Leftist leader Neri Colmenares and labor leader Leody de Guzman, two senatorial hopefuls express their support for the repealing of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, stating it protects mining companies more than it does Philippine communities.
They both took the stance in response to a query on Monday, March 4, during the #TheLeaderIWant senatorial forum organized by a news media and the Ateneo School of Government. On how they would resolve the government’s mining policies and the impacts of climate change to local communities which are aggravated by destructive and irresponsible mining.
“My first law would probably be the repeal of the Mining Act because the Mining Act has led to the onslaught of big mining corporations against the environment, against the indigenous peoples, against the country in general,” Colmenares said.
Colmenares added the would push for a moratorium on mining in areas with IP communities. He would also be belligerent in holding investigations into corruption in the Mines and Geosciences Bureau which handles mining permits.
De Guzman, on the other hand, criticized heavily the Mining Act for favoring big businesses instead of average Filipinos.
“Our Mining Act is really profit-driven, really for the interests of the businessmen… I will call for the repeal of the existing pro-capitalist laws because it should be for protection for our people and our environment,” he said in vernacular.
Colmenares linked destructive mining to moves by the administration to amend the 1987 Constitution.
Continual proposals to modify the constitutional restrictions on foreign equity as the charter limits foreign ownership in key industries to 40%. Yet according to Colmenares, lowering such restrictions would allow foreigners to stake hold on more natural resources.