Davao hosts int’l conference on mining in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/22 Jan) –  The Ateneo de Davao University and the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines are hosting a two-day international conference on mining in Mindanao on January 26 and 27.

The conference  will focus on business and economics of mining, environmental  impacts, human rights, international standards and state of play in the Philippines.

Dr. Catherine Coumans,  Research Coordinator of  MiningWatch Canada, will  deliver the keynote address. Coumans has done extensive work on mining in the Philippines and on international framework on responsible mining.

In his invitation letter, Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ, ADDU President, said the conference’s four-point objectives are “to get updated on and analyze current mining operations in Mindanao and how these impact on the environment, livelihood, rights and lives of people within and outside mining communities in Mindanao; to share people’s initiatives and gains in addressing the negative effects of mining and to promote the need for new mining policies in the country that are pro-Filipino and pro-Environment; to strengthen the networking among people’s organizations and NGOs doing work on mining and help ensure that continuing information and education activities on mining are sustained; and to promote greater participation in dialogue and exchange among the peoples of Mindanao affected by mining, and by doing so, to strengthen the national and local call for responsible mining.”

According to the conference kit, proceedings of the conference will be published with a focus on policy recommendations and as a resource for educators and legislators. Recommendations will be forwarded to the Executive, Legislative body and/or pertinent government agencies “in the re-assessment of the Mining Act of 1995 to regulate mining in the country according to the concept of sustainability.”

Mayor Sara Duterte will welcome participants.

Presidential Assistant on Climate Change Elisea Gozun will deliver a special message afternoon of  Day 1 while Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection Nereus Acosta will give a response in the afternoon of Day 2 along with South Cotabato Governor Arthur Pingoy and ABS-CBN Foundation managing director Regina Lozpez.

Perpy Vina Tio, Executive Director of the Mindanawon Initiatives for Cultural Dialogue will present case studies commissioned by the three Ateneos in Mindanao.

Tackling “Business and Economics of Mining” on Day 1 of the conference are Margarita “Maita” Gomez , Coordinator of Bantay-Kita-Action for Economic Reforms and Andrew Bauer, economic analysit of Revenue Watch Institute.

On Day 2, two speakers will tackle environment and social impacts of mining. Dr. Robert Goodland, Environmental scientist specializing in Economic Development will discuss “The Tampakan Copper-Gold Project in South Cotabato: Environmental and Social Impact” while Clive Montgomery Wicks, Conservation and Development Consultant specializing in the Impact of Extractive Industries will speak on “Mining or Food?”

Dr. Nymia Pimentel-Simbulan, executive director of the Philippine Human Rights Information Center will discuss “Mining and Human Rights” while Stephen Daniel Blodgett, Consultant on Mining Environmental Issues of J Kuipers and Associates will talk on “Closure and Rehabilitation of Mines.”

Jesus Vicente Garganera, National Coordinator of the Alyansa Tigil Mina, and Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, spokesperson fo Akbayan party list, will handle “Current Legislative Opportunities.”

Atty. Manuel Quibod, Dean of the ADDU College of Law, will synthesize what was discussed in the two-day conference while Fr. Antonio Moreno, SJ, CEAP Vice President. (MindaNews)