MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 13, 2014) – The Alyansa Tigil Mina has called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Mines and Geosciences Bureau to close down many mining companies in the Philippines found violating environmental laws and those that committed human rights abuses.
This is in light of the recently issued environment protection cases against two Chinese mining companies Liaoning Fenghua Group Philippines Mining Company Inc. and Bohai Top International Mining Corp. for operating without the necessary mineral processing permits in Camarines Norte province.
"We have to stem the tide of mining disasters such as the Marcopper toxic mine tragedy in Marinduque in 1996 and Philex's Padcal mine spill in 2012. The government should immediately shut down those mining companies who found culpable of violations of environmental laws," Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
The government's Executive Oder 79 states that a performance review of all existing mining operations has to be done. It said the performance review can be the basis for the indictment of violating mining companies. This has been the basis of the environmental protection cases filed against the two Chinese mining companies, according to Garganera
He said the mining in the country has taken severe tolls on access to water, health, and the development of agricultural activity and brought about drastic change in the environment. "With climate change already upon us, mining disasters are most likely to happen with a flawed mining law and inadequate regulatory environment. Geo-hazard areas should be declared a no-go zones to mining. This should be immediately acted upon by MGB,” he said.
On April 22, various environmental groups, including ATM will participate in the celebration of Earth Day by holding public actions in different parts of the country.
ATM is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups which are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines.
The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of Executive Order 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and passage of the proposed Alternative Minerals Management Bill which is better than the current mining laws.