As majority of representatives are in favor of mining, a few legislators consider the push for the repeal of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 or Republic Act No. 7942 as an uphill battle.
BY CYE REYES
Posted by (Bulatlat.com)
Vol. VIII, No. 24, July 20-26, 2008
BAGUIO CITY (246 kms north of Manila) — As majority of representatives are in favor of mining, a few legislators consider the push for the repeal of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 or Republic Act No. 7942 as an uphill battle.
According to Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Rep. Luz Ilagan, who recently visited this city, the city, only a few representatives understand the impact of extractive mining.
“These representatives either do not really understand the effects of mining or are actually associated with big mining companies,” Ilagan said, adding that it is very unfortunate to be a minority in this fight.
Ilagan is adamant that the said law be repealed. She strongly supports of Bayan Muna’s (People First) House Bill No. 1793 for the repeal of the mining act.
Ilagan said despite the government’s assurance that the country would benefit from the development of the mining industry under the Mining Act, many provisions are questionable in terms of how the people of the Philippines would benefit from the government’s mining program.
She pointed to the provisions for 100-percent repatriation of profit by the mining companies, a five-year tax holiday renewable for another five years, and access to land for 25 years renewable for another 25 years as among the dubious provisions of the said law.
She also pointed out the questionable consultations conducted by some mining companies, which according to her, manipulate the results of the talks with affected communities.
Under the law, the companies are required to acquire the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) from the affected communities.
She also added that the government agencies that are supposed to ensure the proper conduct of these consultations like the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are siding with the companies and even act as their “lawyers” instead of siding with the affected communities.
“Despite all these, the Philippine government is aggressively luring big mining companies to mine our lands especially the ancestral domain of our indigenous peoples who are the most affected by this mining industry,” she said.
The bill seeking to repeal the Mining Act, which is sponsored by Bayan Muna and GWP and co-authored by Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla, is currently being deliberated upon at the committee level.
Ilagan attended the study session of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) held here last week. The participants met to discuss the current international trends in mining in relation to food sovereignty, indigenous women, militarization and health issues. Northern Dispatch / Posted by Bulatlat