The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) reiterates its call for the scrapping of the vicious Philippine Mining Act of 1995. The Mining Act intensified the intrusion of foreign mining companies in our ancestral lands, disregarding our right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), human rights, collective rights to our ancestral lands and resources, and environmental protection.
Philippine experience shows that 22 years of the Mining Act has given nothing to both government especially local communities. Our indigenous communities gained nothing but the plunder of lands and resources and violation of our self-determination. There is sufficient evidence indicating that the law must be replaced.
Related to this, CPA iterates anew its strong support to DENR Secretary Gina Lopez in her decision to 23 mines; suspend 5 mines including the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company in Benguet, Acupan Mines of Benguet Corp. and Oceana Gold in Nueva Vizcaya; and cancel 75 Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) including 5 MPSA in Benguet and Abra.
The Cordillera is the watershed area of northern Luzon. Yet, the Mining Act legalised its plunder and exploitation including violations of indigenous peoples’ rights. To date, there are at least 102 mining applications in the region under process, with various community complaints of FPIC manipulation. These applications are on top of the mining operations of Lepanto, Philex, and even Benguet Corporation (BC) in Benguet province.
The historic environmental destruction and the loss of lands and livelihood of the communities affected by the mining operations of Lepanto, Philex and BC are more than enough reasons for the government to heed the communities’ demand to stop large-scale mining operations, disallow the expansion of Lepanto and Philex, and not allow new mining projects to push through elsewhere in the region. We must not forget the massive ground subsidence and the continuing cracks in residential houses in Mankayan brought about by Lepanto mining operations, and the collapse of Philex’s Tailings Pond 3 in 2012, which was among the worst mining disasters in the country. These are just some of Lepanto and Philex mines’ crimes against the environment and the people. Their operations must be stopped to prevent further environmental destruction and disasters, and to save people’s lives.
Deputy Secretary General