Youths reject ‘responsible mining’ myth propagated by Manny Pangilinan, Chamber of Mines

Press statement
March 6, 2012

REFERENCE: Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan National Chairperson

The youth group Anakbayan today rejected claims by the mining industry lobby that they practice ‘responsible mining’, calling them instead as ‘childish fantasies’.

“Any form of large-scale mining by the likes of Manny Pangilinan, as well as foreign and other large corporations, can never be called ‘responsible’.” said Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of Anakbayan.

“Mining, as currently practiced in the Philippines, does not lead to the further development of other local industries. It does not contribute to the generation of jobs for Filipinos and revenues for social services. In its wake, ‘foreign large-scale mining’ leaves wrecked and bald mountains, poisoned soils and waters, uprooted forests, and indigenous peoples and farmers without homes or farms” he said.

The youth leader described the local mining industry as ‘purely extractive’, meaning virtually all extracted minerals are directly exported to other countries, as opposed to directing them to local industries which could fabricate them into high-value products. The latter would have enabled the development of local manufacturing industries.

“What happens when our minerals run out? What do we have to show for it?” said Crisostomo.

He also dismissed claims by the mining lobby of ‘job generation’ and ‘revenue collection’, citing figures that out of a total of P22.3 billion worth of exported minerals and mineral products, the government has only collected P393.3 million in taxes, fees, and royalties. Also, only 230 thousand workers, or 0.6% of the entire labor force, is employed by the mining industry.

“On the other hand, the environmental and human costs of large-scale, foreign mining are great: poisoned rivers and seas such as in Marinduque and Rapu-rapu, destroyed mountains such as those in Zambales, and hundreds of thousands of indigenous peoples who have been removed from their homes and farms” he said.

As an alternative, Anakbayan is backing House Bill 4315, or the People’s Mining Bill, by partylist representatives Teddy Casiño and Mong Palatino. The said bill proposes a complete overhaul and reorientation of the mining industry from its current purely-extractive, export-oriented, and foreign-dominated state. ###

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