Duterte’s “pro-mining pivot” another form of public betrayal – fishers’ group

Manila, Philippines – Fishers and environmentalists under the groups Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Piliipinas (PAMALAKAYA) and Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment on Thursday trooped the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) central office, as the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Executive Order no. 130, or the lifting of ban on new mining agreements is being tackled by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). The groups called for the junking of the EO which President Rodrigo Duterte has signed last April 14.

During the protest, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Fernando Hicap said the order was a “complete turnaround” of President Duterte’s anti-mining posture at the beginning of his administration. The group also said the EO is a “betrayal” to the public, especially to the champions and defenders of the environment who tirelessly uphold protection of natural resources against mining and other forms of destruction.

“Akin to his West Philippine Sea pretense, Mr. Duterte’s anti-mining stance was nothing but a false show, his crackdown against big mines was a toothless tiger merely declared for public image building. This administration’s pro-mining pivot adds to its records of environmental destruction and sell out of national patrimony. Duterte is a national traitor at its best in this respect,” Hicap said, referring to President Duterte’s “campaign joke” with regard to riding a jet ski to assert the West Philippine Sea. Ok

The lifting of moratorium, PAMALAKAYA explained, is expected to facilitate the entry of at least 291 mining applications, which they said was a “doom and a matter of life and death” to affected farmers, fishers, and indigenous communities.

“This is an impending environmental catastrophe that would fuel violations of socio-economic rights. We won’t be fooled by the pretext that reopening our natural resources to large-scale mining would help revive the pandemic-battered economy as it would inflict serious damage than repair,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list solon added.

Lastly, the fishers’ group warned of foreign mining firms “amassing the country’s natural resources and, even more, sovereignty in the name of profit”.

“The irrevocable desire of President Duterte to sacrifice our abundant natural resources at the altar of domestic and foreign mining interests is detestable and revolting. We are calling on the DENR to oppose this corporate greed and madness in the name of our environment and livelihood of the people most of all,” ended Hicap. ###

Pamalakaya and Anakpawis Party-list join the protest in front of DENR office, led by Agham and Katribu against Duterte’s Executive Order 130 lifting the moratorium and opening up the country to more than 100 mining operations.

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