MANILA, Philippines - Environmental groups led by the Kalikasan Partylist on Monday mounted a protest in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) office in Quezon City to assail the new mining executive order (EO) signed by President Aquino.
EO 79 was criticized for its allegedly pro-foreign and large-scale mining provisions, and its lack of substance in terms of environmental protection and people's welfare.
Kalikasan raised 3 main points of criticism for the new EO. First, they sais it promotes the unconstitutional overriding of local environmental codes that prohibit destructive mining operations in their area.
Second, it allegedly disenfranchises legitimate small-scale miners in favor of multinational companies, validating some 1.1 million hectares of existing mining applications and operations.
Third, it contents itself with a so-called piecemeal increase in mining administrative fees instead of collecting a "rightful" share from taxes and revenues.
"Aquino's EO proves that the government still misses the point on what the core problems of the mining industry are. It continues to ignore the necessity to replace the mining law with stringent policies on environmental regulation, greater state role and advancement of people's welfare," says Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator of Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (PNE).
The group says they are preparing to legally challenge the mining EO. They have also organized a bigger, multi-sectoral rally at the Mendiola bridge on Tuesday.