Signing Away Sovereignty: How Investment Agreements Threaten Regulation of the Mining Industry in the Philippines

By Cecilia Olivet, Jaybee Garganera, Farah Sevilla & Joseph Purugganan, Published by Transnational Institute (TNI), May 2016

Mining firms have been one of the main corporate sectors worldwide to take advantage of ISDS mechanisms to sue states for regulation of mining, having sued governments for a total of US$53 billion so far. The Philippines, one of five countries worldwide with the highest overall mineral reserves, has bet heavily on the mining industry as a development strategy, with 47 large-scale mines in operation and growing evidence of their social and environmental costs. This briefing argues that the country’s ability to properly regulate or close polluting mines will be severely constrained by a network of investment treaties the Philippines has signed, which provide excessive protection for foreign investors. This legal straitjacket will become still tighter if the government goes ahead with the EU–Philippines Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Available at