CPA strongly and fully supports DENR Secretary Gina Lopez in her decision to close and suspend mining companies. No DENR secretary has ever done this before—to make a decision for social justice for all communities who have been demanding for a stop to the operations of mining companies that have historically violated indigenous peoples’ rights, destroyed and plundered ancestral lands and the natural resources therein.
We support the cancellation of the 75 Mineral Sharing Production Agreements in watershed areas, where 5 in the list are located in the Cordillera (Licuan Baay, Abra; Itogon, Mankayan in Benguet). In fact, mining companies should not be allowed to operate in the Cordillera because the Cordillera is the watershed area of the entire Northern Luzon.
We earnestly hope that in addition to being recommended for suspension, Lepanto Mining should actually be included to the list of 23 mining companies for closure. 80 years of Lepanto’s operations have polluted and silted the Abra River and destroyed people’s agriculture. Lepanto’s operations brought in militarisation, resulting to many human rights violations to the people of Mankayan. Let us not lose sight of this, in addition to its environmental crimes. Philex Mining should in fact be included in the list of those up for closure. It was not so long ago when TP3 collapsed, and we will not wait for another mining disaster to happen.
CPA will stand by Secretary Lopez until the orders for closure and suspension (with rehabilitation and compensation) are implemented and becomes a reality.
Cordillera Peoples Alliance