[From the letter]:
Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Executive Secretary
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace (CBCP-NASSA)
Agressive Mining Promotion in the Philippines
Mining of the Philippine’s rich mineral resources is pursued within the context of colonial trade liberalization that sets as a backdrop for the globalized economy. What is particularly alarming in the present process of global trade is the immensity and the exceptionally rapid degree of global integration affecting the terms of production and exchange that cross national boundaries, while at the same time undermining the power of the state in imposing its internal trade policies.
In the case of the Philippines, the policy recommendation made by Asian Development Bank and the United Nations’ Development Programme, backed by the World Bank, greatly influenced the government’s move to liberalize national legislation on mining. Liberalization is attained by changing the economic policies of the state to make them more attractive to global competitiveness and to provide more incentives to the entry of the transnational corporations. The Mining Act of 1995 is a crucial legislation enacted to liberalize the mining policy in the Philippines in unequivocal terms.
Admittedly, the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 is essentially crafted to attract foreign investors because with its provisions, the country’s right to sovereignty is relaxed in order to provide palatable incentives to transnational mining investors. Among the attractive features granted under the provisions of the Mining Act are as follow: 100% foreign ownership of mining projects, allowing foreign company to have a concession area of up to 81,000 hectares on shore and 324,000 hectares off shore, 100% repatriation of profit, 5 years tax holiday later extended to eight, and deferred payment are allowed until all cost are recovered, enjoyment of easement rights, and other auxiliary rights in mining concession, mining lease for 25 years, extendable to another 25 years, losses can be carried forward against income tax, among others.
The Mining Act of 1995 was primarily intended to serve foreign interest and not the local communities and it is never meant to legislate equitable sharing of resources, but on the contrary, it guaranteed clear profit margin to mining corporations, while selling our national patrimony for mere pittance share of taxes…. Read the full letter.