Sept 13 - Labor and indigenous groups picket a mining conference in Manila, Philippines in protest of foreign-led projects and their environmental impact. Lindsey Parietti reports.
Filipino activists burn an effigy of their president in protest of foreign-run mining projects. Labour and indigenous rights groups are picketing a mining conference in Manila as the government prepares to announce five major projects. They say the industry destroys forests, rivers and coastal areas without allowing locals to reap any benefits. (SOUNDBITE) (Filipino) CO-CHAIRPERSON OF PROMOTION OF PEOPLE'S CHURCH RESPONSE, MARISOL VILLALON, SAYING: "We are not against mining per se. But what we want is for mining in the Philippines to be controlled and owned by Filipinos, safe for Filipinos, and the profits should go to the Philippines." Inside the conference, officials are hoping to encourage continued investment. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAMBER OF MINES PRESIDENT PHILIP ROMUALDEZ, SAYING: "We only hope that we have even more support from the other officials, from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, so that we can get more mining projects permitted and moving forward, and not get distracted by the political noise by many of the detractors of our industry." Mining has grown into a multi-billion industry here since the government fully opened the field to foreign players in 2005. But opposition from local communities has halted copper and gold mining in the metal-rich northern and southern provinces. Lindsey Parietti, Reuters