Monthly Archives: January 2012

MINDANAO DECLARATION: Defending the Dignity of Life, Securing our Future

Official Statement of the ADDU- CEAP-International Conference on Mining, 26-27 January, 2012

AWARE of the current state of the mining industry in the Philippines driven by corporate greed and the existing policy framework promoted by the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and inherited by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III,

AWARE of the confession of the government that ‘there is no standard resource and environment valuation’ and institutional issues need to be addressed to ensure sustainability of the country’s fragile environment and natural resources’ (Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016, pp. 310, 320-322),

AWARE that harsh effects of mining on water systems, biodiversity, air, land and island ecosystems lead to environmental destructions and disasters aggravating the impacts of hydro-meteorological hazards and threatening agriculture and food security,

AWARE that the Philippines is the most vulnerable to typhoons in the world; ranked third in disaster risk and natural hazards; and sixth considered in extreme risk due to climate change,

AWARE that the mining industry’s available economic data on value added, employment, exports and revenue contributions are aggregated, thus not helpful in economic analysis; and revenue shares of national and local government amounting to only 0.91% average contribution to Gross Domestic Product,

AWARE that mining companies in collaboration with concerned government agencies have been grossly violating human rights of communities and advocates through threats, extra-judicial killings, Investment Defense Force, mining militias, fabricating ‘free, prior and informed consents (FPIC)’, dividing and exploiting indigenous peoples communities and perpetuating other acts degrading human dignity,

AWARE that small-scale miners and workers have been blamed for various environmental disasters by the Chamber of Mines in favor of large mining companies, however, further aware that the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and other agencies failed to fulfill its mandate to provide technical and, when displaced, extend immediate sustainable economic assistance,

AWARE that the number of local government units who are standing up to oppose mining in their respective jurisdictions is increasing, however, not recognized by the national government and mining companies,

AWARE of the aforesaid REALITIES,

We, therefore, call for the promotion of sustainable, responsible and equitable management and utilization of our natural resources, toward the conservation and protection of the environment and rehabilitation of mined areas.



We further call for an IMMEDIATE MINING MORATORIUM and suspension and cancellation, if applicable, of all mining operations, licenses and applications, while the relevant mining policies are being reviewed; and concerned government agencies be held accountable.

With this declaration, we therefore INVOKE


Reiterating the words of our brother MACLIING DULAG, an environmental martyr of the Cordilleras:

“Such arrogance to speak of owning the land, when you shall be owned by it. How can you own that which will outlive you?”



Stop digging: CEAP asks for moratorium on mining pending review of laws

Written By:  Kristianne Fusilero
Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) has called the national government to impose a moratorium on all mining activities pending the review of the Philippine Mining Act and issuance of the executive policy.

Fr. Joel E. Tabora, chair of the national advocacy commission of CEAP and president of Ateneo de Davao University, said yesterday in the weekly I-Speak forum in city hall that the moratorium is needed to give more time for the government to rationalize its mining policy and train people who can implement the results of the review.

The CEAP is a non-stock organization of schools founded in 1941 with 1,252 member schools in the whole country.

At present, the proposed mining policy of the national government is being studied by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. Presidential Adviser on Environment Protection Juan Romeo Nereus O.Acosta said earlier that the proposal was a result of the intensive study on the orders of the president.

Acosta said the proposed policy would balance the impact of mining on environment and its effect on the economy of the country. Mitigating measures against the possible risks of the industry are also included in the proposal.

Among those who conducted the study were Acosta, Environment Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje and and presidential assistant on climate change Elisea G. Gozon, also a former environment secretary.

Tabora also pushed for the swift approval of the Minerals Management Bill to replace the present mining law. It seeks for the conservation of the mineral resources and further responsible mining in the country.

He said the present law only caters to the need of the global extractive industry players and even used to “sabotage local government efforts to protect the health, environment and livelihood of their constituents.”

He added that the proposed bill is one way to mitigate the possible risks of the industry since it has been destructing especially to the environment. “It (even) becomes immoral,” he said, explaining the need to further promote other industries like agroforestry.

The association, meanwhile, will conduct International Conference on Mining in Mindanao at AdDU on Jan. 26 to 27 with a theme “Mina para sa Nasudnong Interes sa Katawhang Pilipino.”


Tampakan Forum hails denial of ECC for SMI copper-gold project calls on DENR to bare the real negative impacts of Tampakan mine

Press Release
January 14, 2011

Tampakan Forum, a working group on the Tampakan mining issue composed of legal, social, economic, technical experts and organizations opposing mining in the country hails the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje’s decision to deny the issuance of an Environmental Clearance Certificate )ECC to mining proponent and applicant Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) for its Tampakan Copper-Gold project in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

DENR Secretary Paje’s decision through a memorandum dated January 3, 2012 rejected the recommendation of the Environmental Management Bureau’s (EMB) impact Assessment review committee for an issuance of ECC to SMI and its majority investor, Swiss-owned company Xstrata.

In a letter by Atty. Jose Miguel Cuna, OIC –Director of EMB to SMI President Mr. Peter Forrestal last January 9, 2012, the EMB Chief informed the latter about Sec. Paje’s decision of returning the application documents and to deny issuance of ECC, without prejudice to resubmission. SMI was also advised to refrain from taking any development activity in the applied area pending the issuance of the ECC and other permits from concerned government agencies.

An ECC is document that the DENR secretary or the Regional Executive Director issues after and through the recommendation of the Environmental Impact Assessment Review Committee (EIARC). It is supposed to be an assurance that the mining operation’s activities, installations and facilities do not have any significant impact destructible to the environment and that the proponent has complied with all the requirements set forth and claimed by its Environment Impact Statement.

SMI officially submitted its Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) document to EMB last October 18, 2011.

Other than the South Cotabato provincial government ban on open pit mining method and the instruction Secretary Paje did not cite any further reason for not approving the recommendation of the EMB to issue the environmental clearance certificate to SMI that would have allowed the company to proceed with its plan for full swing operation byMarch 2012.

Fr. Gillarme Pelino, Social Action Director of the Diocese of Marbel, said that gleaning from the memorandum order which was mum about any of  the flaws of the SMI’s ESIA as a basis for the denial, it  was made to appear that it was the provision  of the Environment Code  on open pit ban alone that stood in the way of DENR, an  executive branch, fromissuing  an ECC to the mining company.”In the interest of the faithful and the people of South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur people we call on the provincial government to uphold  and stand firm on the open pit issue. The cancellation with finality of the Tampakan Mining Project is a must, the declaration,  to ensure the continuing protection and rehabilitation of watershed must instead be pursued” Fr. Pelino added.

The Dioceses of Kidapawan, Marbel and Digos (KIDMADI) have been in the forefront  of the opposition against the proposed mining project and initiated a petition  signed by 10, 000 people from its various communities which was delivered to Malacanang last December 13, 2011.

Atty. Ipat Luna, an environmental lawyer  and member of Tampakan Forum mused that “ while we commend the DENR for honoring local authority over resources, we also firmly believe there should have been other reasons for the denial, such as the risk to life and property and the prohibition against mining in old growth and mossy forests.”

Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Executive Secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action  of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines  (CBCP-NASSA ) and co-convenor of Philippine Misereor Partnership lauded the DENR decision  and urged the PNoy administration “ to sustain policy change that considers and prioritizes the protection of our ecosystems over and above the profit of transnational mining companies. “

Tampakan Forum’s technical experts who critiqued the ESIA document of SMI already said during the public forum held in Marbel last September 23 , 2011 and attended by about 5, 000 people, that it is unbelievable that these mega-disaster causing risks can simply be solved or mitigated through designing dams that will hold the highly toxic materials in perpetuity to the highest international standards.

The mining company’s engineers themselves cited in the ESIA document that “the Tampakan mine has a high potential for loss of life and high environmental damage if a failure of Dams or Rock Storage facilities occurs.

Read more »

DENR denies SMI’s ECC application; SMI to appeal for reconsideration

This is welcome news indeed! What a great way to start 2012 for Mother Earth and the Filipino people!

By  | Friday| January 13, 2012 | Filed under: EnvironmentTop Stories

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/13 January) — Efforts to bring the massive Tampakan copper-gold project to commercial phase suffered a major blow after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources rejected the proponent’s application for an environmental compliance certificate (ECC).

Documents obtained by the Diocese of Marbel showed that Environment Secretary Ramon Paje rejected the ECC application of Sagittarius Mines, Inc., (SMI) due to the open-pit mining ban imposed by the provincial government of South Cotabato.

SMI President Peter Forrestal said they were extremely disappointed with the decision but added they intend to “immediately to file an appeal for a reconsideration of the decision as permitted under the ECC application process.”

In a memorandum on January 3, Secretary Paje said they are “returning herewith the application documents with instruction to deny the same, without prejudice to resubmission, until the issues and concern on the use of open-pit mining method shall have been clarified and resolved by the company with the provincial government of South Cotabato.”

The memorandum was addressed to Juan Miguel T. Cuna, national director of the Environmental Management Bureau, who in turn issued an order to SMI, dated January 9, advising it to “refrain from undertaking any development activity in the areas mentioned in the application for ECC until the same is issued in your favor, including permits from concerned government agencies.”

Rene Pamplona, advocacy officer of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel, said they obtained the documents on Thursday from their partners in Manila.

Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez on Friday urged South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Y. Pingoy, Jr. to stand firm in banning open-pit mining in South Cotabato and to facilitate the declaration of the mountains in Tampakan as a protected watershed area.

“Do not be afraid. We are strongly behind you. We have these resources: enlightened voters and the praying nuns — the Trappistines, Poor Clares and Passionists,” the bishop said in a letter obtained by MindaNews.

Two other bishops – Kidapawan Bishop Romulo dela Cruz and Digos Bishop  Guillermo Afable – also oppose the project. The Tampakan project straddles the provinces of South Cotabato, Davao del Sur and Sultan Kudarat.

Read more »

Sa Ngalan ng Mina?

A film showing the impact of large scale mining in the Philippines.

Produced by the Philippine Misereor Partnership (PMP).

For the full version, please contact or

Oro, Plata at Mata

An audio-visual presentation of the photos in the recent Oro, Plata at Mata photo contest.

Oro, Plata at Mata Photo Contest is a partnership project between PECOJON Philippines and the Philippine-Misereor Partnership, Inc.