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)