Tag Archives: IP Rights

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[From the web] Non-Moro IP Provisions in Senate Bill 1717 and House Bill 6475: Compliant to FAB-CAB and the 1987 Philippine Constitution -By Alim M. Bandara

Non-Moro IP Provisions in Senate Bill 1717 and House Bill 6475:
Compliant to FAB-CAB and the 1987 Philippine Constitution
By Alim M. Bandara[1]

The two versions of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) –Senate Bill 1717 and House Bill 6475 have been met with diverse reactions from different stakeholders in the Bangsamoro core areas and outside alike. For one, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF wanted to see a BBL that is compliant with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro or FAB and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro or CAB and other signed agreements. Legislators from both Houses of Congress on the other hand, want a BBL that is compliant to the 1987 Philippine Constitution, while other sectors want a BBL that is compliant to a Federal Philippines. In the case of the Non-Moro Indigenous Peoples what they want is a BBL with provisions on Indigenous Peoples that are compliant to the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA)–a national law enacted in 1997 in pursuance of the Constitutional provisions for the Indigenous Peoples, as a minimum standard for the recognition, protection and promotion of IP rights and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

The bottleneck of current proposed legislations on the BBL is how to make it “compliant” not only to one or two references but to many and different references. This is a big challenge to the Bicameral Conference Committee of the House of Senate and the House of Representatives.

For the Non-Moro IPs, the IP provisions in Senate Bill 1717 and House Bill 6475 reflect the genuine sentiments of the Non-Moro IPs. These are also compliant to the FAB-CAB in the sense that FAB-CAB recognizes IP rights and is more compliant to the 1987 Philippine Constitution and to the international conventions protecting IP rights. After long years of hard work, availing all possible platforms to be heard, engaging in dialogues, to push for the recognition of our rights, and now going into the bicam process, the Non-Moro IPs see the inclusion of key IP rights provisions in both versions as a positive step towards a more inclusive BBL.

However, it does not mean that the struggle is over. There are more things to be done in the Bicameral Conference. The first and foremost task is to articulate the call for the RETENTION of all IP provisions from both the Senate Bill 1717 and House Bill 6475; and second, to use the bicam process as a space for improvements based on the recommendations of the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Legislative Agenda or MIPLA, the proposals advanced by Loyukan[2], and the wisdom of the legislators sitting in the Bicameral Conference. Outside of this legislative process, there is the need for a continuing dialogue with the MILF leadership and fellow IP leaders on the ground for the maintenance of good relationships, understanding and mutual support.

We believe that the IP provisions, if retained, with more improvements in the Bicameral Conference will do no harm to the BBL. In fact, the IP provisions will strengthen the BBL and clear its way from both Houses of Congress down to the Non-Moro IP constituents of the future Bangsamoro autonomy, come the plebiscite for the new law. This early, we can say that the proposed BBL is definitely considered more and an improvement than the ARMM law as far as the Non-Moro IP provisions are concerned.

Regarding other provisions of the BBL, the Non-Moro IPs in the core and adjoining areas share the same sentiments with the Bangsamoro that the BBL is a special peace legislation and is recognized as a big step towards the resolution of the Bangsamoro problem including that of the Non-Moro IPs in Mindanao.

Some sectors say that there will be bloody debate in the Bicameral Conference on the substantive provisions in the BTC version that were deleted or changed in the versions of the Senate and House of Representatives. Therefore, we join the call to the honorable men and women legislators in the Bicameral Conference to pass a BBL that is acceptable to all and one that is not less than or simply equals to the ARMM law. We rely on your wisdom for a genuine inclusive BBL, and inclusive peace.

It is also worth sharing that the leadership of the MILF said in many fora and interviews that “war is not an option” in case both Houses fail to pass an acceptable BBL. This is a positive and appreciated remark from the MILF leadership. But, being in the war zones, the Non-Moro IPs have experienced several bloody encounters between the AFP and revolutionary fighters and the terrorist groups in Mindanao. It is obvious that war is destructive, but if there is any reason for it, the risk of having one is always there. Yes, an accepted BBL is not only to stop the war. There is much poverty and poor governance among other problems in this region. Therefore, a BBL that is accepted by all parties, including the Non-Moro IPs, can transform the revolutionary forces and their communities into peace contingents and forces to eradicate poverty and poor governance in the region. The BBL will open this space and will give chance to all peace-loving citizens to chart their own destiny.

Lastly, many well-wishers and sympathizers of Federalism offered the BBL as template for Federal Philippines. The MILF leadership is not opposed to the idea provided BBL comes first before federalism. In the same manner, the Non-Moro IPs if ever we wish to change the Presidential form of our government into a Federal system, the Non-Moro Indigenous Peoples are ready to be included as a separate political unit within the Federal State based on the four bundles of rights [3] under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). If the BBL is a template for federalism, the more we need to articulate IPRA in the BBL because IPs are not only found in the Bangsamoro core area but scattered throughout the country. For the Teduray and Lambangian in the core area of the Bangsamoro, their customary self-governance within their ancestral domain territory, the “Késéfanangguwit Timuay” or Timuay Justice and Governance (TJG)[4] is itself a self-determination and self-governance compliant to Federalism.

July 5, 2018

Alim Bandara –

​ timuaygovernance@yahoo.com ​

[1] Timuay Alim Bandara is a Teduray leader, and a member of the Secretariat of the Independent IP Voice, an independent body initiated by the IPs in Mindanao to pursue IP agenda in any form of peace process.

[2] LOYUKAN – A Teduray term to mean “comrades” is a formation of indigenous political structure, human rights and IP rights organizations and advocates pushing for full inclusion of IP rights in the BBL.

[3] Four (4) bundles of IP rights under IPRA: (1) Ancestral Domains, (2) Self-Governance and Empowerment, (3) Social Justice and Human Rights, and; (4) Cultural Integrity.

[4] Timuay – a tribal title and system of self-governance of the Teduray and Lambangian in Central Mindanao

Source: https://bit.ly/2LdOTTU

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[Appeal] Appeal to Congress (House of Representatives and Senate): DEMAND FOR THE INCLUSION OF IP RIGHTS IN THE BBL -Loyukan

Appeal to Congress (House of Representatives and Senate): DEMAND FOR THE INCLUSION OF IP RIGHTS IN THE BBL

The Késéfangguwit Timuay or Timuay Justice and Governance (TJG) is an Indigenous Political Structure (IPS) of the Téduray and Lambangian in the core area of the propose Bangsamoro political entity with a population of not less than one hundred twenty-seven thousand two-hundred sixty-eight (127,268) as of 2013 IPDev Census. They are in eighty-four (84) barangays in three (3) full municipalities and portions of eight (8) other municipalities in the first and second districts of Maguindanao province. We operate base on the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

We the Non-Moro IPs are directly affected in the armed conflicts in mainland ARMM and in the quest for a genuine peace and development in Mindanao, we also spent time, resources and efforts to have our own TRUTH be heard in the peace processes and in the drafting of the BBL. Sadly, in the present version of the BBL adopted by the House of Representatives and Senate for Plenary are short of our proposals submitted to the BTC and during the public hearings called for by Congress (HoR and Senate) in early 2018.

Today, we appeal to all of you (members of the House of Representatives and Senate) to look at our Non-Negotiable provisions for consideration. These provisions are included in the Loyukan Briefer for wider circulation, and included here as follows:

KEY DEMANDS:

IDENTITY
Article II Sec 2. The freedom of choice of all indigenous peoples within the Bangsamoro territory to retain their distinct indigenous and ethnic identity in addition to their Bangsamoro political identity shall be respected. There shall be no discrimination on the basis of identity, religion, and ethnicity.

FPIC IN CONTIGUOUS TERRITORY
Article III, Sec. Contiguous provinces, cities, municipalities, barangay, and other geographical areas other than those mentioned in the preceding Section, that obtain majority of the qualified votes cast in the periodic plebiscites, as provided under Article XV, Section 4 of this Basic Law shall become part of the Bangsamoro; Provided, that the inclusion of the ancestral domains in the Bangsamoro shall be subject to the free, prior, and informed consent of the affected community.

DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF MORO AND NON-MORO INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’
Article IV, Sec 9. The Bangsamoro government recognizes and promotes the rights of Moro and Non-Moro indigenous peoples’ within the framework of the Constitution and existing laws.

CONCURRENT POWERS
Article V, Sec. 2. The Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government shall exercise shared powers within the Bangsamoro on the following matters: (29) Ancestral Domain and Natural Resources (30) Protection of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Bangsamoro (31) Creation of the Independent Commission for Moro and Non-Moro Indigenous Peoples.

IP RIGHTS
Article IX, Sec. 4. Consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples'(UNDRIP), the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR), and existing laws on indigenous peoples.

FPIC FOR PROTECTED AREAS
Article XIII, Sec. 8. The Bangsamoro Parliament shall pass a law for the establishment of protected areas, creating procedure for the declaration and management of protected areas and the role of the Bangsamoro Government. Provided that the protected areas to be declared within ancestral domains shall be subject to the free, prior, and informed consent of Moro and Non-Moro indigenous peoples.

RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OVER NATURAL RESOURCES
Article XIII, Sec. 12. The Bangsamoro Parliament shall enact a law recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples in the Bangsamoro in relation to natural resources within the territories covered by a native title, including their share in revenues, as provided in this Basic Law, and priority rights in the exploration, development and utilization of such natural resources within their area. Exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources, including but not limited to fossil fuels and uranium, mines and minerals, and renewable energy, within ancestral domains shall be subject to FPIC.

REPEALING CLAUSE
Article XVIII, Sec. 2. Provided that such laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations, and other issuances and parts thereof, shall not be inconsistent with the Constitution, and shall not fall below the minimum standards contained in national laws and relevant international instruments.

Finally, please find attached the Loyukan Briefing paper for details of all the processes we underwent to raise these issues and concerns to concerned offices.

Thank you very much.
📷For the TJG Baglalan (Officials),
SANNIE S. BELLO
Timuay Labi (Supreme Timuay/Chief)

Photo credit : Mindanao Peoples Peace Movement (MPPM)

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[Press Release] Senator Grace Poe promises to probe issues of non-moro IP rights in Bangsamoro Basic Law

Senator Grace Poe promises to probe issues of non-moro IP rights in Bangsamoro Basic Law

File Photo source: ATM. Photo courtesy of Joseph Purugganan/Focus on the Global South

File Photo source: ATM. Photo courtesy of Joseph Purugganan/Focus on the Global South

Manila – Non-moro Indigenous Peoples (IP) in the Bangsamoro, led by Timuay (local term for Teduray leader) Alim Bandara, did not leave empty handed in ‘Tapatan sa Aristocrat’ on Monday, when Senator Grace Poe said that she will study the merits of the IPs concerns in Mindanao and have it assessed for a senate inquiry for a possible senate hearing – a promising outcome of the 3-day activity of the various IP groups who are lobbying the full inclusion of their rights in the undergoing finalization of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

According to Senator Poe who confirmed that the law in question is still in the Office of the President and has not yet reached Congress, the passage of the BBL is a process that is being carefully deliberated especially to address concerns such as the IP rights. She also admitted that there are a lot of concerns to be settled in the Bangsamoro Basic Law especially in the case of ancestral domains.

Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CENPEG) Board Member Dr. Temario Rivera, also shared the same opinion as Poe, stating that there is in fact a clear need for a clearer status of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) in the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Timuay Alim Bandara, a Teduray leader and Head Claimant of the Ancestral Domain claims of the Teduray, Lambangian and Dulangan Manobo in the ARMM and the spokesperson of the non-moro IP groups in the ‘Tapatan sa Aristocrat’ forum, raised the issues of identity, ancestral domains, right to self-governance, protection of the non-moro IPs’ existing rights and their call for a more transparent review on the BBL.

According to Bandara, the final draft of the BBL that was submitted to the Office of the President was not shown to the non-moro IP groups, and thus leaving them blind on the provisions of IP rights included in the law.

“Ang misyong ito, kailangan namin [Makita ang draft ng BBL] sa Senado, sa Congress o sa House of Representatives, dahil alam namin na from the Office of the President, dadaanan ito dito. Yung mga kulang [na provisions], halimbawa yung mga hindi naisama na karapatan ng katutubo na nasa loob ng core area ay gusto naming maisama sa draft ng batas na ito na gagawin. (This mission is to ensure that we see the draft of the BBL in the Senate, or House of Representatives, because we know that this will pass through these offices after it has gone from the Office of the President. We want to include the provisions that are lacking in the draft of the law being finalized – for example, the rights of the IPs inside the core area.) said Bandara.

The core area that Bandara mentioned is the territories inside the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

In a closing statement, Bandara stressed that they are not opposing the Bangsamoro Basic Law and that they have nothing against the peace process that they have continuously supported from the very beginning. He also said that their call is the full inclusion of the non-moro IP rights in the BBL; that the new legislation should not eradicate their identities and rights, but nurture and respect it instead.

For more information please contact:

Alim M. Bandara -Timuay Justice and Governance, 0926.986.8488 and 0930.808.1422, timuaygovernance@yahoo.com
Grace Villanueva – Executive Director, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC), 0918.943.6119, grace.villanueva@lrcksk.org
Mabelle Carumba – Minadanao Peoples’ Peace Movement – 0999.872.1405, al_carumba@yahoo.com
Lyndie Prieto – Initiatives for International Dialogue, 0917.724.7579, lyndeeprieto@yahoo.com

Press Release
May 23, 2014

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[People] FULL FORCE for SMI-XSTRATA Mines by Judy A. Pasimio

FULL FORCE for SMI-XSTRATA Mines
by Judy A. Pasimio
LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)

Judy Pasimio photo from lilakIt is like watching a full orchestra playing a symphony. An ugly, sinister symphony.

The Office of the President recently issued a decision to the appeal of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) (Feb. 4, 2013), finding no grounds for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to deny the mining company the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for its Tampakan Gold Project. The decision, which was heavily siding with the Xstrata-Indophil owned mining company, basically instructed DENR to just please, issue the ECC.

DENR Secretary Paje twice denied issuing the ECC to SMI, “until the issues and concerns on the use of open pit mining method shall have been clarified and resolved by the Company (SMI) with the Provincial Government of South Cotabato.” According to DENR, this “involves a delicate interplay between local autonomy and national policy. . . . the denial of the application was grounded on the issue of the open-pit mining as prohibited by the provincial government.”

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., who signed the Palace decision, however said, that the SMI has fully complied with the requirement of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) System, and therefore no grounds for denying. Rebuking Sec. Paje, Ochoa said “ The DENR Secretary, despite the recommendation of the grant of the ECC to SMI, denied the application, not because SMI had failed to comply with the requirements of the EIS System, but merely because of the prohibition of the Provincial Government of South Cotabato against open-pit mining.” (underscore mine)

So basically, Sec. Paje is being scolded for taking cognizance of the will of Provincial Government of South Cotabato, who has stood on the side of the people who would be adversely affected by the large-scale mining operations in the province. Basically, Ochoa, who echoes the will of the President, is saying, “$#@& the provincial government.” Ah, that’s good governance for you.

This OP Decision comes at the heels of the warning issued by the Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to the Provincial Government of South Cotabato (January 30, 2013) that it may face administrative charges for the enactment of its resolution to ban open pit mining in the province. De Lima reiterated her Nov. 2012 legal opinion “supporting the DILG’s plan to initiate administrative cases against local executives who would insist on implementing ordinances prohibiting open pit mining in their respective provinces and towns.” (Phil. Star, 1-31-13)

Then you have the muscle of the government at work. In October last year, the horrible Tampakan Massacre happened. Juvy Capion and her children – Jordan, John and Vicky were shot at while sleeping in their hut in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur. 4-year old Vicky was wounded but managed to escape. This killing happened during a military manhunt for Daguil Capion, the husband of Juvy, and one of the B’laan leaders who have staged armed resistance against the encroachment of SMI to their ancestral domains. In January 29, Kitari, the brother of Daguil was also murdered, along with two other companions. The killing was led by Army Capt. Joel Wayagwag, head of Task Force Kitaco, in an area in Barangay Bong Mal. This borders the three municipalities which are the main sites of the SMI mining operations – Kiblawan, Tampakan and South Cotabato. Task Force KITACO is a special task force created under the Army’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade assigned to oversee and secure areas where SMI-Xstrata’s mining project operates.

So what is this we are witnessing? A concerted action by the government, using its full force to protect the interest of this mining investment; using its full force against the B’laans, the people of the provinces covered by the Columbio Financial Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA), and the natural resources that the peoples of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Saranggani are protecting.

What we are witnessing is a discriminatory activation of the full force of the law – Where was the full force of the government when the Capion family was massacred? The military, while insisting that what happened was a legitimate encounter, admitted that there were operational lapses. The killer soldiers were supposed to be tried under a Court Marshall. But no trial, no administrative charges were made, no court has been convened. What is the legal opinion of Secretary de Lima here? Where was the full force of the law when Kitari and his companions were killed? The full force was used against them, and is being used against the B’laan women and children who have fled from their homes in the wake of the increasing number of troops and CAFGUS being deployed in the provinces covered by the SMI-XSTRATA operations.

Pres. Aquino issued Executive Order 79 last year, putting a moratorium in approving new mining applications, and committing to review issued mining permits. Why not put the efforts and resources of the government in the review of this FTAA? The Tampakan project has no Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) from the B’laans. The FTAA overlaps with several ancestral domains. This project has been the site of intense conflict and increasing violence over the years. This 99,400-hectare mining concession which was originally awarded to Western Mining Corporation (WMC), then transferred to SMI-Xstrata in 2002, has turned out to be one of the bloodiest mining (dis)agreements issued by the government. Instead, the Malacanang-led Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) created by this EO, is now pushing for a review of the decision of the denial of the ECC. According to Sec. Paje, MICC has endorsed the issuance of the ECC. (BusinessMirror, 2-17-13)

The strong and concerted push by the Aquino government for the SMI-Xstrata mining operations to commence, at this moment, in this context, is indeed a crystal clear message: the rights and lives of the B’laans, the will and autonomy of the Provincial Government of South Cotabato, the peace and order situation in the three provinces covered by the SMI FTAA, the food security of the provinces, and the natural resources to be irreparably damaged by the large scale open pit mining – all these are less valuable to Aquino compared to the promises of the $5.9 Billion dollar mining investment of SMI-Xstrata.

In less than a week from now, Sec. Paje said he has been instructed to make its decision again on the ECC of SMI. Let us see how this tragic symphony plays out, while we brace ourselves for stronger, more determined fight against the deadly presence and influence of SMI-Xstrata in the country.

judy.lilak@gmail.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lilak-Purple-Action-for-Indigenous-Womens-Rights/446251688730248
mobile: 09175268341

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[In the news] Lumads camp out anew at Bukidnon capitol -MindaNews

MindaNews » Lumads camp out anew at Bukidnon capitol.

By Cong Corrales
September 1, 2012

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/ 31 August)—Nearly a month after at least 20 members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) allegedly raided the community of slain indigenous peoples’ leader Jimmy Liguyon for cash and gold, lumad residents of a hinterland barangay in San Fernando town, Bukidnon province have sought refuge at the provincial capitol grounds in Malaybalay City on Thursday evening.

In an e-mailed statement, Datu Nilo Cabungcol, chairperson of Kaugalingong Sistema sa Igpasasindog to Lumadnong Ogpaan (KASILO), said that several lumad families set up a camp at the provincial capitol anew “despite the refusal of the provincial government.”

Drenched by rain, Cabungcol said that policemen tried to stop them from setting the camp Thursday night.

In a phone interview Friday, Tessie Ombo, a small scale mining financier and a member of KASILO, alleged that on August 2, Alde “Butsoy” Salusad went to their mining area in Sitio Kiranggol, Barangay Dao in San Fernando town and demanded money from her.

Read full article @ www.mindanews.com

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[In the news] MILF says Moro sub-state no threat to IP rights – Interaksyon.com

MILF says Moro sub-state no threat to IP rights – Interaksyon.com.

Ria Rose Uro, special to InterAksyon.com


PAGADIAN CITY, Philippines – Moro rebel negotiators assured the Subanen tribes of the Zamboanga Peninsula that a Bangsamoro sub-state resulting from successful peace negotiations with government would not be a threat to their rights over ancestral domain.

Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga, a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel, said ancestral domain as contemplated in their proposed peace pact defines a territory for self-governance.

Ancestral domain as defined in the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) refers to proprietary rights over a particular area where the tribes have a traditional historical presence, Lingga added.

The MILF negotiating panel interacted with Subanen leaders here on Wednesday as part of its ongoing series of dialogues with various sectors and stakeholders of the Mindanao peace process.

Lingga’s explanation was in response to a request by Kolibugan community leader Barahama Amil for the MILF to drop some stretches of Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Norte in its definition of the Bangsamoro homeland in favor of the Subanen’s ancestral domain claim. Kolibugan refers to Islamized Subanen who inhabit these portions of the two provinces.

Read full article @ InterAksyon.com

[In the news] Kibungan folks assail NPA tag by mine firm – baguiomidlandcourier.com.ph

by Jimmy Laking

Source: http://baguiomidlandcourier.com.ph
Barangay officials and community residents of Palina in Kibungan, Benguet have denounced a statement attributed to a mining company that tended to link villagers to the rebel group New People’s Army.

“This is damaging to the integrity and reputation of the community,” the officials said in a resolution addressed to Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan, the provincial board, and the Philippine National Police.

The resolution was signed by barangay officials led by punong barangay Deliano Faustino and by officers of the Palina Indigenous Peoples and Community Association led by its president, Jose Gallano.

The barangay officials called on the PNP to investigate the “truth or falseness” of the statement attributed to the mining company.

The barangay officials said the statement was contained in a comment furnished by the company, through its legal counsel, Atty. Rodrigo Kito, to the municipal circuit trial court of Kapangan.

The barangay officials said Kito, in the comment, described Barangay Palina as “known to be an NPA infested area.”

In their resolution, the barangay officials and IPO officials denied knowledge of NPA presence in their community and that it is peaceful and free from the presence of NPAs.

They added they felt bad towards the statement because it tended to describe their place as a NPA haven and its residents protectors of the outlawed organization.

The barangay officials said Da Gama Minerals, Inc. or Kito have no authority to declare the barangay as infested with NPAs.

The company has filed charges for theft, robbery, and malicious mischief against several Palina residents after they prevented a mining crew from its attempt to bring equipment for exploration work in the community last year.

The people’s organization responded by filing a complaint for damages at the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

The IPO has ruled out sitting down with the company to settle the cases out of court if the condition is to allow the company to continue with its exploration.

Galiano said the community has remained firm in its opposition to exploration and to any mining activity in the area.

LRC-KsK Friends of the Earth Philippines | Minerals Management Bill

LRC-KsK Friends of the Earth Philippines | Minerals Management Bill.

 

source LRCKSK

WHAT IS THE MINERALS MANAGEMENT BILL?

The Minerals Management Bill seeks to scrap the present Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942) with the enactment of the “Philippine Mineral Resources Act of 2010”. The bill champions conservation of non-renewable mineral resources for the benefit of both present and future generations of Filipinos by adopting a sustainable, rational, needs based minerals management geared towards effective utilization of mineral resources for national industrialization and modernization of agriculture.

HOW DO WE LOOK AT MINERAL RESOURCES AND MINING?

Minerals are essential resources that are part of our national patrimony. While necessary for national development and important to the economy, the extraction of mineral resources must be done judiciously because mineral areas are part and parcel of ecosystems that includes forests, watersheds, riverine systems, coastal habitats and communities of people – all of which are intrinsically linked with biodiversity, the environment, food security, livelihoods and survival. Specially now in the era of undeniable climate change, it is our responsibility to make sure that minerals governance do not sabotage efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change as well as our capability to move towards a low carbon global economy.

It should also be underscored that minerals are essentially non-renewable resources, we have an inter-generational responsibility towards its conservation and preservation – mineral extraction should only be done as a last resort out of the utmost necessity and with the least impact on communities and the environment.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE MINING ACT of 1995 (RA 7942)?

RA 7942 or the Mining Act of 1995 essentially caters to the need of the global extractives industry players to access mineral areas and control the use of minerals to feed the global corporate demand for raw materials and energy in the production, distribution and consumption of commodity products – a system wholly motivated by profits.

What the law does is facilitate the entry of corporations into ecosystems and community territories for the exploration and extraction of minerals to be shipped out of the country in exchange for revenues from the corporations. The government has not been shy in saying that the mining industry is essentially an elaborate investments baiting and revenue making scheme – or PLAK (pera lang ang katapat).

Even with this frank admission, it still is a big lie because with the overgenerous fiscal incentives regime of the Mining Act and other laws, the corporations only need to leave us with a few loose change in exchange for our mineral resources, leaving large scale and long term destruction to the environment and communities in their wake. In perpetuating this system, the Mining Act of 1995 has been used to sabotage local government efforts to protect the health, environment and livelihoods of their constituents; corrupted the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process of indigenous peoples communities; rendered inutile the Environmental Impact Assessment system; and has brought about a long string of human rights violations against communities and individuals resisting mining.

WHAT IS THE DAPITAN INITIATIVE of 2002?

The Minerals Management Bill has its origins in the 2002 conference of environmental, social and community rights advocates that has criticized the economic and political set-up of the mining industry and opposed the legal framework that propped it up. In their declaration, they committed themselves to “uphold indigenous people’s rights and achieve a more ecologically sound, gender-fair, equitable system of resource management.” and to “work for a democratic and consultative process in enacting a new legal framework to achieve a wise stewardship of our natural resources.”

After several years of consultations on the ground and meetings with experts, we were able to file the new bill in the last congress, HB 6342, which was also called the Alternative Mining Bill (AMB). We have decided to discontinue the use of the name “alternative mining bill” to avoid the confusion and misinterpretation this has caused. The bill is not about a new method of mining (“alternative mining”) nor is it focused or only about mineral extraction (“mining”). It is a bill on overall mineral resource management and governance (not just mining) that will replace the Mining Act of 1995 (it is an alternative bill to RA 7942, and not about alternative mining).

Our colleagues from the church sector had started to use the term “Natural Resources Management and Stewardship Bill”. For purposes brevity for this primer and to capture the essence of the bill, we are referring to it here as the “Minerals Management Bill”.

What are the important provisions of the Minerals Management Bill?

Conservation of our Mineral Resources Use of minerals must take into consideration the allocation needed to be used by future generations, remining and recycling of minerals will the prioritized, as well as the rehabilitation of old abandoned mines. If to be used by the present generation, it would only be under a rational needs based utilization and domestic use oriented framework, with actual mineral extraction further weighed against the ecological and social benefits and costs from other land uses.

For the Benefit of the Filipino People The exploration, development and utilization of mineral resources are primarily for the benefit of the Filipino people, it will be geared towards national industrialization and modernization of agriculture, towards this end the state shall build the domestic processing capacity for industrial metals and other labor-intensive downstream industries. Only mineral resources that shall be needed for local industries shall be mined.

Minerals Utilization Framework This will be formulated to support plans for national development based on the principles of sustainable development. This framework will define minerals to be extracted, volume to be extracted and when to be extracted. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) will be transformed into a purely scientific research institution under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and exploration of strategic minerals shall be exclusively and directly undertaken by the State through the Bureau. The MGB shall come up with an inventory or mineral resources, identify strategic minerals needed for national development, demarcate mineral areas and build baseline information on watershed continuums.

Multisectoral Minerals Councils (MMC) Affected local communities and local government units will be those who will be potentially impacted by mining located in relation to a watershed continuum – an area consisting of a watershed and the interconnection from the headwater to the reef. A Multisectoral Mineral Council will be created in each watershed continuum area which will have the authority to allow extraction and processing of minerals in their area and approve mineral agreements.

Ownership of Indigenous Peoples Mineral resources within ancestral domains/ancestral lands are the collective private property of the indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs). No mining activity shall be conducted within the ancestral domains/lands of ICCs/IPs without their free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).

No Go Zones There will be areas closed to mining operations which will include among others – critical watersheds, geo-hazard areas, small island ecosystems, lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, key biodiversity areas, etc. Furthermore, mineral extraction will not be allowed in areas more beneficial to other land use, priority will be given for more viable and more sustainable livelihood choices for communities, with utmost importance given to food security and livable conditions for  peoples;

Mineral Agreements Mineral resources development, utilization and processing shall be reserved for Filipino citizens and for Filipino corporations. Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAAS) and any other agreements granting foreign corporations to explore or extract mineral resources will not be allowed. The contract area per agreement shall not exceed five hundred (500) hectares and the maximum allowable total contract area for any person in any given watershed area will be seven hundred-fifty (750) hectares. The term for a mineral agreement will be the mine life plus five (5) years for rehabilitation, which in total should not exceed fifteen (15) years.

Maximizing Gains and Preventing or Mitigating Adverse Effects Corporate transparency and accountability will be established. At the onset, contractors shall submit their Environmental and Social Impact Prevention and Mitigation Plan (ESIPMP) which will also contain a Social Development Management Plan. Mandatory consultations with affected communities shall be undertaken in each phase of mining operation, and free prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples at each mining phase shall also be required. Human rights protection will be prioritized and penalties imposed for violations thereof .

Open-pit mining method for the extraction of mineral ores shall be prohibited.

Equitable Sharing Aside from fees and taxes, government shall have at least a share equivalent to ten per cent (10%) of the gross revenues from the development and utilization of mineral resources that are owned by it. In case of mineral operations within ancestral domains, the contractor shall pay at least ten per cent (10%) of the gross revenues as royalty to the ICCs/IPs. Community development programs shall not be considered as royalty payment.

PHILIPPINE MINERAL RESOURCES ACT of 2010

EXPLANATORY NOTE

The country’s natural resources form a great part of the nation’s wealth.  Consequently, all activities which have the propensity to impair the quality of our natural resources should be subjected to scrutiny before being allowed to continue.

One of the industries which have massive societal and environmental impacts is the mining industry. It is essentially an extractive industry which results in the depletion of nonrenewable resources.

However, despite the naturally polluting tendency of the mining industry, the Philippine government’s legislation and policies are largely pro-mining beginning with the passage of the Philippine Mining Act or Republic Act 7942 in 1995. It sought to liberalize the mining industry to foreign investment in order to meet the demands of globalization. The law was eventually declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the leading case of La Bugal B’laan Tribal Association v. Ramos, a decision that was overturned less than a year later. The history of that case mirrors the proclivity of the government to act against its better judgment once the so-called profits of mining are brought into the picture. Indeed, the law has continued to serve as a platform for every administration’s determined pursuit of mining as its most lucrative attraction for foreign investors, especially the previous administration.  In executive issuances EO 270 and 270-A, the previous administration outlined a national policy agenda for the revitalization of the mining industry as a pillar of growth. It declared that the vast mineral resources of our country should be utilized for economic development and poverty alleviation, especially in the rural areas. It further fast-tracked the procedures for processing mining applications and diluted the authority of the local governments over mining issues.

Considering the history of serious mining accidents and the mining corporations’ poor record in complying with our inadequate mining laws, the government’s deference to the mining industry should be better examined. The baseless messianic view that the mining industry will attract foreign investment and save the country’s faltering economy should be pitted against the numerous controversies over the massive social, economic and environmental impacts of the mining industry. In particular, the easy access of mining companies into indigenous peoples lands and ancestral domains and the controversy over mining in watersheds and other protected areas must be studied thoroughly.

Furthermore, the devastating effects of mining on the health of the environment and communities on the long-term and at a large scale are both well-documented and unprecedented. Mining is an intrinsically dirty, wasteful and destructive industry – it threatens 40% of the world’s undeveloped forests, causes the emission of 142 million tons of acid-rain-causing sulphur dioxide each year, and consumes from seven to 10 percent of the world’s energy. The creation of one gold ring generates three tons of waste, mostly left behind in indigenous peoples’ domains where half of the world’s gold are mined.

In the Philippines, the Marcopper disaster in Marinduque is one of the most notorious examples dramatizing the Philippines’ own struggle with the hazards of mining. More than three million tons of toxic sludge were released into the Boac River in 1996 when a drainage tunnel burst, rendering the river biologically dead. This after two decades of environmental havoc had already been brought about by Placer Dome, the Canadian mining firm responsible for the Marcopper mines, which caused the dumping, via surface disposal, of more than 200 million tons of mine tailings directly into the shallow waters of Calancan Bay, covering corals and sea grasses and the bottom of the bay with 80 square kilometers of tailings.

Yet, despite these statistics and experiences, our policy-makers have championed mining as the virtual savior of our economy and made it a “pet project” of sorts, laboring under the illusion that it can still bring high revenues for the government. The reality, however, is that the mining industry is currently one of the weakest sectors in the global market. The big transnational mining companies have cut their workforces by the thousands and mining projects have been shelved with the global financial crisis which Karsten Fuelster, a mining division business development official for the International Finance Corp. have said is leading to “substantial short-term demand destruction.” He adds that prices for metals apart from gold are expected to fall and projects will get delayed and exploration curtailed, while “funding difficulties will get worse” before they get better and that fund-raising will become “nearly impossible for non-producing companies” and that “many will not survive.”

Even historically speaking, mining has never been shown to drive national economic development and is not expected to do so now, especially vis-à-vis the social, cultural, environmental, health, and even the economic costs it entails. In the Philippines, mineral-rich provinces continue to have higher poverty incidences despite the operations of mining companies. Instead, mining has exacerbated conflicts, resulted in the displacement of indigenous peoples and other rural communities, heightened the numbers of extra-judicial killings and of human rights violations, and caused and exacerbated the pollution and depletion of natural resources which for generations have sustained livelihoods and defined our people’s way of life. To pour resources into an industry which contributes only 1.2% of the country’s GDP, instead of, say, into the agricultural sector which accounts for 35.7% of the country’s labor force and economically contributes more to the country’s GDP at 18%[1] simply defies good common sense.

The promotion of mining, therefore, in this time of crisis will translate not only to bad investment but also to the waste of what little resources we have remaining, these resources referring to both money in the bank and to those that are most essential such as water and food. There is an obvious and urgent need to shift our present framework on mining. We need to rethink our current priorities and recognize that it not only impossible but also unwise to separate mining from the discussion of resource use, water, food security, environment, human rights, 1indigenous peoples and economics.

If there is truly a need for mining and if we are to engage in the mining industry as a nation, then there are certain safeguards that we need to establish to be able to meet the needs of our peoples now and in the future. There must be a shift of land use priorities towards sustainable development and food security. The benefits of mining for the Filipino peoples should clearly be established before even considering exposing our land and our people to the risks and hazards that are entailed.

Against this backdrop, the exploration of our mineral wealth must be understood within the context of environmental protection and sustainable development.  The policies of the State should be aimed at preventing disasters rather than mere remedial in nature. Since the effects of the mining industry are irreversible and the remedies or rehabilitation of the environment after disasters have occurred would be merely an exercise in futility, it would be better to formulate policies that will abate the occurrence of such deleterious events.

In this regard, the policies, principles and provisions contained in the 1995 Mining Act sorely lack what is needed to effectively respond to the needs of the Filipino people and to survive the current economic and environmental crises that we together face. This bill is therefore proposed to take the place of the current mining law and, among others:

– guarantee that the exploration, development and utilization of mineral resources are primarily for the benefit of the Filipino people;

– prioritize more viable and more sustainable livelihood choices for communities, giving utmost importance to food security and livable conditions for the peoples;

– ensure that the gains from the mining industry would be maximized while preventing or mitigating its adverse effects of the same;

– recognize that the issue of environment is local and prioritize local participation in decisions surrounding mining; and

– protect human rights of communities and individuals and impose harsh penalties for the violations thereof.

(Announcement) National Indigenous Peoples Policy Agenda: Building Consensus, Claiming the Future

The Consultative Group on Indigenous Peoples Concerns (CGIP) invites you to the OPENING of a groundbreaking summit geared toward upholding the rights of the country’s indigenous peoples on March 21, Monday, from 9am to 10:30am.

National Indigenous Peoples Policy Agenda:
Building Consensus, Claiming the Future
21-23 March 2011
Pearl hall, Seameo-INNOTECH, Diliman, Quezon City

IPs will come to Manila to discuss their Action Agenda with the Aquino Administration.

Renaud Meyer, country director of the United Nations Development Program will be on hand to deliver the opening remarks at 9 am to be followed by the keynote message of Viel Aquino-Dy of the Assisi Development Foundation Inc.

The summit will be attended by 150 representatives from 42 indigenous groups around the country, including the National Cultural Communities committee of the House of Representatives. They jointly call for the review of the implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, the strengthening of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and the protection of IP rights to self determination and access to their ancestral lands and natural resources.

On March 23
An IP Morning Ritual will also be held at 6AM. President Aquino is invited to give the Keynote Address to the Presentation of the IP Action Agenda. A Press Conference of the IP groups will follow at 12nn.

For more information pls contact: Maricel A. Tolentino (CGIP-ANGOC), 9945894, 09178191089; Robie Halip (Office of Cong. Teddy Baguilat, Jr.), 09214928244