2011 a fruitful year for anti-mining movement, group says

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/9 Dec) – An anti-mining group has claimed that this year has been a fruitful year for them and the rest of anti-mining movement in the country.

“Amidst the continued implementation of mining projects in almost every corner of the country, we have achieved significant advances in our struggle,” said Carl Cesar Rebuta, project development officer of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan (LRC-KsK).

In a telephone interview, the Cagayan de Oro-based anti-mining campaigner noted that South Cotabato has held on to its environment code that bans open pit mining, giving headaches to those behind the planned $5.9-billion Tampakan copper-gold project of the foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines, while the Save Palawan movement also launched its “No to Mining” campaign.

Rebuta cited, too, of the people’s awareness of the “writ of kalikasan” in seeking redress against companies believed to be abusing the environment. The write of kalikasan draws its mandate from the 1987 Constitution that guarantees citizens the “right to a balanced and healthful ecology.”

He said that because of the advances in the overall anti-mining campaign, the current administration was forced to create a special body to craft a new mining policy.

The government has stated that it is planning to come up with a new mining policy that will ensure the gains from extraction of mineral resources and at the same time setting up mechanisms that will lessen the environmental impacts of mining.

LRC-KsK, Rebuta said, will be stepping up its campaign on alternative minerals management law as it held a briefing on the planned management framework held at Xavier University today in Cagayan de Oro City.

Gerry Arances, campaigns paralegal of the LRC-KsK, said that the minerals management bill they are pushing seeks to scrap the present Mining Act of 1995 with the enactment of the “Philippine Mineral Resources Act of 2010”.

“The bill champions conservation of non-renewable mineral resources for the benefit of both present and future generations of Filipinos by adopting a sustainable, rational, needs-based minerals management geared towards effective utilization of mineral resources for national industrialization and modernization of agriculture,” he said.

With several legislators pledging support for the bill, the group has plans in setting up regional campaign sites all over the Philippines to help support ongoing community actions and educate the people on the mineral bill.

The group plans to make similar briefings in Iligan City on Sunday (Dec. 11) and in Butuan City the day after for its networks to be updated with a new action plan for 2012. (Erwin Mascarinas / MindaNews)