Press Release - Dcmi's Response To The Supreme Court Ruling Of December 1, 2004Published by MAC on 2004-12-13
Press Release DCMI's Response to the Supreme Court Ruling of December 1, 2004
December 13, 2004
The DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues expresses its dismay and strong opposition to the Supreme Court rulings made on December 1, 2004. On this date the Court reversed the ruling that it made previously on January 29, 2004 regarding the 'unconstitutionality' of the Mining Act and the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) provision which allows 100% foreign ownership of investment capital.
In making this decision, the Supreme Court has catered to the interests of the rich and powerful and while showing careless disregard for the collective future of the Philippine People. We are certain that this ruling was influenced by groups who are eager to exploit the rich natural resources of our country. Philippine mining history has shown us over and over again that multinational companies and unscrupulous government officials are not hesitant about abusing the justice system to serve their own ends.
The Supreme Court defended their decision by saying that greater foreign investment into the mining industry would stimulate local economic development and benefit the country as a whole. This rationale, however, is deeply flawed. We do not believe that economic development is the inevitable result of greater investment in the mining industry. We also do not believe that the Filipino people stand to benefit from this increased investment.
Many studies on the subject show that mining is a relatively negligible factor in economic growth.* In fact, research has shown that mineral dependent countries are more likely to fare poorly both socially and economically. In a study of 95 developing countries over 20 years, Harvard economists Sachs and Warner found that countries with higher rates of natural resource exports had slower rates of per capita growth.**
In the Philippines, mining has frequently failed at creating substantial employment. Currently only 1% of the total work force in the country are employed by mining companies. The mining industry has ceased to become a significant employer because of increasing mechanization. According to the International Labour Organization, one-third of all mine-workers in 25 major mineral-producing countries lost their jobs between 1995 and 2000.
The Philippine mining industry has also failed stimulate economic development in related sectors. The industry continues to import most of its capital equipment and inputs such as fuel, vehicles, drills, generators and explosives from overseas.***
DCMI is also opposed to the recent ruling because we do not believe that economic development is the sole process that can guarantee a strong and secure future for the people of the Philippines. On the contrary, we believe that economic development is useless if it is unsustainable. Furthermore, we assert that economic growth is destructive if it requires the devastation of the land, the pollution of the water, the displacement of families and communities, the suppression of human rights, and the impoverishment of the many for the benefit of the few.
We have recently witnessed the frightening aftermath of the Philippine logging industry. The tragic flooding and landslides were the visible and inevitable result of environmental destruction in a country of our climate and geography. The floods, however, are not the only legacy of the logging industry. Multinational corporations have been exporting our lumber for years while promising development for the local communities. These promises were repeatedly broken as companies pulled out of communities leaving nothing but ghost towns and environmental wastelands behind. In the end, the only people to benefit from this trade off were the logging companies and their Filipino counterparts.
We believe the mining industry is poised to follow the path of the logging industry. Increased mining will make our land and our people increasingly vulnerable to environmental hazards. More communities will suffer displacement and betrayal. We are astounded that the Supreme Court could even consider encouraging the further pillaging of our country at such a time.
For our rights, our future, and our environment, DCMI loudly calls for the scraping of the Republic Act 7942. DCMI asks the People of the Philippines and the International Community to oppose the large scale mining companies that seek to exploit our land. To this end, we are currently conducting an education, information and signature campaign about the mining act. If you wish to add your voice to the protest, please let us know.
Tito N. Fiel
Celes V. Tano
* See Thomas Michael Power, Digging to Development, Oxfam America, New
York, September 2002.
** See Jeffery D. Sachs and Andrew M. Warner, Natural Resource
Abundance and Economic Growth (Cambridge, MA: Harvard, November 1997),
*** See Antonio Tujan Jr. and Rosario Bella Guzman, Globalising
Philippine Mining, Ibon Books, Manila, 1998.