We from the SocCSKSarGenDS-AGENDA- a broad alliance of anti-mining here in the region support Gov. Daisy Avance Fuentes to sign before her terms end on June 30, 2010 the newly approved Environmental Code by the members of Sangguniang Panlalawigan of South Cotabato during their regular session last June 9, 2010.

The approval of the said ordinance banning the open-pit mining method in the province especially the operation of Xstrata-SMI is a great victory for the people in the region. The decision was made amidst the presence of the mining company but still people’s assertion to pass it prevails.

We know for a fact that the operation of this foreign-backed company will not only aggravate the environment but also affect the livelihood of the people and will displace farmers, especially the indigenous people and other sectors throughout their operation as what had happened in the other area where the government allowed this destructive method of open pit mining.

We also denounce the company’s claim that they have massive support from the people as presented during their public scoping. In fact, the public scoping was welcomed by protest from various sectors.

The real plight of the people must be seen by Xstrata-SMI. The company is only aiming for profit while the Environmental Code lies in the framework for the general interest of the people of South Cotabato. It is a victory of 15 years struggle since the Western Mining Corporation come into our region.

The passage of this ordinance will be historical, a great leap to the local government unit as well as to the people for we have long-standing environmental concerns- multinational corporations exploiting our resources while our people didn’t benefit out of it. Development aggression is intensifying coupled with massive human rights violations committed by the military who also serves as the company’s protector.

We also welcome if the outgoing Governor will call to repeal the Mining Act of 1995 that allows and guaranty this foreign mining company to enter the country for she will be representing District II of South Cotabato for the 15th Congress.

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