ATM Position Papers on EO 79, s. 2012


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August 2012

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ATM Position Papers on EO 79, s. 2012

  1. 1. ATM Position Papers onExecutive Order 79, s. 2012 Alyansa Tigil Mina
  2. 2. Alyansa Tigil Mina ATM National Secretariat Emails: Twitter: Website: Facebook:atm_philippines Alyansa Tigil Mina Photos  by:  Farah  Sevilla,  Edel  Garingan,  Jay  Acuzena All  rights  reserved
  3. 3. Alyansa Tigil MinaPosition Papers onExecutive Order 79, s. 2012
  4. 4. Table of contents
  5. 5. IntroductionThis   booklet   is   a   compilation   of   position   papers,   and  critiques  on  the  new  mining  policy,  also  known  as  Executive  Order  No.  79  s.  2012  “Institutionalizing  and  Implementing  Reforms  in  the  Philippine  Mining  Sector  Providing  Policies  and   Guidelines   to   Ensure   Environmental   Protection  and   Responsible   Mining   in   the   Utilization   of   Mineral  Resources”,  signed  July  6,  2012.  Upon   release   of   the   document,   several   reactions   were  gathered.   Some   positive   gains   were   identified,   yet   the  groups  and  communities  continue  to  ask,  Ganun  Na  Lang  Ba  ‘Yun?  The  EO  responded  to  environmental   and   economic  safeguards  but  never  mentioned  communities.   We   ask   the  Aquino   administration,   how  about   human   rights   violations,  disrespected   and   dishonored  indigenous   peoples’   and  communities’  rights,  Ganun  Na  Lang  Ba  ‘Yun?Consequently,   Alyansa   Tigil  Mina   continues   to   call   on   the  government   to   repeal   Executive  Order   270-­A   s.   2004   that  revitalizes   the   mining   industry  and  the  Mining  Act  of  1995,  and  enact   the   Alternative   Minerals  Management  Bill.   Alyansa Tigil Mina 1
  6. 6. ATM Position Paper on Executive Order 79, s. 2012A  long  way  from  solving  the  mining  issue,  and  is  far  from  the  meaningful  reforms  in  the  mining  industry  that  we  were  expecting.Passage  of  a  new  minerals  management  law  is  the  necessary  path,  and  the  right  thing  to  prioritize.The EO has failed to address the substantial issues:   1)  Shifting  the  policy  from  “earning  profits  from  mining”  to  a  “rational  management   of  our  mineral  resources”;   2)  Ensuring   that   mining   complies   with   sustainable   development,   human   rights,   poverty-­eradication  and  the  full  human  potential;  and   3)  Give  a  reprieve  to  communities  and  the  natural  resources  they  live  off,  from  the   real  threats  of  destructive  mining.We  are  cautious,  and  mildly  optimistic  that  pressing  issues  and  concerns  will  have  temporary  remedies.      Some  small  steps  in  the  right  direction.ATM  will  engage  the  relevant  government  agencies  to  ensure  that  communities  and  the  people  are  rightfully  consulted  and  benefiting  from  mining,  if  they  have  decided  to  accept  mining.On   indigenous   cultural   communities   (ICCs/IPs),   the   initial   reaction   from   our  members   is   that   of   uneasiness.     Mining   projects   are   only   temporarily   checked,   as  existing  contracts  and  permits  are  still  considered  binding.    We  take  comfort  that  there   is   an   attempt   to   find   out   if   social   acceptance   and   free,   prior   and   informed  consent  (FPIC)  is  strictly  complied  with.We   will   maintain   our   vigilance   in   ensuring   that   the   new   guidelines   on   FPIC   are  strictly  enforced  in  mining  projects.    We  will  also  monitor  how  the  government  and  the  mining  companies  will  deal  with  the  IPs,  as  we  are  cautious  of  the  “details”  that  will  be  contained  in  the  Implementing  Rules  and  Regulations  of  this  EO.2 ATM
  7. 7. We   will   sustain   our   partnership   with   local   government   units   (LGUs)   who   have  decided  to  reject  or  oppose  mining.    We  believe  that  they  have  the  Constitutional  mandate,  the  legal  authority  and  the  moral  ascendancy  to  determine  the  mode,  type  and  pace  of  local  development  in  their  areas.    As  such,  their  stance  on  accepting  or  rejecting  mining  as  part  of  their  local  development  should  be  given  premium.Some  of  our  members  are  heavily  involved  in  transparency  and  accountability  work  in  extractives.    We  will  encourage  them  to  intensify  and  upscale  their  engagement  with  government  and  the  industry  to  push  forward  the  agenda  of  greater  transparency  in  the  mining  industry,  including  the  proposed  commitment  by  the  President  to  enroll  in  the  Extractive  Industries  Transparency  Initiative  (EITI).  We recognize the value of the following new policies:   1.  Review  of  mining  contracts  and  mining  operations   2.  No  Go  Zones   3.  Working   for   legislations   to   increase   government   share   from  proceeds  of  mining   4.  EITI   5.  Recognizing  local  autonomy   6.  A  moratorium  on  new  mining  applications   7.  Cost-­Benefit   Analysis   and   an   improved   Environmental   Impact  Assessment  System  (EIA)   8.  Using   the   various   maps   of   government   and   other   stakeholders  as  a  reference  for  decision  to  mine  or  not.BUT   we   believe   that   the   above-­mentioned   sections   are  misleading,  where  provisions  for  social  and  environmental  safeguards  are  watered  down  because  of  the  compromise  and  nuances  in  the  language  of  the  document.We  reiterate  our  disagreement,  discomfort  and  doubt  with  the  following  sections/provisions  on  EO  79:Sec. 1. Areas Closed to MiningThere  is  a  catch-­all  phrase  that  provides  an  explicit  “way-­out”  for  the  mining  industry  and  the  government  to  turn  a  blind  eye  to  the  current  problematic  mining  projects.         “Mining   contract,   agreements   and   concessions   approved   before   the   effectivity  of  this  Order  shall  continue  to  be  valid,  binding,  and  enforceable   so  long  as  they  strictly  comply  with  existing  laws,  rules,  and  regulations  and   the  terms  and  conditions  of  the  grant  thereof.    For  this  purpose,  review  and   monitoring  of  such  compliance  shall  be  undertaken  periodically.” Alyansa Tigil Mina 3
  8. 8. This   section   practically   absolves   all   mining   companies   and   projects   of   any  responsibility  from  complying  with  the  “reforms”  being  initiated  in  EO  79.    It  is  also  unclear  when,  who  and  how  the  “review  and  monitoring”  of  these  current  mining  projects  will  be  undertaken.We  recommend  that  ALL  current  mining  projects  be  subjected  to  this  review  and  monitoring   exercise,   to   be   done   within  90   days   of   the   effectivity  of   EO   79.     The  communities,  especially  the  affected  IPs,  and  civil  society  must  be  given  clear  roles  and  responsibilities  as  part  of  these  “review  and  monitoring”  teams.    Should  there  be  evidence  that  these  mining  contracts,  agreements  and  concessions  are  not  compliant,  then  revocation  or  rescinding  of  these  agreements,  contracts  should  be  done  as  soon  as  possible.We  specifically  recommend  that  all  identified  and  mapped  Key  Biodiversity  Areas  (KBAs)  should  be  part  of  the  No  Go  Zones  for  mining.  Critical  watersheds  should  also   be   closed   for   mining,   whether   they   are   declared   by   legislation   or   not.     The  eco-­system  function  and  service  of  a  watershed  does  not  cease  to  be  whether  it  is  legislated,  proclaimed  by  an  authority  or  otherwise.Sec. 2: Full Enforcement of Environmental Standards in MiningThe  provision  is  an  excellent  policy  IN  PAPER.    However,  previous  experience  and  current  reality  lends  doubt  to  the  capacity  of  the  Department  of  Environment  and  Natural  Resources  (DENR)  to  actually  perform  its  regulatory  function.    DENR  lacks  the  people,  expertise  and  equipment  to  effectively  perform  its  job.    DENR  is  also  not  immune  to  graft  and  corruption,  especially  at  the  regional  and  local  levels,  which  prevents  the  efficient  and  effective  regulation  of  the  mining  industry.We   recommend   that   all   mining   projects   be   specifically   subjected   to   a   detailed  evaluation   of   their   compliance   to   their   Environmental   Impact   Statement   and  established   environmental   standards.   Aside   from   LGUs,   communities   and   civil  society  must  be  involved  in  the  enforcement  of  environmental  standards.Sec.  3:  Review  of  the  Performance  of  Existing  Mining  Operations  and  Cleansing  of  Non-­Moving  Mining  Rights  HoldersWe  recommend  that  the  multi-­stakeholder  team  for  this  review  must  have  a  Co-­Chair  or  Co-­Convenor  from  the  local  government  unit  and  civil  society  that  is  affected  or  impacted  by  the  mining  project.Sec. 4: Grant of Mineral Agreements Pending New LegislationThe   passage   of   a   new   legislation   rationalizing   revenue   sharing   schemes   and  mechanisms  is  a  complex  and  complicated  matter.    To  date,  we  are  not  aware  of  any  conscious  effort  from  the  government  to  study  and  propose  a  new  revenue  sharing  scheme.    4 ATM
  9. 9. We  are  greatly  disturbed  with  the  phrase  in  this  section  “possible  renegotiation  of  terms   and   conditions   (of   existing   mining   contracts   and   agreements,   which   shall  in   all   cases   be   MUTUALLY   ACCEPTABLE   to   the   government   and   the   mining  contractor”.    Once  again,  the  communities  are  glaringly  left  out  in  this  equation.    Sec. 5: Establishment of Mineral ReservationsA  clear  timetable  for  the  completion  and  production  of  the  National  Industrialization  Plan  (NIP)  is  not  established.    Again,  this  section  provides  an  “excuse  clause”  -­   “This  shall  be  without  prejudice  to  the  agreements,  contracts,  rights  and  obligations  previously  entered  into  by  and  between  the  government  and  mining  contractors  and  operators”.Sec. 9: The Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC)There  is  no  space  for  the  participation  or  involvement  of  affected  communities  or  civil  society  organizations  to  this  policy-­making  and  implementing  body.We  strongly  recommend  that  community  or  CSO  representation  be  ensured  in  the  MICC.Sec. 11: Measures to Improve Small-Scale Mining ActivitiesThis  section  merely  reiterates  already  existing  provisions  of  laws  and  policies.    There  is  no  value-­added  in  terms  of  mechanisms,  procedures  and  systems  that  will  enforce  the   intent   to   have   small-­scale   mining   comply   with   RA   7076   or   the   Small-­Scale  Mining  Act.We   recommend   that   DENR,   in   close   coordination   with   concerned   LGUs,  immediately  close  all  illegal  small-­scale  mines  throughout  the  country.    In  parallel,  alternative  livelihood  to  these  displaced  small-­scale  miners  should  be  introduced.  Section 12: Consistency of Local Ordinances with the Constitution and National LawsWe  welcome  the  shift  of  perspectives  on  this  section.    However,  ATM  maintains  that  LGUs  clearly  have  the  Constitutional  mandate,  the  legal  authority  and  the  moral  ascendancy  to  accept  or  reject  mining  applications  and  operations.    Sec.  16  and  17  of  the  Local  Government  Code  (Mandates  and  General  Welfare  provisions)  are  very  clear  on  this.In  addition,  DENR  (and  other  national  government  agencies)  must  recognize  and  respect   the   existing   ordinances,   resolutions   and   local   orders   of   LGUs   that   reject,  resist,   oppose   or   impose   strict   and   reasonable   limits   to   mining   operations   and  applications  in  their  respective  localities. Alyansa Tigil Mina 5
  10. 10. Sec. 13: Creating One-stop Shop for all Mining Applications and Procedures.This  One-­stop  Shop  will  impact  on  the  independence  and  objectivity  of  the  National  Commission   on   Indigenous   Peoples   (NCIP).     Securing   the   FPIC   for   mining  applications  and  operations  must  not  be  subjected  to  this  “fast-­tracking”  tactic.    The  One-­stop  Shop  approach  also  runs  contrary  to  the  principle  of  decentralization  and  de-­concentration,  as  embedded  in  the  Local  Government  Code.This   procedure   also   increases   the   probability   for   graft   and   corruption,   especially  without  a  strong  regulatory  check-­and-­balance  system  in  place.Sec. 14: Improving Transparency in the Industry and Joining the EITIWe  fully  support  the  government  on  this  initiative.    However,  EITI  is  only  concerned  and   focused   on   transparency   on   i)   the   payment   of   taxes   by   mining   companies   to  the  government  and  ii)  the  allocation  of  government  of  these  proceeds/gains  from  mining  to  development  programs  and  projects  to  the  communities.ATM  recommends  that  transparency  in  the  whole  value-­chain  of  mining  must  be  implemented.    For  this  to  happen,  transparency  must  include  i)  disclosure  of  mining  contracts  and  all  related  mining  documents,  PRIOR  to  signing  or  granting  of  mining  agreements;   ii)   in   decision-­making   whether   a   specific   mining   project   is   a   “go   or  no-­go”;   and   iii)   clear   definition   and   blueprint   of   the   roles   of   minerals   in   natural  resource  management  of  the  country.Sec. 15: Centralized Database for the Mining IndustryOnly  data  from  the  industry  and  government  agencies  and  instrumentalities  are  to  be  included  in  this  database.    This  is  biased  and  not  an  objective  procedure  of  data  gathering,  archiving  and  collation.    Pertinent  information  such  as  documented  human  rights  violations,  customary  and  traditional  social  systems,  legal  cases  or  track  record  of  mining  companies  in  other  counties  or  other  in-­country  mining  projects,  may  not  be  necessarily  available  from  the  government  or  willfully  disclosed  by  the  mining  company.We   recommend   that   the   MICC   ensure   that   all   inputs   from   all   stakeholders   be  considered  and  incorporated  in  this  database.While  Full  Cost-­Benefit  Analysis  (CBA)  is  mentioned  in  this  section,  it  is  unclear  whether  CBA  is  going  to  be  made  as  a  requirement  for  each  mining  application.    The  recommendation  of  ATM  is  to  ensure  that  CBA  must  be  done  for  each  of  the  mining  application  and  existing  mining  projects  and  operations.We  recommend  that  resource  valuation  must  also  be  done  in  each  of  the  mining  site,  whether  the  mine  project  is  in  application  or  operation  stage  already.  In  turn,  these  resource  valuations  should  be  incorporated  or  factored  in  to  the  Cost-­Benefit  Analysis  exercises.6 ATM
  11. 11. Sec. 16: Integrated Map System to Include Mining Related MapsOnly   maps   and   date   from   government   agencies   and   instrumentalities   are   to   be  included  in  the  database.    This  is  a  very  limited  policy.    Academe  and  some  civil  society  organizations  sometimes,  have  better  and  updated  maps  than  government,  and  these  must  be  also  considered  and  incorporated  in  the  database.The  government  must  ensure  that  all  available  maps  from  academe  and  civil  society  must  be  considered  and  incorporated  into  this  mapping  system.Sec. 17: Use of the Programmatic Environment Impact AssessmentThis  section  is  aspirational.    It  lacks  concrete  basis,  as  there  is  no  existing  clear  policy  definition  of  what  PEIA  is,  and  how  to  implement  it.  This  section  also  calls  for  amendments  of  rules  and  regulations  of  the  EIA  system.    This  has  been  a  decades-­long  call  and  demand  from  environmental  groups,  and  no  serious  effort  has  been  invested  in  this.    We  do  not  see  any  compelling  reason  why  this  EO  or  this  time-­period  should  be  any  different.We   do   not   see   a   clear   timetable   for   the   instruction   to   DENR-­Environmental  Management   Bureau   (DENR-­EMB)   “to   study   the   use   and   implementation   of   the  PEIA”.At   best,   this   section   is   a   clear   example   of   giving   a   “false-­sense”   of   security   that  necessary  and  urgent  reforms  are  being  put  in  place,  while  in  truth,  it  is  not  the  case.We   recommend   that   DENR-­EMB   revise   the   EIA   protocols,   and   institute   a   more  transparent   manner   in   the   conduct,   review   and   issuance   of   Environmental  Compliance  Certificates  (ECCs).Sec. 19: Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRRs)Since  there  is  no  space  for  participation  of  communities  or  CSOs  in  the  MICC,  we  strongly  demand  that  community  representatives  or  CSOs  representatives  must  be  involved  in  the  crafting  and  issuance  of  the  IRR  for  this  EO.Sec. 21: Repealing ClauseEO  79  failed  to  explicitly  repeal  EO  270-­A.    To  avoid  any   misconceptions   or   misinterpretations   of   the  mining   policy,   EO   270-­A   and   its   resulting   National  Minerals  Action  Plan  (NMAP)  in  2006,  must  be  clearly  rejected  and  set  aside. Alyansa Tigil Mina 11 July 2012 Alyansa Tigil Mina 7
  12. 12. Statement on EO 79 and Alternative Minerals Management BillThe  long  wait  is  over.  The  much  awaited  mining  policy  of  Pres.  Benigno  “Noynoy”  Aquino’s  administration,  which  was  supposed  to  resolve  the  many  issues  and  problems  hounding  the  country’s  mining  industryhasnow  been  made  public.  And  for  us  it  has  failed  many  expectations.EO79fails   to   address   the   necessary   changes   that   have   been   raised   to   the   Aquino  Administration  in  order  to  make  the  country’s  mining  industry  truly  responsible.  It  failed  because  of  the  following  reasons:Firstly,  it  ignored  mining-­affected  communities.EO  79  does  not  address  the  long  list  of  violations  committed  against  communities,  farmers   and   indigenous   peoples,   as   well   as   issues   raised   by   advocates   and   experts  against   the   operations   of   the   mining   industry   in   the   country   and   the   criticisms  against  the  policies  governingthis  industry.As  the  new  mining  EO  upheld  that  all  “mining  contracts,  agreements  and  concessions  approved  before  the  effectivity  of  this  Order  shall  be  valid,  binding  and  enforceable…”  on  the  pretext  of  non-­impairment  of  contracts  clause,  it  does  not  provide  provisions  that  will  ensure  and  hasten  the  action  and  response  to  communities’  complaints  for  various  violations.  What  will  happen  to  the  injustices  inflicted  upon  the  indigenous  peoples  and  rural  communities  of  Nueva  Vizcaya   down  to   the  outskirts  of   South  Cotabato?  Justice  that  they  have  long  been  seeking  and  fighting  for.It  is  these  violations  committed  to  our  indigenous  brothers  and  sisters,  farmers  and  rural  communities,  and  the  destruction  of  our  ecosystems  that  form  the  basis  for  the  clamor  for  a  change  in  the  country’s  mining  policy,  and  the  new  mining  EO  greatly  fails  to  address  these  issues.  In  fact  it  perpetuates  the  same  situation  with  its  business  as  usual  framework.Secondly,  most  of  the  provisions  in  EO  79  are  misleading.8 ATM
  13. 13. While  the  Mining  EO  places  a  moratorium  on  new  mining  contracts  and  permits,  it   allows   exploration   permits   which   are   actually   also,   in   experience,   invasive   and  violative   of   the   rights   and   welfare   of   mining-­affected   communities.   Violations   on  FPIC  of  indigenous  peoples,  consent  processes  in  mining  exploration  projects  are  well  documented.  The  EO  calls  for  a  moratorium  on  new  mining  contracts  butwill  only  be  dependent  on  a  new  legislation  rationalizing  existing  revenue  sharing  schemes.Revenue  sharing  only  forms  part  of  the  bigger  picture  in  resolving  the  many  problems  in  the  country’s  mining  industry.  This  also  shows  that  the  framework  used  in  utilizing  our  mineral  resources,  is  motivated  mainly  by  ‘profits  out  of  mining’  instead  of  a  ‘rational,  needs-­based   approach   in   mineral   management   and   utilization’   which   communities   and  advocates  have  long  been  clamoring.While  the  Mining  EO  expands  the  areas  closed  to  mining,  it  has  practically  made  this  section  inutile  as  it  upheld  all  existing  mining  contracts  and  permits  given  before  the  Order.  Data  shows  that  almost  fifty  percent  of  key  biodiversity  areas  (KBAs)  and  two-­thirds  of  claimed  and  titled  ancestral  domains  are  impacted  by  these  very  same  mining  projects.  While   the   Mining   EO   has   used   ‘consistency’   instead   of   ‘primacy’   in   the   section  pertaining  to  local  ordinances  vis-­à-­vis  the  Constitution  and  national  laws,  which  was   the   word   used   in   its   earlier   draft,   it   has   actually   sent   a   warning   to   all   LGUs  who   have   stood   up   against   the   effects   of   large   scale   mining   in   their   territories,  and  also  those  who  wishes  to  follow  them.  By  asserting  that  ‘LGUs  shall  confine  themselves  only  to  the  reasonable  limitations  of  mining  activities’  the  EO  have  put  local  governance  and  autonomy  open  for  interpretation.  Mining  companies,  and  to  some  extent  government  institutions,  can  now  assert  that  banning  open-­pit  mining  is  unreasonable,  as  experience  have  shown  in  relation  to  the  South  Cotabato  open-­pit  mining  ban.Thirdly,   contrary   to   its   assertion,   EO   79   does   not   promote   and/or   embody   the  concept  of  ‘responsible  mining’.How  can  this  EO  promote  responsible  mining  when  it  upholds  all  existing  mining  contracts,  agreements  and  permits?  The  very  mining  projects  that  have  been  tainted  with  abuses,  environmental  destructions,  and  human  rights  violations  and  even  the  blood   of   martyred   community   leaders,   environmentalist   and   advocates.   We   can  never  forget  the  likes  of  Fr.  Pops  and  Dr.  Gerry  Ortega.  Contracts   such   as   the   OceanGold   Gold   and   Copper   FTAA   in   Nueva   Vizcaya,   a  mining   project   that   the   Commission   of   Human   Rights   (CHR),   anindependent  constitutional  body,  have  found  guilty  of  gross  human  rights  violations,  thus  calling  for  its  revocation  in  January  of  2010.  Or  the  SMI-­Xtrata-­Indophil  Tampakan  Gold   Alyansa Tigil Mina 9
  14. 14. and  Copper  project  in  the  four  provinces  of  Southern  Mindanao,  which  would  cut  800  (?)  hectares  of  primary  forest,  will  divert  and  pollute  billions  of  ounces  of  water  resources  that  80,000  farmers  in  one  province  are  dependent  on,  and  will  displace  hundreds  of  indigenous  Bla’ans  who  have  not  given  their  consent  and  resisted  the  project,  to  name  a  few.Born   out   of   a   flawed   and   irresponsible   law   and   framework   –   the   Mining   Act   of  1995,   we   cannot   expect   more   out   of   the   current   Mining   EO.   It   only   mirrors   the  same  irresponsible  framework  perpetuated  by  the  Mining  Act  of  1995,  a  law  that  promotes  profits  over  ecosystems  and  communities,  extracting  our  mineral  resources  mainly  to  feed  big  multinational  mining  corporations  and  global  corporate  demand  for  raw  materials,  instead  of  ensuring  the  country’s  present  and  future  needs.  This   law   have   systematically   perpetuated   a   system   that   has   been   used   to   sabotage  local   government   efforts   to   protect   health,   environment   and   livelihoods   of   our  Filipino  brothers  and  sisters;  corrupted  the  Free,  Prior  and  Informed  Consent  (FPIC)  processes  of  indigenous  peoples  communities;  rendered  inutile  the  Environmental  Impact  Assessment  System;  and  has  brought  about  a  long  string  of  human  rights  violations  and  extra-­judicial  killings  against  communities  and  individuals  resisting  mining.A Need for a New Minerals Management FrameworkThus,  we  call  on  to  President  Benigno  “Noynoy”  Aquino,  his  administration,  and  policy  makers  to  go  beyond  EO  79  and  the  Mining  Act  of  1995.  What  our  country  needs   is  a  new  law  that  will  address  the  issues  and   concerns   that  mining-­affected  communities   have   long   been   raising,   and   the   devastation   of   our   rich   but   fragile  ecosystems.  While  we  say  that  the  new  mining  EO  is  not  enough  and  not  what  is  needed,  because  it  has  ignored  issues  raised  by  communities,  it  misleads  us,  and  it  does  not  represent  genuine  responsible  mining,  we  also  believe  that  new  mining  EO  has  introduced  positive  provisions  that  show  a  way  forward:   1.  Public  bidding  process;   2.  National  Industrialization  Plan,  value-­adding  activity  and  downstream  industry;   3.  Extractive  Industry  Transparency  Initiative;   4.  Expansion   of   ‘no-­go   zones’   of   mining   in   prime   agricultural   lands   and   eco-­ tourism  areas.All   of   which   are,   indirectly   or   directly,   already   in   the   Alternative   Minerals  Management  Bill.  10 ATM
  15. 15. The   Alternative   Minerals   Management   Bill   (Philippine   Mineral   Resources   Act   of  2012)  seeks  to  resolve  the  many  problems  faced  by  communities  and  local  government  units,  and  our  country  in  general,  due  to  the  gaps  and  f law  framework  in  the  current  Mining  Act  of  1995.  What   the   AMMB   represents   is   the   rational,   needs-­based,   rights-­based,   domestic-­oriented  utilization,  developement  and  management  of  our  mineral  resources.By  supporting  AMMB  and  making  it  a  priority  bill,  we  are  making  a  stand  with  the  people—and  making  a  stand  for  mining-­affected  communities,  indigenous  peoples,  the  environment,  and  for  the  present  and  future  generations  of  our  country!   EO 79 is Not What is Needed, It’s the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB)! Pass the AMMB NOW! — SOS-Yamang Bayan Network *** The SOS-­Yamang Bayan Network is a national, multi-­sectoral movement composed of individual advocates, 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, leaders and personalities advocating for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and the enactment of a new minerals management bill. Alyansa Tigil Mina 11
  16. 16. A Call for the Passage of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB)Mining   or   extractive   industry,   more   often   than   not,   as   experienced   in   the  Philippines,   can   be   destructive   to   communities   and   the   environment.   The   scale  of   mining   operation   normally   involves   large   tracks   of   land,   mostly   located   in   the  environmentally   fragile   forest-­ecosystems.   With   the   government’s   policy   direction  of  liberalizing  the  mining  industry,  applications  of  the  transnational  corporations  came   pouring   in,   targeting   mineral   rich   area   mostly   located   in   the   mountainous  part  of  the  country  inhabited  by  the  indigenous  communities.  Even  the  agricultural,  tourism,  biodiversity,  and  watershed  areas  are  not  spared.The  Catholic  Bishops’  Conference  of  the  Philippines  took  the  position  that  “the  promised   economic   benefits   of   mining   by   these   transnational   corporations   are  outweighed   by   the   dislocation   of   communities   especially   among   our   indigenous  brothers  and  sisters,  the  risks  to  health  and  livelihood  and  massive  environmental  damage.”  (CBCP,  A  Statement  on  Mining  Issues  and  Concerns,  January  29,  2006).  The   country   faces   more   and   more   environmental   problems   because   of   the  government’s   liberal   policies   on   extractive   operations   -­   “The   government   mining  policy  is  offering  our  lands  to  foreigners  with  liberal  conditions  while  our  people  continue   to   grow   in   poverty.     We   stated   that   the   adverse   social   impact   on   the  affected   communities   far   outweigh   the   gains   promised   by   mining   Trans-­National  Corporations  (TNCs)”  (CBCP,  A  Statement  on  Mining  Issues  and  Concerns,  January  29,  2006).  The   Mining   Act   of   1995,   which   lays   down   the   policy   for   the   government’s   near-­fanatical  campaign  to  attract  foreign  investors  to  invest  in  mining  distorts  the  goal  of  genuine  development.  By  single-­mindedly  pursuing  the  entry  of  foreign  investments,  it  failed  to  weigh  the  greater  consideration  in  the  equation  -­  the  human  and  ecosystems  well-­being,  the  human  rights  of  the  indigenous  peoples  and  the  local  communities,  food  security,  local  autonomy  and  the  ecological  integrity  of  our  country.Together  with  experts  and  other  civil  society  organizations,  the  Church  recognized  that   the   flaw   is   in   the   government   policy   framework   which   regards   the   natural  resources  as  something  to  be  exploited  unlimitedly  rather  than  a  crucial  reserve  to  be  12 ATM
  17. 17. sustained  and  protected  in  order  to  sustain  the  ecological  balance  and  sustainability  for  all.  As  in  its  previous  pastoral  statement,  we  appeal  to  change  the  government’s  mining  policy  and  we  reiterate  the  call  for  the  repeal  of  Mining  Act  of  1995  on  the  premise  that:  “the  Mining  Act  destroys  life.  The  right  to  life  of  people  is  inseparable  from  their  right  to  sources  of  food  and  livelihood.  Allowing  the  interests  of  big  mining  corporations   to   prevail   over   people’s   right   to   these   sources   amounts   to   violating  their  right  to  life.  Furthermore,  mining  threatens  people’s  health  and  environmental  safety  through  the  wanton  dumping  of  waste  and  tailings  in  rivers  and  seas”  (CBCP,  A  Statement  on  Mining  Issues  and  Concerns,  January  29,  2006).The   Church,   together   with   the   civil   society   advocates   and   mining   affected  communities,  call  for  the  repeal  of  the  Mining  Act  of  1995  and  the  enactment  of  an  alternative  law  on  mining  and  environment  protection.  We  see  the  need  to  go  beyond  the   micro-­policy   initiatives   and   torecommend   for   a   promulgation   of   national   law  that  prioritizes  ecological  protection  and  promotes  environmental  justice,  principles  of  stewardship  and  of  the  common  good.  The  Church  supports  the  call  for  the  passage  of  the  Alternative  Minerals  Management  Bill   (AMMB),   which   offers   a   far   more   sustainable   approach   to   utilization   and  protection  of  our  country’s  natural  resources.    Recognizing,  however,  the  long  duration  of  legislative  procedures,  the  Church  joins  the  local  communities  and  the  civil  society  in  calling  for  a  mining  moratorium  to  put  a  stop  to  the  destructive  plunder  of  our  natural  resources  by  the  mining  corporations.  The  large-­  scale  mining  operations,  under  the  guise  of  development,  promise   to   bring   the   much-­needed   foreign   investment   to   the   detriment   of   the  environment  and  the  welfare  of  our  people.  We   believe   that   environment   should   never   be   sacrificed   -­   that   “an   economy  respectful  of  the  environment  will  not  have  the  maximization  of  profit  as  its  only  objective,  because  environmental  protection  cannot  be  assured  solely  on  the  basis  of  financial  calculations  .  .  .  The  environment  is  one  of  those  goods  that  cannot  be  adequately  safeguarded  or  promoted  by  market  forces.”(John  Paul  II,  Encyclical  Letter  CentesimusAnnus,  40:  AAS  83  (1991),  843).We  pursue  our  advocacy  for  a  sustainable  ecology  because  it  is  part  of  our  Christian  responsibility.  With  the  late  Pope  John  Paul  II,  we  believe  that  “Christians,  in  particular,  realize  that  their  responsibility  within  creation  and  their  duty  towards  nature  and  the  Creator  are  an  essential  part  of  their  faith”  (The  Ecological  Crisis  No.  15,  Message  of  His  Holiness  Pope  John  Paul  II  for  the  celebration  of  the  World  Day  of  Peace). Alyansa Tigil Mina 13
  18. 18. Legal Notes of Rep. Kaka J. Bag-ao* Akbayan Party-list Extracting Good Policy From Bad Legislation? A Review of Executive Order 79, Series of 2012 Are   all   critical   areas   in   “No-­Go   Mining   Zones”   actually   mine-­free?   Does   the   moratorium  on  mining  prohibit  the  operations  of  mining  within  the  protected   areas?  Are  LGUs  deprived  of  their  Rule-­Making  Power  when  it  comes  to  mining?On  6  July  2012,  President  Benigno  Aquino  issued  Executive  Order  (EO)  79,  series  of  2012  entitled,  “Institutionalizing  And  Implementing  Reforms  In  The  Philippine  Mining  Sector  Providing  Policies  And  Guidelines  To  Ensure  Environmental  Protection  And  Responsible  Mining   In   The   Utilization   Of   Mineral   Resources”.   Several   pros   and   cons   have   been  deliberated  on  a  very  important  matter  concerning  mining  issues  in  the  Philippines.    This  is  my  humble  opinion  on  the  matter  which  is  based  on  the  following  premises:   1.  There  is  no  substitute  to  having  an  enacted  Alternative  Minerals  Management   Bill  coupled  with  a  National  Land  Use  Policy;   2.  Environmental   protection   and   food   security   are   of   paramount   priority   over   other  concerns  including  economic  benefits;   3.  Players  in  the  mining  industry  has  not  yet  shown  a  model  site  for  “responsible   mining”   where   local   communities   have   developed   because   of   the   entry   of   mining;   4.  IP/ICCs  ownership  of  minerals  found  inside  their  Ancestral  Domain  should  be   recognized. * A lawyer by profession, AKBAYAN Rep. Kaka Bag-­ao was the Convenor of the Alternative Legal Group, a network of NGOs providing legal support to marginalized communities. She was the legal counsel of the Sumilao farmers.14 ATM
  19. 19. I. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS TO EXECUTIVE ORDER 79, SERIES OF 2012First,  EO  79  was  entirely  based  on  Republic  Act  7942  (Philippine  Mining  Act  of  1995)  wherein  the  focus  is  to  fully  utilize  the  mineral  resources  of  the  country  at  whatever   cost.     This   is   irresponsive   to   the   concerns   raised   by   segments   critical   to  RA   7942   owing   to   its   defective   provisions   resulting   to   unabated   environmental  destruction,  human  rights  violations  of  the  communities,  exploitation  of  IP  rights,  food  insecurity,  militarization,  among  others,  caused  by  mining  operations.    These  very   same   problems   are   not   addressed   by   the   present   mining   law   rendering   it  fully  defective.    Hence,  any  executive  issuances  based  on  Republic  Act  7942  are  necessarily  defective  as  the  very  law  itself  has  been  defective  since  its  enactment.Second,   the   language   is   not   about   environment   but   revenues   and   sharing.     This  frame   limits   the   discussion   between   mining   contractor   and   government   for   the  revenue,   and   between   national   government   and   local   government   for   sharing,  thereby  virtually  depriving  the  communities  and  stakeholders  from  participating  in  the  process.  Third,  the  IPs  area  again  sidelined  in  EO  79.Fourth,  the  EO  79  takes  on  a  “business-­as-­usual”  attitude  as  if  the  bureaucracy  runs  following   the   “matuwid   na   daan”.     The   national   government   failed   to   realize,   or  choose  not  to  reach  to  such  realization,  that  part  of  the  problem,  if  not  the  main,  is  the  government  agency  tasked  to  regulate  mining  itself  –  the  DENR.    There  will  be  no  serious  mining  reforms  without  serious  reforms  in  the  DENR  bureaucracy.       II. SPECIFIC CONCERNS  A. No-Go Mining ZonesEO  79  was  brave  enough  to  expressly  declare  areas  which  should  not  be  included  in  mining  operations.    This  includes  the  78  tourism  sites,  farmlands,  marine  sanctuaries  and  island  ecosystems  in  response  to  the  public  clamour  to  protect  the  environment.    EO  79  expanded  the  list  of  “No-­Go  Mining  Zones”  to  include  the  following:     SECTION  1.  Areas  Closed  to  Mining  Applications.  Applications  for  mineral   contracts,  concessions,  and  agreements  shall  not  be  allowed  in  the  following:   a)   Areas  expressly  enumerated  under  Section  19  of  RA  No.  7942,  to  wit:   (a)   In   military   and   other   government   reservations,   except   upon   prior   written  clearance  by  the  government  agency  concerned;   (b)   Near   or   under   public   or   private   buildings,   cemeteries,   archaeological   and   historic   sites,   bridges,   highways,   waterways,   railroads,   reservoirs,   dams  or  other  infrastructure  projects,  public  or  private  works  including   plantations   or   valuable   crops,   except   upon   written   consent   of   the   government  agency  or  private  entity  concerned; Alyansa Tigil Mina 15
  20. 20.   (c)   In  areas  covered  by  valid  and  existing  mining  rights;   (d)   In  areas  expressly  prohibited  by  law;   (e)   In   areas   covered   by   small-­scale   miners   as   defined   by   law   unless   with   prior  consent  of  the  small-­scale  miners,  in  which  case  a  royalty  payment   upon   the   utilization   of   minerals   shall   be   agreed   upon   by   the   parties,   said  royalty  forming  a  trust  fund  for  the  socioeconomic  development  of   the  community  concerned;  and   (f)   Old   growth   or   virgin   forests,   proclaimed   watershed   forest   reserves,   wilderness   areas,   mangrove   forests,   mossy   forests,   national   parks,   provincial/municipal   forests,   parks,   greenbelts,   game   refuge   and   bird   sanctuaries   as   defined   by   law   in   areas   expressly   prohibited   under   the   National   Integrated   Protected   areas   System   (NIPAS)   under   Republic   Act  No.  7586,  Department  Administrative  Order  No.  25,  series  of  1992   and  other  laws.     b)   Protected  areas  categorized  and  established  under  the  National  Integrated   Protected  Areas  System  (NIPAS)  under  RA  No.  7586;   c)   Prime  agricultural  lands,  in  addition  to  lands  covered  by  RA  No.  6657,  or   the  Comprehensive  Agrarian  Reform  Law  of  1988,  as  amended,  including   plantations   and   areas   devoted   to   valuable   crops,   and   strategic   agriculture   and  fisheries  development  zones  and  fish  refuge  and  sanctuaries  declared  as   such  by  the  Secretary  of  the  Department  of  Agriculture  (DA);   d)   Tourism   development   areas,   as   identified   in   the   National   Tourism   Development  Plan  (NTDP);  and,   e)   Other   critical   areas,   island   ecosystems,   and   impact   areas   of   mining   as   determined  by  current  and  existing  mapping  technologies,  that  the  DENR   may  hereafter  identify  pursuant  to  existing  laws,  rules,  and  regulations,  such   as,  but  not  limited  to,  the  NIPAS  Act.Although  the  list  of  the  “No-­Go  Zones”  seems  to  be  a  long  enumeration,  only  three  areas  were  added,  to  wit,  (1)  tourism  sites,  (2)  prime  agricultural  lands,  and  (3)  other  critical  areas,  island  ecosystems  and  impact  areas  were  added  to  the  list  of  areas  where  mining  is  banned.    The  rest  are  already  covered  by  RA  7942  (Philippine  Mining  Act),  RA  7586  (NIPAS),  and  RA  6657  (CARL).Not  in  the  list  are  Key  Bio-­diversity  Areas  (KBAs)  and  Critical  Watersheds  which  should   have   also   been   included   to   the   list   of     areas   that   are   closed   to   mining  operations   regardless   of   whether   or   not   the   same   has   been   legislated/proclaimed  by  the  President.    The  Implementing  Rules  and  Regulations  (IRR)  of  EO  79  should  also  clearly  define  what  is  meant  by  “Island  Eco-­systems”.16 ATM
  21. 21. 1. Non-Impairment of Existing Mining ContractsWhat  happens  to  areas  identified  as  “No-­Go  Mining  Zones”  but  with  existing  mining  contracts?     Unfortunately,   EO   79   includes   a   “catch-­all”   proviso   which   absolves  mining  operations  already  existing  within  the  banned  areas,  to  wit: “Mining  contracts,  agreements  and  concessions  approved  before  the  effectivity   of   this   Order   shall   continue   to   be   valid,   binding,   and   enforceable   so   long   as   they  strictly  comply  with  existing  laws,  rules,  and  regulations  and  the  terms  and   conditions  of  the  grant  thereof.    For  this  purpose,  review  and  monitoring  of  such   compliance  shall  be  undertaken  periodically.”Hence,  existing  mining  contracts  within  the  “No-­Go  Mining  Zones”  continue  to  be  valid  and  effective  as  the  provision  only  applies  to  future  mining  applications.  The  obvious   conclusion   is   that   mining   may   still   be   allowed   within   “No-­Go   Mining  Zones”.     The   mining   ban—which   is   purportedly   the   center-­piece   of   the   EO—only  means   that   no   future   mining   applications   shall   be   entertained   because   of   the  supposedly  ecological  uniqueness  and  the  need  to  protect  the  remaining  flora  and  fauna,  marine  sanctuaries,  farmlands,  among  others,  of  certain  critical  areas  but  at  the  same  time  expressly  declares  that  mining  contractors  existing  therein  prior  to  EO  79  are  allowed  to  exploit  the  same  until  the  contract  expires.    Mining  contracts  have  a  25-­year  term,  renewable  for  another  25  years.    Sadly,  most  of  those  areas  included  in  the  “No-­Go  Mining  Zones”  already  have  several  existing  mining  operations.  A  case  in  point  is  Palawan—the  whole  island  being  declared  as  a  Mangrove  Swamp  Forest  Reserve  by  Presidential  Proclamation  2152  as  early  as  1981  and  with  at  least  17  Key  Bio-­diversity  Areas  (KBAs)  and  8  declared  protected  areas  in  the  island  making  it  a  part  of  the  NIPAS  protected  area—but  has  at  least  13  existing  mining  companies  (Rio  Tuba,  MacroAsia,  etc.)  operating  on  38,202  hectares  within  the  protected  areas.    Despite  the  declaration  that  the  whole  island  of  Palawan  is  part  of  the  78  tourism  zones,  mining  will  continue  rampage  of  destruction  in  what  is  considered  as  the  last  frontier  of  the  Philippines.While  Section  3  of  EO  79  mandates  a  review  of  the  performance  of  existing  mining  contracts,  this  will,  however,  not  result  in  their  invalidation  because  EO  79  expressly  states  that  it  does  not  affect  the  validity  of  prior  mining  contracts.    In  fact,  the  last  paragraph   of   Section   4   of   EO   79   states   that   the   review   of   existing   contracts   for  renegotiation  shall  in  all  cases  be  acceptable  to  the  mining  contractor,  to  wit:     “The   DENR   shall   likewise   undertake   a   review   of   existing   mining   contracts   and   agreements   for   possible   renegotiation   of   the   terms   and   conditions   of   the   same,  which  shall  in  all  cases  be  mutually  acceptable  to  the  government  and  the   mining  contractor.” Alyansa Tigil Mina 17
  22. 22. Hence,   even   if   the   review   of   the   existing   mining   contracts   shows   that   there   are  violations  on  the  grant  thereof,  the  same  remains  to  be  valid  if  the  mining  contractor  does  not  allow  its  renegotiation.Previous   violations  should   not  be   tolerated   by   EO   79.     Thus,   it   is   recommended  that  all  existing  mining  projects  be  reviewed  and  monitored  within  90  days  from  the  effectivity  of  EO  79.    Mining  operations  situated  inside  “No-­Go  Mining  Zones”,  or  if  there  is  an  allegation  of  an  overlap,  should  discontinue  their  activities  pending  the  determination  of  the  truthfulness  of  the  allegation.    Lastly,  the  jurisdiction  of  mining  administrative  cases  (MPSA  cancellation,  etc.)  should  be  immediately  transferred  to  the  inter-­agency  Mining  Regulatory  Board  rather  than  just  in  the  single-­agency  of  the  DENR. 2. Prime Agricultural Lands and Fishery ZonesEO  79  is  laudable  in  that  it  includes  Prime  Agricultural  Lands,  in  addition  to  areas  covered  by  CARP,  as  part  of  the  banned  areas  for  mining.    The  principle  behind  protecting  such  lands  was  to  protect  the  gains  of  agrarian  reform  and  to  attain  food  security   for   the   country.     However,   a   question   remains   as   to   the   areas   critical   to  or   surrounding   the   Prime   Agricultural   Lands—are   they   also   closed   to   mining  applications?    This  has  particular  importance  because  of  the  nature  of  agricultural  lands  wherein  any  extractive  activities  in  nearby  areas  would  severely  affect,  if  not  completely  damage,  plantations  and  crops  in  the  area.    The  same  situation  applies  to  fishery  zones  and  marine  sanctuaries  where  mining  operations  are  usually  conducted  in  upland  areas  but  has  adverse  effects  in  the  coastal  areas.A   case   in   point   is   the   mining   activities   in   Cantilan,   Surigao   del   Sur   wherein   a  4,799-­hectare  area  within  the  watersheds  are  presently  being  mined  by  Marcventures  Mining  and  Development  Corporation.    The  watersheds  are  vital  main  sources  of  water  for  the  NIA-­assisted  irrigation  systems  and  potable  water  sources  in  the  three  Municipalities  of  Cantilan,  Carrascal,  and  Madrid,  all  in  the  Province  of  Surigao  del   Sur.     However,   the   mining   operation   in   the   watersheds   has   severely   damaged  the  river  systems  and  irrigation  facilities  and  affecting  more  than  3,300  hectares  of  ricelands,  as  well  as  the  marine  sanctuaries,  in  the  coastal  areas  of  Surigao.Hence,   the   exclusion   of   prime   agricultural   lands   and   marine   sanctuaries   do   not  fully  protect  them  from  the  hazards  and  ill-­effects  of  mining  operations.  The  actual  operation   may   not   be   on   the   said   sites   but   may   have   adverse   effects   to   the   said  areas.  Mining  operation  may  contaminate  irrigation  canals,  rivers  and  coastal  and  aquatic  resources.    Areas  close  to  mining  should  therefore  include  head  waters  and  river   systems   affecting   farmlands   and   coastal   areas.     Even   if   mining   activities   are  banned  in  agricultural  lands,  if  the  surrounding  areas  critical  to  the  improvement  and  development  of  the  farmlands  are  not  protected  from  extractive  activities,  then  the  goals  of  agrarian  reform  and  food  security  are  weakened.18 ATM
  23. 23. B. Moratorium on Mining ApplicationsThe  provision  on   moratorium  on   mining  applications   is   commendable   but   there  are  still  important  concerns  which  are  not  addressed  by  EO  79  which  provides  the  following:     SECTION 4. Grant of Mineral Agreements Pending New Legislation.No  new   mineral  agreements  shall  be  entered  into  until  a  legislation  rationalizing  existing  revenue   sharing   schemes   and   mechanisms   shall   have   taken   effect.   The   DENR   may   continue   to   grant   and   issue   Exploration   Permits   under   existing   laws,   rules,   and   guidelines.   The   grantees  of  such  permits  shall  have  the  rights  under  the  said  laws,  rules,  and  guidelines   over  the  approved  exploration  area  and  shall  be  given  the  right  of  first  option  to  develop   and   utilize   the   minerals   in   their   respective   exploration   area   upon   the   approval   of   the   declaration  of  mining  project  feasibility  and  the  effectivity  of  the  said  legislation.As  stated  above,  existing  mining  operations  continue  despite  the  moratorium  since  what  is  deferred  is  only  the  grant  of  new  mining  applications  regardless  of  whether  the   mining   applications   are   located   within   “No-­Go   Mining   Zones”.     To   address  environmental   concerns,   the   Moratorium   should   also   be   imposed   on   existing   mining  contracts    pending  compliance  with  Section   3  of   EO   79   that   requires  a   review   of   existing  mining  contracts.Ironically,   despite   the   declaration   of   a   moratorium   on   the   grant   of   mining  applications,  EO  79  provides  for  a  “One-­stop  Shop”  for  all  mining  applications  in  Section  13  aimed  at  fast-­tracking  the  processes  for  the  grant  thereof.    This  is  a  clear  manifestation   that   the   moratorium   is   merely   a   “temporary   suspension”   and   not  exactly  a  moratorium.EO  79  also  provides  that  the  moratorium  does  not  include  the  grant  of  Exploration  Permits  for  mining  companies  and  small-­scale  mining  applications.    In  actual  practice,  however,  the  issuance  of  the  Exploration  Permits  to  mining  companies  signals  the  commencement  of  actual  mining  operations  in  the  area.    This  has  been  a  prevalent  problem,  especially  in  areas  where  indigenous  communities  are  present,  and  which  the  DENR  has  not  fully  addressed.    On  the  other  hand,  small-­scale  mining  remains  to  be  unregulated  by  the  DENR  for  so  many  years.    It  is  thus  recommended  that  the  moratorium  should  include  the  grant  of  Exploration  Permits  and  small-­scale  mining  applications.    Furthermore,  the  moratorium  should  be  lifted  not  upon  the  enactment  of  a  new  legislation  on  revenue-­sharing  scheme  but  only  after  an  Integrated  Map  System  is  finalized  and  available.    The  map  should  cover  all  areas  and  shall  include  declaration  of  “No-­Go  Zones  Areas”.    The  call  for  the  cessation  of  mining  operations  is  due  to  environmental,  health,  and  livelihood  concerns  of  the  people  in  the  affected  communities  and  not  merely  because  of  the   Alyansa Tigil Mina 19
  24. 24. revenue-­sharing  issues  between  the  national  government  and  the  LGUs.    Enactment  of  a  National  Land  Use  Policy  becomes  an  imperative. C. Primacy of National Policy over Local Legislation     Section  12  of  EO  79  directs  the  local  government  units  to  exercise  their  powers  consistent   with  the  policies  and  decisions  undertaken  by  the  national  government.    This  may  have   put  limitations  on  the  powers  of  LGUs  granted  by  the  Constitution  and  Republic  Act   7160   (Local   Government   Code).     There   is   a   need   to   clarify   the   role   of   the   national   government  over  mining  operations  because  a  potential  conflict  is  brewing  between  the   national   government   and   the   local   governments.     The   national   government   is   clearly   imposing  its  general  supervision  powers  over  the  autonomous  Local  Government  Units   thereby  disturbing  the  principle  of  devolution  of  powers  to  local  governments.    As   of   now,   several   provinces,   cities   and   municipalities   have   passed   legislations  disallowing   mining   operations   within   their   jurisdictions   including   Albay,   South  Cotabato,  Bukidnon,  Romblon,  Samar,  Marinduque,  La  Union,  Capiz,  Romblon,  Antique,  ZamboangaSibugay,  Bohol,  Zamboanga  del  Norte,  and  Negros  Occidental,  while   in   the   process   of   banning   mining   are   the   areas   of   Eastern   Samar,   Nueva  Vizcaya,  Cagayan  de  Oro,  Catanduanes,  Sorsogon,  Southern  Leyte,  and  Davao  City.A   case   in   point   is   the   Province   of   Romblon   where   the   three   Municipalities   of  Magdiwang,  San  Fernando  and  Cajidiocan,  all  in  the  island  of  Sibuyan,  Romblon  issued  Joint  Resolution  No.  01-­10  banning  mining  in  Sibuyan  Island.    The  whole  island  of  Sibuyan  has  been  previously  declared  as  a  Mangrove  Swamp  Forest  Reserve  by  Presidential  Proclamation  2152  in  1981  and  therefore  part  of  the  NIPAS  protected  areas.This  was  supported  by  the  Governor  Eduardo  Firmalo  of  Romblon  who  issued  Executive  Order  1,  Series  of  2011  declaring  a  moratorium  in  the  whole  Province  of  Romblon,  as  well  as  the  Provincial  Council  of  Romblon  which  issued  Sanggunian  Resolution  No.  01-­2011-­23.    In  view  of  the  new  EO  79  issued  by  the  President,  what  happens   to   the   LGUs   which   have   existing   legislations   strongly   opposing   mining  operations  within  their  jurisdictions?    It  is  to  be  noted  that  Congress  recognized  the  role  of  the  local  government  units  in  development  as  stated  in  the  Constitution,  and  enacted  the  Local  Government  Code   of   1991   which   provides   the   policy   that   the   LGUs   shall   enjoy   genuine   and  meaningful   local  autonomy  to  enable   them  to  attain   their  fullest  development   as  self-­reliant   communities   and   make   them   effective   partners   in   the   attainment   of  national  goals  instituted  through  a  system  of  decentralization  whereby  LGUs  shall  be  given  more  powers,  authority,  responsibilities,  and  resources.    Towards  that  end,  Section  16  (General  Welfare  Clause)  of  the  LGC  provides  that:     “SEC.   16.   General   Welfare.   -­   Every   local   government   unit   shall   exercise   the   powers  expressly  granted,  those  necessarily  implied  therefrom,  as  well  as  powers  20 ATM
  25. 25. necessary,  appropriate,  or  incidental  for  its  efficient  and  effective  governance,   and  those  which  are  essential  to  the  promotion  of  the  general  welfare.  Within   their   respective   territorial   jurisdictions,   local   government   units   shall   ensure   and  support,  among  other  things,  the  preservation  and  enrichment  of  culture,   promote   health   and   safety,   enhance   the   right   of   the   people   to   a   balanced   ecology,   encourage   and   support   the   development   of   appropriate   and   self-­ reliant  scientific  and  technological  capabilities,  improve  public  morals,  enhance   economic  prosperity  and  social  justice,  promote  full  employment  among  their   residents,  maintain  peace  and  order,  and  preserve  the  comfort  and  convenience   of  their  inhabitants.”In  the  case  of  Province  of  Rizal  versus  Executive  Secretary,1the  Supreme  Court  provides  an   exhaustive   discussion   that   the   LGC   gives   to   local   government   units   all   the  necessary  powers  to  promote  the  general  welfare  of  their  inhabitants,  particularly  citing  Section  2  (c)  of  RA  7160,  to  wit:     “It  is  likewise  the  policy  of  the  State  to  require  all  national  agencies  and  offices  to  conduct   consultations   with   appropriate   local   government   units,   nongovernmental   and   people’s   organizations,  and  other  concerned  sectors  of  the  community  before  any  project  or  program   is  implemented  in  their  respective  jurisdictions.”It  is  clear  from  the  mandate  of  the  general  welfare  that  the  primary  consideration  is  to  ensure  and  support  activities  that  enhance  the  right  of  the  people  to  a  balanced  ecology,   including   promoting   health   and   safety,   maintain   peace   and   order,   and  preserve   the   comfort   and   convenience   of   their   inhabitants,   among   others.   With  this  primary  consideration  in  mind,  the  LGUs  have  the  right  to  reject  or  accept  any  projects   within   its   jurisdiction.     Definitely   an   executive   issuance   cannot   limit   the  mandate  provided  by  Congress  to  the  LGUs  in  accordance  to  the  Local  Government  Code.    Needless  to  say,  in  case  of  doubt  of  the  grant  such  power,  the  LGC  provides  that  “any  question  thereon  shall  be  resolved  in  favor  of  devolution  of  powers  and  of  the  lower  local  government  unit.” IP Rights are once again sidelined in EO 79D. The   rights   of   the   Indigenous   Peoples   and/or   Indigenous   Cultural   Communities  (IP/ICCs)   are   once   again   sidelinedin   EO   79.     Though   the   EO   made   mention  about   the   need   of   having   Free,   Prior   and   Informed   Consent   (FPIC)   prior   to   the  approval  of  mining  agreement,  it  is  silent  on  the  mining  privileges  previously  issued  by  the  DENR.    It  should  be  noted  that  based  on  actual  experience  by  the  IP,  FPIC  is  facilitated  not  as  a  recognition  of  IP  rights  but  as  a  mere  requirement  of  mining  application.     This   means   that   IP   consent   should   be   obtained   in   whatever   way   to  get   an   approval   of   the   mining   application.   Maneuverings   and   deceit   oftentimes   1 G.R. No. 129546, December 13, 2005 Alyansa Tigil Mina 21
  26. 26. go   with   it.     With   the   existing   framework   being   followed   by   EO   79   of   identifying  and   enumerating   the   areas   closed   to   mining,   the   implication   is   that   all   the   rest  not  enumerated  is  open  to  mining.    This  scenario  pose  serious  threats  to  IP/ICC’s  Ancestral  Domains,  since  not  all  of  the  IP  territories  are  inside  the  areas  identified  as  closed  to  mining.    MGB  estimated  around  nine  million  hectares  out  of  the  country’s  thirty  million  hectares  as  geologically  prospective  for  metallic  minerals  as  cited  in  the  Philippine  Development  Plan  (PDP)  2010-­2016.    It  is  highly  probable  that  most  of  the  IP  territories  overlapped  with  the  9  million-­hectare  area.  In  addition,  the  NCIP  failed  grossly  in  ensuring  the  IP/ICC’s  rights  are  recognized  and   protected.     In   the   Joint   DAR-­DENR-­LRA-­NCIP   Administrative   Order   No.   1  series  of  2012,  the  NCIP  virtually  surrendered  its  mandate  over  Ancestral  Domains.    While  IPRA  recognize  areas  with  entitlements  as  prior  vested  rights,  the  said  JAO  expanded   the   vested   rights   to   include   Resource   Use   Instruments   (RUIs).     These  RUIs  may  include  logging,  mining  and  grazing  privileges.    NCIP  is  mandated  to  issue  Certificate  of  Non-­Overlap  (CNO)  before  any  development  project   shall   commence,   but   projects   like   mining   started   and   continue   without  certification.     The   NCIP   is   also   mandated   to   notify   agencies   holding   jurisdiction  over   IP   areas,   such   notification   will   automatically   transfer   jurisdiction   to   the   IP  (Section  52.i  of  IPRA).    The  Commission,  however,  seemed  powerless  to  perform  its  mandate.    The  government  should  first  compel  NCIP  to  perform  its  mandate  before  any  mining  operation  shall  commence.For   non-­IP   areas,   community   consultation   should   likewise   be   mandatory.     In   all  cases,  the  approval  of  the  LGU  concerned  shall  be  necessary  in  the  whole  process  from   application   to   actual   mining   operation.     The   required   mayor’s   permit   and  sanggunian   resolutions   of   the   respective   municipality   and   province   should   be  included  as  mandatory  requirements  for  approval  of  mining  applications.  E. Other controversial provisions of the Executive Order 79 1. Full Enforcement of Environmental Standards in Mining (Section 2)This  is  nothing  new  as  regulations,  rules  and  standards  on  the  subject  matter  already  exist.    The  problem  lies  on  the  non-­implementation  or  non-­compliance  of  the  same  agency  that  issued  these  rules.    DENR  and  MGB  do  not  have  the  reputation  of  strictly  and  effectively  implementing  environmental  laws.    Enforcement  mechanism  should  not  be  limited  solely  to  these  agencies  but  should  expand  and  include  independent  groups  and  personalities. 2. Opening of Areas for Mining though Competitive Public Bidding (Section 6)Government   should   explore   possibilities   of   initiating   mining   operations   rather  22 ATM
  27. 27. than   foreign   investors.     This   is   an   additional   assurance   that   the   government   will  observe  responsible  mining  and  guarantee  accountability  in  cases  of  environmental  degradation  due  to  mining  activities. 3. Constituting the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation and Economic Development Cabinet Clusters as the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) (Section 9)Membership  in  this  body  should  be  multi-­sectoral.    The  participation  of  the  affected  communities   and   the   civil   society   organizations   should   be   ensured   in   the   policy-­making  and  implementing  body  such  as  the  MICC.    The  one-­stop  shop  application  for  mining  operation  should  be  part  of  the  council’s  functions.The  council  should  also  have  monitoring  function  on  the  existing  mining  claims  and  operations. 4. Measures to Improve Small-Scale Mining Activities (Section 11)This  is  already  provided  under  RA  7076  but  the  same  is  not  strictly  implemented.    One   issue   is   that   the   Provincial/City   Mining   Regulatory   Board   (P/CMRB)   is  either   not   yet   constituted   or   non-­functional.     P/CMRB   is   supposed   to   identify  and   establish   “Minahang   Bayan”,   but   small   scale   mining   thrives   even   without   an  established  “Minahang  Bayan”  or  even  without  a  constituted  P/CMRB.    Small  scale  mining  operations  which  are  either  outside  the  established  “Minahang  Bayan”,  no  permit  from  the  P/CMRB,  or  operating  in  areas  with  no  duly  constituted  P/CMRB  should  discontinue. 5. Improving Transparency in the Industry by Joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (Section 14)This  is  a  commendable  and  wise  provision  but  it  should  include  the  whole  value  chain  of  mining  such  as  (1)  transparency  in  disclosure  of  mining  contracts  and  all  related  mining  documents  prior  to  the  grant  of  mining  applications  by  the  contractor;  (2)  transparency  in  decision-­making  whether  a  specific  mining  project  is  a  “No-­Go  Mining  Zone”  or  a  “Go-­Zone”;  and  (3)  clear  definition  and  blue  print  of  the  roles  of  minerals  in  resource  management  of  the  country. 6. Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) (Section 29)There  should  be  a  representation  from  the  civil  society  organizations  and  sectoral  groups   affected   by   mining   such   as   IPs,   farmers,   fisherfolks   and   women,   in   the  drafting  and  finalization  of  the  IRR  for  EO  79. 7. Repealing Clause (Section 21)EO   79   should   expressly   state   that   it   repeals   EO   270-­Aand   the   National   Minerals  Action  Plan  of  2006. Alyansa Tigil Mina 23
  28. 28. III. ALTERNATIVE MINERALS MANAGEMENT BILLSection   4   of   EO   79   awaits   for   a   new   legislation   from   Congress.     It   is   but   fitting  that   a   new   law   that   will   outline   a   comprehensive   national   policy   to   increase   the  government  share  from  mining  revenues  and  to  promote  an  environment-­friendly  and   human   rights-­centered   mining   industry   in   the   country   must   be   immediately  legislated.Akbayan   Party’s   House   Bill   No.   3763,   also   known   as   the   Minerals   Management  Bill,   seeks   to   repeal   Republic   7942   or   the   Philippine   Mining   Act   of   1995.     This  democratic,   environment-­sensitive   and   human   rights-­centered   mining   policy   puts  premium   in   the   ecological   value   of   our   country’s   mineral   resources,   shifting   the  land  use  priority  towards  environmental  protection,  food  security  and  sustainable  development.  This  is  a  360-­degree  paradigm  shift  from  the  current  Philippine  Mining  Act  of  1995  (Republic  Act  7942),  which  paved  the  way  for  the  full  liberalization  of  the  mining  industry  to  foreign  investments  without  placing  safeguards  against  the  wanton  exploitation  of  our  natural  resources  and  our  people.The  Minerals  Management  Bill  upholds  the  provision  in  the  1987  Constitution  that  only  Filipino  corporations  or  those  with  at  least  60%  Filipino  ownership  shall  be  allowed  for  the  exploration,  development  and  utilization  of  mineral  resources  in  the  Philippines.  This  provision  is  a  complete  turnaround  of  the  1995  Mining  Act  clause  that  virtually  allows  100%  foreign-­owned  companies  to  conduct  mining  operations  in  the  country.A   Multi-­Sectoral   Mining   Council   shall   become   the   only   agency   empowered   to  deliberate  and  approve  mining  applications.  It  is  designed  to  democratize  the  process  of  screening  and  issuing  permits  to  mining  companies  to  ensure  that  all  stakeholders  will  be  able  to  air  their  voice  on  the  said  applications.  This  will  be  comprised  of  the  Mined  and  Geosciences  Bureau  (MGB),  the  Department  of  Environment  and  Natural  Resources  (DENR),  affected  local  government  units  (from  the  provincial  to  the  city  or  municipal  levels),  non-­government  organizations,  and  indigenous  peoples  if  their  ancestral  lands  will  be  covered  by  the  mining  application.  The  MGB  shall  remain  as  the  primary  government  agency  tasked  to  regulate  existing  mining  operations.The  proposed  measure  specifically  enumerates  areas  where  mining  activities  shall  not  be  permitted.  Among  those  declared  as  “no-­go  zones”  by  the  Bill  are  the  following:  head  waters  of  watershed  areas;  areas  with  potential  for  acid  mine  drainage;  critical  watersheds;  critical  habitats;  climate  disaster-­prone  areas;  geohazard  areas;  cultural  sites,  which  may  include,  but  not  limited  to,  sacred  sites  and  burial  grounds;  traditional  swidden  farms,  and  hunting  grounds;  prime  agricultural  lands;  community  sites;  key  biodiversity   areas;   densely   populated   areas;   high   conflict   areas;   and   virgin   forests,  watershed  forest  reserves,  wilderness  area,  mangrove  forests,  mossy  forests,  national  parks,   protection   forests,   provincial/municipal   forests,   parks,   greenbelts,   game  24 ATM
  29. 29. refuge  and  bird  sanctuaries,  and  their  respective  buffer  zones  as  defined  by  law  and  in  areas  expressly  prohibited  under  the  National  Integrated  Protected  Area  System  (NIPAS)  under  Republic  Act  7586,  Department  Administrative  Order  25  series  of  1992,  and  other  laws.Finally,  with  regard  to  the  revenue-­sharing  aspect  of  the  proposed  measure,  the  Bill  requires  additional  taxes  that  mining  companies  have  to  pay  on  top  of  the  2%  excise  tax  currently  imposed  under  the  1995  Mining  Act.  The  Bill  also  aims  to  increase  the  share  of  the  government  in  mining  to  10%  of  the  gross  revenues  of  the  company,  as  well  as  to  impose  an  Indigenous  Cultural  Communities  (ICCs)  equivalent  to  at  least  10%  of  the  company‘s  gross  revenues  if  it  operates  within  ancestral  domains.  Community  development  programs  shall  not  be  considered  as  royal  payment.  The  Bill  stipulates  that  funds  must  be  set  aside  for  scientific  and  research  development,  and  legal  support  services  for  those  affected  by  the  mining  operations.House  Bill  3763  is  currently  being  consolidated  by  a  technical  working  group  (TWG)  in   the   Committee   on   Environment   and   Natural   Resources   composed   of   staff  members  of  the  authors  of  the  different  bills  on  responsible  mining.  To  ensure  the  eventual  passage  of  the  Bill  in  the  15th  Congress,  Akbayan  continues  to  work  with  its  civil  society  partners  under  the  Save  Our  Sovereignty  –  Yamang  Minerales  Nagsisilbi  sa  Bayan  (SOS-­Yamang  Bayan)  Network. Alyansa Tigil Mina 25
  30. 30. EO 79: “No go” means “Maybe.” Posted on July 26, 2012 by Joel Tabora, S.J.It  has  been  said  that  in  a  contest  between  “no  go  zone”  and  a  well-­heeled  mining  company,  it  is  easier  to  chase  away  the  “no  go  zone”  than  to  chase  away  the  mining  firm.  After  all,  the  mining  company  does  not  operate  to  preserve  and  conserve  the  environment.  The  mining  company  operates  to  extract  minerals  for  profit,  and  the  environment   is   the   obstacle.   Where   laws,   rules   and   regulations   can   be   complied  with,  well  and  good,  as  long  as  in  the  end  the  minerals  extraction  takes  place.  Where  laws  cannot  be  complied  with,  they  need  to  be  set  aside  rationally,  either  legally  or  extra-­legally,   often   in   ways   that   legitimate   mining   companies   would   rather   avoid.  Compliance  with  existing  law  and  their  implementing  rules  and  regulations  is  easier,  again,  not  in  order  to  preserve  the  environment  as  is  the  intent  of  the  law,  but  to  overcome  it  as  the  obstacle  to  the  goal  of  the  firm.  This  includes  dealing  with  the  relevant   people   in   charge,   attracting   them,   arguing   with   them,   convincing   them,  “motivating”   them,   making   sure   they   are   on   board,   as   much   as   possible   “within  budget,”  and  all  within  the  law.  Here,  the  spirit  of  the  environmental  law  may  be  sacrificed,  but  the  spirit  of  the  mining  company  is  preserved.For  those  who  believe  that  the  environment  must  be  preserved  against  the  spirit  and  logic  of  the  mining  industry,  whose  track  record  of  environmental  sensitivity  in  this  country  and  abroad  is  less  than  sterling,  the  laws  must  be  such  that  they  demand  strict  compliance  in  favor  of  the  environment.  Once  old-­growth  forests  are  destroyed  or  areas  of  high  bio-­diversity  are  violated,  they  can  never  be  restored.  The  high-­value  signatures  on  legal  documents,  all  won  within  the  law  and  within  budget,  will  not  undo  the  environmental  damage.“No   go   zones”   need   therefore   to   be   “no   go   zones   strictly,”   and   not   just   “for   the  meantime”  or  sometimes.  For  environmental  damage  in  these  areas  can  be  irreparable,  affecting  future  generations.  The  laws  defining  the  “no  go  zones”  and  the  executive  issuances   like   EO   79   implementing   them   must   define   them   near   absolutely,   that  is,  to  a  point  where  the  spirit  of  mining  would  undermined  in  their  violation,  and  those  who  are  compliant  in  their  violation  shall  be  held  criminally  accountable.“No  go  zones”  are  not  “no  go  zones”  if  permission  can  be  attained  relatively  easily  to  make  them  “go  zones.”26 ATM
  31. 31. Based  on  existing  laws,  EO  79,  Sec  1  lists  five  areas  closed  to  mining  applications.  “Applications  for  mineral  contracts,  concession,  and  agreements  shall  not  be  allowed  in  the  following:“a)     Areas  expressly  enumerated  under  Section  19  of  RA  No.  7942;“b)     Protected   areas   categorized   and   established   under   the   National   Integrated   Protected  Areas  System  (NIPAS)  under  RA  No.  7586;   Prime   agricultural   lands,   in   addition   to   lands   covered   by   RA   No.   6657,   or  “c)   the   Comprehensive   Agrarian   Reform   Law   of   1988,   as   amended,   including   plantations  and  areas  devoted  to  valuable  crops,  and  strategic  agriculture  and   fisheries  development  zones  and  fish  refuge  and  sanctuaries  declared  as  such  by   the  Secretary  of  the  Department  of  Agriculture  (DA);“d)     Tourism  development  areas,  as  identified  in  the  National  Tourism  Development   Plan  (NTDP);  and,“e)     Other  critical  areas,  island  ecosystems,  and  impact  areas  of  mining  as  determined   by   current   and   existing   mapping   technologies,   that   the   DENR   may   hereafter   identify  pursuant  to  existing  laws,  rules,  and  regulations,  such  as,  but  not  limited   to,  the  NIPAS  Act.“First,  it  is  no  mean  thing  that  this  formulation  has  been  made,  and  forms  part  of  the  Aquino  administration’s  policy  on  mining.  Notable  is  the  explicit  mention  of  such  as  prime  agricultural  lands,  lands  under  CARP,  tourist  development  areas,  and  other  “critical  areas”  like  “island  ecosystems.”  If  the  spirit  of  EO  79  is  not  just  to  allow  mining  but  also  to  respect  the  environment,  as  it  purports  to,  then  its  officials  must  stand  true  to  the  spirit  of  “no  go  zones.”  Where  discretion  needs  to  be  exercised  over  these  areas,  it  needs  to  be  exercised  in  favor  of  “no  go”  rather  than  “go”  –  no  matter  the  power  or  violence  of  motivation  in  the  other  direction.Second,  let  us  consider  in  the  law  how  “no  go”  “no  go”  is.E0  79  refers  to  areas  enumerated  under  RA  7942.  These  are:“In  military  and  other  government  reservations,  except  upon  prior  written  clearance  by  the  government  agency  concerned;“Near  or  under  public  or  private  buildings,  cemeteries,  archeological  and  historical  sites,  bridges,  highways,  waterways,  railroads,  reservoirs,  dams  or  other  infrastructures  projects,   public   or   private   works   including   plantations   or   valuable   crops,   except  upon  written  consent  of  the  government  agency  or  private  entity  concerned;“In  areas  covered  by  valid  or  existing  mining  rights;“In  areas  prohibited  by  law; Alyansa Tigil Mina 27
  32. 32. “In  areas  covered  by  small-­scale  miners  as  defined  by  law  unless  with  prior  consent  of  the  small-­scale  miners,  …“Old  growth  or  virgin  forests,  proclaimed  watershed  forest  reserves,  wilderness  areas,  mangrove  forests,  mossy  forests,  national  parks,  provincial/municipal  forests,  parks,  greenbelts,  game  refuge  and  bird  sanctuaries  as  defined  by  law  and  in  areas  expressly  prohibited   under   the   National   Integrated   Protected   Areas   System   (NIPAS)   under  RA  7586,  Department  Administrative  Order  no  25  s  1992  and  other  laws.Except  for  areas  under  NIPAS,  “No  go  zones”  can  be  undermined  at  the  discretion  of  government  official  or  private  persons.  If  these  were  obstacles  to  the  intentions  of  mining,  with  enough  determination  and  logistics,  they  could  be  overcome.It  is  different  with  areas  protected  under  NIPAS.  “Disestablishment  of  a  protected  area”  needs  ultimately  an  act  of  Congress,  upon  recommendation  of  the  majority  [only!]  of  the  relevant  board  after  an  appropriate  study  (Cf.  RA  7586,  Secs.  7  and  11).  Here,  the  “no  go  zone”  is  more  “no  go”  than  “go,”  but  for  the  determined  mining  company  seeking  to  extract  minerals  for  profit,  it  is  not  an  insurmountable  obstacle.Back  to  EO  79,  Sec  1  c,  this  important  declaration  against  mining  in  agricultural  areas,  CARP  lands,  fisheries  and  the  like,  is  contingent  on  the  declaration  and  the  discretion   of   the   Secretary   of   Agriculture   as   well   as   of   the   Secretary   of   Agrarian  Reform.   On   orders   of   their   superior   or   motivated   by   other   concerns,   they   could  exclude  agricultural  lands  from  their  list  of  agricultural  or  reformed  lands.It  is  similar  with  the  Tourism  Development  Areas.  What  is  included  today  in  the  National  Tourism  Development  Plan  can  be  excluded  tomorrow.  While  Palawan  may  be  included  today,  it  may  be  excluded  tomorrow.  Today,  the  official  list  of  “Tourist  Development  Areas”  includes  Davao  del  Sur  and  Sultan  Kudarat.  That  should  be  interesting  for  the  proponents  of  the  SMI/Xstrata  project  in  Mindanao.Finally,   EO   79,   Sec   1   e,   mentions   under   critical   areas   “island   ecosystems.”  Environmentalist   would   certainly   include   here   the   small   island   of   Rapu-­Rapu   in  Albay  and  the  beautiful  island  of  Sibuyan  in  Romblon.  Here  the  consequences  of  Acid  Mine  Drainage  can  be  catastrophic.  But  Mindanao  is  also  an  island  eco  system  which   includes   its   mountains,   watersheds,   rivers,   flora,   fauna   and   human   beings  dependent   on   this   island   ecosystem.   The   government   entity   tasked   to   name   the  island   ecosystems,   however,   is   the   Department   of   Energy   and   Natural   Resources,  which   is   according   to   present   law   hopelessly   conflicted.   On   the   one   hand   it   is  charged   to   protect   the   environment.   On   the   other   hand,   it   is   charged   to   exploit  natural  resources. “No go” zone clearer after EO 79? Not really. “No go” means maybe.28 ATM
  33. 33. EO 79 and Social Justice and Mining Posted on July 18, 2012 by Joel Tabora, S.J. [Address:  Stakeholders’  Caucus  on  EO  79  on  Mining,  Ateneo  de  Davao  University  July  18,  2012]No  one  really  talked  much  about  mining  when  I  was  going  to  school.  It  was  one  of  those  activities  engaged  in  by  a  relatively  small  number  of  people;  its  effects  were  not  well  understood.  Things  have  changed.  While  no  one  will  contest  that  in  the  modern  world  we  need  the  products  of  mining  for  such  as  celfones,  computers,  skyscrapers  and   the   like,   there   are   concerns   about   the   costs   of   mining   on   the   environment.  The   desire   has   been   to   understand   what   “responsible   mining”   is.   Even   as   some  Philippine  activists’  positions  have  been  characterized  as  “anti-­mining,”  the  thrust  is  less  to  ban  mining  activities  absolutely  from  the  country,  but  to  hold  it  in  abeyance  until  a  broader  consensus  is  achieved  as  to  what  responsible  mining  policy  might  be,  and  until  the  country  clearly  has  the  structures  and  competent  personnel  to  enforce  responsible  mining.Because  of  the  various  interests  involved,  finding  consensus  on  responsible  mining  is  elusive.  I  believe  that  the  more  Philippine  citizens  and  their  friends  participate  in  a  competent  discussion  on  mining  and  its  effects,  the  better.  Why?  On  the  one  hand,  the  Philippine  Constitution  declares  that  minerals  belong  to  the  State.  This  means  that  originally  they  do  not  belong  to  owners  of  land  titles,  nor  are  they  the  preserve  of  private  interest  groups,  whether  these  are  foreign  capitalists  or  indigenous  peoples.  They  belong  to  the  State  –  to  the  Filipino  People.  Thus,  the  public  policy  that  governs  the  use  of  minerals,  including  EO  79  as  well  as  RA  7942,  is  the  concern  of  all  who  are  its  owners.The Call of the Common GoodThere   is   another,   arguably   even   more   fundamental   reason   why   people   should  participate  in  this  discussion.  This  is  a  principle  espoused  by  the  social  doctrine  of  the  Catholic  Church.  It  teaches  that  there  is  a  social  mortgage  on  private  property.  While   the   Church   has   consistently   recognized   the   validity   of   private   property  in   the   human   being’s   fulfillment   of   personal   and   family   needs,   private   property   Alyansa Tigil Mina 29