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Environmental groups slam ‘economic’ Cha-cha, push alternative mining law

October 3, 2014 · 


September 17, 2014 3:13pm

















Members of groups opposed to destructive mining in the Philippines staged a rally on Wednesday in front of the Batansang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City, in a protest action that condemned moves to ammend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

Spearheaded by environmental group Alyansa Tigil Mina and partner organizations, the protest action was a part of the ATM’s week-long solidarity action that started with an environmental run dubbed “Gold Rush 24K Run” held in Pasay City last Sunday.

In a press release sent to GMA News Online on Wednesday, participating groups said the main aim of the protest action at the House of Representatives was to oppose moves to amend the Charter, as some of the proposed revisions would allow 100% foreign ownership of land and other resources in the Philippines.

Some 200 environmental advocates joined the rally and flashed posters slating the alleged discussion of a possible Charter Change (Cha-cha) and urging Congress to prioritize and enact the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB).

“We reject the proposal that Cha-cha would focus on the economic provisions [as it might] usher in a new wave of economic growth… [propelled by the] “sale of our partimony,” said ATM’s national coordinator Jaybee Garganera.

Even though Republic Act No. 7942 (Philippine Mining Act of 1995) does not allow 100% foreign ownership, giant mining firms are able to circumvent the law through the so-called Financial or Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAA).

“What our country needs is a new minerals management measure,” Garganera said,  referring to the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB).

Enact AMMB soonest

Meanwhile, Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez of Akbayan Party-list group, one of the principal authors of the AMMB, urged Congress to immediately pass the bill, saying it is the “best alternative” to the existing mining policy.

“What we need are long-term and efficient form of actions to effectively respond to the negative impact of the mining industry. No less than a radical shift in our minerals management law will do this,” Gutierrez said.

“Through AMMB, we aim to ensure that the exploration, development and utilization of the mineral resources are truly responsive to the aspirations and welfare of our people now and in the future,” he added. — LBG, GMA News


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