Amsterdam/Manila, May 24 2016 – As the first round of negotiations of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the EU commences in Brussels, a new report warns that it endangers effective regulation of the mining industry in the Philippines.
The Philippines is one of five countries worldwide with the highest overall mineral reserves. Its estimated 9 million hectares of land with mineral reserves (gold, copper, nickel, aluminium and chromite) occupies 30% of the total land area of the Philippines.
In the last decade, the resource-rich Philippines has bet heavily on the mining industry as a development strategy, an approach that has come under growing scrutiny. With 47 large-scale mines in operation and growing evidence of their social and environmental costs, all the presidential candidates in May 2016 election were forced to explain their position on, and their financial ties to, the extractive industry. Most candidates, including President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, argued for “responsible mining” and an end to “exploitative contracts”.
The first round of negotiations for an EU-Philippines Free Trade Agreement will commence next week (May 23-27) in Brussels, Belgium. A 60-person strong Philippine delegation led by outgoing DTI Secretary Adrian Cristobal, Jr will negotiate on behalf of the Philippines. The EU-PH FTA has been criticised by civil society groups for its ambitious agenda that will imperil peoples rights and national sovereignty. These talks follow the signing last month of another trade agreement with the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) States.
20 May 2016