Mining for the common good? Not with current policy and practice, say critics
Some groups critical of mining practices in the Philippines have argued that they are not necessarily against mining altogether. Rather, they claim that the most detrimental effects of current mining activities in the region are due to the prominence of large-scale operations and the precedence of foreign capitalists’ interests over those of the Filipino people.
As journalist Kimberlie Olmaya N. Quitasol (“Critics of large-scale mining bat for ‘pro-people’ mining,” bulatlat.com, 24 April 2013) notes, mining operations are linked to a raft of obvious and hidden ecological, social, and economic costs and rights abuses in the Philippines. For the Filipino people, these include loss and damage of agricultural lands, division and diminished livelihoods in communities, and often violent persecution of those opposed to the encroachment of mining operations.
Furthermore, senatorial candidate Teddy Casiño points out, present mining laws not only exploit Filipino communities and land, but also allow for minimal benefit to the Philippines’ government itself:
“If we want mining to be truly beneficial to the country and the Filipino people on the long term, we need to do away with the current unconstitutional mining policy that leaves us with miniscule revenue, permanently destroyed environments and no agricultural and industrial advancement,” he said.
Casiño advocated the need to replace the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 with new mining law that will allow extraction of mineral resources in the archipelago to benefit communities while maximizing economic growth and national development and minimize environmental and socio-economic impacts:
“The 1987 Constitution clearly mandates that the State must receive its just share in the utilization of our mineral resources aside from taxes and duties normally paid by taxpayers. Mining is an issue that has ecological, social justice, industrial, moral and generational dimensions that should not be ignored by the current and future government officials. The Filipino people should have fullest participation on decision-making and control over our natural resources in all our laws,” Casiño said.
Photo Credit: Kyle Hamilton