April 20, 2012
Conference on mining plunders to ink covenant against foreign mining aggression
Foreign mining aggression in the region escalates opposition among grass root communities. Peasant andlumad (indigenous people) leaders from various provinces in Davao gathered in today’s Peoples’ Conference on Mining Plunder and Resistance said the encroachment will lead to more internal displacement, landlessness, poverty and militarization.
“We want the voice of the farmers, the lumads to be heard. While the voice of the civil society is important, we should listen more to those whose daily subsistence depend on the resources directly found in the land. With every shift in the climate, every mining permit granted and mining militia deployed in mining areas, their plight and survival becomes more dismal,” Francis Morales, secretary general of Panalipdan Southern Mindanao, said.
The conference aims to forge a Peoples’ Covenant against Foreign Large-scale and Open-pit Mining, an agenda which the community leaders will forward to their respective towns and cities.
Organizers of the event are the Panalipdan-Southern Mindanao, Kalikasan Party, Promotion of Church Peoples’ Response and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines in cooperation with other cause-oriented groups.
Armando Manial , spokesperson of Pasaka Confederation of Indigenous Peoples Organizations in Southern Mindanao said, “From the conference, we aim to gather the narratives of the lumads and the farmers about their collective history of their now threatened lands and the strategies they want to use to defend their rights amidst this influx and encroachment. The data will be used as basis for policy recommendation for local, national and international lobbying.”
The conference highlights local case studies of grassroots from Paquibato, Davao City, Pantukan, Maco, Mabini, Monkayo, Compostela, New Bataan and Davao Del Sur — current sites of struggle against US-Canada’s St. Augustine Mining Corp., Australia’s One Asia Resources, Canada’s Cadan Resources, China’s Skynix Holdings and Taiwan- Joel Brillantes’ Yeng Yi Corporation.
Panalipdan said more than one million hectares have been applied for by mining corporations in the region. It noted the increase of large-scale mining operations under the Aquino administration.
The group which has been calling for the scrapping of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 is sour about the new mining policy of the Aquino government.
“Increased taxation does not make mining liberalization and foreign plunder right. Taxes and royalties cannot commensurate to the biodiversity and resource loss caused by mining TNCs. What we need is a bill like the Peoples’ Mining Bill which sees to the nationalization of the mining industry and set the direction towards a genuine agrarian reform program for a more sustainable future,” Morales said.
The two-day conference will peak with a Cultural Protest and Unity Torch Parade at the Freedom Park on April 21.
PANALIPDAN Southern Mindanao