MAC: Mines and Communities

Where Is Justice In The 1995 Mining Act?

Published by MAC on 2006-04-03
Source: Defend Patrimony

Where is Justice in the 1995 Mining Act?

Defend Patrimony Press Release

3rd April 2006

"May we ask the Supreme Court, where is justice in the Mining Act of 1995 when it allows ownership and control of lands by foreign mining corporations, yet deprives and displaces our people and future generations from their very source of livelihood and life?" asks Trixie Concepcion, spokesperson of Defend Patrimony, a broad alliance against mining liberalization and large-scale mining projects of the government. Concepcion raised the question as the Supreme Court upheld the law's constitutionality in a renewed challenge of the law and another agreement of the government and Arimco Mining Corporation.

The Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of the Act by virtue of an earlier decision and Section 76 of the law which provides for the payment of just compensation. "In a way the Supreme Court is saying that there's "just compensation" when you surrender your patrimony and sovereignty to foreigners." Ms. Concepcion added.

"The decision of the Supreme Court manifests disturbing indifference of our courts to the realities of the social and economic impacts of large-scale mining on local people. In Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya alone, the mining operation of Climax-Arimco Mining Co. (CAMC) will result in economic loss rather than gain. In one of the studies of the economic impact of CAMC operation, the country will gain $1.2 billion as proceeds while it will lose a potential earning of $14.6 billion because of the destruction of the citrus plantation and local production," says Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan-PNE, an environmental organization calling for the repeal of Mining Act of 1995.

"Because of the threats of massive displacement, loss of livelihood and destruction of environment brought about by Mining Act and large-scale mining operation, Indigenous people are fighting tooth and nail to protect their rights and communities. It is one of the reasons why there is an increase deployment of military forces and incidence of human rights violation in mining-affected areas," adds by Mr. Bautista.

Kalikasan-PNE cited the study of Socccsksargends Agenda and In-Peace Mindanao that a total of 10,500 individual victims of human rights violations related with the Western Mining Corporation mining project in Far South Mindanao Region in the period of 1994-2005. The groups accounted for the rights violations in 60 documented cases involving 3,181 families in 30 communities, most of them B'laans, an indigenous group in the boundaries of Saranggani, Davao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato. The cases were documented by a solidarity and sympathy mission (SSM) led by the two organizations last September.

"The Supreme Court once again shows that there is not much to expect from them when it comes to conflict between the interest and welfare of foreign mining investors on the people and environment," Mr. Bautista concluded.

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