A few days before the Mining Act of 1995 on March 3, environment advocates under the Green Vote 2016 alliance calls on for the public to not vote for pro-mining candidates this coming election.
Amianan Salakniban, as part of the Green Vote 2016, a national-wide alliance of environment organizations, scientists and mining-affected communities, vows to campaign against candidates who have a clear track record of supporting, promoting and owning large-scale mining operations in the country.
Pro-mining National Candidates
According to the initial research of the Green Vote Alliance, Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party is the candidate who has the greatest mining interests among all presidentiables.
“He is a shareholder in seven different mining corporations. He continues to receive millions of pesos in campaign contributions from mining companies, including the recently infamous San Roque Metals Inc. (SRMI) that is a known repeated offender of environmental laws in the CARAGA region,” said Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, one of the convening organizations in the campaign.
According to Mar Roxas’ 2012 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN), he declared PHP120 million worth of shares in Philex Mining Corporation, Marinduque Mining, Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company, Manila Mining Corporation, and Industrial Corporation, Mindanao Mother Lake Mines, Samar Mining Company, and Western Minolco Corporation.
The alliance has also found out that Vice President Jejomar Binay is also a pro-mining presidential. Mining companies funded his campaign last 2010 elections and based on his platform, he promises to give more economic incentives to mining companies once elected.
Among the Vice-presidentiables, ¬Gringo Honasan, Bongbong Marcos and Alan Peter Cayetano have all expressed pro-large-scale mining industry sentiments over past mining conferences held in the country.
Among the Senatoriables, Martin Romualdez and Dick Gordon are the clearest pro-mining candidates because of their family’s shares in mining companies.
Local pro-mining Candidates
In North Luzon, political dynasties had great role in the entry of legal and illegal on-shore and inland large-scale mining in the regions.
People in Cagayan believe that the Enrile Dynasty in Cagayan has control over illegal black sand mining operations in the province as they have not done their power to stop the illegal operations in the province.
Isabela’s Dy dynasty remains inactive in foreclosing the illegal mining activities of Golden Summit Mining Corporation in Cordon, Isabela despite years of community protest.
The Singson dynasty of Ilocos Sur reportedly supports the mining activities of Chinese contractors in Vigan City.
Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan reportedly supports the continuous operations and expansion of big mining in the province despite the several mining accidents.
Re-electionist Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino was indicted by the ombudsman for illegal black sand mining in Lingayen gulf.
PMA 1995 as the root cause
“If pro-mining candidates will win the positions, this will result in increased entry and operation of large foreign mining companies that will worsen the destruction of the ecosystems and livelihood of communities near the mines as experienced in the decades of mining in Benguet and is now being experienced by the people in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya,” Fernando Mangili, Amianan Salakniban spokesperson said.
According to the 2016 MGB data, approved and registered mining tenements have increased from 718 in 2011 to 999 in 2015 but despite the increase, mining contributions to Gross Domestic Product remains stagnant at 0.7% from 2012 to 2014 and their contribution to employment remain 0.6 % since 2011.
“The MGB data debunks the myth that mining is an economic booster as its contribution to the economy remains insignificant while the destruction it causes to our environment and people are enormous,” Mangili added.
“The Philippine Mining Act of 1995 is to be blamed because it legalizes the plunder of our resources by big foreign mining corporations while the country gets little out of their operations at the expense communities and ecosystems that are destroyed in the process,” he added.
Amianan Salakniban calls for the scrapping of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and encourages voters to elect candidates that will prioritize the environment and people’s rights over interest of big foreign corporations.
“Let us think for the future by voting for the environment and voting for the people this coming election,” Mangili added./For more information:Fernando (Ampi) Mangili, Amianan Salakniban,Convener/ Spokesperson