by Kalikasan PNE
Environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) lauded incoming president-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s recent pronouncements to punish destructive big miners. The group proposed for Duterte to punish what they deemed as the 10 worst mine sites that have extensive track records on environmental destruction, community displacement, and human rights violations (HRVs) but did not received proper action from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
“We welcome Mayor Duterte’s ultimatum against destructive large-scale mining and encourage him to expand his scope to cover not only the worst in Mindanao, but across Luzon and Visayas as well. There are so much violations and destruction brought about by corporate mining all over the country yet the Aquino administration had been very lax in penalizing these corporations and prosecuting their erring officials,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.
“Incoming President Duterte will make history if he demonstrates that these much-reviled big polluters and pillagers no longer have a place in the Philippines. He has the legal and moral authority to shut down violators’ large-scale mining operations and kick them out of the country,” Bautista added.
In his recent victory party speech, Duterte said the big miners have destroyed the environment especially in Mindanao, and promised that Filipino interests will be prioritized over corporate interest in mining.
The group identified the following mining companies in their priority list:
|1. Taganito Mining Corporation’s nickel mine in Claver, Surigao del Norte
2. OceanaGold’s FTAA gold mine in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya
3. DMCI’s nickel mine in Sta. Cruz, Zambales
4. Citinickel’s nickel mine in Sofronio Espanola and Narra, Palawan
5. Philex Mining’s gold and copper mine in Padcal, Benguet
|6. Golden Summit Mining Corporation’s illegal gold mine in Cordon, Isabela
7. Sagitarrius Mines Inc.’s gold copper mine in Tampakan, South Cotabato
8. Lepanto-Goldfields’ gold mine in Mankayan, Benguet
9. Filminera Resources’ gold mine in Aroroy, Masbate
10. Nickel Asia’s nickel mine in Manicani Island, Eastern Samar
Repeated offenders, said MGB
Meanwhile, Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB) Director Leo Jasareno reported that half of the 44 operating metallic mines in the country have been repeatedly been warned because of environmental violations. Kalikasan noted that only a few mining companies have been slapped with suspension orders, and no corporate mining executives have been prosecuted in court. Violations vary from toxic contamination, air and water pollution, to forest and agricultural degradation.
“These big mines are notorious violators of environmental laws and have time and again trampled upon people’s rights in their host grassroots communities. The Taganito mine, which was subjected to punitive action by New People’s Army rebels in 2011 for its continuous massive siltation of adjacent rivers and coasts, comes to mind first when Duterte zeroed in on Surigao del Norte during his speech,” said Bautista.
“Big miners such as OceanaGold, DMCI, Citinickel, Philex, Filminera, and Nickel Asia are similar to Taganito in the scale of plunder, pollution, and community displacement that they have caused, and yet many of these companies have been awarded various ‘responsible mining’ accolades under the previous regimes,” Bautista further explained.
The group noted that projects such as the Tampakan and Mankayan mines have yet to start extracting minerals, but have already spurred various HRVs against the host communities. Harassment suits have been filed by Lepanto-Goldfields against leaders of a people’s barricade against their entry in Mankayan, and a series of extrajudicial killings have been inflicted by SMI against indigenous Lumad leaders who oppose the Tampakan project.
“President-elect Duterte can expect massive support from the vigorous protest movements by communities in these 10 mine sites. We challenge the incoming President to suspend these large-scale mining companies and cancel their mining permits,” ended Bautista.###