[Press Release] Kiblawan mayor confirms Sagittarius Mines link to escalating militarization in Tampakan -ATM

Kiblawan mayor confirms Sagittarius Mines link to escalating militarization in Tampakan
Says military receives subsidy for allowance and operations

atm-logoKoronadal City – Kiblawan Mayor Marivic Diamante disclosed that Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) is actually providing funds for the allowance and operations of the military and paramilitary groups within the towns of Kiblawan, Tampacan, Columbio, all covered by the SMI mining permit.

Diamante, in her testimony to the recently-held congressional hearing of the National Cultural Communities Committee, explained that a memorandum of agreement was signed in July 2006 by the local governments of Kiblawan, Tampakan and Colombio with SMI. This MOA was the basis of the deployment of 120 Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) men in the areas, and the creation of the military led Task Force KITACO. Task Force KITACO has been implicated in killings of B’laan leaders and anti-mining activists in the provinces.

The congressional hearing held in the provincial gym of Koronadal City was initiated by the Committee Chair Congressman Teddy Baguilat, Jr, to look into the intensifying militarization in the provinces and the series of killings of indigenous peoples within mining areas, with particular focus on the massacre of Juvy Capion and her two children in October 2012. The family of Capion is known to be leading the struggle for the B’laans ancestral domain, and against SMI.

SMI community-based security plan

The mayor’s report corroborated the testimony of the Col. Norman Marcos Flores, new commander of the 1002nd Brigade, who confirmed that the Philippine Army is providing security to the KITACO growth area and to implement SMI’s community-based security plan in Tampakan and Kiblawan.

The Philippine Army identified 128 incidents of security threat against SMI from 2007-2012, and they find this as a valid reason for their presence in the area to offer protection for the mining company. In exchange for this, SMI provides monthly allocation for the operations, for gasoline, and allowance for CAFGUs directly deployed in Kitaco areas. SMI has doubled the monthly allowance of each CAFGU from the government budget of Php2,700/month to Php5,400.

Government-SMI collaboration against mining-affected communities, indigenous peoples

Rene Pamplona, of Social Action Center (SAC-Marbel) said, “Instead of the military defending the people—it defends and protects foreign investments and kills community members The government is killing its own people because of this mining problem. Depite the killings, and the violence in SMI mining areas, the government still issued the environmental compliance certificate (ECC). ”

SAC-Marbel is helping indigenous peoples in dealing with the killings and other human rights violations due to the militarization of their ancestral lands.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) sites of struggle officer Daniel Arias said: “SMI can no longer deny that these killings are rooted in the presence of its mining project and this was confirmed by the testimony of Mayor Diamante and the military. Truly, the blood of Juvy, and her children, Kitari, and all others who were killed are in their hands!”

“The situation painted by the testimonies of the military, the police, Mayor Diamante and the B’laans is very clear – the military is paid by SMI to protect its investment at all cost, even at the cost of the lives of the B’laans who are fighting for their land. And the Aquino government? It just issued the ECC to SMI. So the bias is clear. And it’s tragic,” Judy A. Pasimio of LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights) added.

Philippine Miserior Parnerships Inc Anti Mining Campaign Advocacy Officer Atty. Macki Maderazon who was also present during the said hearing further said: “This deadly deal between the LGUs of Kiblawan, Tampakan, Columbio and SMI puts the human rights of the mining-affected communities especially those who oppose it at greater risk of being violated further.

“This is not in accord with the duty of the government to protect the human rights of the people against corporate abuses and with the responsibility of corporations to respect human rights under the UN Framework and Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights to which our government is one of the signatories. Policy on greater accountability of mining corporations and affording remedies to victims of corporate abuses should now be considered in Congress. The current mining law and even the new E.O. 79 failed to consider this.”

Meanwhile Rep. Baguilat in his closing message said that it is wrong to identify indigenous peoples who are opposing mining as bandits. He added, as an indigenous person himself that for them land is life and it is their right to defend their ancestral lands.

Baguilat concluded: “Kung anu ang desisyon ng pamayanang katutubo, yun ang dapat sundin at i-respeto.”

Mayor Diamante last year posted a reward of Php300-thousand for the capture of Daguil Capion immediately after the killing of Capion’s wife Juvy and two children. (Read: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/superbalita-davao/balita/2012/10/21/p300000-ganti-sa-makatudlo-sa-gitagoan-ni-daguil-capion-249099) She added in her testimony that she did this so that community members will be motivated to point out where Capion can be found, as he is considered a bandit.

During the public hearing, a survivor (minor, not to be named) and witnesses to the Capion massacre last October 19 were interviewed by Congs. Nancy Catamco, Neri Colmenares, Luz Ilagan, and Manny Pacquiao. Thereafter, the representatives found serious flaws in the way the case was handled by the military and the police.

Sagittarius Mines Inc (SMI) is the local partner of Swiss Xstrata and Indophil for the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project. It has been awarded a mining permit over ancestral domains of the B’laans.

Tampakan Forum is a technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue.

For more information:
Atty. Macki Maderazo, PMP-AMC Advocacy Coordinator, pmpsecretariat@yahoo.com, 0922-8501873
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 0927-7617602
Farah Sevilla, Policy Research and Advocacy Officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net, 0915-3313361

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