Virgie Malaluan, representative of Calatagan (Batangas) Farmers added, “Our call is simple: Lupang sakahan, wag minahin (Do no mine agricultural lands.)” as they do know that mining will impact their vitamin-rich soils. She further added, “Pagkain sana ang prayoridad at hindi ang semento (The government should prioritize food security rather than sacks of cement for construction of buildings, etc.)”
Meanwhile, Maporac Aeta chieftain from Zambales said, “We do not want large scale mining and destruction of our forests from where we get our means of livelihood. Take us out from the forest and we will die, leave us there and we will take care of it and ensure that everyone will benefit from it, its resources and the clean waters that come from the mountains.”
SOS-Yamang Bayan Network calls for a reform in the existing flawed mining policy. Currently, the network is lobbying in Congress for House Bills 206 and 3763, both pushing for a new minerals management law that “regulates the rational exploration, development, and utilization of mineral resources, and to ensure the equitable sharing of benefits for the state, indigenous peoples and local communities.”
Garganera concluded, “Together with many other affected sectors, we push for a mining policy that will ensure the rights of the people, protection of our environment, and our economic benefits. We cannot allow foreign mining firms to continue their practice here, at our expense.”
The SOS-Yamang Bayan Network is a national, multi-sectoral movement composed of mining-affected communities, national peoples alliances, environmental organizations and networks, church-based organizations, human rights organizations, national NGOs, sectoral organizations from the indigenous peoples, youth, women, farmers, Congressional representatives, known leaders and personalities advocating for the repealing of the Mining Act of 1995 and the enactment of a new minerals management bill.
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. (30)
For more information: Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0927) 761.76.02 Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy & Advocacy Officer, (0915) 331.33.61