MAC: Mines and Communities

Media Release

Published by MAC on 2003-11-11

Media Release

Civil Society Calls for GMA's Deferment of EO Legalizing the National Minerals Policy

In a consultation convened by the Civil Society Counterpart Council for Sustainable Development (CSCCSD) yesterday, 23 civil society groups including Indigenous Peoples (IPs), and Environmental NGOs strongly called for the deferment of the signing of a proposed Executive Order (EO) that provides a legal basis for the adoption of a National Minerals Policy (NMP).

The group declared that the current draft of both the proposed National Minerals Policy and the proposed Executive Order are severely flawed both in substance and process. While they acknowledged the efforts of trying to integrate several sustainability principles within the framework of the proposed NMP, it nonetheless still basically strengthens the National Mining Act of 1995 and they find no sufficient basis to show that it will be able to correct the infirmities of the Mining Act of 1995.

The collective position of the Group was for both documents to be subjected to wider public scrutiny and discussions, including the possibility of looking into strengthening, amending, or even totally redrafting them to be truly of greater significance and impact on the lives of the Filipino people as well as in the development of the nation and its economy.

In a letter addressed to Secretary Romulo Neri of the National Economic and Development Authority and also Chair of the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development ({PCSD), the Group asked for such deferment to allow PCSD, as an entire Council, to more fully and broadly consult various stakeholders and constituencies, including the Indigenous Peoples in affected (mining) communities to ensure that laws and policies of these comprehensiveness and strategic importance are compliant with the principles of sustainable development as provided for in existing development frameworks of the country.

In the meantime, the Group sees the need to open the NMP to some policy alternatives that would ensure its compliance with sustainable development principles, including among others, a) provision for a co-investment by government, private sector, and affected communities, as basic structure of development of mineral resources; b) provision for investments on developing mineral resources subject to limitations derived from the ecological, social, and cultural sensitivities and fragility of affected mineralized areas; c) limitations, if not abrogation of ancillary rights; and d) provision for national government and local governments with the participation of multistakeholder groups, to develop within a prescribed period, mechanisms for resolution of conflicts over mining and mining investments, and for interventions to reduce risks from mining activities based on the precautionary principles.

The Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) is a multi-stakeholder council composed of government, non-government organizations, business and labor sectors, organized to monitor the implementation of the Philippine Agenda 21, the country's blueprint for sustainable development.

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