MAC: Mines and Communities

Scrap Republic Act 7942 or the New Mining Act of 1995

Published by MAC on 2003-11-09

Scrap Republic Act 7942 or the New Mining Act of 1995
Reject National Minerals Policy!
Oppose Imperialist Globalisation!
Condemn and Oppose the Plunder of our National Patrimoney in the Guise of Development!

A Position Paper Prepared for the Purpose of the National Mining Conference on November 9-12, 2003

We strongly opposed the blatant effort of our government to pass into law the Philippine National Minerals Policy. We also invoke our staunch opposition on the continuing plunder of foreign mining companies to our natural resources, courtesy of Republic Act 7942 (The Philippine Mining Act of 1995)

Our rejection to the National Minerals Policy is anchored on the grounds that it will only worsen the environmental havoc brought by the infamous R.A. 7942. We are not supposed to forget the dreadful environmental disaster caused by foreign mining corporations like the Marcopper-Placer Dome in Marinduque, Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation in Benguet and the Western Mining Corporation in the boundaries of Davao Sur, Bukidnon and North Cotabato. The horrendous events claimed the innocent lives of women and children. The irreversible damage to Boac and Maculapnit River in Marinduque, the irreparable destruction of Abra River and rainforest of Benguet, the devastation of the source of potable water of the residents of Davao Sur, Bukidnon and North Cotabato were only few of the very bad reputation of mining in the Philippines. We must bear in mind that the promises of economic development by transnational and multinational corporations are pure rhetoric and cannot, in any sense, pay for the damages they brought in our soil.

Our opposition to the enactment of the Philippine National Minerals Policy is our defense for further subjugation of our national patrimony in favor for the interest of the greed, blood-thirsty foreign mining companies. Since NMP will operate under the premise of the Philippine Mining Act that engineered in giving the mining MNCs and TNCs full control of our mineral resources. The NMP will pay homage to anti-people and anti- people development policies of the government.

From the draft provision of the NMP, basic flaws are gleaned and thus sprung our objection. First, on the issue of the environment protection rehabilitation which states that it is self-regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to the mining industry. This phrase denotes that our government, the DENR-MGB in particular had no authority to demand full and immediate remediation and rehabilitation of the damages they caused in previously mined sites and mining affected communities. The NMP does not provide clear policy on the urgent need for rehabilitation of abandoned and existing mineral sites. Corrective measures and responsibility for past mistakes and disasters caused by mining corporations like Marcopper-Placer dome Corporation and Lepanto Mining Corporation have to be stated for the NMP to be believable.

We are questioning the provision of NMP that allow the use of Deep Sea Tailings Placement (DSTP) as an alternative way of tailings management. If our mind serves us right, DSTP is just another name for Submarine Tailings Disposal System (STD) which has been banned by industrialized countries like Canada. STD/DSTP is proven to be very destructive to our ecosystem especially that our country has a very fragile ecosystem because of the past destruction.

The notion of Competitive and Prosperous Minerals Industry of the NMP is defective. In a developing country like ours, competitive mining industry is not appropriate. What the mining industry offers as a competitive minerals industry is limited to the extraction and the semi-processing of ores to supply the international market.

We can only be competitive if we first strengthen the country's economy by producing our own consumer goods, machineries and strengthen our agriculture. This is where the role of the mining industry should be defined. If the government ties itself in the policy of competing to supply the international market with raw and semi-processed mining products, full mature mining and minerals industry is a far-fetched reality for us.

It is clear that both R.A. 7942 and the NMP are not pro-people and pro-environment as the government and mining TNCs/MNCs claim to be. The NMP will only maintain if not to strengthen the domination of foreign mining companies over our mineral resources at the expense of our people, national patrimony and sovereignty.

Whatever sustainable development rhetoric and token environmental measures the NMP contains cannot hide the rottenness and bankruptcy of this national policy and no amount of development could quantify to irreversible damage it will surely bring. In summary, the main objective of the NMP is to perpetuate the extractive, profit-driven, import-dependent and export-oriented characteristics of the local mining industry.

In the spirit of genuine nationalism, we strongly invoke our stand and urge our national government to:

· Cancel all Financial Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAAs), Mineral Production Sharing agreement (MPSAs), Exploration Permits (EPs), and other instruments, licenses, or contracts issued to foreign mining companies and their domestic counterparts in large mining.

If the DENR, MGB and the national government is true to its duty, a pro-environment and pro-people, they must immediately declare moratorium on the processing of large mining applications. If you value our national dignity and rich mineral heritage, you must hear the cry of the people especially the victims of the past mining disasters

· Scrap the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and its Implementing Rules and
Regulation, Reject the National Minerals Policy and all anti-people mining laws.

Effect a moratorium on the opening of new large mines and the expansion of existing ones. A new mining law should be crafted within the framework of national industrialization and supportive of advancing agriculture in order to contribute to food, security, jobs and job security and just wages.

The new mining law must first and foremost be drafted under the premise of national patrimony and genuine national industrialization and national economic development based on a strong and stable agriculture. We reiterate our call to scrap the anti-people and anti-environment Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and immediately reject the National Minerals Policy! We stand by the pursuit of an alternative mineral policy that is anchored on a clear and independent blueprint for genuine people's development and national industrialization.

We would never wonder if despite the throngs of opposition, the DENR-MGB will recommend the passage of this policy and the President of the Republic will eventually sign this policy. This is not the first time that anti-people policies have been enacted. But as sovereign people, we will never let the foreign mining companies to orchestrate another thread of deception to our people and inflict destruction to our environment. We will strengthen our ranks to oppose and confront the implementation of this inhuman, anti-people and pro-capitalist national policy.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Puppet of the Foreign Large Scale Mining Companies!
Uphold and Protect the Right of the Indigenous People to their Ancentral Lands and to Self-Determination!
Uphold Our National Patrimony and Sovereignty!

Bayan Muna [People's Party]
Davao del Norte/Compostela Valley Province
Mt. Diwata Multi-Sectoral Coalition
Mt. Diwata, Monkayo, ComVal Province

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