Statement of ADDU alumni engaged in civil society concerns in support of ADDU’s stance on mining

We are a group of graduates of the Ateneo de Davao University who – for many years now – have been engaged in social and ecological concerns, with special focus on Mindanao. Owing to our work in various development agencies we have traversed the various regions in Mindanao and have been in contact with grassroots Lumad and lowland peasant communities. In the 70s-90s, our main concerns were issues related to land ownership, ancestral domain, human rights violations, poverty and maldevelopment. Since the 1990s, we have become more interested in pursuing ecological issues as these have become very urgent considering the impact of climate change and the expanding occurrence of man-made calamities. One of these major issues is mining and its implications for both the delicate eco-system of our shared environment and the well-being of Mindanawons, especially the most marginalized.

In monitoring media’s coverage of the mining issue, we are greatly disturbed by the manner that The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CMP) is mobilizing its huge resources to further reinforce the myths of the great advantages that our country and its people will enjoy from mining as well as to counter-attack civil society’s opposite claims. The myths being perpetuated more and more aggressively by CMP and its allies – including some agencies in both national and local government – include the following: that mining will attract and bring in more investments, that large-scale metallic and non-metallic mining will generate millions of jobs, will increase government revenues that can then be used for the poor, and that the mining sector improves the quality of life in host communities while mitigating its impact on the environment.

For a number of years now, many of us have gathered facts and figures on mining not just in our country but in other countries from various sources and done  analyses to objectively assess the impact of mining. We have consulted with various experts as well as sought their counsel as to what we need to do vis-a-vis the aggressive drive of mining companies in our country. We have gone on exposure to the countryside where there are mining explorations or actual operations and have actually seen for ourselves the impact of mining as we talked with the local communities regarding their experiences in being in communities affected by mining.

This is why we have the audacity to claim that despite token benefits that we can derive from mining, by and large the negative impact will far outweigh the benefits. This is the reason why an increasing number of grassroots communities from the Zamboanga peninsula to the SOCSARGEN area to the Caraga Region have opposed mining. And thankfully, an increasing number of civil society agencies – from Local Churches to NGOs – have supported them in their struggle to stop mining in their areas if these are still on the exploration stage or to minimize its impact if operations have begun.

It is in this light that we are very much heartened by the statement – underMINING LIES! – issued by the Save Palawan Movement, Alyansa Tigil Mina, the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines and our alma mater,the Ateneo de Davao University, which appeared recently in many broadsheets. We are very proud of our alma mater for extending its influence in support of the people’s struggle to oppose indiscriminate mining in our country and in Mindanao today. This statement expresses our own deepest sentiments regarding mining and our stance re debunking the myths that have been peddled by the CMP in the media today. We support this coalition’s position to “support the draft executive order on mining” as we also reiterate the call for “total economic valuation, for additional areas closed to mining (e.g. prime agricultural lands and eco-tourism zones), review of all existing mining contracts and agreements, suspension of approval of all pending mining applications, measures to increase government revenues in mining and development of downstream industries for the mineral sector”.

We call on our fellow alumni who are in government, business and the rest of the private sector to support this call, even as we encourage all Filipinos to be vigilant regarding this issue. Let the truth be told and let justice guide our actions not just on behalf of our disadvantaged brothers and sisters but for the whole of creation! In the spirit of Lent, let us ask forgiveness for all the trespasses we have committed that have led to this unhappy state of the country and its eco-system. We pray that all may be converted to defend the integrity of God’s creation even as we continue to serve the poor in our midst who are the ones who suffer most when ecological calamities strike.

Hinaut pa unta! Harinawa!

(Signed)

Luzviminda dela Cruz (Batch ’66)
Jeanette Birondo-Goddard (’67)
Norma Javellana (’67)
Pureza Puray-Budd (’87)
Carlito M. Gaspar CSsR (Batch ’67)
Remy Guillena (’67)
Pilar Ramos-Jimenez(’67)
Elvira Angsinco (’69)
Rebecca Jolito-Timogtimog (’72)
Melot Balisalisa Atillo (’76)
Agnes Miclat – Cacayan (’75)
Brenda Calida-Buktaw (’77)
Rhoda Alfafara Morillo(’78)
Augusto Miclat (’79)
Joey Ayala (’79)
Emmanuel Roldan (’82)
Marili Fernandez-Ilagan (’84)
Faustina Carreon (’85)
Isabelita Solamo Antonio (’86)
Bernardita Iturralde-Ladaw (’87)
Joel Mahinay (’95)
Jennifer Ramos (2000)
Liezl Bugtay (2003)
Jan Elias Simba (2005)
Mahayag de Vera Baja
Maria Luz Conanan
Fides Castaneda-Bernabe
Ogie Feliciano
Jean Suzanne Lindo
Perpy Tio
Penelope Sanz
Maya Flaminda Vandenbroeck

Those interested to sign may contact any of the signatories

 

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/statements/2012/02/26/statement-of-addu-alumni-engaged-in-civil-society-concerns-in-support-of-addus-stance-on-mining/


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