The annual miners’ conference which took place in Manila was accompanied by high security and the customary annual protests. Pickets outside the venue called for the immediate withdrawal of all military and paramilitary troops from mining areas and for the passage of the People’s Mining Bill, while another outside the Supreme Court supported a court case against provisions in the current 1995 Mining Act.
“Glencore Xstrata-SMI has only recently admitted to funding paramilitary groups operating in their mining concession areas, which are the primary culprits in the various incidences of human rights violations in mining-affected areas in Mindanao and across the Philippines. These are the trends that the Aquino government and the Chamber of Mines should be addressing, but again the controversies are met with blanket denial or silence,” the organization Defend Patrimony lamented.