Philippines: Local government units and advocates firmly stand against mining
The current policy (EO 79) of the Philippine administration on mining is viewed by local government units (LGUs) as an aggressive promotion of large-scale mining. With a close to 50%-record on the number of provinces with anti-mining ordinances, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CoMP) and the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce have issued a position that local ordinances cannot supersede a national law like the Mining Act of 1995. On a brighter side, a new bill to immediately direct increased taxes and mining revenues to the LGUs was filed in the Lower House – the Mining Revenue Bill.
With these, the Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) led the National Policy Dialogue on Local Autonomy and Mining on 13 November 2015 in Quezon City to review the status of local legislations on mining projects; enhance the awareness and learnings among locally elected officials on the current issues of mining, specifically the challenges the LGUs face; and produce a set of actions that facilitate convergence of advocacy efforts on local autonomy and extractives.
Local chief executives, public administration experts, civil society groups, and other stakeholders participated in the dialogue which focused on the ‘local autonomy and mining: the LGU right to say “no” to mining,’ and on ‘the economics of mining: taxes and revenues from mining, are they worth it?”
Based from legal frameworks and economic return data presented, the event concluded that LGUs have the right to resist entries of mining activities, and that mining merely contributes to Government revenues by 0.004%, thus telling that mining is not worth engaging.
The results of this dialogue will be part of a report to be shared to LGUs; used as bases for dialogues for the 2016 elections; used for lobbying other legislative reforms including fiscal regime.
Organizers of the national dialogue also include RePubliko, CLCG, LILAK, Philippine Society for Public Administration (PSPA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bantay Kita, Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) and the Provincial Governments of Albay, Nueva Vizcaya and Oriental Mindoro.