“Is the PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) pro-mining or anti-mining?” We have been bombarded with this question by our partners, colleagues, and critics while in the field and during conferences.
There is no simple answer to this. We decided to educate our position. So, we started by consulting with Rosabel Naromal. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geology from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Her passion is to use her expertise to serve God, to serve the Filipino people, and to help develop a proposal regarding mining issues from the perspective of advancing justice-based peace and development.
For the past six months, Rosabel has been doing research on mining from ecological, economic, social, and political perspectives. She reviewed the history of mining laws in the Philippines from the US Mining Act of 1902, the Mining Law of 1905, the Mining Act of 1935, the Presidential Decree No. 463 under Marcos’ Martial Law, and the Mining Act of the Philippines (MAP) in 1995 under former President Fidel V. Ramos. We were also given a picture of the development from President Ramos to the actions of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III:
Under former President Fidel V. Ramos the Mining Act of 1995 (MAP) of the Philippines was enacted. As a piece of legislation, it won unanimous support from all branches of the government: the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. This has become the legislation on which the mining industry of the Philippines now anchors. It has gone through facelifts in attempts to strike a balance between boosting and stabilizing the economic sector through the industry and heeding the increasing demands of the other stake holders for reforms in the industry. But as yet, MAP is still far from pleasing both sides even with the Executive Order 79 (EO 79) and its IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations).
Furthermore, she also presented a point-by-point comparison of selected provisions of Republic Act 4729 (1995 Mining Act of the Philippines) and of House Bill 4315 (Alternative People’s Mining Bill).
Finally, Rosabel Naromal reviewed the arguments in the on-going debate between those who advocate to accelerate the mining industry, and those who advocate to stop mining operations in our country.
Our staff also identified and discussed the various views and positions who make up the spectrum between pro-mining and anti-mining advocacies.
We also sent our field workers on a fact-finding mission to some mining operations in Surigao del Norte, Compostela Valley, and Kalinga.
Next week, the reports of our field workers will be integrated into the paper that we are developing as a team.
Meanwhile, Dann Pantoja, our President at PBCI, is also working on a theological reflection paper on mining.
Soon, we will publish our position paper. But before that, we’d like to listen to you. Would you kindly share your perspectives on this issue of mining? Please share your view on the comment box below.