September 14, 2011
Just as the bull market for metals has actively pushed the mining industry of the country, the Philippine government welcomed it with open arms with mining applications totaling to 2,136. The liberalization of the local mining industry has been flaunted by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines to gain foreign partnership in the business of mining. They have sponsored a three-day mining conference from September 13 to Sept. 15 at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel. The said conference is participated by almost 500 local and international delegates to discuss the global scenario of mining investments and its opportunities.
"This is a big gathering of foreign large-scale mining corporations with unprecedented history of plunder of mining resources and the cause of irreversible environmental destruction,” says Dr. Giovanni Tapang of AGHAM (Advocates of Science and Technology for the People). "While it is true that mining is a crucial part of the economic development of any developing nation, the nationalization of the local mining industry is the only path towards growth and development of the country ", he added.
The current orientation of the Philillpine mining industry is export-oriented and import-dependent that suffices the need of the global demand rather than the development of the local economy. Hence, the mining activity in the country is nothing but intensive extraction of minerals with limited processes for smelting, refining and fabrication. Dr. Tapang emphasized that the current mining industry does not result in the fulfilment of national growth and development.
"The Philippines, as an agricultural country, should be benefitting from these mining activities. Products of mining such as agricultural tools and machinery should have been developed and used for agricultural development. But these have not been fulfilled mainly because the high-value mineral products are not made available locally but has to be imported at a high cost", Dr. Tapang further explained.
The prevalence of environmental destructions in many areas where large-scale mining are taking place are incidentally, home of poor farming communities and indigenous peoples. They are the ones who undergo the most negative impact of mining activities, which includes involuntary displacement, loss of livelihood and military harassment. For the indigenous peoples, there are the wanton disregard of customary laws and the right to self-determination.
"This mining conference is an indication that there's no stopping on the continuous plunder of our natural resources. We protested yesterday, along with the indigenous peoples and other environmental advocates to mark our opposition to the unending cycle of plunder of our natural resources. The Philippine Mining Act of 1995, the legal entity for foreign mining operations must be scrapped and replaced with a pro-people and pro-environment policy, the People's Mining Bill. The bill would be the embodiment of a country that endeavours national industrialization that would propel national progress and development." Dr. Tapang concluded.#