MAC: Mines and Communities

Supreme Court decision on RA 7942 spoils Arroyo's environmental record

Published by MAC on 2004-02-02

Supreme Court decision on RA 7942 spoils Arroyo's environmental record

Kalikasan - people's network for the environment

Press Release

February 2, 2004

"The Supreme Court decision declaring provisions of the Republic Act 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 as unconstitutional, vindicates the relentless opposition to it by environmental groups and mining-affected communities," said Clemente Bautista Jr, national coordinator of the national environmental network Kalikasan-PNE.

"The Mining Act of 1995 allows foreign companies or individuals to 100% own a mining company in our country and obtain equal rights to control and exploit our mineral resources, which can cover 81,000 hectares for 50 years. Moreover, the Mining Act provides mining companies with Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) which grants them auxiliary rights such as timber rights, water rights, easement rights and arbitration rights that as a matter of principle should only be given to Filipinos. There is no doubt that this law violates our sovereignty and the 1987 Constitution," explained Mr. Bautista.

The Supreme Court decision also nullifies and voids the FTAA given to the Australian owned Western Mining Company (WMC). In March 30, 1995, the government granted an FTAA to Western Mining Co, Philippines (WMCP) covering 99,387 hectares of land in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur and North Cotabato. The La Bugal-Blaan Tribal Association, a local indigenous people organization in Sultan Kudarat, challenged the validity of the Mining Act and the FTAA awarded to WMC in February 7, 1997.

"The Supreme Court decision virtually negates the recent Executive Order 270, entitled 'National Policy Agenda on Revitalizing Mining,' issued by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo last January 16. The EO 270 clearly states 'that the Mining Act of 1995 upholds our sovereignty and serves as the framework for its mining policy.' If only for this lie, we believe that the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and the EO 270 should totally be scrapped, including all other laws related to or arising from the unconstitutional provisions of the mining law", said Mr Bautista.

Both the EO 270 and Mining Act of 1995 betray the insidious intent of its primary authors which is to sell off our natural resources and patrimony to foreign interest at the expense of our people and environment.

It should be remembered that President Arroyo, then a Senator, co-authored the Mining Act of 1995 and sponsored such unpatriotic, pro-globalization policies and agreements as the General Agreement of Tariff and Trade (GATT). It should not be a wonder why environmental groups are vowing not only to not vote for her, but also to campaign against her re-election," added Mr. Bautista.

Phone: Enteng Bautista 9248756/ 09185539682

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