Archives | Cordillera | Publications | International Work | Campaigns | Elders Work |Galleries | About Us | Home


April 19, 2004

back to top back to top

DENR, act now! Impelement the SC decision

The Supreme Court's decision declaring as unconstitutional major provisions of the Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942) on January 29, 2004 already puts in question the constitutionality of the controversial law in its entirety. The Cordillera Peoples Alliance commends the Supreme Court justices for taking the right path in upholding Philippine sovereignty and national patrimony. It is a victory for our struggle for indigenous peoples' rights, national sovereignty and justice, as well as for the people's movement and avocates who have been calling for the scrapping of RA 7942 for almost a decade.

After the highest judicial body of the land decided, let the rule of law prevail on the Philippine mining industry. Instead of challenging the SC ruling by filing a motion for reconsideration, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should now act accordingly. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and DENR should immediately revoke and cancel all approved and pending FTAA's (Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement), review and cancel all approved and pending MPSA's (Mineral Production Sharing Agreement) and ExPA's (Exploration Permit Application) in the context of seriously respecting indigenous peoples' rights and welfare, environmental protection and genuine development. The call for moratorium of large-scale mining in the Cordillera becomes more urgent given the SC decision.

In the Cordillera, the remaining FTAA application of a U.S. mining company -- Newmont Mining, with a total of 77,549 hectares affecting Mountain Province, Ifugao, Benguet and Ilocos Sur -- should be thrown out just as pending MPSA and ExPA applications affecting a total land area of 433,377 hectares must be reviewed and cancelled. The CPA also urgently calls for the scrapping of nine more approved MPSA in Abra and Benguet with a total land area of more than 13,000 hectares.

With this development, the DENR should also finally address urgent issues and long-standing demands on rehabilitation and compensation on damages to victims of mining disasters such as the environmental pollution of the Abra and Agno rivers, landslides in Mankayan, destruction of the environment and livelihood sources in Tuba, and the rehabilitation of and turnover of mined-out areas in Itogon, Benguet.

It is high time that the mining giants, namely, Benguet Corporation, Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company, and Philex Mining Company be made accountable for the adverse impacts of their commercial mining operations to the people and the environment and the violation of the rights and welfare of workers for several decades. The DENR and mining companies should act now on these urgent issues and stop their divisive maneuvers and empty rhetoric on responsible and sustainable mining.

The SC decision is a big blow against President Arroyo after issuing her Executive Order 270 meant for the unhampered implementation of the Mining Act. As the decision did not hammer down the full scrapping of the law, we pursue the campaign to totally scrap this law and EO 270 as well.

The Mining Act does not lay down the fundamentals of Philippine economy on national industrialization and progress. Thus, we call on all concerned groups to work together and push for nationalist development policies and programs in accordance to our needs as a people while remaining vigilant in protecting our patrimony and sovereignty. Further, we pose the challenge to the SC justices to remain firm on their decision and not to be swayed by pressures from the mining giants. #

Windel Bolinget
Secretary General, Cordillera Peoples Alliance

Published with financial contribution from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
Copyright © 2004 website content by Cordillera Peoples Alliance,
Copyright © 2004 website design by Borky Perida