Duterte’s unending treachery and sell-out of national patrimony
Farmers from Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) are supporting calls against EO 130 which lifts a nine-year ban on new mining deals.
Executive Order No. 130, signed on April 14, 2021, effectively lifts a moratorium on new mining agreements. The DENR, led by environment secretary Roy Cimatu, will craft the EO’s implementing rules and regulations. According to Malacanang, the said EO will also pave way for more policy changes in the mining sector to allow the government to acquire more revenues from mining activities. The mining industry contributed less than one percent or 0.76% to the country’s GDP in 2020.
In January this year, Duterte ordered a halt to all the mining activities in Tumbagan Island in Languyan, Tawi-Tawi after the entire island was almost mined out by nickel ore mining companies. In April, he did a complete turnaround by issuing EO 130.
“This treacherous act by the President further endangers our natural resources and environment. Once again, the government is prioritizing foreign business and profit over the people’s welfare,” according to KMP leader Rafael Mariano, also a former DAR secretary.
KMP said Duterte’s EO 130 will further open the country’s rich mineral reserves to foreign companies. The Philippines has the second largest nickel reserve and third-largest copper reserve in the world.
Indonesia’s ban on nickel exports is putting pressure on the Philippines to supply China’s nickel demands. Mariano said lifting the moratorium on new mining deals will benefit China’s demand for nickel as over 100 pending new applications for mining permits are from Chinese mining firms.
The Philippines exported 333,962 tonnes of nickel to China in 2020 and remains a top supplier with exports surging by 40 percent.
Mining was regarded as the deadliest sector for land and environmental defenders, and the spate of mining and environmental disasters led to the ban imposed by EO 79 by then-President BS Aquino III in 2012.
We demand the reversal or junking of EO 130. Duterte has been issuing successive Executive Orders that put our local resources and food security in peril, Mariano said. ##