Deepening Crisis In Philippines Over Mining As It Hosts The Asean Mining ConferencePublished by MAC on 2005-10-15
Deepening crisis in Philippines over mining as it hosts the ASEAN Mining conference
15th October 2005
The following is a series of articles on the deepening crisis over large-scale mining in the Philippines. The deeply troubled government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo used the opportunity of its hosting the ASEAN Mining Conference on 11-13th October in Manila to further promote mining as the saviour of the economy, as other South East Asian leaders talked up the opportunities. This is despite the growing opposition to mining of local communities and NGOs, which manifested itself in protests at the meeting (despite an increasing crack-down on undeclared demonstrations reminiscent of the days of martial law under Marcos). As noted in a separate article this is happening against a background of the escalation of the threats and murder of those opposed to large-scale mining, and the activities of other multinationals and the government.
As press statements below emphasise ongoing 'anti-terrorist' measures being taken by the administration are being seen as attacks on legitimate opposition to mining, and even the government department which is meant to 'protect' the rights of Indigenous Peoples, the NCIP, is being martialled into speeding up mining permits on indigenous lands. The NCIP is meant to decide on the free, prior and informed consent, which has formed the basis of legitimate opposition to mining at the local level, but that task has now been subsumed into a body whose aim is "to accelerate processing of mining permits which are usually halted at the local government units and grassroots level." What chance for consent to be freely sought this new joint-body, the Minerals Development Council (MDC)?
As is evident many of the civil society press statements increasingly link opposition to this ill-considered and damaging promotion of mining with opposition to the current administration itself.