Environmental groups spearheaded by Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) finished off their week-long anti-mining solidarity activity on Thursday, September 18 with an estimate of 1000 advocates marching from Plaza Miranda to Mendiola.
The groups emphasized their message to Malacanang that mining is a destructive industry and recalled their messages during the “Run For Life No TO Mining” run and “Parada ng Mga Sakuna”. Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB) was also once again highlighted as the advocates screamed for the passage of the bill in Congress.
“Our numbers are not just mere numbers” said Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator.
“The sea of environmental advocates, human rights defenders, political organizations, civil society organizations and peoples organizations represent our unwavering spirit to protect our environment against the destructive impacts of the mining industry.” He added.
Among the organizations that supported ATM over the past week were AKBAYAN partylist, Aniban ng Manggagawang sa Agirkultura (AMA), Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI), Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), SANLAKAS, SENTRO, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), SOS-Yamang Bayan, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and KPML.
“Our calls for environmental protection and human rights assertion will never falter.” Said Fr, Oli Castor of PMPI.
“Though we had the misfortune of losing brothers and sisters in this battle against corporate greed and impunity, the memory of Juvy Capion, her two sons, and many other environmental advocates who were killed, will always serve as a reminder on why we will keep on fighting.” Added Fr. Castor.
A local organization opposing mining in Cagayan province joined the protest, echoing ATM’s demands. Alliance for Buguey Committed for Development Association (ALBUCODA) headed by Rosbin Martin has led a campaign that led to the suspension of black-sand mining in the town of Buguey, Cagayan.
Martin was joined by leaders of two other peoples organizations – Aparrianos Movement for the Conservation and Environmental Protection (AMCEP) and Concerned Laloeno Against Illegal Mining (CLAIM) – both also from Cagayan, have lodged complaints at the Mines and Geosciences Bureau against black-sand mining.
“We are one with ATM in this vision of putting those who have wronged our environment with their viscous and destructive mining operations to be put to a stop once and for all.
“As someone who has experienced the first-hand adverse effects of mining, it has been a personal vow to ensure that our children and our children’s children will still be able to enjoy a safe and bountiful earth.” said Martin.
Other mining-affected areas from Nueva Viscaya, Romblon, Leyte, Cagayan, Cantilan and Zambales also joined the solidarity protest of the environmental groups by performing local solidarity actions in their respective areas.
In a closing message, Garganera reiterated that “there is no future in mining for the Filipinos if the Mining Act of 1995 and current practices will prevail.” He also called on the government to “Stop the plunder, Scrap the Philippine Mining of 1995, enact the Alternative Minerals Management Bill, and uphold human rights.”
“For those who think that our advocacies end here today, I am afraid that they are sadly mistaken. ATM will continue to help, uphold and defend mining-affected areas until the plunder, the abuse and the violations have stopped.” concluded Garganera.
Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB.