government appears willing to circumvent its own laws protecting the environment and human rights, and reduce standards below acceptable international practice."

"It is not only here in the Philipppines but also internationally that the mining revitalization program of the Arroyo administration is being exposed as economically bankrupt, pro-foreigner, anti-environment, and begets more social ills," says Clemente Bautista Jr., national coordinator of environmental activist group Kalikasan-PNE.

"One of the negative social impacts of mining TNCs operations is the high incidence of human rights violations and community displacement in mining-affected areas. Particular cases include the forced dislocation of Subanon families, an indigenous people in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte to clear the way for the operation of Canadian-owned Toronto Venture Inc., and the killings of environmental activists in Mindoro Oriental which is related to the nickel mining project of Crew Minerals."

"Our records show that already 13 anti-mining activists and leaders have been killed under the Arroyo administration. Eight of them were killed in 2005 to 2006. In addition to these are the forced disappearance of Joey Estriber of Aurora Province and the attempted murder of Fr. Allan Caparro of Leyte Province, who at that time of the incidents, are both active in the campaign against foreign large-scale mining."

"The report made by Ms. Short and her team validates and affirms our claims that mining of transnational companies in the country only benefits the foreign business and corrupt government officials of the Arroyo administration at the expense of the rights and welfare of the people and the environment."

"Their report broadens and deepens our arguments against the government mining program and large-scale mining projects of transnational mining companies. Like the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and environmental groups, Ms. Short's team also calls for the revocation of Mining Act of 1995. Its imminent that the Mining Act which serves as the main policy framework of the government to implement irresponsible and unsustainable mining in the country," Mr. Bautista adds.

Reference: Clemente Bautista
No.26 Matulungin St. Bgy, Central, Quezon City, Philippines 1100
Tel. No. +63-2-9248756
Fax No. +63-2-9209099

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