‘After all the antics, Aquino’s Mining EO blazes trail for further plunder of Philippine resources’ – environmentalists
Almost a year in the making, the EO is being criticized for lacking in substance in terms of environmental protection and people’s welfare, focusing mainly in the paltry increase in government revenues.
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Progressive groups held a demonstration in front of Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Monday, pelting its signage with rotten tomatoes as they took the government agency to task for “deliberately ignoring the demands of the people while actively promoting the large-scale plunder of the country’s resources.” It was the day Malacañang was due to divulge contents of its newly signed executive order on mining.
Grouped into Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, leaders of various organizations reiterated, at the gates of the DENR, their calls for a pro-people, pro-environment mining policy, as opposed to the mining liberalization framework of the current national mining law. They assailed the Aquino government’s EO for sticking to that same mining framework that they say had been rejected by the people.
Contrary to DENR claims that it had held public consultations, the executive order on mining signed recently by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was “drafted in secrecy,” Kabataan Partylist Raymond Palatino told Bulatlat.com at the sidelines of the Kalikasan-PNE protests. He explained that as early as March this year, Environment Secretary Ramon Jesus Paje had briefed them in Congress about the said EO. As early as that time, “we think that EO has already been compromised,” Palatino said, noting the intensive lobbying of mining industry groups and representatives.
Kabataan Partylist Rep Raymond Palatino, one of the authors of Peoples’ Mining Bill (Photo by Marya Salamat / bulatlat.com)
No genuine and sincere consultation was ever made with the affected communities and environmental defenders, said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE. Kalikasan Partylist, in a statement, also decried the lack of transparency and thorough consultations over the EO.
“Only the Chamber of Mines seems to have been informed and consulted beforehand as to its contents. In fact, they seem to be the only ones looking forward to the release of this EO, while many important stakeholders – including mining-affected communities, local government units, environmental groups and indigenous peoples – are justly outraged at the lack of consultations and the short-sighted scope of the provisions released piecemeal,” said Frances Quimpo, secretary-general of Kalikasan Partylist.
Almost a year in the making, the EO was criticized for lacking in substance in terms of environmental protection and people’s welfare. According to Kalikasan PNE, it retains the mining provisions favoring foreign and large-scale mining companies.
Greenwashing in favor of destructive mining operations
The mining EO became necessary because of the public clamor for a change in mining policy. According to Kabataan Partylist Rep. Palatino, such is the backlash of the disastrous experiences and negative effects of mining that the people have already complained about numerous times. But Aquino’s mining EO is not addressing that, he said, explaining that it focused narrowly on the economic value of mining. “The rest are just decorations and reiteration of the mining law’s provisions.”.... MORE