Extractive Industry and The Church In The Philippines
EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY AND THE CHURCH IN THE PHILIPPINES FR. EDWIN A. GARIGUEZ Executive Secretary, National Secretariat for Social Action –Justice and Peace (NASSA-JP) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)
Quantity of Mineral Resources per unit area 3rd in the world for gold 4th in the world for copper 5th in the world for nickel 6th in the world for chromite
REVITALIZINGPromotion of mining MINING AS Aas an engine for GOVERNMENTeconomic growth POLICY . . .and in the alleviationof poverty in thecountryside!
The Mining Act and Mining Policy Framework The 1995 Mining Act was passed primarily to attract foreign investments while getting around the constitutional provision of Filipino corporate ownership in resource extraction. The law was passed as a key economic measure of the Ramos administration, a way of saying the Philippines was “open for business” – a policy congruent with the liberalization mantra of the IFIs and IDAs.Act grants different types of mining rights:• Exploration permits for corporations and individuals The act allows• Mineral production Sharing Agreements (MPSA) 100% ownership participation in• Financial Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAA) through, FTAAs Philippine Mining Act is acclaimed as “among the most favourable to be found anywhere”
The PHILIPPINE MINING ACT OF 1995 was crafted to attractforeign investors. The country’s right to sovereignty is relaxedin order to provide palatable incentives to transnationalmining investors : 100% foreign ownership of mining projects, concession area of up to 81,000 hectares on shore and324,000 hectares off shore, 100% repatriation of profit, 5 years tax holiday later extended to eight, and deferredpayment are allowed until all cost are recovered,enjoyment of easement rights, and other auxiliary rights inmining concession,mining lease for 25 years, extendable to another 25 years,losses can be carried forward against income tax, amongothers.
Existing/ Approved Exploration Permit 64 Mineral Production 313 Sharing Agreement Financial or Technical 4 Assistance Agreement Mineral Processing Permit 50Industrial Sand and Gravel 213 Permit Mining Lease Contract 77 TOTAL 721Data as of March 2010
Minute Economic Contributions ofMining to Philippine Economy Mining gross production value in 2007 was valued at Php 101.5 billion pesos Government tax collection (in 2007) was at Php 10.4 billion pesos National Gov’t. (Agencies) collected Php 8.35 billion pesos BIR collected Php 942 million pesos DENR/MGB collected Php 774 million pesos LGUs collected Php 357.9 million pesos Contribution of mining sector to 2007 GDP was merely 1.4% (consistent in 3 decades)
Crunching the Numbers Claimed investments was only 35% Job creation was only at 158,000 in 2008 Actual tax collection was only at 11% Actual Paid-up investments (SEC) was only at less than 10%! GDP contribution is only 1% Agriculture GDP contribution is at 16.5%
With all the hype about miningserving as an engine of economicdevelopment:The local mining industry’s contribution to thePhilippine economy since the time the Mining Actof 1995 was implemented has barely reached 2percent of gross domestic product (GDP).In contrast, agriculture, a sector that is oftennegatively impacted by mining activities,contributes a solid 16-17 percent of GDP!(From study conducted by the University of the Philippines andAteneo de Manila)
Philippines is still net importer ofmetals US$ 689.4 million worth of iron and steel US$ 97.74 million worth of copper US$ 131.26 million worth of other metal manufactures(2000 figures) LRC-KsK, irlg 2005
The present mining policy does not, however, recognizethe reality that the Philippine archipelago, with smallislands having forests and surrounding marineecosystems, are more sensitive to mining impacts.There are areas where the resulting ecological lossresulting from mining operations will be too considerableto be justified by the benefits.Sustainable development will not be achieved if thecountry’s backbone of biodiversity resources is severelycompromised. While the mineral supply may beconsiderable, the archipelago as a whole may not be ableto “sustain” its widespread extraction.(de Alban, et al. 2005)
In July 2006, the Right Honorable Clare Short MP, formerUK Minister of International Development, led a FactFinding Mission on Mining to the Philippines, the report ofwhich, “Mining in the Philippines: Concerns and Conflicts” waspublished in 2007. This report noted that:“Mining in the Philippines is being developed at aspeed…scale…and in a manner likely to cause massivelong-term environmental damage and social problems.Current mining plans will undermine the Government’sown strategy for sustainable development by destroyingor severely damaging critical eco-systems, includingwatersheds, rivers, marine eco-systems and importantagricultural production areas.”“Mining in the Philippines: Concerns and Conflicts” by Doyle, C., Wicks, C.and Nally, F. 2007. Society of St. Columban, Solihull, UK: 62 p.
The Tapian Pit, Marcopper mine on Marinduque Island in the Philippines in 1989 Photograph by Catherine Coumans/MiningWatch Canada Slide 19
The Mogpog River, Marinduque Island. The red/orange colour and Oxfam’s scientific studies indicate acid mine drainage and contamination by heavy metals Photograph by David Sproule/Oxfam Australia Slide 21
Illness spans generations: Wilson Manuba and his fatherPedro – both Calancan Bay fishermen are suffering from severe arsenic poisoning Photograph by Ingrid Macdonald/Oxfam Australia Slide 22
British MP "enormously shocked" by mining operationsin Philippines http://philippinesfactfinding.blogspot.com/ Clare Short said: “I have never seen anything so systematically destructive as the mining programme in the Philippines. The environmental effects are catastrophic as are the effects on people’s livelihoods.”
Our experiences of environmental tragedies andincidents with the mining transnationalcorporations belie all assurances of sustainable andresponsible mining that the government isclaiming. Increasing number of mining affectedcommunities, Christians and non-Christians alike,are subjected to human rights violations andeconomic deprivations. We see no relief in sight.Catholic Bishops Conference of the PhilippinesJanuary 29, 2006
The promised economic benefits of mining bythese transnational corporations are outweighedby the dislocation of communities especiallyamong our indigenous brothers and sisters, therisks to health and livelihood and massiveenviron-mental damage.Mining areas remain among the poorest areas inthe country . . . The cultural fabric of indigenouspeoples is also being destroyed by the entry ofmining corporations.Catholic Bishops Conference of the PhilippinesJanuary 29, 2006
The right to life of people isinseparable from their right tosources of food and livelihood.Allowing the interests of bigmining corporations to prevail overpeople’s right to these sourcesamounts to violating their right tolife.Furthermore, mining threatenspeople’s health and environmentalsafety through the wantondumping of waste and tailings inrivers and seas.Catholic Bishops Conference of the PhilippinesJanuary 29, 2006
Development, when it is pursued primarily forfinancial benefits without real consideration tohuman and ecosystems well being is a distortedversion of development.The inherent defect is that development is viewedas the delivery of the much needed investmentwhich is often achieved at the expense of socialand ecological factors.In the context of mining industry, by using thisdistorted framework, the local community andthe indigenous peoples are the ones who are mostaffected by this lopsided development priority.
Towards a Definition of “Responsible Mining”The term “sustainable mining” is an oxymoron; by definitionminerals (e.g., oil, coal, metals) are not renewable. They canbe exhausted at slower rates and can and should be recycledto the fullest extent possible, but this cannot be calledsustainable.“Responsible Mining” avoids the following: (a) Denselypopulated areas (no forcible displacement of humans); (b)Zones of social conflict; Ancestral domains & IndigenousPeoples. (c) Conservation units & biodiversity areas e.g.,National Parks, watersheds, wetlands. (d) High rainfall;typhoon prone belts; cyclone areas; Active seismic faults,tectonic areas, earthquake prone areas; Steep slopes,especially where protective forest has been destroyed, abovefood- and fish-producing areas; erosion-prone and landslipareas.
The Philippines has rich and diverse natural resources.However, these resources are being rapidly depleteddue a variety of mutually reinforcing negative factors: high population pressure with the majority of the poorderiving their income from natural ecosystems; advancing industrialization, conflicts of interest between long term environmentalconcerns and short term profit motives in particularregarding logging and mining . . .The European Commission, 2005http://www.delphl.ec.europa.eu/docs/cep%20Philippines.pdf: EuropeanCommission, 2005. Philippines country environmental profile. Makati City,Delegation of the European Commission to the Philippines. 75 p.
Community State, Banks, and Mining Companies Resource for Resource for production subsistence and consumption. Driven by and livelihood global markets Production for life Production for CommodityGoodland & Wicks, Philippines: Mining or Food?,
Mining stands at the centre of the divideBetween the Rich and the Poor. From the North… Glorious ..to the North promises MINING Contracts & Agreements To the South From the South
1900 1999Less than 6% of original forests remainsSource: Environmental Science for Social Change, 1999
Mining consistency with Development Goals?• The World Bank highlights that its „successful development will depend very much on improving environmental and social practices which caused substantial problems in the past‟.• The lack of adherence to international best practices is blatant in the Philippines and appears to be worsening
In a study entitled ”Philippine AssetReform Report Card”, results show that : Extractive activities are present in morethan one-third (39.8%) of the 1.85 millionhectares ancestral domains covered by thestudy, with logging and mining as the mostprevalent extractive industries. It also revealed that a majority (72.1%) of theextractive activities are in operation withoutthe consent of the tribes (i.e. without securingFPICs).
The aggressive pursuit of mining investments has also spawnednumerous human rights abuses, especially against individualsand communities opposed to mining. The abuse has included,both physical and psychological harassment.A number of anti-mining advocates have also been killed. Thepurpose of this is clear, to cultivate a climate of fear and stifleopposition.
Human Rights Context Civil & Political Rights & Extra Judicial Killings• Estimates of E x tra J u d ic a l K illin g s a n d E n fo rc e d D is a p p e a ra n c e s over 900 Extra- 1200 Judicial killings & 185 Enforced 1000 Disappearances 800 since 2001 K illin g s a n d D is a p p e a re n c e s 600 E xtra Ju d ic ia l K illin g s • James Balao E n fo rc e d D is a p p e a re n c e s Sept 08 400 200• 2007 Visit of UN 0 Special 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial “[Killings] eliminated civil society leaders, including Killings: human rights defenders… &…narrowed the country’s political discourse”
Mining as currently practiced in the Philippinesposes extremely high social, environmental andfinancial risks.It is therefore essential that rigorous duediligence regarding potential human rights andenvironmental impact of projects is conducted.
Some Relevant Quotes from Catholic Social Teachings vis-à-visProblems in Extractive Industry
If the environmental crises facing the world today weresimply a matter of information, knowledge, and skills,then we would be heading out of these dangers.For more than 30 years the world’s major institutions,scientists, and governments, and some of the largestnongovernmental organizations (NGOs), have compiledand analyzed details of how we are abusing the planet . . .Yet the crises are still with us. The simple fact is thatknowledge on its own is not enough . . .Ultimately, the environmental crisis is a crisis of the mind. . . We see, do, and are what we think, and what we thinkis shaped by our cultures, faiths, and beliefs . . . - World Bank Study (Palmer and Finlay 2003)
“The more deeply I search for theroots of the globalenvironmental crisis, the more Iam convinced that it is an outermanifestation of an inner crisisthat is, for lack of better word,spiritual.As a politician, I know full wellthe special hazards of using“spiritual” to describe a problemlike this one . . . But what otherword describes the collection ofvalues and assumptions thatdetermine our basicunderstanding of how we fit intothe universe? “ Al Gore, Former US Vice President
As Christians committed to ourvision to promote life, justice andequity in an ecologically sustainableand people-oriented communities,we believe that environment shouldnever be sacrificed - that“an economy respectful of theenvironment will not have themaximization of profit as its onlyobjective, because environmentalprotection cannot be assured solelyon the basis of financialcalculations of cost and benefits.The environment is one of thosegoods that cannot be adequatelysafeguarded or promoted by marketforces.” John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 40
1. A COMMON HERITAGE IS ACOMMON TASK “It is the task of the State to provide for the defense and preservation of the common goods such as the natural and human environments, which cannot be safeguarded simply by market forces” (CA 40). Humanity today must move toward a lifestyle that the limits of Creation can sustain and “must be conscious of its duties and obligations toward future generations” (CA 37).
2. RESPECT FOR THE INTEGRITY OF CREATION IS A RELIGIOUS DUTY “At the root of the senseless destruction of the natural environment lies an anthropological error…Man thinks that he can make arbitrary use of the earth, subjecting it without restraint of his will, as though it did not have its own requisites and a prior God-given purpose, which man indeed develop but must not betray” (CA 37).
Peace with God the Creator, Peacewith all Creation1 January 1990(first papal document devotedexclusively to environment anddevelopment issues)“Christians in particularrealise that their dutytowards nature andCreator are an essentialpart of their faith.”
2. JUSTICE & UNIVERSALDESTINATION OF GOODSThe problem we have is admittedly, not that there arenot enough resources, but that unjust social inequityrestricts the enjoyment of goods to a privileged fewwho squanders the limited resources, while masses ofpeople are living in conditions of misery, de-prived ofthe fruit of the earth.This situation is condemnable because “God intendedthe earth with everything contained in it for the useof all human beings and peoples . . . the right ofhav-ing a share of earthly goods sufficient for oneselfand ones family belongs to everyone.”(Gaudium et Spes, No. 69; see also, THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS,No. 8, Message of His Holiness Pope John Paul II for the celebrationof the WORLD DAY OF PEACE, January 1, 1990)
3. REFORM OF THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM IS OF MORAL URGENCY Serious ecological problems demand that planning for development must take into account “the limits of available resources and of the need to respect the integrity and cycles of nature” instead of “sacrificing them to certain demagogic ideas” about the economy (SRS 26).
The Catholic Bishops”Conference of the Philippines(CBCP)and its Agenda for ExtractiveIndustry Reform
We question the neo-liberal pitch that there is no otherpath to development except through further economicliberalization, especially in the mining industry.The CBCP calls for changing the way we manage anddevelop our natural resources . . . We are calling for theabrogation of the Mining Act of 1995 that do notadequately protect the interest of our people and thecountry’s natural resources.Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Letter toPresident Benigno Aquino III, 12 July 2010
The people and NGOs are not able to scrutinize theapplications and contracts because these are kept fromthe public.We are expecting this new government to turn away fromthe policy of secrecy that characterized the previousadministration. The best instruments we could use insafeguarding the interests of our nation are transparencyand sincerity . . . The promotion of participatorygovernance guarantees check and balance ongovernment decisions and policies.Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Letter to PresidentBenigno Aquino III, 12 July 2010
At the root of the senseless destruction ofour environment is the anthropologicaldistortion which claims that human beingsare the absolute masters of the earth.This justifies the reckless exploitation of resources inthe name of progress and development. Thus,“instead of carrying out his role as a cooperator withGod in the work of creation, man sets himself up inplace of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellionon the part of nature, which is more tyrannized thangoverned by him.”(CENTESIMUS ANNUS, No. 37, Encyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II; seealso, EVANGELIUM VITAE, No. 42, Encyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II,March 25, 1995)
World Bank should fully implement itsguidelines and safeguard procedures which, ifapplied, would under current conditionspreclude investment in most, if not all,Philippine mining projects.This would include the proposed IFC equityinvestment of up to Can$5 million project in aCanadian Mining Junior, Mindoro ResourcesLtd. (MRL), which is planning operationsthroughout the Philippines.
The Philippines is not currently a location for safe orresponsible mining investment. The social, climatic,geographical and geological conditions in the countryprovide for challenging conditions to mine, to say theleast. Frequent and repeated tailings dam collapses and breaches,which have adversely affected the health and livelihoods ofmany people. Opposition and resistance to mining are thereforeincreasing, resulting in some projects being stopped andcompanies bankrupted. Most mining companies that seek to operate in thePhilippines find themselves embroiled in or accused ofresponsibility for human rights abuses. All companies face environmental protection tests that, todate, most companies have failed.
"It is unacceptable that citizens with abundantincomes and resources should transfer a considerablepart of this income abroad purely for their advantage,without care for the manifest wrong that they inflict ontheir country by doing so."(Populorum Progressio)
The reasons given for IFC’s new interest inmining are startling. IFC is reported asclaiming that mining opens opportunitiesfor the poor to improve their economicstatus, a statement that contradictspractically all recent experiences of miningworldwide.Aspirations of poverty reduction frommining are also contrary to the findings ofthe IFC itself (Weber-Fahr 2002) and the2004 World Bank Group’s ExtractivesIndustry Review (EIR 2004).
The command to "fill and conquer" the earth,however is not a license to exploit the naturalworld according to human whim or fancy. It is thelate Pope John Paul II himself who provides aprecise interpretation for the text:" . . The dominion granted to man by the Creator isnot an absolute power, nor can one speak of afreedom to use and abuse; or to dispose of thingsas one pleases. . . when it comes to the naturalworld, we are subject not only to biological laws,but also to moral ones, which cannot be violatedwith impunity"(Sollicitudo Rei Socialis No. 34).