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Katribu, a partylist representing the rights and welfare of indigenous communities, has slammed the recent lifting of a mining moratorium by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau:
Indigenous peoples’ partylist KATRIBU lambasted the lifting of the moratorium on new mining applications, announced by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Chief Leo Jasareno, tlast Friday. The partylist group scoffed the MGB moratorium, claiming that communities was “pretentious and a populist maneuvering.”
“In one sense, this declaration of a moratorium lifting is a waste of energy for the MGB,” Kakay Tolentino, KATRIBU Partylist Secretary General claimed. “Yet this action remains deeply deplorable.”
“Indigenous peoples are embattled by the incursion of mining corporations in their ancestral territories as it is. The moratorium did not ease off the threat to dislocate communities, nor did it stop the violations of our rights. But this lifting will further embolden mining corporations to force their way in our communities,” Kakay Tolentino, KATRIBU Partylist Secretary General said. “Amid the killings and other atrocities committed against our people, this action of the MGB is like a warrant that violations of our rights is endorsed by the government.”
The MGB issued a ban on new mining applications on January 2011, after the industry garnered flak from environmental groups and human rights organizations.
“Mining corporation have been reeling in the good favor of this administration. It has awarded SMI-Xstrata an ECC, and allowed the reopening of Philex Mining Corporation. These corporations are human rights abusers and environmental violators yet are favored by the administration–Aquino has finally dropped the act. No more pretending that its is protecting the environment, patrimony, and people,” declared Tolentino.
The partylist group formerly condemned the the issuing of an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) to Xstrata earlier this year. The mining giant and military personnel at their payroll is held responsible by human rights organizations for the massacre of an indigenous Blaan family. Philex, on the other hand, was allowed to temporarily operate after it spilled 20 million metric tons of mine waste to tributaries in Benguet and Pangasinan.
The partylist group finds the timing of these ‘favors’ to mining corporations as suspicious. “It’s no secret that mining corporations are backdoor financiers of candidates. The Aquino administration must be desperate to rake in cash with their recent dealings in the mining sector. Of course, their candidates might be piling up cash to pay up for those campaign TV ads,” Tolentino chided.
KATRIBU Partylist called for the scrapping of the Mining Act of 1995, and the revocation of EO 79 enacted last year.