Green groups lauds protest action vs. mining conference in Bicol

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LEGAZPI CITY – Environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment lauded the protest action held last Friday, July 14 by the provincial anti-mining plunder group UMALPAS KA –Bikol (Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Pagmimina at Kumbersyong Agraryo) in front of the La Piazza Hotel during the 1st Bicol Mining Conference organized by the MGB-V/DENR-V and Philippine Society of Mining Engineers. The group hit the conference’s theme: Towards Responsible Mining: “Against All Odds”, saying that mining in the Philippines have only been responsible only to foreign investors and their local profit-hungry partners, and never to the affected communities.

“The Bicolanos’ strong opposition to large scale mining projects such as Korean-Malaysia-Philippines (KMP) mining in Rapurapu is a proof that foreign-dominated and export-oriented mining has never been responsible to Bicolanos as well as to the Filipino people. Historically, mining companies and their local cohorts in the government have only been paying lip service to ‘responsible and sustainable mining’.  Mining communities have been left poor and devastated by the very companies that promised them progress and development,” said Clemente Bautista, Jr., national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

Environmental and religious groups have observed that mining areas such as those in CARAGA, Bicol and Cordillera areas have remained poor. In a study by an economics professor in UP Baguio, non-mining communities in the Cordillera exceeded the income per capita of those in communities which host mining companies. People in Marinduque, Rapu-Rapu and Benguet are still struggling against the pollution and destruction caused by the mining operations in their areas.

“The recent international study tour in Nueva Vizcaya co-organized by Kalikasan PNE exposed the true meaning of ‘responsible and sustainable mining’ propagated by mining corporations. The operations of Oceana Gold, Royalco Resources, and FCF mining corporations in Didipio, Dupax del Norte,  and Runruno   respectively have resulted to environmental destruction, economic displacement and human rights violations of the residents “

“Mining will only be truly responsible and sustainable only under the framework of national industrialization, genuine agrarian reform, and agricultural modernization. These principles are contained in the People’s Mining Bill which was created through the efforts of various people’s organizations and actual consultations with mining-affected communities and sectors,” ended Bautista.

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