MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Cpa Press Statement On The International Mining Investment Conference - February 2-4, 2005, Makati M

Published by MAC on 2005-02-02

CPA Press Statement on the International Mining Investment Conference - February 2-4, 2005, Makati Metro Manila

February 2, 2005

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) condemns and denounce the GMA administration and the Philippines Chamber of Mines, for facilitating the total sell out of the peoples resources for profit to multinational mining companies.

Inspite of the pronouncement made by GMA that the government will hold consultations with concerned non government groups and sectors, this is simply a lip service, devoid of any sincerity to address the peoples concerns on mining. Instead, it has been working hard to entice foreign investors and to offer so many incentives and tax holidays to foreign mining companies by organizing the International Mining Investment Conference. While exempting foreign mining companies from tax payments, it has chosen to put more burden to the poor by pushing for the collection of value added tax (VAT). This is highly deplorable and un-acceptable as an anti-people policy and adding insult to injury on the impoverished Filipino people, whom the government is suppose to serve.

This International Mining Investment Conference aims to get foreign investors interested in 23 mining projects. Yet the affected communities of these projects have not been consulted properly, and there is an obvious lack of transparency in the process of the planning and identification of these projects. The government is hooked on foreign investments as part of imperialist globalization, disregarding the rights of affected communities and the protection of the environment. As a result, more conflicts will take place in the areas of these 23 projects and other areas opened up for mining as the people will continue to assert their rights and defend their resources from imperialist plunder.

Credible studies have shown that countries who have primarily relied on foreign investments in their mining industry as a means to develop remains still the poorest of the poor and are facing series of catastrophies, disasters and conflicts. These countries include Zaire, Bolivia and Sierra Leone. It has already been established that corporate mining severely limits the ability of a nation to sustain economic growth. In fact, dependency on foreign investment and foreign aid has resulted to more impoverishment, than peoples self development like the case of the Philippines. It is then evident that foreign investment will never be a viable solution to the chronic economic and financial crises of the country

Thus, any claim of the government and the mining companies on beneficial impacts of billions of funds to be made available by foreign mining companies, and its so called multiplier effect is highly doubtful and unreliable. On the other hand, mining companies have amassed tremendous profit from their exploitative operations, leaving behind a legacy of irreversible damage to the environment. Likewise, foreign investment in the country is a major source of graft and corruption which is already at an alarming level, generating international concern. The question then remains as to who actually benefits from this government hype for foreign investments by mining companies.

We call on mining companies to take their hands off the mineral resources of the people.

We demand the full respect to our collective rights as indigenous peoples and the patrimony of the Filipino people over our natural resources. We will not allow the plunder of our land and we will resist and expose all attempts of deception and coercion by the government and mining companies. As long as social injustice remains, we will tirelessly oppose the further trumpling of our rights and the imposition of imperialist globalization in the name of " development".

Reference person: Joan U. Carling, Chairperson

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