“Forget the investment sham; let’s talk about the shattered lives of people”, fishers to
Chamber of Mines
Manila, Philippines – The country’s biggest mining group Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) has earned the wrath of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) over the formers insistence to continue its mining operations despite the closure order of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to prevent our environment from further destruction caused by unrestrained, large-scale mining operations.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA calls the ‘economic growth’ claimed by the COMP as an absurd and one-sided growth.
“In what universe this group of mining firms has its ‘economic growth’? They even exploit our workers through unfair labor practices and safety risks. This one-sided industry rakes profit out of our rich minerals and resources and violates the socio-economic welfare of the people. If there is only sector that can savor the said growth, it’s probably the selfish interests of big-mining firms and not its workers,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group said large-scale mining corporations persistently wreak havoc to our environment and to the socio-economic welfare of the people especially fisherfolk and farmers who have always been the target of rampant mining activities. Giant mining operations cause environmental degradation and livelihood destruction. One example is the collapse of the Penstock of the Philex Mining Corp. owned Tailings Pond 3 (TP3) in Itogon, Benguet on 2012. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) estimated that around 20.7 tons of tailings have spilled onto Balog Creek to Agno River. The traditional feeding grounds for the fish species have been contaminated, affecting the livelihood of hundreds of fisherfolk in the area.
“Corporate-mining operations have poisoned our seas resulting to fish catch depletion and other disturbances on marine ecology. This is not only an environmental issue but is about the long-term adverse effects to the lives and livelihood of our fisherfolk and other coastal settlers that depend on our abundant marine resources,” Hicap said.
PAMALAKAYA lauds the order of DENR Secretary Gina Lopez to shut down numerous large-scale mining operations in the country but said it should be transformed into anti-mining policies in order to assure that big-time mining firms could not justify their plunder on our fragile environment and natural resources. ###