MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Mining companies will ruin’ the Philippines, warns MP

Published by MAC on 2006-08-20

Mining companies will ruin’ the Philippines, warns MP

By Paul Donovan, The Universe

20th August 2006

LABOUR MP Clare Short is warning that the natural beauty of the Philippines will be “systematically destroyed” unless international mining companies are stopped.

Accompanied by Columban Father Frank Nally and CAFOD country representative Carino Antequisa on a visit to the country, Mrs Short described her shock at how destructive the mining companies have been.

“I’ve never seen anything as systematically destructive as what is going on in the Philippines,” she told The Universe.

“The programme envisaged would destroy much of the precious mountains and lakes - the rights of the people are being overidden.”

Mrs Short questioned the credibility of claims made by the Philippines government that it will abide by international standards.

“ These are clearly just words, they are not said sincerely or many of these developments would be ruled out’ she said.

The former international development minister was full of praise for the Philippines Bishops’ Conference for the role it has played in standing up for the indigenous people.

“The bishops are wonderful —they stand in solidarity with the people,” said Mrs Short.

Mrs Short questioned the development value of what the mining companies seek to bring to the Philippines.

She claimed the mining developments did not create more jobs than they destroyed in the indigenous economy and said profits were taken straight out of the country to the bases of the transnational companies in the west.

The delegation saw how the mining companies were encouraging local people to use cyanide as part of the extractive process.

In one area, the rice production had been disrupted and livestock had stopped reproducing.

Mrs Short promoted a policy that only tolerated mining operations if they operated in an environmentally sustainable way.

She urged financial institutions in the City of London not to invest in the mining companies involved, which are based mainly in Australia and Canada.

“The people in the City need to be made aware of what is going on so that they do not invest in these developments:’ she said.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference has stated that the Philippines’ Mining Act destroys life.

“The right to life is inseparable from to sources of food and livelihood” the statement read.

“Allowmg the interests of big mining corporations to prevail over people’s right to these sources amounts to violating their right to life.

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