In the 7th Asia-Pacific Mining Conference and Exhibition, the President herself stated that the mining industry would “serve as a leading engine for Philippine economic growth, becoming a source of revenue and wealth to allow the government to seriously bring down the level of poverty in the country.”
The Mining Act of 1995 enabled the entry of foreign multinationals into large-scale mining projects. It states that “It shall be the responsibility of the State to promote their (mineral resources) rational exploration, development, utilization and conservation through the combined efforts of government and the private sector in order to enhance national growth in a way that effectively safeguards the environment and protect the rights of affected communities.”
Those who favor mining activities attempt to portray the industry as “responsible” and argue that mining significantly contributes to growth, specifically in terms of generating jobs and government revenues.
However, the extraction of minerals in the Philippines has become a hotly debated development issue. Many local communities have found themselves and their environments adversely affected by mining projects and various studies have shown that the supposed benefits from the mining industry have not materialized.
The mining industry’s small but positive contribution to economic growth is offset by the fact that it does not promote sustainable development. The industry’s links to the domestic economy (forward and backward linkages) are low. For every peso output from mining, the input from other sectors of the economy is equivalent to only 36 centavos. Therefore, while it exploits and depletes natural resources, the mining industry makes almost no contribution to the lives and livelihoods of the people in the local economy.
Environmental Degradation: In two major environmental disasters, thousands of tons of waste and tailings from mining operations gushed out into fields and waterways (Marcopper in Marinduque province, 1996 and Lafayette in Rapu-Rapu, Albay in 2003) demonstrated the destructive capacity and irresponsibility of mining companies and the inadequacy of government regulation of their operations. More recently, the indigenous Mangyan tribe in Mindoro province led a protest with a hunger strike to demand the cancellation of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to a Norwegian company, Intex Resources. 
Opposition to the mining industry is robust – from economic policy advocates, environmentalists, transparency advocates and development oriented civil society organizations and on occasion, even from some local government units.
In summary, other than its modest contribution to Philippine exports, there is little in the current state of large-scale mining operations to recommend it. Given the environmental degradation that it has caused, the damage to local livelihoods, its negligible contribution to growth and employment and the sub-optimal revenues that it has generated for government, opposition to the industry is justified and both monitoring and reforms are necessary to prevent a further worsening of the industries effects.
Given this context, Bantay Kita was formed as a network to provide operational expression by which a transparency advocacy can be advanced.
Without duplicating the work of any of the existing CSOs within its network, Bantay Kita was envisioned to: