Second Sunday of Advent 2011

While the country remains engrossed on the hospital arrest of Mrs. Arroyo, mining companies continue to rape the land, no thanks to the connivance of the Judiciary and the Executive branches of the Government and some NGOs, wrote Charles Avila whose speech before the Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum last October was published in Impact: Asian Magazine for Human Transformation (November 2011). I was less surprised of the Government’s complicity on the issue. Instead, I was taken aback by how for example, the publicly esteemed Philippine Business for Social Progress, the corporate social responsibility arm of many big businesses in the country, and the World Wildlife Fund are at the same time, softcore members of the “Chamber of Mines—a powerhouse of some thirty-six mining companies as regular members, six non-metallic exploration companies as associate members, forty-three equipment manufacturers and supply companies together with top-notch legal firms as special members, four associations as affiliate members and three professional societies as professional members.”

Here are some excerpts from the article:

“The electric word is Palawan, just like Rapu-Rapu was earlier. The “No to Mining in Palawan” movement is considered by the Chamber at the top of their list of “road blocks against mining.”

“At one time the Supreme Court declared otherwise, viz. that the whole thing was not legal and not constitutional. However, it changed its mind in record time: now everything is legal, and constitutional. After all, the Supreme Court is supreme and, right or wrong, the law is whatever that Court says it is.”

“Unfazed, the Church, on the other side, talks of morality, of ethics, of what is right and wrong—not only describing what is, but prescribing what ought to be. And it has come to this—that, in the area of mining, what the Government calls legal, the Church denounces as immoral.”

“Because of the weakness of the Philippine state, mining was not banned where it should never have been allowed any time at all, namely in high environmentally critical areas such as small island ecosystems with steep slopes and heavy rainfall patterns in typhoon belt and acid mine drainage areas…”

“In most countries around the world where there is mining this pre-tax share representing the national patrimony averages a hefty 38% (Chile 15.00% , Bolivia 27.06% ,Venezuela 32.82% ,Peru 36.52%, United States 36.61%, Mexico 37.21%, Botswana 40.10%, Brazil 40.85%, Argentina 46.13%, Canada 46.71%, Guyana 48.16%, Australia 50.60% ) ! In the Philippines, however, it is exactly 0%, believe it or not.”

You can read the article here. Let’s create more roadblocks. Sign-up with the No To Mining in Palawan campaign if you haven”t yet.

One thought on “Second Sunday of Advent 2011

  1. Mongolia is renegotiating its agreement with Rio Tinto – for a 50% share. And our government settled for 2% excise tax, plus 1% for the local community. Don’t know about FTAAs since they only start sharing after they recover their investment. And, when the mining company has exhausted the mine, they up and leave and the local community has to deal with the environmental problems left behind by the miners. Only in the Philippines do we sell our natural assets for cheaper than dirt!

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