Saturday, March 18, 2006

GMA, Reyes are on the offensive for foreign mining firms

GMA, Reyes are on the offensive for foreign mining firms

Bayan Muna solon Joel Virador criticized the efforts of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to “woo the bishops into accepting her heartless stand on the environment and indigenous peoples in offering the country to unbridled foreign plunder of our mineral resources.”

“Macapagal-Arroyo is now going to Catholic bishops one by one to push for acceptance of large-scale, foreign mining operations in the country. This is actually her personal declaration of war on the environment, our indigenous peoples and national patrimony,” Rep. Virador said.

Arroyo is visiting Catholic bishops opposed to mining operations and who are vocal environment advocates.

“Mrs. Arroyo is actually trying to hoodwink the bishops and the public to say yes to the rape of nine million hectares -- or 30 percent of the entire country -- that have large mineral deposits, millions of inhabitants and fragile ecosystems that will be destroyed by foreign corporate large-scale mining. The current administration is actually advocating for foreign mining companies instead of protecting our national patrimony,” Virador said.

“This is also one of reasons why progressive legislators in Congress are being persecuted since we have been very vocal against the destruction of our environment by foreign large-scale mining,” Virador added.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), environment groups, people’s organizations and lawmakers have been calling for the scrapping of the Mining Act of 1995 and cancellation of all pending applications for mining permits.

Virador filed House Bill 3846 repealing the 1995 Mining Act as a “definitive first step to stop the far-reaching consequences of foreign exploitation of the nation’s natural resources.”

“Foreign corporations in large-scale mining operations will never help the economy progress nor will they accede to our spotty justice system. The 1995 Mining Act will only bring a fleeting upsurge in a few indicators, unstable seasonal jobs and the massive degradation of the environment. The Catholic bishops are aware of this and Mrs. Arroyo and the obviously pro-large scale mining environment secretary Angelo Reyes are actually doing everything for the bishops to accept their hideous mining agenda,” Virador said.

“Instead of rooting for foreign corporate mining interests, government should take its lessons from the mining disasters such as those in Rapu-rapu island in Albay (2005) and Mariduque (1996). We should start by repealing the Mining Act of 1995,” Virador said. #

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