THE ALTERNATIVE MINERALS MANAGEMENT BILL

 

The alternative Minerals Management Bill or the AMMB seeks to scrap the present Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942) with the enactment of the “Philippine Mineral Resources Act of 2010”. The bill champions conservation of non-renewable mineral resources for the benefit of both present and future generations of Filipinos by adopting a sustainable, rational, needs-based minerals management geared towards effective utilization of mineral resources for an ecologically-sound national and modernization of agriculture.

 

In July 2010, House Bill (HB) 206 was filed by 3rd District of Quezon Province Representative and House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada III and in December 2010 House Bill 3763 was filed by Akbayan Representatives Kaka Bag-ao and Walden Bello, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat, Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, Rep. Maximo Rodriguez, Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla and Paranaque Rep. Roilo Golez. Also, in March 2011, 7 Representatives led by Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino filed a similar, House Bill 4315 in the lower house.

 

Currently, all three (HB 206, 3763, 4315) have been consolidated into one bill and is deliberated in the Natural Resources Committee of the House of Representatives.

 

Also, on February 15, 2012, Senate Bill 3126 was filed by Senator Sergio “Serge” Osmena III in the upper chamber of Congress, thus, providing the senate version of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill.

 

 

What is wrong with the Mining Act of 1995?

 

RA 7942 or the Mining Act of 1995 essentially caters to the needs of the global extractives industry players. To access mineral areas and control the use of minerals to feed the global corporate demand for raw materials and energy in the production, distribution and consumption of commodity products – a system wholly motivated by profits.

 

In fact, it was due to pressures from the global extractives industry, Northern countries (or first world countries like US and Australia), and the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, that the current mining law of the country came about. In the 80s towards the 90s, during the push for structural adjustment programs (SAPs) by the IFIs, countries like the Philippines were forced to change their mining laws to facilitate the entry and access of multinational mining corporations in mineral rich countries worldwide.

 

The current law facilitates the entry of corporations into ecosystems and community territories for the exploration and extraction of minerals to be shipped out of the country in exchange for revenues from the corporations. The government has not been shy in saying that the mining industry is essentially an elaborate investments baiting and revenue making scheme or PLAK (peralangangkatapat).

 

Even with this frank admission, it still is a big lie because with overgenerous fiscal incentives regime of the Mining Act and other laws, the corporations only need to leave us with a few loose change in our mineral resources, leaving large scale and long term destruction to the environment and communities in their wake. In perpetuating this system, RA 7942 has been used to sabotage local government efforts to protect the health, environment and livelihoods of their constituents; corrupted the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process of indigenous peoples communities; rendered inutile the Environmental Impact Assessment System; and has bought about a long string of human rights violations against communities and individuals resisting mining.

The Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center is the Philippines chapter of Friends of the Earth International. 

LRC is organized and registered as a non-stock, non-profit, non-partisan, cultural, scientific and research organization. Established on December 7, 1987,

it started actual operations in February 1988.

 

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