MAC/20: Mines and Communities

The following are three statements from different bodies, which although they approach the issue fro

Published by MAC on 2003-11-11


The following are three statements from different bodies, which although they approach the issue from different perspectives show the depth of feeling in the Philippines over the National Minerals Policy.

The Peoples' Mineral Wealth is not for Sale!

Press Statement: November 11, 2003

In a bid to revitalize the Philippine mining industry, the government is now aggressively promoting foreign direct investment in mining activities all over the country, under the National Minerals Policy (NMP). This policy framework for "sustainable and responsible mining" is an attempt by the government, the World Bank, and mining companies to gain public support for the all-out implementation of the Mining Act of 1995.

In fact, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is expected to sign before the year ends an executive order for the implementation of the NMP as a signal to the international mining community of the government's commitment to the full liberalization of the mining industry which promises to be highly profitable for investors. Likewise, a national workshop on the NMP to be held on December 3-4, 2003 is designed by MGB, mining companies and the World Bank to generate a multi-stakeholders support to this policy.

The NMP for "sustainable and responsible mining" is nothing but a myth aimed at dousing cold water at the growing nationwide opposition to large-scale mining and the sell-out of the peoples' mineral resources to foreign investors. This corporate hype has already been used by multinational mining companies to promote their public image. But their pretentious claim has already been widely discredited as their destructive operations continue to wreck havoc on hundreds of communities worldwide. Yet they simply refuse to be made accountable and to respect the rights of affected communities.

Environmental catastrophes and peoples' resistance continue to hound multinational mining companies, inspite of their promotion of "best practices" and technological advancements. Claims of environmental protection and rehabilitation by the NMP do not provide any real solution to the inherent and environmental problems created by mountains of toxic waste generated by large scale corporate mining.

Clearly, there is no such thing as sustainable and responsible mining under corporate globalization, mainly driven by profit, and more profit. The Cordillera experience of a century of commercial mining did not lead to the development of the people, but resulted instead in environmental problems, loss of livelihood sources, and violations of their right over their ancestral lands and resources.

The imposition of large scale mining among indigenous territories is a form of national oppression and development aggression. Our resources are not for sale! It is our duty to protect them for the use of the future generation. While wealth can be found under the land, more wealth can be generated on the land which can sustain our people in the decades to come.

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) rejects the NMP, and warns the President NOT to sign the executive order for its implementation. Surely, GMA will become more unpopular if she issues the NMP Executive Order as she is bound to reap the peoples' wrath come election time, with this anti- people policy. We call on the people not to be deceived by the NMP, and instead support the struggles of mining affected communities. This renewed assault on the peoples' resources must be stopped! It is our duty as citizens to protect our national patrimony and to persevere in the struggle for social justice, genuine development and peace.

Contact person;
Joan Carling, chairperson, CPA
Tel. Nos: 74-442-2115; 74-304-42-39

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