Groups want congress to kill riders in the Mining Revenue Bill

Groups from different mining-affected communities in the country exclaimed their opposition in the establishment of Mining Industry Zones (MIZ) in the Philippines as indicated in the proposed mining revenue policy in the congress.

In their meeting in Quezon City last May 28, the groups would like to send their appeal to the House of Representatives to omit the riders in the mining revenue bill and focus their discussion only on the fiscal regime on mining.

“We believe that the provision for the declaration of MIZ in the House Bill 5367 is outside the context of the fiscal regime and therefore should be omitted right away in the discussion,” said Fr. Joy Gillarme, executive director of Social Action Center Diocese of Marbel.

Elizabeth Manggol of Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC) added that they could not accept the proposed policy especially the MIZ because it contradicts their call for “no go zone” for mining.

Manggol also noted the discrepancy on the process of declaring areas as “no go zone” compare to the process for MIZ.

“Based on our experience and the other communities in the country, protecting an island from mining would take many steps and time -- from the barangay level to congress. But the MIZ is like a breeze to mining companies because for mining to happen, it seems that they would only need proclamation from the president and endorsement from the LGU,” she added.

Ed Garingan, project officer for the anti-mining campaign of Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) commented that the bill on its current form would threaten more communities and key biodiversity areas as the process to begin a mining project seemingly would be cut short.

“The bill is giving the national government an exclusive authority to regulate mining operations in the country, this is a direct assault to local autonomy,” Garingan added.

PMPI is a network of about 300 civil society organizations and church-based groups in the Philippines working on various development issues such as peace, sustainable agriculture, climate change and the anti-mining campaign. (30)

At least 14 representatives from 8 different PMPI Clusters attended the Project Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Training held at Camelot Hotel in Quezon City, on May 26-27.

Participants from the Northern Luzon, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga City (ZAMBASULI), Zamboanga del Norte (DOPIM), Bicol, Southern Luzon, Cotabato (KIDMACO) and the National Capital Region (NCR) work together with the PMPI secretariat for the fourth phase of the Anti-Mining Campaign. The workshops, orientation, and discussions were headed by AMC project officer Ed Garingan and advocacy officer Victor Morillo.

The main objectives of the two-day activity is to orient representatives from the six Focal Organizations (FOs) and the seven pilot/priority Site of Struggles (SoS) on PMPI’s anti-mining campaign for 2015 to 2017; Help the local partners across the region to re-understand the PMPI anti-mining campaign framework; and to increase the knowledge and skills of the FOs and SoS on project management specifically on participatory planning and monitoring process and the Outcome-Impact Orientation.

In her remarks, PMPI National Coordinator Yoly Esguerra expressed hope on even better cooperation, partnership and improved vigilance of communities against mining, as the country is faced with bigger challenges in the years to come.

The Phase 4 of PMPI Anti-Mining Campaign will run for 3 years (2015-2017).

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Representatives from different PMPI clusters work together during workshop on Systems Thinking, one of the main sessions of PIME Training, 26-27 May 2015 at Camelot Hotel, Quezon City. At least 14 representatives from 8 different PMPI Clusters attended the Project Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Training held at Camelot Hotel in Quezon City, on May 26-27

“Because they should not fuel conflict!” 

This is the major call of the newly approved draft regulation of the European Parliament on the so called “conflict minerals”, said Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive director of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA). 

“CSOs and mining affected communities in the Philippines are happy on the vote of the EU parliament that would mean stricter policy for European companies involved in manufacturing and importing components and final products that contain minerals such as tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold.” Gariguez added.

On May 20, 2015, members of the EU parliament approved its proposed policy that would require companies to disclose or certify that they are not using minerals that fuels conflicts and human rights violation in Africa and other parts of the world. 

Bishop Crispin B. Varquez of Borongan, Samar one of the bishops who signed the global petition to pass the said bill expressed that if put into law, the policy will contribute in the global efforts to stop harassment, human rights violation, and even militarization brought about mining in many communities like in the Philippines. 

Yoly Esguerra, national coordinator of the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) is positive that the European Council will also approve the proposed bill. “Although the bill will still have to go through long negotiation process and discussion with European Commission and the Council, we think that the message of the bill is clear and viable for EU businesses -- that is to be responsible in all the areas of their dealings or their supply chain.” Esguerra added.

PMPI is network of about 300 civil society organizations and church-based groups in the Philippines working on four thematic concerns such as peace, sustainable agriculture, climate change and the anti-mining campaign. (30)

 

300 environmental activists headed by Zambales local people’s organization Concerned Citizens of Sta. Cruz (CCOS) will march from Zambales to Mendiola from April 29 to April 30 to call on the provincial  and national government to stop the mining activities in the province.

The caravan will start in Sta. Cruz, Zambales and will end in Mendiola for a protest that will be followed by an environmental concert.

 Among the caravan’s stops are Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 3, DENR National Office, Commission on Human Rights and Office of the Ombudsman.

 “We demand accountability from the national government in its continued indifference to the plight of the people and neglect of the environment.” said Dr. Ben Molino, Chairperson of CCOS.

 “We demand from the government to not only reverse the lifting of the suspension but to call for the total cancellation of existing mining contracts and filing of administrative and civil charges against responsible government officials.” asserted Molino.

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PMPI today raises concern over the supposed letter from Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Leo Jasareno giving the mining company Nickel Asia Corporation to haul and load nickel ore stockpiles from Manicani Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

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