We are inspired by and share solidarity with the Palawan people who have called for a moratorium on new mining activities in their region. This call is a testament to the growing awareness of the devastating environmental and social impacts of mining, which have been felt across the Philippines.

The environmental impacts of mining are well-documented and far-reaching. From deforestation and habitat destruction to pollution contributing to climate change, the consequences of mining are felt not only by local communities but also by the whole world. The excessive extraction of natural resources has been leading to the degradation of ecosystems, the loss of biodiversity, and the displacement of communities where most hardly hit are Indigenous Peoples.

Furthermore, the mining industry’s track record in the Philippines has been marred with human rights abuses, including violations against the collective rights of Indigenous communities.  The lack of transparency and accountability makes it almost impossible for affected communities to seek accountability and redress.

The February 2024 data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) shows that there are currently 104 mining tenements in the Cordillera region.  The region’s rich biodiversity and cultural heritage are under constant threat from the destructive practices of the mining industry. In Kalinga province, the Makilala Mining Company Inc. is the newest mining operation in the region. The company was awarded a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) by the MGB. This agreement allows them to mine a total of 2,500 hectares of land within the Balatoc ancestral domain in the municipality of Pasil for a period of 25 years.

We believe that a moratorium on mining is necessary to protect the environment and the rights of Indigenous Peoples.  The Palawan multi-stakeholders’ call sits well with the long-standing position of the Mountain Province Provincial Council for a moratorium on mining applications in their province.  We call on the Philippine government to heed the call and end issuing mining permits for large-scale mining production.   We support a research and development program on the traditional and indigenous system of sustainable mining practices, as an alternative to large-scale mining operations.

Together, we can create a more sustainable and equitable future for the Philippines, one that prioritizes the well-being of people and the planet over the interests of corporations.