On the UN-declared International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples:
Protest picket in Congress and Press Conference
on the Situation and Struggles of Mining- and Dam-affected Communities

 

Quezon City

 

August 11,  2015

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End the Puppet, Fascist, and Anti-Indigenous Peoples US-Aquino Regime!

Intensify our Struggle for Ancestral Land and Self-Determination against Imperialist Plunder and State Repression!

Statement of KATRIBU on the occasion of the United Nations-declared
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples Day
August 2015

On the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, KATRIBU celebrates the victories of the indigenous peoples worldwide to firmly assert our birthright to ancestral land and self-determination as we continue to struggle against intensified imperialist plunder and State repression.

In the Philippines, the indigenous peoples and allied organizations of KATRIBU have set throughout this month,  a series of activities, cultural exchanges, discussions and sharing of experiences, solidarity missions, lobbying and dialogues , community assemblies, unity marches and protest actions  to highlight the struggle for ancestral land and self-determination against imperialist plunder and state repression.

In President BS Aquino’s last State of the Nation Address –  a futile and desperate attempt to create a fairy-tale of the successes of his “daang matuwid” (righteous path) – two things were made clear. First, the BS Aquino regime did not deviate but further implemented the same neo-liberal policies and programs of the previous regimes. He continues to uphold the political and economic interests of his real partners – imperialist corporations, domestic big business and his fellow landlords. Secondly, the BS Aquino regime is a puppet of these vested interests, and represses the rights and legitimate resistance of his own people to protect his partners.  Aquino will not uphold the rights of indigenous peoples and the majority of the Filipino people.


Plunder of resources, land grabbing and trampling on the right to self-determination


The BS Aquino regime hastened the entry of large-scale and destructive projects of mining, energy and eco-tourism, and the establishment of special economic zones in ancestral territories. This government authorized these destructive projects through its programs and proclamations such as the Public-Private Partnership, National Greening Program and his mining Executive Order No. 79.

There are now at least 410 hydropower dams, 27 geothermal and 33 coal power projects that strengthen the monopoly of the Aboitiz, Lopez, Ayala and Cojuangco families and their foreign business partners in the power industry. In return, these projects will adversely affect thousands of indigenous communities.  The Jalaur, Balog Balog, and Laiban dams which will affect more than 30,000 indigenous peoples in Panay, Central Luzon and Southern Luzon are the priority mega dam projects of the BS Aquino government. There are 712 total approved mining applications that cover almost a million hectares. Out of these, 251 encroach on more than 532,000 hectares of our ancestral lands and territories. As of August 2013, Aquino himself approved or renewed a total of 218 large-scale mining applications that cover more than 238,000 hectares of land.

In his Philippine Development Plan, Aquino also targeted 1.5 million hectares of land, mostly agricultural, to be opened up for agro-industries and plantations of banana, pineapple, oil palm, rubber, and other crops for export. There are now 125 agro-industrial projects within our ancestral territories. Aquino’s National Greening Program also opened 105 sites covering more than 370,000 hectares of ancestral lands. These projects are projected as the government’s response to climate change.  And yet it pursues liberalized extractive industries, gives way to private corporations for plantations of coffee, cacao and other commercial trees, and continues the large-scale commercial logging operations in ancestral territories.

Aquino allowed the development of new economic zones such as the Clark Green City in Pampanga that covers 40,000 hectares of lands, and supported the railroaded Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (APECO) encroaching almost 13,000 hectares of productive lands in Aurora.

In pushing these destructive projects, Aquino violates our collective rights and mastered the cooptation of the processes of free, prior and informed decision making of affected communities. It used deception, manipulation and coercion with the connivance of the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), other government offices and the corporations.

In the end, despite claims of a record-breaking economic growth and far-reaching palliative solutions to eradicate the systemic poverty, the indigenous communities only found ourselves sinking deeper into the quagmire of poverty, discrimination, marginalization, and oppression.


The continuing impunity and 5 years of repression


 Aquino's own counter insurgency program, the Oplan Bayanihan, is aimed to crush a persistent armed revolutionary movement in the country. But Oplan Bayanihan is also implemented against legal opposition and resistance of people's organizations and communities to secure the business interests of the foreign corporations and their local big business partners. The Oplan Bayanihan was implemented by BS Aquino in January 2011 right after it extended the dreaded and brutal Oplan Bantay Laya 2 of the Arroyo regime.  Heavy military deployment and intensive military operations are conducted in our communities and territories. Our legitimate defense of our rights, land and resources against plunder and land grabbing are responded to by violence. Resisting communities suffer grave human rights violations.

The numerous cases of harassments, threats, military encampment of indigenous communities, formation of para-military groups, extra-judicial killings, cooptation of our socio-political systems and active division of our communities and the filing of trumped-up charges against our leaders and members are the actual results of the Oplan Bayanihan. For the indigenous peoples, the last four years of Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan that claims to be for peace and development, is even worse than the last four years of the much condemned Oplan Bantay Laya of the hated Arroyo regime. Despite the arrest of the butcher Gen. Jovito Palparan, symbol of the brutality of the Oplan Bantay Laya, not a single perpetrator of the 151 indigenous peoples killed by the Arroyo regime was prosecuted. The repression and the culture of impunity continues and worsens under the Aquino regime.

Currently, under the Aquino regime, KATRIBU monitored 61 cases of extra-judicial killings, 1 enforced disappearance, 99 cases of harassments, and the filing of trumped-up charges against 176 leaders and members of IP organizations, with at least leaders 7 incarcerated. There were 9 incidents of bombing of communities and farmlands, and 52 cases of forced evacuations in Mindanao displacing more than 20,000 lumads. There were also 82 cases of attacks on 57 community schools that affected thousands of lumad children. These attacks are in the form of the threats, harassments and intimidation of students, teachers and staff, encampment, destruction and divestment of properties, vilification and forced evacuation.


Indigenous Peoples Month 2015: Continued struggle for Ancestral Land and Self-determination


In the face of continued plunder of our land and resources, and the intensified violations of our rights,
the indigenous peoples throughout the country responded with fierce resistance. The indigenous peoples in the Philippines engaged in all forms and struggles at the local, national and international arenas to defend our rights to ancestral lands and for self-determination. Indigenous peoples filed petitions and legal cases, launched various protests actions, and barricades and some have taken the option of armed defense of their land and life.


The actions, initiatives and struggles of our communities and movements together with the basic sectors of our society have already garnered victories. But the need to expose and oppose the continuing injustices remains. We call on the defenders and advocates of indigenous peoples rights, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, who is a Filipino and a Kankanaey, and had firsthand experience of similar situation decades ago, to visit our communities and be in solidarity to our continuing struggle.

With only 9 months remaining, Aquino is now engrossed in endorsing and ensuring his successor, and will not in any way tend to the demands of the indigenous peoples.

In this light,  KATRIBU takes up the challenge and call upon  the indigenous communities to strengthen and heighten our unity and our solidarity with the peasants, workers and other oppressed people, and to collectively act to end this puppet, fascist, and anti-indigenous peoples regime. Lastly, we express our highest salute to all the indigenous peoples who have given their lives for the people’s struggle to change the current social system that perpetuates exploitation, oppression and repression. They are now part of the long list of the valiant heroes and martyrs of the people. And we also salute those who  continue to take up the great challenge to assert and struggle for our right to ancestral land and self-determination against the imperialist plunder and intensifying state repression.#

 

Kakay Tolentino, Alta-Dumagat
National Coordinator of BAI Indigenous Women's Network
     

Edwin Danan, Ayta, Sec.Gen of Central Luzon Ayta Association (CLAA)
 
     
Amalia Ninge, Palawan Inter-tribal Federation

Roger Soluta, KMU Secretary-General
           
     
Pstr. Ernani O. Diacos
Program Assistant of the Faith, Witness and Services Program
of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines
Clemente Bautista, KALIKASAN National Coordinator
     

 Lilian Faliao, Save Mankayan Movement

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Press Release
August 11, 2015
Reference: Piya Macliing Malayao, Secretary General | 0917-3631576

Indigenous Peoples Day: Defy Mining Plunder, Militarization and Damnation! --- KATRIBU

Quezon City – In commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, and with thousands of signatures on hand, members of the Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas and Scrap the Mining Act Network trooped to the House of Representatives to call for the immediate scrapping of the Mining Act of 1995.

“20 years of foreign plunder, human rights violations and ancestral land-grabbing is enough. There is no more time for further delay, the congress must swiftly repeal the destructive Mining Act of 1995 and enact the Peoples Mining Bill. While the indigenous peoples are being displaced and killed, and our mineral resources depleted, cohorts of BS-Aquino and the mining corporations in the congress has been delaying for 5 years now the enactment of alternative bills to the condemned RA 7942 Mining Act,” said Piya Malayao, a Bontok-Igorot and Secretary General of KATRIBU.

Mine? Or Theirs?

The Mining Act of 1995 gives foreign companies the right to bring home 100% of their profits from their mining activities. The law also gives them freedom from requisition of investment and expropriation. Foreign mining companies are also exempted from taxation for 10 years and are given leeway in obtaining easement, water and timber rights.

All of the provisions pave way to displacement of IP communities all over the countries. Out of the 712 approved mining applications, 251 are inside the mineral-rich ancestral domains of different indigenous communities. President Aquino has fully made use of the law and reinforced it with his mining Executive Order 79. As of 2013, Aquino has already approved or renewed a total of 218 mining applications.

 “President Aquino has exacerbated the IP dilemma through various Public-Private Partnership programs under his administration. Aquino has also allowed 410 hydropower dams, 27 geothermal and 33 coal power projects that will affect thousands of IP communities. But the said projects will only strengthen the monopoly of Aboitiz, Lopez, Ayala and Cojuangco families and foreign business partners in the power industry,” Malayao added.

Killing in the name of profit

KATRIBU has also criticized the administration for being the main sponsor of violence against the indigenous peoples. Under the Aquino administration, KATRIBU monitored 61 cases of extra-judicial killings, 9 incidents of bombing of communities and farmlands, 52 cases of forced evacuations which have displaced more than 20,000 indigenous peoples, and trumped-up charges against 176 leaders and members of IP organizations. There were also 82 cases of attacks on 57 community schools for lumad children, which were in the form of encampment, destruction and divestment of properties, vilification and harassments and intimidation of students, teachers and staff.

KATRIBU also mentioned the recent disappearance of John Calaba, a Dulangan Manobo and an anti-logging activist from Sultan Kudarat. Calaba disappeared on April 30, 2015 when he visited the outpost of AFP-trained security forces of David M. Consunji Inc. (DMCI). KATRIBU sees this as an evidence of the collusion between private security forces of land-grabbing companies and the military. 

 “Aquino was able to make mining plunder and other destructive projects easy by unleashing his military and paramilitary dogs. They made use of various intimidation and harassment tactics to displace IP communities. The call for scrapping the Mining Act of 1995 is deeply related with stopping the vicious anti-people, anti-insurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan,” Malayao concluded. #

 

     
     
           
     
     
     


 

 

PRESS RELEASE
AUGUST 11, 2015

Reference:  Mr. Tyrone Beyer
                     Co-convener
                     0939-6266207

Indigenous Peoples and Advocates urge Congress to the Repeal the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, Enact a Patriotic, Pro-Indigenous Peoples and Pro-environment Mining Law

On the occasion of the United Nations-declared International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the Scrap the Mining Act Network, KATRIBU Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas, and SULONG KATRIBU Partylist indigenous peoples' (IP) representatives from various mine-affected communities and Manila-based IP rights advocates lobbied Congress to  repeal  the  Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (R.A. No. 7942) and enact a patriotic, pro-Indigenous Peoples, pro-environment mining law.  The group also staged a picket at the North gate of the House of Representatives to support the petition and protest large-scale and destructive mining in the country.

Catholic church personality Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB with the indigenous peoples leaders  from Central Luzon, Benguet, Mindoro, and Palawan submitted the petition signed by some 15,000 signatories to the offices of House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, Natural Resources Committee Chair Francisco Matugas and to the secretariat of Cultural Communities Committee. 

Pya Macliing Malayao, KATRIBU Secretary General and a convener of the Scrap the Mining Act Network said, “For us indigenous peoples, the Mining Act of 1995 opened the flood gates of mining projects in our ancestral territories. For 20 years, the law facilitated and continues to legalize the land grabbing of our ancestral lands and resources by foreign and large scale mining companies. Our resistance to these mining projects resulted to the violation of our human rights – many of our leaders and members were extra judicially killed, others threatened and harassed.  Trumped-up charges were also filed against our leaders and community members in mine-affected area. The Mining Act is not only a threat to our land and resources but the very survival of indigenous communities all over the country.”

Since the enactment of the Mining Act of 1995, various groups that include IPs and environmentalists actively lobbied congress to repeal the law. A strong movement against large-scale and destructive mining developed in the past years.

In 2011, legislators from the Makabayan bloc filed a bill to repeal the law and     pass a pro-people, pro-environment mining law. And in 2012, the Committee on Natural Resources formed a technical working group to deliberate on the issues against the Mining Act and consolidate various bills filed. However, the process did not prosper. Again in 2013, the Makabayan bloc refiled a revised bill to repeal the law and pass an alternative pro-people, pro-environment mining law.

Malayao further said, “Under the present mining policy, it is only big multinational mining companies and their local partners that profit in the extraction of our country’s minerals.  Host communities are displaced, suffer loss of livelihood and remain in poverty.  These mining operations dump waste to our rivers, lakes, and seas; destroy our mountains, forest, and watersheds.  To save our last remaining frontiers, mineral wealth and our country from further destruction, we should scrap the Philippine Mining Act 0f 1995.”

“In our communities, we will persist in defending our land, resources and life against the plunder and destruction of large-scale and destructive mining as we join the Scrap the Mining Act Network to urge Congress to repeal the anti-people, anti-environment law. The 15,000 signatures we initially submitted to Speaker Belmonte and Rep. Matugas of the Natural Resources Committee signifies the peoples’ clear demand to repeal the present mining law.  We expect the Congress, delegated to ensure peoples’ interest to do its task”, Malayao added. 

The Scrap the Mining Act Network will continue its nationwide campaign and gather hundreds of thousands of signatures from various parts of the country and abroad. The network will also lobby the Senate.  As long as large-scale and destructive mining continue, the Network will launch protest actions and raise the issue and concern as a platform in the upcoming 2016 elections. #

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

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Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights
16 Loro St., Dizon Subdivision, Baguio City * 879 EDSA West Triangle, Quezon City

PRESS RELEASE
August 11, 2015

Reference: Jill Carino, TFIP Executive Director and Convenor | 0918-924-5966
Indigenous Peoples forward position against Dams under Aquino

Quezon City-- While other indigenous peoples celebrate their small victories in their communities in commemoration of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, the IPs in dam-affected communities travel to the Metro to forward their position against dam projects being imposed in their communities.

The Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples' Rights (TFIP), a network of 12 non-government organizations in the Philippines advancing IP rights, said IPs are alarmed that many strong, vast and rich river systems located in their territories have been subject to dam construction for different purposes such as energy, irrigation and water supply. "IPs have always been sacrificed for the so-called development of the majority. The dams already built in the country may be able to produce electricity or provide irrigation services and flood control, but, they have displaced IPs from their territories," explained Jill Carino, Executive Director and Convenor of TFIP. Carino said existing dams such as Ambuclao and Binga, Pantabangan, Casecnan, Pulangi IV and San Roque dams are huge projects that pushed through despite the opposition and lack of proper free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of the affected indigenous communities.

"Because of the economic, socio-cultural and environmental impact of these dams to us, we come to forward our position against the current and ongoing dam projects in our communities for the House of Representatives to make immediate actions and hear our demands," said. Carino. Indigenous Igorot,  Dumagat, Mangyan and Palaw-an forwarded their petitions to their district Congressmen and the House Committee on Natural Resources.

TFIP said the government is strongly pushing for the construction of more large dams including Pulangi Mega Dam V in North Cotabato and Bukidnon, the Kaliwa or Laiban Dam in Rizal and Quezon, the Jalaur Dam in Panay, the Balog-Balog Dam in Tarlac and the Tinoc Mini-hydro power plant and Alimit Hydropower Complex in Ifugao. "There is a strong opposition by the IP organizations, communities and advocates on these dams because of the serious threats posed by these dam projects."

"We hope that the Congressmen will consider our positions because there are many issues surrounding these dams and people and communities are in danger," added Carino.

TFIP said the IPs complain of the proposed dam projects because of lack of genuine FPIC processes, physical displacement of IPs from their ancestral domain, destruction of physical environment and livelihood sources, and erosion of culture and ethnocide. Carino believe that while the government claims that the dams are being built to provide better energy, irrigation and potable water services, the control and management of these dams will eventually be transferred to private corporations. "When that happens, the people will suffer more because the private corporations will only think of its interest and not the people," said Carino.

"We also want that our customary and democratic decision-making processes be respected and our right to FPIC be recognized. We call for the conduct of House and Senate investigations on the effects of dam projects on the environment and its impacts on IP rights and lives," Carino added.

The IPs, who lobbied in the House of Representatives, want to stop the construction of large dams in indigenous communities including the said proposed dam projects, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to fulfill its mandate to protect the IP rights and to stop the privatization and monopolization of rivers and water resources.#

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POSITION PAPER ON DAMS


I.
Background Information

Rivers are an essential part of indigenous peoples’ lives and communities, and have been integral to their holistic development.   Rivers form part of the territories of many indigenous peoples and serve as good sources of food and water for household and agricultural uses. Rivers also play a major role in the spirituality and belief systems of many indigenous groups.

Many strong and vast river systems that are located in indigenous peoples’ territories in the Philippines have been subject to dam construction for different purposes such as energy, irrigation and water supply. The Ambuclao and Binga Dams, built along the Agno River which flows through Benguet up to Pangasinan, were among the first large dams built on rivers located in IP territories. These dams were able to produce electric power but also led to the dislocation of Ibaloy families.

Other dams followed, with similar effects on indigenous host communities. These were the Pantabangan, Casecnan, Pulangi IV and San Roque Dams. In these huge projects, indigenous peoples were sacrificed for the common good as the dams promised irrigation services, power generation and flood control. Some of these dam projects did not face strong opposition, despite the lack of a proper free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) processes. The Kalinga and Bontoc peoples’ victory against the giant Chico Dam Project was exceptional. It served as inspiration for other indigenous peoples to struggle against large dams and other large-scale projects in their communities.

II.                

 

                 

           II.  Current Proposed or Ongoing Dam Projects

At present, the government is strongly pushing for the construction of more large dams including the Pulangi Mega Dam V in North Cotabato and Bukidnon, the Kaliwa or Laiban Dam in Rizal and Quezon, the Jalaur dam in Panay, the Balog-balog Dam in Tarlac and the Tinoc Minihydro power plant and Alimit Hydropower Complex in Ifugao. All of these have yet to be constructed completely. Already, there is widespread opposition by indigenous peoples’ organizations, communities and their advocates because of the serious threats posed by these dam projects. Another concern is that these dams will be constructed even without the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of indigenous communities. All large dams built in the past did not undergo the necessary FPIC processes with the affected indigenous communities located upstream and downstream of the dams.

            III.  Issues Surrounding these Dams

  1. Lack of Free Prior and Informed Consent

-          The people to be affected by these dams decry the lack of genuine FPIC processes in the planning and construction of these dam projects as evidenced by the following:

= bypassing the traditional tribal or village leadership when conducting community consultations;

= giving more weight to approval by barangay officials instead of consensus by the community members;

= “divide and rule” tactics such as bribery of key leaders, formation of bogus indigenous peoples’ organizations and designation of chieftains or councils of leader contrary to traditional customary practices and indigenous socio-political institutions;

=  threats and coercion by military units of indigenous peoples to give their consent, otherwise they are branded as communists, anti-development terrorists and subjected to other human rights violations;

= , FPIC processes for energy projects are foregone with the justification that the Electric Power Industry Reform Act does not explicitly provide for FPIC by indigenous peoples.

  1. Private Control of Public Utilities

The government claims  that dams are being built to provide better energy, irrigation and potable water services to its citizens. However, control and management of these dams will eventually transfer to private corporations. 

The Laiban Dam is currently being bid out to several domestic and foreign companies that are willing to invest in the provision of water supply for Rizal and Metro Manila. The SN Aboitiz, one of the leading energy transnational companies, is the main proponent of the Alimit hydropower complex in Ifugao. Although the Jalaur  Dam is proposed by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), it is being funded by the Korean Government through its export-import bank.

This means that dams are built primarily for business and profit by private corporations instead of for the provision of much needed services by the government.

      C.     Physical Displacement of IPs from their Ancestral Domain

Indigenous peoples are threatened by displacement from their ancestral domains once these dam projects push through. For instance, the Jalaur River dam project will displace around 17,000 Tumandok once construction and operations start.

Vast areas are needed to build the giant dam and other support structures. Also needed is a huge reservoir for storing the huge volume of water to operate the dam. In the case of Pulangi Dam IV, , ten whole villages of indigenous peoples in Maramag Bukidnon were submerged by the reservoir. 

  1. Destruction of the Physical Environment and Livelihood Sources

Building of dams has several environmental risks. The building of the dam structure will result to massive soil movement, making it vulnerable to earthquakes and strong typhoons, which are common natural occurrences in the entire Philippines. Breaking or erosion of the dam structures may result to severe flooding and massive displacement of communities and farms downstream. The indigenous communities along the Jalaur River fear this because of the location of the dam structure near a fault line.

Diverting the river poses risks to the biodiversity in these freshwater ecosystems. Indigenous fish species will be endangered, causing serious problems in the food and livelihood sources of the people.

Aside from flooding, massive erosion and siltation of rivers are feared, especially without proper maintenance of the structure, watershed or the surrounding environment such as the reservoir and upstream parts of the river.

With these, more indigenous peoples and other communities will be at risk of displacement and destruction of fields where staple crops and other food and cash crops are produced.

  1. Erosion of Culture and Ethnocide

Rivers are part of indigenous peoples’ lives as communities and distinct ethnolinguistic groups. They are a source of identity, serve as a boundary between territories and as a venue for important rituals and community or tribal events.

For indigenous peoples, rivers are an essential part of their ancestral land. Damming of rivers, changing their use or diverting their flow also means desecrating their ancestral lands and the loss of indigenous knowledge and culture  .

 

               IV.                Recommendations, Immediate Actions, Demands and Calls

  1. Stop the construction of large dams in indigenous communities including  the Kaliwa or Laiban Dam in Rizal and Quezon, the Jalaur dam in Panay, the Balog-balog Dam in Tarlac, the Pulangi Mega Dam V in North Cotabato and Bukidnon, and the Tinoc Minihydro power plant and Alimit Hydropower Complex in Ifugao.

  2.  Respect the customary and democratic decision-making processes of indigenous communities and ensure that their right to free prior and informed consent (FPIC) for any dam project to be constructed in their territories is fully recognized and implemented.

  3. The NCIP must fulfill its mandate as the government agency that is responsible for the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights. NCIP personnel and officials who have been instrumental in the violation of indigenous peoples’ rights should be held accountable for their crimes.

  4. Conduct a House and Senate investigation on the effects of dam projects on the environment and its impacts on indigenous peoples’ rights and lives. Follow-up and pursue resolutions passed to investigate these dam projects. ( for Jalaur Dam)

    5.  Stop the privatization and monopolization of rivers and water resources.

 

           
     
     
 


KALIKASAN PEOPLE’S NETWORK FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

26 Matulungin St. Central Dist., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel./Fax; +63 (2) 924-8756; E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net  Website: www.kalikasan.net

 

PRESS RELEASE

11 August 2015

 

Protests around the Metro call for closure of DMCI coal mine, revocation of Mining Act

 

Protest actions on mining converge today at Quezon City, as citizens from Antique province hold pickets outside the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to call for the closure of the Semirara Coal Mine owned by the DMCI company, simultaneous with a multi-sectoral protest action at the House of Representatives calling for the scrapping of RA 7942, or the Mining Act of 1995.

 

“The Filipino people are opposing not only the destructive and deadly large-scale mining operations exemplified by the DMCI-Semirara open pit coal mine, but also the Mining Act of 1995 which facilitates the more rapid entry of such irresponsible mines. A broad national petition to scrap the Mining Act is fast reaching an initial target of 20,000 signatures, a clear demonstration of the people’s stand against foreign mining plunder,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment.

 

The protest outside Congress was led by the Scrap the Mining Act Alliance, a broad national formation united against the said mining liberalization policy and for the enactment of a new, pro-people and pro-environment mining law. Meanwhile, the pickets at DOE and DENR were mounted by the Save Antique Movement.

 

“DMCI’s coal mining in Semirara Island has to be stopped as founded on its gross environmental infringements and human rights violations,” said Virgilio Sanchez, president of Save Antique Movement.

 

The Semirara coal mine recently figured in a landslide tragedy that killed at nine mine workers last July 17. The coal mine already figured in a similar tragedy back in 2013 where 10 workers also died, as well as in various incidents of barges containing coal stockpiles or heavy equipment capsizing into the sea.

 

According to studies cited by Caritas Philippines, coal mining activities in Semirara have destroyed over 83 hectares of mangrove expanses and at least two kilometers of coral reefs from 2009 to 2014 alone, and how the operations continue to poison rich fishing grounds shared by Antique, Romblon, Mindoro and Palawan.

 

“The existing power privatization and mining liberalization policies are convenient excuses for the government to legitimize irresponsible mining and energy projects, claiming there are standards, regulations and safeguards put in place. The 20-year experience of communities under the policy regime of the Mining Act says otherwise. The landslides in Semirara was once a tragedy, but for it to occur twice proves that so-called responsible mining is a farce,” said Bautista.

 

Under the Mining Act, at least 19 mine spills and other incidents of mine pollution were recorded by Kalikasan, or almost one major incident per year. The worst has been the Philex mine spill in Padcal, Benguet last August 2012, where at least 20 million metric tons of mine waste inundated the entire Togupon Creek and the connected Agno River.

 

“The continuing perpetuation of the destructive and plunderous Mining Act is a hallmark of the Aquino administration’s brand of environmental governance. We must put an end to this policy of poison and plunder, and must make sure that politicians that will continue this mining policy regime are no longer allowed to remain in power,” ended Bautista.#

 

 

 
Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator

Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: +63 (2) 924 8756 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net

 

 

 

 
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Press Conference
Quezon City
August 11, 2015
     
     
           
           

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Streetwise
By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

Mining TNCs versus social movements

In the last two decades the global mining industry has tried to repair its image and whitewash its blackened record in the wake of public furor over mine “accidents” and stiff resistance by mining communities to their operations.  It has launched a coordinated, well-funded and sustained public relations campaign as well as aggressive lobby work with governments and international bodies such as the United Nations.  This colossal greenwashing effort has attempted to sell the concepts of “sustainable and responsible mining” and “cooperation of all stakeholders”.

Unfortunately for the industry but fortunately for Mother Nature and humankind, resistance to mining is no longer confined to mining-ravaged local communities but has grown into national and global social movements involving indigenous peoples, peasants, mine workers, environmentalists, scientists, lawyers, church people, human rights advocates and social activists in Africa, America, Asia and Europe.  

The holding of the International People’s Mining Conference (IPMC) in Manila last week attests to the expansion, diversity, strength and vitality of the global, national and local movements opposed to large-scale mining.  The IPMC focused on the destructive effects of large-scale mining on the lives of people living in areas where this is carried out as well as its adverse impact on the entire country’s economy, natural resource base and ecology.  It also highlighted the growing peoples’ struggles all over the world in defense of their lives, livelihood and homes against imperialist plunder enabled by the collusion of corrupt and repressive host states.

Their view is that large-scale, corporate mining has resulted in the rape of the environment in order to plunder the natural resources of poor, economically backward countries leaving behind wide swathes of wasteland where once there had been lush forests, rich fishing grounds in rivers and coastal areas, productive farmlands, and biodiversity of flora and fauna.  The huge profits made from large-scale mining have merely been taken out by the mining transnational corporations (TNCs) to their home countries.  Very little gets ploughed back into the countries where the extraction of minerals takes place because these finite resources are exported as raw materials with very little value-added rather than utilized to develop domestic industry and the economy as a whole.  

The Philippines serves as a microcosm of how corporate mining has led to massive landgrabbing, rapid depletion of natural resources, degradation if not devastation of the environment, displacement of communities, militarization and human rights violations while contributing to the worsening of the pre-industrial and backward economy of the country.

From 1997-2014, large-scale mines operated by consortia of foreign mining TNCs and their Filipino partners increased from 16 to 46.  Almost one million hectares of land are under mining agreements. From 1997-2013 tax and shares from mining was only US$2.93 billion, a measly 10% of the total production value of  US$29.13 billion in the same period.  From 1997-2013, mining’s average gross domestic product (GDP) and employment rate contributions were just at 0.7% and 0.44%. From 1995-2014, 19 major mining disasters and contamination incidents were recorded. And from 2001-2015, 82 environmental activists, mostly anti-mining activists, were victims of extrajudicial killings. 

These are the same violations and other worse crimes that mining communities in different countries have seen. In South Africa, 34 striking mine workers were killed and 78 others were injured when they were fired upon by police and security forces of UK-owned Lonmin mining company in August 2012.  In Papua New Guinea, BHP Billiton’s open-pit Ok Tedi Mine has caused massive environmental degradation and pollution of the Ok Tedi and Fly rivers and their adjacent ecosystems.  This was due to the irresponsible and deliberate discharge of two billion tons of mine wastes into these rivers from 1984-2013.   

In West Papua, Indonesia, mining giants Rio Tinto and Freeport-McMoran are reported to have initially poured in $35 million for military infrastructure and vehicles and paid at least $20 million to state security forces from 1998 to 2004 to quell opposition against its Grasberg Mine, the world’s largest gold mine. In China, coal miners are one of the most exploited and have one of the worst working conditions. There was a total of 589 accidents and 1,049 deaths in the coal mining industry in 2013 alone.  In 2011 and 2012, 3,357 mine workers were killed in mine accidents according to the China Labour Bulletin.

Mining TNCs’ thirst for more gargantuan profits is unquenchable.  In the late 80’s, under the banner of “globalization”, more than 80 countries changed their mining regimes due to the powerful lobby of foreign TNCs and the dictates of international financial institutions (IFIs) like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) and the World Trade Organizations (WTO). 

Neoliberal mining policies allowed the privatization of state-owned mining firms. These led to the free flow of foreign investments to the local mining industry and  full foreign ownership of mining corporations and lands in the host country.  Capital control and other forms of regulation were lifted; generous tax breaks and other incentives, granted; and legitimation and legalization of measures to quell local opposition to mining activities, provided.

To further defray costs and up profits, the mining TNCs demand lower government royalty shares along with more lax environmental laws and overall regulatory environment.  They insist on lower wages and benefits for mine workers, more job insecurity, lower occupational safety standards and repression of trade unionism. 

One example is Peru.  With liberalization, privatization and deregulation as the pillars of its neoliberal economic policy regime,  Peru’s mining industry became dominated by foreign and private corporations and tied to the international market. Between 1992 and 2000 more than 200 state-owned mining operations were privatized. In 1999, private corporations accounted for 95% of mineral production, up from 55% in 1990, less than ten years previous.  Pedictably, 10 foreign mining corporations are among Peru’s Top 100 corporations. 

National mineral production became further oriented to and dictated by the international market and not by the particular development needs of each country. This meant being held hostage to the vagaries of international trading wherein metal prices rise and fall based on the dictates of a few mining giants, their financiers and the IFIs. As to the demand for minerals in the global market, mining TNCs and their financiers are increasingly engaged in speculation in the commodity futures market.  According to IBON Foundation, “the global mining industry, just like the major drivers of monopoly capitalism, relies on fictitious capital to surmount the crisis...” 

Mining TNCs clearly cannot cannot get away with their plundering ways if they are not backed up by governments.  This is where the corruption of government bureaucrats and top-level political leaders comes in: to put in place a policy regime skewed towards mining TNCs; to complement the TNCs’ campaign of deceit and cooptation; and to harness the state security forces to protect mining operations and stamp out dissent.

As the crisis of the global mining industry intensifies, the social movements  -- for workers’ rights, environmental protection, and indigenous people’s land rights; for asserting the rights and welfare of mining communities; and for upholding human rights -- are confronting the situation and struggling to prevail against the odds.  People’s movements for economic sovereignty, food security and development justice are squaring with the plunderers, despoilers and their powerful protectors in the international, national and local levels .

Their message is loud and clear: Mining TNCs cannot plunder the common resources as before;  the people are rising, steadfast in their struggles and steadily gaining ground.  The people shall prevail.  #

Published in Business World
3 August 2015

Pia Malayao
Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP)
Mo. Mary John Manansan, Convenor, of Scrap Mining Act of 1995 Network
Arnel delos Santos, Dumagat,
Sec. Gen. of Bigkis at Lakas ng Katutubo sa Timog Katagalugan (BALATIK)
Mary Grace  ProdigoLobaton
Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes
     
           
     
     
     
House IP Committee Chair Rep. Nancy Catamco:
declared Persona Non Grata
Photos by Katribu Nasyunal

.
 

DECLARATION OF
PERSONA NON GRATA STATUS
TO NANCY CATAMCO

We are reposting the declaration of “Persona Non Grata” status to Nancy Catamco by the 700 Manobo evacuees led by the lumad leaders of the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon (Unity in Defense of the Ancestral Land).



BLESS THIS GROUND AND FORBID THAT WOMAN Lumad who have evacuated in UCCP Haran hold up a banner declaring Rep. Nancy Catamco “Persona Non Grata”. (Photo by Kilab Multimedia, Caption by Samuel dela Cruz)


We, leaders of the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon, do hereby declare a persona non grata status to Rep. Nancy Catamco, for her:

1) Deception of over 700 lumad evacuees in UCCP Haran last July 16, where she brought B/Gen. Alexander Balutan of the 10th ID and Col. Harold Cabreros of the 1003rd Bde, PA, and their intelligence cohorts into the evacuation area without the prior knowledge of the evacuees and their support groups. This illegal entry of the military forces posed significant danger to the refugees;

2) Disrespect for the lumad leaders from Talaingod and Kapalong, Davao del Norte,and from San Fernando, Bukidnon, by questioning the legitimacy of their status as leaders;

3) Siding with the military, as manifested in her refusal to heed and understand the calls of the evacuees for the pull-out of military forces in their communities, thus becoming an AFP spokesperson;

4) Twisting of facts during and after the dialogue, which obscured the reality of intense militarization in the countryside and the genuine struggle of us lumads for our rights;

5) Insensitivity to our current situation, when she called our children “stinky”, and the lumad population “ignorant”;

6) Surrender of her lumad status by her clear collaboration with state elements who threaten the lives and cultures of lumads.

We hereby close all avenues of interaction with Catamco. She also cannot enter the grounds of our evacuation site here in UCCP Haran, or in our communities in Talaingod

Many times in the past we have taken part in dialogues mediated by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and many times we have been treated with respect and understanding, our side heard and articulated fairly by Mayor himself. Such are the kind of dialogues that we will willingly enter, not the ones where Nancy Catamco presides and steps on our human rights and dignities.

Here we also reaffirm that we are the true leaders of the people in Talaingod, not the IPMR leaders under the NCIP, which have become the current puppies of the reactionary government of the US-Aquino regime.

Given this day July 22, 2015,
Datu Doloman Dawsay
Datu Ginom Andel
Benito Bay-ao
Kailo Bontulan

 

     
     
     
           
     


VIDEO CLIPS


Indigenous peoples' protest picket in Congress -1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iUDxmEE3oc


Indigenous peoples' protest picket in Congress -2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXpKWQn1zqI


Indigenous peoples' protest picket in Congress -3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jS25ePZeb4


IP leader speaks at protest picket in Congress - 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1-DOLfaFOA


Mother Mary John Manansan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6N_fpV465U


KAMP's Pia Malayao
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGO6JMBgF6g


Katribu calls for scraping Mining Act of 1995
video by Kodao Philippines
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOXB5SAs-jw
 
     
   
           
           
           

 

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