Among the major mining investors in the Philippines are London-listed Anglo American and BHP Billiton
PRESS RELEASE, March 24, 2009
MANILA, Philippines  —  Some 85 representatives of Indigenous Peoples from around the world have arrived in the country for the International Conference on Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries to find effective ways in combating abuses committed by giant companies engaged in extractive activities, which they claimed are still grossly violating the human rights of indigenous peoples and contributing to severe destruction of the environment.
International experts  said that extractions of mineral resources have gone on unabated worldwide, often sanctioned by their states  owing to seemingly supple regulations or toothless policies  against giant mining companies that destroyed ecological balance and drove indigenous peoples out of their cultural lands.
“This crisis is created by the elite. They are the people we have not seen in our lives but whose deeds have impacts on our lives,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, a Kankana-ey and current Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the opening of the one week international conference held at Legend Villas in Mandaluyong City. She further said that “States and mining corporations should adhere to the standards set by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).” The UNDRIP is the latest international agreement adopted by the UN General Assembly and signed by 143 countries in September 13, 2007.
Conference organizer Tebtebba, the Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education, said that alarming cases of human rights violations against the indigenous peoples have been filed before courts of various countries and inter-governmental bodies, such as the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
IP representatives said that their cultural territories are continuously shrinking due to massive encroachment of mining companies. They expressed fears that unless governments and international bodies will join hands, addressing this violation of human rights and destruction of the environment will not stop.
“Mining companies don’t have the concept and practice of corporate social responsibility,” said Roger Moody of the Mines and Communities from London, speaking before the delegates from Asia, Africa, the Pacific, Europe and Russia, Arctic, Latin and North America.
The Philippines suffered two of the biggest mining disasters —  when the Tapian Pit of  Marcopper Mining Corp. collapsed and spilled 1.6 million cubic meters of mine tailings in the waterway of Marinduque in 1996, and when cyanide-laden waste of an Australian owned Lafayette Mining Limited spilled in the waterway of Rapu-Rapu Island in 2005.