“Mining magnates run DENR, MICC” – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – “We strongly condemn Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu for auctioning our environment to big-time mining corporations by lifting the ban on open-pit mining,”
This was the statement of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) calling out Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu for reversing the policy of former Secretary Gina Lopez to ban open-pit mining operations during her term.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu on Tuesday lifted the ban after meeting with the interagency Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), which Cimatu and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez co-chair the government body.
“We are enraged by how Secretary Cimatu and the members of the MICC have fast tracked the reversal of policy on open-pit mining. We are against open-pit mining because it effectively devastates the delicate environment, contaminates watersheds and other coastal areas, and moreover, it destroys the livelihood of farmers and fisherfolk in the countryside,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The group said by institutionalizing the open-pit mining, Cimatu has not only scrapped the pro-environment policies of his predecessor Gina Lopez, but he also blatantly neglects the cry for social justice of rural people who have been affected and displaced by the destructive mining activity.
The fisherfolk group also blames President Rodrigo Duterte for keeping mum on the DENR’s approved policy.
“It’s all on President Duterte and his Cabinet members who have direct and indirect mining interests like Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez who has been staunch against Lopez’ ban order. It seems President Duterte’s anti-open-pit mining position before has now been swayed by his economic cluster,” said Hicap.
According to environmental activist Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, the Dominguez clan has stakes in mining companies, such as Alsons, Sagitarrius Mines, Lafayette Philippines, United Paragon Mining, and Philex Mining.
“It is now crystal clear that the environment department is back at the hands of giant mining oligarchs and private developers,”
“We hold President Duterte, Roy Cimatu, and every members of the MICC accountable for this flagrant betrayal and disrespect on the socio-economic rights and welfare of the people by allowing big-time mining firms to plunder our resources,” ended Hicap. ###