Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Alyansa Tigil Mina Organization?
- Why was the Alyansa Tigil Mina formed?
- Why is it concerned with the revitalization of mining?
- What are the calls of Alyansa Tigil Mina?
- Is the Alyansa Tigil Mina totally against mining?
- What is Sustainable or Responsible Mining?
- Are there alternatives to Large-Scale Mining?
- ATM History
The Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is a coalition of organizations and groups who have decided to collectively challenge the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. Composed of Non-Government Organizations, People’s Organizations, Church groups and academic institutions, the ATM is both an advocacy group and a people’s movement, working in solidarity to protect Filipino communities and natural resources that are threatened by large-scale mining operations.
The Alyansa Tigil Mina was born out of the collective concern of Non-Government Organizations, People’s Organizations and other Civil Society Groups against the impending threat of the revitalization of the mining industry in the Philippines. In mid-2004, NGOs/ POs, decided to disengage from a series of consultations convened by the DENR regarding the revitalization of the mining industry.
An assessment of the situation with the aid of Indigenous Peoples support organizations and anti-mining advocates, the decision was made that a watchdog-type organization was needed, much like the Bantay-Mina coalition of the late 1990s.
Specifically, the group was worried that the pro-mining machineries (the industry itself, media and the government and its agencies) were gaining ground in the promotion of mining as their claims, and roadshows and promotional materials were passing without challenge.
Alyansa Tigil Mina became the challenge to the official line of thinking about mining.
The Alyansa Tigil Mina is concerned that the government has shifted its policy on mining form that of “tolerance” to “aggressive promotion,” with the issuance of Executive Order 270-A, last January 2004. The EO provided for guiding principles for the revitalization of the mining industry. Despite the seemingly innocuous policy statements of EO 270-A, a closer reading would reveal that its ultimate purpose is not the promotion of sustainbale development through responsible mining but the promotion of large-scale, environmentally destructive mining through the entry of foreign investments in the mineral industry.
The same EO also provided for the formulation of a National Minerals Action Plan (NMAP) for minerals development. The NMAP exposed the true intent of government in promoting the minerals industry at whatever cost as it elaborated and interpreted the policy statements in EO 270-A.
The alliance is calling for the:
A. Scrapping of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and the Passage of an Alternative People’s Mining Act.
B. Revocation EO 270-A and the rejection of the National Minerals Action Plan.
C. A nationwide moratorium on large-scale mining operations.
NO. The ATM is against the policy regime of this administration in promoting foreign-controlled and export-oriented large-scale mining.
WE ARE AGAINST MINING AS IT IS BEING PRACTICED TODAY.
We are against the liberal interpretation and implementation of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and Executive Order 270-A that shifts the policy from tolerance to the relentless promotion of large-scale mining. In the same way, we are against the National Minerals Action Plan (NMAP) whose listed priority mining sites will encroach on almost 53% of ancestral domains of Indigenous Tribes and about 60% of protected areas.
Our opposition is also based on the intent to allow foreign control and ownership of mineral resources. This approach will not drive local development or fuel national industrialization as most of the extracted minerals will be exported as raw products. In the end the Philippines will continue to depend on imported mineral products.
More importantly, our opposition also stems from the systematic weakening of safety nets that assure participation and self-determination of local development. The Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process was emasculated. To many special incentives were granted to large-scale mining companies to the detriment of LGUs and local communities. In addition, the potential impact of large-scale mining operations pose threats to sustainable agriculture, community-based upland development and coastal and fisheries resources.
Finally, we are critical of the way that the government is promoting the mining industry as a poverty-reduction stratgey, and as the base for economic development. This is simply not an honest practice. The projections of values and volumes of mineral resources have not been validated or have been distorted. The government has backtracked on its own projections any number of times. The claimed economic benefits of mining are too short-term and threaten too much – sustainable livelihoods and local development – as well as creating issues of social displacement, cultural conflicts and environmental degradation.
The short answer is that both concepts are myths.
The long answer is that “Responsible Mining” is the current term applied to the framework of the government for the revitalization of the mining industry. This was a modification of the “Sustainable Mining” approach being espoused by the Mines, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD) paradigm at the international level.
However, global environmental groups successfully debunked the concept of “Sustainable Mining” forcing the industry to replace it with the term: “Responsible Mining.”
The framework of Responsible Mining is very impressive. However, what is not easily apparent is that there has yet to be any large-scale mining operation that has completed the whole cycle of the model yet. What the model provides are examples of best practices from DIFFERENT and VARIOUS operations happening in DIFFERENT countris. The model has not been successfully closed or “looped-in” in one single mining operation in a specific area.
In our own analysis, the concept of responsible mining is a weak model, because:
A. It relies on the voluntary compliance of large-scale mining companies.
B. It highly depends on the ability of the government to enforc/ implement safeguards articulated in national laws.
C. It does not address the issue of corporate and state graft and corruption, a scenario that is not uncommon in extractive industries or third world countries.
D. There is only token recognition of safeguards such as the particiaptory decision making process, the free prior and informed consent process, the Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Compliance Certificate and so on.
YES, there are alternatives.
We should recognize that the nature of the Philippine economy is largely agricultural with a high potential for agro-industrialization. This, in fact, was the main strategy outlined in the 1987 Constitutiom – which promoted first the social justice and asset reform agenda – towards national industrialization. The threat of large-scale mining operations endanger existing sustainable livelihoods in an area.
Agro-forestry. In Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya, more than 700 hectares of citrus orchards in Malabing Valley are threatened by the Didipio Gold and Copper Project. Farmers earn 1 million pesos per hectare from these citrus farms. It is highly doubtful that the mining operation will give the same benefits. This same model of agro-forestry has been successfully replicated in Bukidnon.
Eco-tourism and Watershed Development. The Samar Island Biodiversity Project (SIBP) has established that in the long-term (over 25 years) the benefits of eco-tourism, fisheries, water use and agriculture development will actually bring more benefits to the three Samar provinces than the proposed open pit bauxite mine. This data has been used to pressure the DENR to create the Samar Island National Park. In the same vein, the collective resistance of Oriental Mindoro for the entry of Crew Minerals for the Mindoro Nickel Project, has actually resulted in improved agricultural production and higher productivity of Lake Naujan. Sibuyan Island, Romblon has been described as the biodiversity equivalent of the Galapagos Islands, and mere hours from Manila. Yet instead of becoming a focus for “green tourism” the interior of the island is set to be an open pit mine.
Fisheries/ Coastal Resource Development. In an archipelagic country like the Philippines, coastal resources provide much of the protein requirements of the people, and mining threatens the health of the seas. Rapu-rapu is an example of fisheries resources tossed to the wayside – a series of spills at the mine set off a poison scare that devastated the area’s fishing industry. The mine eventually went bankrupt and closed, while the fishing industry continued on.
Community-based Small Scale Mining. We cannot discount that in the Northern Philippines, especially in the Cordilleras, mining has been a traditional way of livelihood for some cultural groups. And their practice of mining returns actual and concrete benefits to the households and the communities. This model could be developed with stricter environmental safeguards and replicated in other prospective mining sites. At the very least, the benefits of the industry would go to the local community and not exit the country.
The Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) was born out of the collective concern of NGOs/POs and other civil society groups against the impending threat of the revitalization of the mining industry in the Philippines.By the middle of 2004, several NGOs and POs have decided to disengage from a series of consultations convened by the DENR regarding the revitalization of the mining industry. Also within this timeframe, civil society representatives in the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) actively blocked the move of DENR to seek endorsement from the PCSD to have a draft EO be signed by the President, purposively to revitalize the mining industry. Informed with these developments, the Civil Society Counterpart Council for Sustainable Development (CSCCSD), headed by Ms. Elizabeth Roxas of the Environmental Broadcast Circle (EBC) and coordinated by the Maximo T. Kalaw Institute for Sustainable Development (MTKISD), convened a series of meetings of environmental groups, IP-support organizations, anti-mining advocates and other NGOs/POs between the period of July-November, 2004.
Among others, these meetings allowed for the exchange of updates, leveling-off on current situations, and the initial exploration of reviving the Bantay-Mina coalition of the late 90s. Specifically, the group was getting worried that the pro-mining machineries (mining industry, media and the government) were gaining grounds and their momentum should be checked. All of these were being considered, in the light of the threats that revived mining operations pose to sustainable development initiatives and the rational protection and utilization of the country’s natural resources. The name Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) was coined, after deciding that there might be some legal considerations if the Bantay-Mina was going to be adopted, since Bantay-Mina was a SEC-registered entity. Also, not all of the members of Bantay-Mina were actively engaging in the current ATM organization and processes.The term “tigil-mina” (stop mining) does not reflect a stand of totally going against mining and minerals extraction. What the “tigil-mina” is referring to is to block this policy regime being adopted by the Arroyo administration, and the DENR, to aggressively promote mining, and using this strategy to allegedly address the fiscal problems and poverty situation of the country. The EO 270-A and the NMAP had outlined 23 priority mining projects, which shall encroach on 60% of already declared protected areas and another 53% of ancestral domains. Not to mention the damaging effects of the projects to several targeted fragile ecologies, such as Rapu-Rapu in Bicol, Manicani/Homonhon in Samar-Leyte, Tampacan in South Cotabato, Nonoc in Surigao del Norte/Surigao Sur and Siocon in Zamboanga del Norte.
In December, 2004, the Supreme Court gave a surprising reversal of its earlier decision, regarding the constitutionality of FTAAs, and several portions of the Mining Act of 1995. Eventually, this ruling paved the way for the aggressive promotion of mining from that point on.By January, 2005, the loose group of ATM members met in Antipolo City to craft an Advocacy-Campaign Plan. It was also at this time, that PhilDHRRA was requested to perform secretariat work for the ATM.
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), as one of the convenors, now houses the National Secretariat of ATM.
- Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator
- Farah Sevilla, Policy Research and Advocacy Officer
- Daniel Arias, Sites of Struggle Officer
- Jonal Javier, Sites of Struggle Officer
- Camilo Manio, Sites of Struggle Officer
- Fidel Mariveles, Yolanda – Leyte Rehab Project Coordinator
- Karl Isaac Santos, Media and Communications Officer
- Jessan Garcia, Administrative Officer
- Mary Joy Rempillo, Bookkeeper