Position Paper on HB 6342: Philippine Mineral Resources Act of 2009

Source: 
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) http://www.alyansatigilmina.net/content/story/may2009/alternative-mining-bill-now-known-house-bill-no-6342-0
Date of publication: 
8 September, 2009

The Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is a national coalition of more than eighty (80) organizations composed of mining-affected communities, Peoples Organizations (POs), Church-based organizations, non-government organizations (NGOs), academe and other support-groups. ATM and its members have decided to confront the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the
Philippines. Given the various social, environmental, cultural, economic and political concerns associated with large-scale mining, ATM has tasked itself to: i) increase the awareness and enhance the capacities of the mining-affected communities regarding these issues, ii) study, recommend and pursue policy reforms that will address these issues, and iii) articulate the voices of the miningaffected communities at the national and international levels.
ATM welcomes the filing and deliberations on HB 6342 or the Philippine Mineral Resources Act of 2009. We are conscious that the proposed bill puts forward some policy reforms that are reflective of the genuine needs of mining-affected communities, and that the bill will respond to the regulatory framework necessary to implement large-scale mining without sacrificing social and other costs associated with the extractive industry. We also strongly believe that HB 6342 complies with the framework of sustainable development for the Philippines.
Substantially, we are supportive of the clear policy positions that are imbedded in HB 6342:
1. Clarity of the declaration of state policy and its adherence to total human development and sustainable development principles.
In Section 2. Declaration of Policy, the policy on large-scale mining is super-imposed with equally crucial state policies, especially that on a balanced and health ecology (section 2.b), respect for human rights (section 2.c and 2.j), promotion of social justice (section 2.d), recognition of rights of indigenous peoples (section 2.e), protection and promotion of the health of the people (section 2.f), ensuring the autonomy of local governments (section 2.i), and encouraging people’s participation in governance (section 2.k)
We note with interest that the current Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942) is quite weak in reflecting these inclusive policies that will inform the implementation of mining operations.
2. Comprehensiveness of the definition of terms
Section 3 of HB 6342 provides a more comprehensive, and realistic list of definition of terms that are directly and critically related to the value-chain of large-scale mining operations. This list accurately catalogs the relevant offices, procedures, land and land uses/classifications, and other relevant processes that will create impacts both from the demand and supply side of the mining value-chain. The list therefore, provides better reference points in clarifying further the parameters and limitations of large-scale mining in the Philippines, in contrast with RA 7942.
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