A campaign to defend ancestral lands and to uphold our national patrimony
Large-scale mining is a life and death issue for the indigenous and Filipino people. In the 18 years since the Mining Act was signed into law, we gained nothing – the Filipino people are in the losing end of the deal.
Historical experience on corporate large-scale mining bore only looming danger and risks: plunder of our land and resources, massive destruction of the environment and ecosystem, mining disasters, and the gross violation of indigenous peoples’ (IP) collective rights. Mining companies rake in billions of dollars in profits while Filipinos and mining-affected communities remain the poorest.
To the indigenous peoples, this law opened the floodgates for the surge of mining projects in ancestral lands and threatens not only the land and resources, but the survival of indigenous communities all over the country. To date, there exist at least 712 approved mining applications covering 967,530.86 hectares all over the country. Two hundred fifty-one (251) of these approved mining applications which cover 532,368.36 hectares (55% of the total land area approved for mining) are areas occupied by IP communities. Five out of the six Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) granted to mining TNCs are in indigenous peoples’ ancestral territories.
Resistance to large-scale and destructive mining are met with repression. Violation of human rights such as extra-judicial killings, different forms of threat, harassment, and the filing of trumped-up charges against leaders and community members are rampant in areas with mining interests.
This situation has brought anxiety among many Filipinos, especially the IPs who fear that, sooner or later, they will be displaced and be ejected from their ancestral lands. Our rich ecosystem and agricultural lands will be destroyed and food security will be grossly threatened. More and more people will go hungry and starve.
Why? It is because our government is subservient to the whims of globalization. The Philippine Mining Act of 1995 also known as RA 7942 was approved by Pres. Fidel V. Ramos. It legalizes the plunder of the country’s natural resources by foreign mining companies, grants FTAAs and Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA), and provides benefits to TNCs far greater than those provided to Filipino entrepreneurs. The Mining Act of 1995 also warranted the sell-out of our mineral resources in its allowing of 100% ownership of mineral lands by mining TNCs through the FTAA, and gave them rights to all resources found with their mining tenements, such as water and timber. The Mining Act also gave mining corporations the right to remove communities living in their mining concessions, legalizing the displacement of communities in mining areas.
President BS Aquino not only retained the wholly liberalized mining program of the Fidel Ramos and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administrations. The Executive Order (EO) 79 released by Aquino in July 2012, reaffirmed the liberalization of the mining industry by strengthening the Mining Act of 1995 and other previous mining policies.
Continuing stand against corporate mining
The IPs together with the farmers, fisher folks, workers, women, church people, academe, youth and students – all those directly affected by large scale destructive mining, consistently called for the scrapping of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 since its enactment 18 years ago.
A continuing series of information dissemination campaign and actions such as petition and signature campaign, caravans, picket rallies, and lobby for a new pro-people mining law, have been launched. Local Government Units (LGU) have passed resolutions banning open-pit mining in their localities, some IP communities have waged pangayaw or tribal war against the mining corporations. Even the New People’s Army (NPA) expressed their opposition and had done actions to express their resistance to large scale mining.
Mine-affected indigenous communities had conducted series of protest actions such as putting up road barricades, confiscate mining equipment, placing placards along mountain trails, and directly confronting mining corporations through dialogues. Collective resistance has contributed to some success in blocking or delaying mining operations such in the case of indigenous communities’ continued resistance against SMI-Xstrata in Saranggani, South Cotabato, Davao Oriental and Sultan Kudarat, and against Royalco in Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet.
In 2009, Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) launched a renewed and intensified campaign through the Ancestral Lands at Risk of Mining (ALARM), amid the influx of large-scale mines in ancestral territories. The campaign is as significant today, as the BS Aquino administration is more determined to pursue its anti-indigenous peoples, anti-Filipino economic program and policies.
Our campaign efforts should focus on solving the root of the mining problem – the Mining Act of 1995. There is a need for a continued and wider resistance, not just by the indigenous peoples. A broad mass movement with a common platform is needed to gain momentum to our call to end liberalization of mining and scrap the Mining Act of 1995.
The SCRAP THE MINING ACT ALLIANCE, Defend Ancestral Lands & Uphold National Patrimony!, is a broad campaign network of individuals, institutions and groups from the Church, academe, legislature and legal community, different cause-oriented groups , IP rights advocates, environmentalists, journalists, cultural workers and other concerned groups who are united and committed to the call: Scrap the Mining Act of 1995, end liberalization of the mining industry and to advance a pro-IP , patriotic, pro environment and responsible mining policy.
What the network must do:
1.Educate and conduct awareness raising for the general public on the disturbing trend and cases of liberalized mining and plunder in Philippines. This way we will generate the widest possible national and international support to the campaign.
2.Organize different sectors and supporters for a concerted action against liberalized mining and plunder. We will build the network in schools, communities, church, and workplaces and unite them on a common platform to scrap of Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
3.Carry out collective actions as expression of our resistance. We can do this through peaceful rallies, petitions, signature campaigns, pickets, caravans, lobbying, texting and maximizing social networks.
4.Build a strong active alliance with other groups against mining liberalization/large scale mining
5.Support and rally for pro-indigenous peoples, patriotic, pro-environment and a responsible mining policy.
6.Generate resources to sustain the campaign and provide support to the IP communities
A.Education and Information
•Production and dissemination of IEC materials like the Repeal the Mining Act Petition, Primers, Flyers, Briefing papers, posters, streamers, t-shirts, etc.
•Public information activities like, forums, symposiums, exhibits, discussion groups, film showing
•Multi –media campaign—press releases and statements, radio and TV interviews, media networking and liaison
B.Policy Advocacy and Legal Actions
•Lobby to congress and senate, and other agencies
•Research and Possible legal action on EO 79, and other provision on PMA ‘95
C.Mobilizations and collective actions
•Petition signing, signature campaign, streamers and poster hanging
•Fact finding and solidarity missions
•March-rallies, pickets , caravans, creative actions
•Streamer Hanging Campaign – organization, institutions, churches are encouraged to put up streamers as a form of support to the indigenous communities resisting large-scale and destructive mining, and also to invite the public to unite on the call to uphold the collective rights of the indigenous peoples, scrap the Mining Act of 1995 and to actively join the campaign. Photos of the mounted tarpaulin are requested to be sent to email@example.com
•Red letter days:
March 3: Anniversary of Mining Act of 1995
June 5: Environment Day
August 9: International IP Day
2nd Sunday of October: Tribal Filipino Sunday
D.International Solidarity and Networking
E.Finance generation to sustain the campaign network activities
Scrap the Mining Act of 1995! End the liberalization of mining!
Advance a pro-IP, patriotic, pro-environment and responsible Mining Policy!
Stop destructive and large-scale mining in indigenous peoples’ ancestral territories!
Uphold indigenous peoples’ rights to land and self-determination!