Activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment staged a demonstration outside the Environment department’s office in Manila on Thursday, May 9, to demand the reversal of President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to lift the moratorium on new mining applications.
“President Duterte’s mining [order] is a fake COVID-19 economic recovery program that would only result in the doubling if not tripling of environmental disasters and human rights violations in mineral-rich areas across the country,” said Leon Dulce, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.
The group also expressed their opposition to other mining activities, including the renewal of the technical assistance agreement with OceanaGold mining company.
“This mining plunder drive will only result in more human rights violations and ecological disasters, which shall never be a good offset to the so-called revenue that these mines will bring,” said Dulce.
The activist group called for a “green recovery policy” that pursues “a more sound economic stimulus and aid instead of the mining revitalization measures.” It said that current economic measures pending in Congress “must instead be prioritized.”
The so-called SHIELD Bill in Congress aims to provide for the allotment for renewable energy, land distribution, and a moratorium on land conversion, while the “Ayuda Bill” provides a 10,000-peso cash assistance for the “poorest of the poor.”
Dulce said these measures “are sound, reasonable, and much more realistic than the trickle-down revenue expected from mining operations.”
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