Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 23:54:02 -0500
From: Catherine Coumans <>
Subject: apec-L: Fisherfolk oppose Mining Law Philippines
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To: Catherine Coumans <>
Subject: Fishers protest mining law

Fishermen dump rotten fish on DENR

By Michael Lim Ubac, Philippine Daily Inquirer, pg. 3, 11 October 1997

FISHERFOLK yesterday dumped rotten fish in front of the building of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Quezon City to protes the Mining Act of 1995.

The protesters said the fish symbolized the fish kills and environmental degradation caused by the laws of on mineral exploration.

The Nationwide Coalition of Fisherfolk for Aquatic Reform (Nacfar) and Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) spearheaded the picket by some 20 groups.

The pickets coincided with the celebration of the month of indigenous peoples and peasants. Similar rallies were staged at every DENR office in the country.

Carrying placards and banners, protesters chanted and sang songs to denounce the Mining Act of 1995 which they said allowed the plunder of the country's resources.

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said the peasants and indigenous peoples have no reason to celebrate the month, because they were adversely affected by the mining law.

Bayan said the liberalization of the mining industry through the Mining Act of 1995 has led to large-scale mining operations in the country.

(These) have destroyed communities and displaced people from their land in various parts. These also pose massive and irreversible destruction to the environment, Bayan said.

The Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Kamp) cited the damage caused by the Marcopper mine tailings on the environment and the people of Marinduque.

Pamalakaya, for its part, disclosed that the operation of the Western Mining Corp (WMC) would pose great danger to the people.

Fisherfolk express fear on the devastating impact the mining operation would generate judging from the massive operations the mining firm is conducting, Kamp said.

WMC is conducting an exploration of 99,400 hectares in the boundaries of Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani and Davao del Sur and is planning to operate open pit mining.

Kamp warned that the mine operations would be endangering the five major river systems in the provinces of Sarangani, South Cotabato and Davao del Sur.

The five river systems provide livelihood to thousands of coastal fishing families and supplement farmers' water irrigation needs, Kamp said.

Oscar Atadero, Nacfar coordinator, denounced the mining law, saying it legitimized the total sellout of the country's economy and patrimony to foreigners.

Atadero noted that the mining law pushed for the exploitation of the country's resources by transnational companies.

He echoed the call of fisherfolk groups for the scrapping of the mining act and the cancellation of all applications for Financial and Technical Assitance Agreements.

Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 23:53:45 -0500
From: Catherine Coumans <>
Subject: apec-L: Philippine Mining Industry Responds
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To: Catherine Coumans <>
Subject: Fishers protest mining law 2

Philippine Daily Inquirer, Letters to the Editor

16 October 1997


WE wish to comment on some items of the article Fishermen dump rotten fish on DENR. (PDI, 1 Oct 1997)

The financial and technical assistance agreement (FTAA) between Western Mining Corp and the government was concluded in early 1995. We are presently in the second of a five-year exploration phase. The exploration area is subject to an annual relinquishment which brings it about 73,000 hectares to date. Indicative evaluation reveal that at most, about 2,500 hectares will be impacted by a potential copper mine, include a 2,000 hectare buffer zone. Since the area is overlogged, this would involve a massive reforestation program, which is already being pursued by the WMC in cooperation with our host communities.

As part of our environmental planning program, we hae developed a community-based environment monitoring program with the local people even during the exploration phase of the project to ensure transparency of our commitment to manage the potential impact of our operations in the area. On the other hand, we have signed agreements with four of the five barangays in the immediate vicinity covering our projected relationship and the development cooperation undertaken between the WMC and local communities. We are in the process of doing the same with our partner indigenous cultural communities.

Furthermore, we are working closely with the local government units in drawing long-term programs aimed at optimizing the gains that the host communities in the potential development of a sustainable copper mining project.

The WMC brings to the Philippines technological advances and sensitivity to cultural and social issues in pursuing mining projects that are responsible, caring and transparent. Our project area is open to visitors. Our department managers, who are mostly Filipinos, are eager to share mining's best practices with our friends in the industry and curious observers alike. Please extend the same to Bayan, Nacfar, Pamalakaya-Pilipinas and Kamp

- F. KENNEDY CORONEL, vice-president, Western Mining Corp. (Philippines) Inc.,—Tampakan Copper Project

31 October 1997


PLEASE allow us to respond to F. Kennedy Coronel's piece of corporate offensive contained in the letter titled, Mining firm's concern for environment. (PDI, 16 Oct 1997)

After the Marcopper tragedy, mining monopolies are stepping up their drive to cleanse tarnished reputations and change the public perception of them as the country's premier exploiter and destroyer. They spend millions to recover their credibility. So it is no big surprise that Western Mining Corp. (WMC) vice president Coronel speaks and acts in this way in pursuit of corporate objectives.

We stand firm on our claims that WMC will bring a series of tragedies to the people of Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani and Davao del Sur. Its experimental exploitation and open pit mining operations in the 99,400-hectare area on the boundaries of the four provinces would bring more disasters and death rather than genuine progress in southern Mindanao.

WMC's operation will imperil the welfare of more than 240,000 indigenous people in the area, and will destroy five major river systems used for navigation, fishing and irrigation thus extending its disastrous impact to marginal fisherfolk and farmers.

WMC's campaign to win the people's minds and hearts is already in place and truly impressive. But we must disabuse ourselves of the real intentions and motives for their public magnanimity. Theirs is an old story repeated over and over again. Nothing must stand in the way of the profits that are to be made.

If this approach fails to get people's acceptance, they wil resort to open fascism and physical tyranny with the help of bought allies in the government.

Some quarters remember well WMC's history for conducting vicious attacks on people and organizations opposing their operations. In 1984, in a desperate move to influence public opinion in their favor, it financed a well-crafted campaign in Australia against aboriginal land rights.

The Ramos administration continues to embrace mining monopolies like WMC. The Mining Act of 1995 and the Financial Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) ensure that more tragedies will happen as monopoly plunder takes on an unprecedented upswing.

We ask the Ramos administration to immediately pull out WMC and other mining operations across the land, revoke existing permits, cease and desist from entertaining and approving FTAA applications, and scrap the mining Act of 1995.

- RODOLFO O. SAMBAJON, national chair, Pamalakaya-Pilipinas, 18-A Mabuhay St., Central District, Quezon City.