Bishops, legislators join forces to advance new mining bill

SOS-Yamang Bayan Network – Press Release

July 6, 2012

 

Bishops, legislators join forces to advance new mining bill

A match ‘Made-in-Heaven’ against open-pit mining

 

Manila – The proposed Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB) being pushed by multi-sectoral movement SOS-Yamang Bayan Network will now have a better chance to enactment in the House of Representatives with the backing of the combined forces of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and a number of lawmakers in the country.

Last night, about fifty bishops and two congressmen representing the support of other forty solons from the lower house discussed in a national forum in the Plenary Hall of Pope Pius Catholic Center in UN Avenue, Manila, the strategies they will employ to ensure that AMMB will be passed as the Philippine Minerals Resources Act of 2012.

“We cannot deny how mining has negatively affected the situation of the poor in our country; the farmers, fisher folks, Indigenous People; everyday we are confronted with the reality that it has to be changed,” said CBCP-NASSA National Director, Bp. Broderick Pabillo.  “While we are still not sure about the status of the executive order on mining, that policy will only provide short-term resolution to our situation.  What we need is a rationalize policy that will have sustainable and positive impact to generations ahead.”

AMMB is now being deliberated by the Technical Working Group of the Natural Resources (NatRes) Committee of the 15th Congress. The AMMB is a consolidated version of House Bills 206, 3763, 4315 and several mining-related minor bills in the House of Representatives. Senate Bill 3126 was also filed in the Senate last February 15, 2012 by Senator Sergio Osmeña III, the AMMB’s senate version.

According to Cong. Teddy Brawner Baguilat, Vice-chairperson of the NatRes Committee, and Chairperson of the Committee on National Cultural Communities or IPs, the proposed mining bill is still being refined but its call for fair revenue sharing, environmental protection and safeguard of human rights including Indigenous People’s rights, will always be the foundation of the revised policy. Cong. Baguilat also noted that more than 50% of the current mining areas in the country straddle on ancestral land domain of the IP communities.

“This bill is about the people, for the people and by the people. We really need more support for this. We are thankful that CBCP is with us in this advocacy,” Baguilat added.

Meanwhile, SOS-Yamang Bayan Network lauds the development in the campaign for the new mining bill and called the partnership together with the thousand strong forces in the mining affected communities as a match “made-in-heaven” against open pit mining.

“This is a positive development towards reorganizing and reorienting the country’s mineral industry. We are happy to see these two strong forces in our society work together and agree on one cause. This only shows the scale of problems caused by mining that almost everybody is alarmed and calling for an urgent resolution,” said Gerry Arances, AMMB Coordinator of Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC-KsK). LRC is the lead convener of SOS-Yamang Bayan Network.

At the same time, Alyansa Tigil Mina National Coordinator Jaybee Garganera said that the forum would ensure that all the people who works for and supports the bill, understand its call and conditions. “Our purpose is to encourage more groups and individuals to pressure the government and concede that the Mining Act of 1995 was a big failure and should be repealed, immediately.”

The SOS-Yamang Bayan Network is a national, multi-sectoral movement composed of individual advocates, mining-affected communities, national peoples’ alliances, environmental organizations and networks, church-based organizations, human rights organizations, national NGOs, sectoral organizations from the indigenous peoples, youth, women, farmers, Congressional representatives, leaders and personalities advocating for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and the enactment of a new minerals management bill. (30)

___

For more information, contact the SOS-Yamang Bayan Network Secretariat:

Gerry Arances – gerry.arances@lrcksk.org; 0922-8307758

Farah Sevilla – policy@alyansatigilmina.net; 0915-3313361

Edel S. Garingan – communications@alyansatigilmina.net; 0922-8918972

 

Comments
One Response to “Bishops, legislators join forces to advance new mining bill”
Trackbacks
Check out what others are saying...