The government promised jobs and development when the Philippine Mining Act was signed in 1995. 22 years later, genuine and sustainable development has yet to be seen by the people living in or near mining sites approved by the government. Instead, what they and the rest of the population experienced was environmental destruction on a scale never before seen in the country, such as that seen in this photo of a mining site in Agusan del Norte province in Mindanao. This environmental destruction is primarily brought about by large scale mining companies who do not feel they are accountable to the people. Laws and policies favoring large scale mining companies continue to be implemented, laws and policies that are more often than not detrimental to the lives of the people living on or near mining sites.
Aside from environmental degradation, large scale destructive mining has time and again been associated with grave human rights violations. Especially affected are farmers and indigenous peoples, with a big number of mining sites located in or near indigenous ancestral lands. The current administration has so far failed to establish and implement a viable plan for genuine sustainable development for the country that does not involve environmental destruction on this large a scale.
(Photo from Mindanao Interfaith Institute on Lumad Studies)