Dear Friends, dear Kapwa,
Did you know that the Philippines has the thinnest forest cover in all of Southeast Asia?
Did you know that over a million hectares are now subject to mining claims and exploration by multinational companies - even on watersheds and lands considered sacred by the indigenous peoples? Indigenous leaders have been killed, harassed or intimidated because of their resistance to mining. Supporters such as Italian priest, Father Fausto Tentorio and Dr. Gerardo Ortega, a broadcaster, were also killed.
Many are unaware of the perilous extent of projected large scale mining in the Philippines. As of 2011, 730 mining claims and 2,000 non-metallic mines have already been approved throughout the country. These represent a big jump from 28 large scale mines, some of which experience peace and order, social and environmental problems. Approved mines are thousands of hectares in size. And yet in a country 2/3 the size of California, there are 5,000 other pending applications for metallic and non-metallic mines.
What does the country stand to gain for breaking all safe limits for mining small islands? The Philippine Mining Act of 1995 gives foreign companies royalty-free exploitation with the right to 100% mine ownership, 100% repatriation of profits, and 50 year leases; all for a mere 2% excise tax. How can such a pittance compensate for the permanent loss of mountains and cover the enormous human, economic and ecological costs that open pit and strip mining entail?
International and Philippine laws recognize indigenous people’s rights. We strongly urge the Philippine government to avert irreversible damage and grave human-made crisis.
Indigenous peoples, in our motherland and around the world, hold our ancient and sacred traditions that can keep us in balance with nature. Let us help protect, preserve, and restore the delicate life systems in our beautiful sacred land.
Imagine Philippines 2050. Double the population. Megacities. Triple the energy demand. Forests gone. Depleted mines and wastelands.
Sign now and join our call to decolonize Philippine mining. We thank you for your urgent action.
The Kapwa Katutubo - Philippine Sacred Land Initiative