Unearthing The Mining Issue

AUG 27TH 2007

Over a hundred participants were in attendance during CFA’s monthly Coffeehouse forum, on the topic MINDING MINING AND GLOBAL WARMING, held August 24th at the CFA Auditorium. Participating sectoral representatives showed keen interest in threshing out many critical issues about mining. Serving as resource person was Mr. Roy A. Calfoforo, National Coordinator of the Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM).

The main presentation opened with a 10-minute documentary entitled “Ignored Voices”, on the issue of mining in Oriental Mindoro, produced by the Communication for Evangelization and Development Center (CEDC) of the Vicariate of Calapan. The presentation showed that there is a unified stance against exploitative mining operations being carried out by huge foreign mining companies in the province. Opposition is particularly strong among indigenous peoples, the Church, local government, academe and civil society. As documented by ATM, Mindoro’s case appears to be just one of many instances where the local people’s voice has been ignored in the development and implementation of national policies.

Another documentary shown was “Sa Ngalan Ng Mina”, which featured stories of hapless families and indigenous peoples in areas where mining only served to exploit the land and its natural resources, leaving more harm than benefit to the inhabitants.

The Forum showed that the reality of mining is host to a complex web of processes that have major impact not only on the environment, but also on the economy and society. When mining is discussed, issues on policy direction, biodiversity conservation, economic growth, environmental sustainability and community empowerment are necessarily taken up. This sparked an interesting open discussion towards the end of the forum, when representatives of government, academe and youth took opposing views and perspectives.

The forum ended with a call for everyone to get involved in environmental advocacy by actively learning more about the issues to inspire positive action. This was the second time CFA has tackled the mining issue at its Coffeehouse forum. The first event was titled “Intensified Mining: Bane or Boon?”, held during the initial series in 2005.