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Joey Ayala, other Ateneo Davao alumni take stand vs mining
The online news portal of TV5

DAVAO CITY, Philippines -- Alumni of the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Davao University have followed their alma mater’s lead and come out with a statement opposing “indiscriminate mining” in the country, a position that has earned the school criticism from industry players.

Among the more than 30 signatories are singer-composer Joey Ayala, Brother Karl Gaspar, lawyers Joel Mahinay and Jennifer Ramos, Dr. Jean Lindo, environmentalist Norma Javellana and peace advocate Augusto Miclat.

The Ateneo graduates, who claim extensive work and engagements with various development agencies and grassroots communities, said they are “very much proud of our alma mater for extending its influence in support of the struggle to oppose indiscriminate mining.”

“For a number of years now, many of us have gathered facts on mining from various sources and done analyses to objectively assess its impacts. We have consulted with various experts and sought their counsel as to what we need to do vis-à-vis the aggressive drive of mining companies,” their statement said.

They dismissed claims of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines that mining attracts investments, generate jobs, generate revenues for the government, and improve the lives of the host communities.

“We have gone on exposure to the countryside where there are mining explorations or actual operations and have actually seen for ourselves the impact of mining,” they said.

“This is why we have the audacity to claim that despite the token benefits that we can derive from mining, by and large the negative impact will far outweigh the benefits. This is the reason why a number of grassroots communities have opposed mining. And thankfully, an increasing number of civil society agencies have supported them in their struggle against mining,” they added.

The group called on their fellow ADDU alumni to join them in opposing mining in Mindanao and across the country.

“Let us support this call, even as we encourage all Filipinos to be vigilant regarding the issue,” they said. “Let the truth be told and let justice guide our actions on behalf of our disadvantaged brothers and sisters, and for the benefit of the creation.”

Last month, ADDU hosted a mining forum that was attended by local and international mining experts and advocates at the same time a pro-mining forum was also conducted by the CPM in another university.