May 24, 2024

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Small-scale miners coalition calls the government

BAGUIO CITY, July 29 – Small-scale mining groups from across the Philippines gathered for the Third National Assembly of the National Coalition of Small-Scale Miners in the Philippines to address issues in the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector.

The coalition’s third national assembly was held on July 28 -29, 2022, in Baguio City.

With the theme “Pag-usad ng Responsableng Maliitang Pagmimina sa New Normal,” the national coalition aimed to tackle the following topics during the third national assembly:

  • Proposed amendments to Republic Act No. 7076, otherwise known as the “People’s Small-scale Mining Act of 1991” and Executive Order No. 79, s. 2012;
  • Good practices of the small-scale mining associations in terms of environmental protection, elimination of child labor, and occupational safety and health;
  • Contribution of the ASGM sector to the Philippine economy in terms of gold sold to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; and
  • Due diligence in gold production, occupational safety and health, and gender mainstreaming; and

The third national assembly also aimed to gather support from relevant government agencies and legislators for the amendments of laws and policies that are no longer applicable to small-scale mining operations.

The following member mining associations of the national coalition from across the country attended the assembly:

  • Benguet Federation Small-Scale Miners, Inc. (BFSSMI)
  • United Indigenous Community Livelihood Association
  • Bayudang-Maging Clan Small-Scale Miners Association
  • Suyoc-Taneg Indigenous Livelihood Association (STELA)
  • Bayudang-Maging Clan Small-Scale Miners Association
  • Extreme Small-Scale Miners Association
  • Eliconsa Workers Association (EWA)
  • Golden Hills Small-Scale Miners Association, Municipality of Tuba
  • Demonstration Small-Scale Miners Association (DeSSMA)
  • Goldstream Pocket Miners and Community Livelihood Association, Inc. (GOPOMICLAI)
  • Sugalan Clan Small-scale Miners Association, Inc. (SCSSMAI)
  • Antamok Loakan North Wall Mining Association (ALNMA)
  • Luneta Miners Association (LMA)
  • Ucab Indigenous Community Livelihood Association (UICLA)
  • Kestone Small-Scale Miners Association (KEYSSMA)
  • Willian-Butch (WB)
  • Dalisay Camote Miners Association (DCMA)
  • Otek Pocket Miners Association (OPMA)
  • Garrison Small-Scale Miners Association (GASSMA)
  • Dontog Manganese Pocket Miners Association (DOMAPMA)
  • Lolita Ampucao Youth & Adult Organization (LA-YAO)
  • Saddle Hartwell Gold coin Goldhills Community Livelihood Association, Inc. (SHAGGCLAI)
  • Northern Sagada Community Small-Scale Miners Association
  • Pinuhan Small-Scale Miners Association
  • Samahan ng mga Kababaihan ng Ultraville
  • Elnar Processing Plant
  • Mambulao Small-scale Miners Association, Inc.
  • Luklukan Sur – BLGU
  • Samahan ng mga Magkakabod ng Dalas
  • Magkamatao Small-scale Miners Association
  • Samahan ng mga Minero ng Barangay Casalugan
  • Samahan ng Magkakabod ng Camarines Norte (SAMACANO)
  • Nabunturan Integrated Miners Development Cooperative
  • Maguan Clan Small-Scale Miners Association (MCSSMAI)
  • Desawu Small-Scale Miners Association
  • Masabong Village Small-Scale Miners Association (MAVISSMA)
  • Barangay Sta. Cruz Small-Scale Miners Association of Agusan del Sur (BSCSSMARADS
  • Co-o Small-Scale Miners Association (COSSMA)

Along with the small-scale miner associations, the event was also attended by government agencies and non-government organizations, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), International Labour Organization (ILO), and planetGOLD Philippines.

Napakahalaga ng papel na inyong [national coalition] ginagampanan sa pagsiguro sa ating obligasyong isulong ang responsableng pagmimina upang proteksyunan ang ating kapaligiran. Napaka-importante ang mga ganitong pagtitiipon upang magkaroon ng pagkakataong dinggin ang mga problema at hamon na kinahaharap ng industriya ng maliitang pagmimina,” says Senator Robin Padilla in his keynote message during the Third National Assembly. 

(The national coalition’s role is critical in ensuring our obligation to advocate for responsible mining to protect our environment. Assemblies like this are important to give avenue and space for our miners to relay the problems and challenges they are facing in the small-scale mining industry.)

“I share your coalition’s thrust of promoting responsible mining through the formalization of the artisanal and small-scale mining sector in the country and in seeking to find ways to uplift the lives of ASM community members,” says Senator Jinggoy Estrada in support for the national coalition.

The event was organized with the help of the national coalition’s secretariat team, BAN Toxics. BAN Toxics is an environmental non-government organization focused on environmental justice through the promotion of sound chemicals and wastes management. The organization is one of the first NGOs to work closely with poverty-driven artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) communities in order to transform and uplift the sector, specifically to transition miners to mercury-free alternatives, promote human rights and occupational safety and health to miners, and eliminate child labor and gender inequity in the sector.

The national assembly was sponsored and supported by the Benguet Federation of Small-Scale Miners, Inc., International Labour Organization, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Cebuana Lhuillier, QES Technology Philippines, and Artisanal Gold Council (AGC) through the planetGOLD Philippines Project.

“Together with then Senator Nene Pimentel, we lobbied for the legalization and formalization of the small-scale mining sector to the senate and the congress. Through our actions, we were able to help create Republic Act 7076, or the People’s Small Scale Mining Act of the Philippines. However, we were disappointed to find out that most of our proposals for the law were not included. The process of legalization has been very long, tedious, and expensive for small-scale miners,” says Gil Indino, President of the National Coalition of Small-Scale Miners in the Philippines, Inc.

“We hope that the government will help uplift the lives of the people from artisanal and small-scale mining communities. We also want to protect our community members and the environment from the harmful effects of mercury used in gold production by transitioning our miners to mercury-free technology,” Indino added.

Founded in 2016, the National Coalition of Small-Scale Miners in the Philippines is an alliance of small-scale mining associations nationwide that promotes responsible mining through the formalization of the artisanal and small-scale mining sector of the country. The coalition was established to address a variety of problems plaguing the ASM sector in the Philippines, including poverty, human rights, legalization and formalization, amendment of mining laws, occupational health and safety, and environmental impact.