Fisherfolk supports Gina Lopez’ appointment as environment Chief
Manila, Philippines – “No environment Secretary in the past has ever stood against giant mines as Secretary Gina Lopez does.”
This was the statement of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday in support to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez’s confirmation on her appointment as environment chief.
“We laud the sincerity of Secretary Lopez to cancel renowned large mining firms. This will not only spare the environment from further devastation but moreover, it will preserve the livelihood and communities of the people that have been always the casualties of destructive mining,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
In Mindoro, the anti-mining alliance Kaisahan ng mga Mindoreno laban sa Dayuhan at Dambuhalang Pagmimina (KALAS-MINA) scores victory after the DENR has cancelled the sharing agreement and compliance certificate of a foreign mine earlier this year. The environmental compliance certificate (ECC) and Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) of the Norwegian-owned Intex Resources, the proponent of the multi-billion Mindoro Nickel Project were recently cancelled by the DENR under Lopez’s leadership.
On February 27, various groups from different sectors including farmers, fishers and indigenous people led by KALAS-MINA gathered in the Plaza of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro to celebrate their victory over the giant mine. The celebration-protest was attended by local government officials including Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso Umali Jr., Calapan City Mayor Arnan Panaligan and DENR Secretary Gina Lopez.
PAMALAKAYA challenges Secretary Lopez to also stand against anti-people environmental policies that the environment agency has acquired from the past administration such as the National Greening Program (NGP) which paves way to landlord and corporate takeover of vast agricultural lands, the groundless declarations of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) that deprive municipal fisherfolk of their fishing grounds and other programs that are hiding behind environmental protection but actually detrimental to the people.
“Rest assured that we will back Secretary Lopez in the fight against large-scale destructive mining. We will also push her to scrap the Mining Act of 1995 and all anti-people environment policies that are still operational in the name of providing complete social justice to the Filipino people,” Hicap said.
Following the closure of 23 mining operations on February 2, Secretary Lopez has cancelled 75 mining contracts mostly operating in the watersheds.
The confirmation hearing of Secretary Lopez that is supposed to be on Wednesday has been postponed following the reorganization of the Senate leadership. ###