Sunday, February 8, 2009

Launch of report: Philippines: Mining or Food?


A report that looked at 6 proposed mining sites and examined their potential impact on the ecology and food security of the Philippines was launched on Wednesday February 4, 2009 at Balay Kalinaw, University of the Philippines Diliman campus.

The report, called Philippines: Mining or Food? recommends a moratorium on any new mining developments and a review of existing mining projects by a credible independent body. The authors believe that this moratorium and review are necessary to restore the government’s credibility by implementing structural reforms especially of the DENR. They believe the moratorium and subsequent reforms are necessary for the protection of the environment; upholding of human rights, particularly the right to food, and for guaranteeing the food security of the Philippines.

The report is a follow-up to Mining in the Philippines: Concerns and Conflicts (January 2007) which documented the negative effects of mining on the environment and peoples’ livelihood. The latter report was based on the fact-finding mission led by Hon. Clare Short MP, a member of the British Parliament and former UK Minister for International Development (Dfid).

Philippines: Mining or Food?, authored by Dr Robert Goodland and Mr. Clive Montgomery Wicks, highlights the threats that mining poses to food security.
In February 2008, the UK based Working Group on Mining in the Philippines (WGMP), commissioned the two environmental experts to visit the Philippines in order to investigate more fully, document and map some key sites targeted for mining. Dr Goodland worked for the World Bank Group for 23 years, as senior environmental advisor. Mr. Wicks worked in the corporate sector for many years and then for the Worldwide Fund for Nature, and is currently the Vice-Chair of IUCN-Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (IUCN-CEESP).

The report calls for more responsibility from mining companies, foreign chambers of commerce, western governments, development agencies, international funding institutions and encourages investors to review the way they perceive, promote and support mining in the Philippines. The report outlines serious reservations about the practices of large-scale mining companies operating in the Philippines, many of which have headquarters in Britain and are listed on the London Stock Exchange. It also highlights the gap between the Philippine Government’s pronouncements about supporting agriculture and the stark contrast with the reality of agricultural and food crises on the ground.

The report presents local maps which highlight the potential impacts of mining to food production and livelihoods in areas of high food productivity. Hon. Clare Short MP, as chair of the WGMP, expresses her admiration and solidarity with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and local campaigners and LGUs who continue to challenge the 1995 Mining Act and the Government’s program for expanding mineral extraction.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel praises the report, finding it ‘not only accurate but comprehensive.”

Pimentel says that “companies that go for massive open-cast mining in upland communities denude the already depleted forests and exacerbates the problems
in lowland agricultural lands.”

“I have denounced and will continue to condemn the use of force to intimidate tribal groups that oppose the entry into their ancestral domains of mining and logging interests without engaging them in honest-to-goodness consultations,” Pimentel adds, commenting on the manipulation of the process of obtaining free and prior informed consent (FPIC) from indigenous peoples. This and other reports show that manipulation of the FPIC process is widespread.


For inquiries, please contact:

In Manila:
Lodel Magbanua, PIPLinks Mobile No. 0917 887 0109 Email

In UK:-
Ellen Teague, WGMP, Landline 0044 208954 6258 Mobile/Cell 00447956317338