MAC: Mines and Communities

Human Security Act May Be Used Against Communities Opposed To Mining

Published by MAC on 2007-07-06
Source: Kalikasan-PNE ()

Human Security Act may be used against communities opposed to mining

Kalikasan-People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE) Press Release

6th July 2007

The Human Security Act could be used as a tool of coercion, intimidation, and even repression among mining-affected communities throughout the Philippines thereby violating the principle of free and informed prior consent with regards to mining projects, environmental activists from Kalikasan Peoples' Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) asserted today.

"It's a dangerous law that operates on a flimsy and vague definition of 'terrorism'. Under the HSA, or what would be better termed as the Terror Law, anti-mining protests and grassroots initatives to protest the entry of foreign mining firms could be very well be misrepresented as an 'unlawful demand' and even inciting to 'terrorism'," Clemente Bautista, Kalikasan PNE National Coordinator, said.

Kalikasan PNE and the Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines (CEC-Phils) today sponsored a forum on the implications of the HSA on environmental advocates and their campaigns against foreign TNC mining, large dams, and other destructive projects often undertaken jointly by the government.

"Even before the HSA, many environmental activists, especially in the provinces, have been subjected to surveillance by suspected state forces and harassment by private guards because of their advocacies against large-scale mining projects, for example. But with the HSA, the state will gain only more impunity to commit more human rights violations against communities who are rightfully protesting against the destructive effects of these projects on their lands, livelihood, and lives," Bautista said.

Bautista said this as peasant organizations today aired their opposition to the mining project of Australian-owned Egerton Gold Phils, Inc. in Batangas.

"We are expecting more pockets of protest from many communities nationwide as the Arroyo administration continues its all-out 'clearance sale' of our national patrimony to foreign mining firms. The government might use the HSA to preempt the tide of opposition from the local communities," he said.

At least 17 mining companies are eyeing 10 Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) and seven Exploration Permits from the DENR, covering areas in Surigao del Norte, Batangas, Ilocos, Ceby, Southern Leyte, Misamis Oriental, Bulacan and Rizal.

"In spite of the threats posed by the HSA to civil liberties, we will expose it as an unconstitutional law and vow to oppose the violations that will occur in the course of its implementation," Bautista said.

Bautista said that it would be conducting more information-dissemination campaigns on the HSA among its nationwide network of non-government organizations, people's organizations, and environmental advocates in the coming days.

Reference: Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator
Kalikasan-People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE)
No.26 Matulungin St. Bgy, Central, Quezon City, Philippines 1100
Tel. No. +63-2-9248756 Fax No. +63-2-9209099
Email: kalikasan.pne@gmail.com Website: www.kalikasan.org

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