MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Two unity statements opposing foreign-controlled large scale mining in the Philippines

Published by MAC on 2005-04-23


Two unity statements opposing foreign-controlled large scale mining in the Philippines

South Central Mindanao environmental alliance condemns and opposes foreign controlled-mines and plantations

Soccsksargends Alliance for Genuine Development (AGENDA)

Media Release

April 23, 2005

General Santos City, Philippines—“There’s a need to put an end to foreign monopoly domination in the Philippine industries and agriculture, the root cause of development aggressions,” declared Eliezer Billanes, chair of Soccsksargends Alliance for Genuine Development (AGENDA) as the Regional Conference on Environment and Development Aggression wind up last April 22, 2005 at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Lagao, General Santos City.

The environmental conference concluded on an Earth Day commemoration with the delegates strongly condemning and opposing the development aggressions of foreign monopoly large-scale mines and plantations. The conference categorically pointed out that mines and plantations worsen environmental degradation; extensively exploit the natural resources; endanger of human health and livelihood; intensify human rights violations; and, encroach and exploit indigenous peoples’ ancestral domain.

“Foreign monopoly exploitation and plunder emanates from the insatiable super-profiteering of TNCs/MNCs that undermine the Filipino people’s control of their resources. We call to an end the agro-chemical TNCs control on seeds, foreign monopoly control on land and plunder of the natural resources,” Billanes stressed.

“We deplore globalization as the scheming mechanism of foreign monopoly corporations and their local cohorts to exploit and plunder the natural resources to the detriment of the environment, undermine the people’s lives and livelihood, and infringe human rights,” thus, states the People’s Manifesto for Genuine Development that was signed by the conference delegates.

The conference specifically underscored the aggressive mineral explorations of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. in Tampakan, South Cotabato as foreign plunder in the South Central Mindanao. The alliance expects the mining firm to operate in 3 to 5 years time. Although, the mine company has yet to reveal the mineral development plan, it expressed that open-pit mining remains the economically feasible method for the extraction of mineral ores and most likely considers valley deposition as tailings disposal method.

“Now is the time to aggressively campaign to stop the foreign mining operation. These transnational mines pose serious and imminent threats of another ecological and environmental disaster. We don’t want another tragedy like the Marcopper mine tailing spill in Marinduque last 1996 and flash floods in Aurora and Quezon Provinces last year,” sexclaimed Billanes.

“We denounce the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and Mineral Action Plan of the Arroyo government that allows the wholesale plunder of our natural resources by the transnational mining firms,” AGENDA stated further.

The alliance vehemently denounced the Arroyo government for the total sellout of national patrimony and economic sovereignty and for violating the essence of the Philippine Constitution.

“With the reversal of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 that allow 100% foreign ownership of mineral resources development, the Arroyo administration consequently protects only the interest of foreign transnational mining corporations and their local cohorts,” condemned Billanes.

“By remaining dumbfounded and blinded of the immediate, instant and transitory economic benefits of these development projects, the Arroyo government are numbed to the aggressions aimed at the people of South Central Mindanao,” AGENDA denounced.

Human rights advocates who converged in Soccsksargends AGENDA also feared the extensive, escalating and worsening human rights violations because of intensified militarization conducted by the state security forces and their agents in plantation and mines area.

“We demand to stop the militarization as state instruments maximized to drive away oppositions to development aggressions. It infringes human rights and destructs livelihood of peasant communities, Bangsamoro people and indigenous peoples,” AGENDA stressed.

The alliance resolutely push for a progressive, independent and self-sufficient economy that promotes the people’s control of natural resources, protects the environment and pursues genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization.

“We commit ourselves to intensify the struggle against development aggressions, to fight and protect our national patrimony economic sovereignty and to move forward genuine development as the agenda of the alliance,” thus concludes the Peoples Manifesto for Genuine Development.

For reference:

Eliezer S. Billanes, Chair

Elmer A. Cordero, Secretariat

Email: soccsksargends_agenda@yahoo.com

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