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9-Misc: Philippine NGOs form "Alliance for Genuine Development"



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TITLE:  Broad alliance formed vs mining, GMOs
SOURCE: Mindanews, Philippines, by Bong S. Sarmiento
        http://www.mindanews.com/2005/01/11nws-alliance.html
DATE:   11 Jan 2005

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Broad alliance formed vs mining, GMOs

KORONADAL CITY -- ause-oriented groups in Central Mindanao over the
weekend formed an umbrella organization to consolidate the campaign
against "environment and development aggressions" in south and central
Mindanao.

Mila Preglo, vice chair of the SOCCSKSARGEND Alliance for Genuine
Development (SOCCSKSARGEND-Agenda), said the group decided to link up to
protect the area from exploitation by big foreign and local companies.

SOCCSKSARGEND stands for South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat,
Sarangani, General Santos City and Davao del Sur.

Preglo said they formed the group in response particularly to the Dec. 1
Supreme Court decision declaring the 1995 Mining Act as constitutional, a
complete turnaround from the January 27, 2004 ruling.

She said they were alarmed by the decision that would eventually subject
the area to massive corporate exploitations.

"Having rich potential raw minerals, its land, mineral and water
resources are eyed for plunder by both transnational and multinational
companies," she said.

SOCCSKSARGEND Agenda is composed of the Coalition of Anti-Mining
Movements, Alliance for Genuine Development Mindanao Inc., South Cotabato
People's Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy, Columbio Multi-Sectoral
Ecology Movement and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Socsksargen chapter.

It has the support of the dioceses of Marbel and Kidapawan, Magsasaka at
Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG), Citizen Alliance
Unified for Sectoral Development and the Kahugpungan sa mga Lumad sa
Halayong Habagatang Mindanao

Preglo said the campaign against mining in south and central Mindanao has
intensified to counter Sagittarius Mines, Inc (SMI), which the critics
admitted to having gained the upper hand in laying social acceptability
among the affected Lumad (indigenous people) communities.

SMI, which assumed the operations of Western Mining Corp.-Philippines in
January 2003, is presently exploring the towns of Tampakan in South
Cotabato, Columbio in Sultan Kudarat and Kiblawan Davao del Sur for
copper and gold deposits.

According to SMI's annual report released last month, there are
approximately 6.8 million tons of copper metal and 8.7 million ounces of
gold, estimated to be worth US$23 billion, in the 300 square kilometer
project area.

Besides its anti-mining campaign, SOCCSKSARGEND Agenda is also training
its sights on genetically-engineered crops, particularly the
controversial Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt ) corn.

The government, through the Department of Agriculture, approved in
December 2002 the commercialization of Monsanto's Bt corn in the country.

The group is opposing Bt corn because of its alleged hazards to health
and the environment and that there's still "no overwhelming studies
certifying the transgenic crop's safety to the human health."




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