Tag Archives: South Cotabato

[From the web] Anti-mining groups stage rally in front of international mining conference venue -ATM

Press Release
September 10, 2013

Anti-mining groups stage rally in front of international mining conference venue
Demand a stop to the plunder of our mineral wealth

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Community leaders from mining-affected areas and their support groups in Manila marched to Sofitel Plaza Hotel to demand a stop to the plunder of our mineral wealth as the Chamber of Mines and international miners open their International Mining Conference.

Rallyists wore masks of ex-Senate President Enrile, former Sen. Manny Villar, Manuel Zamora, former DENR Secretary Mike Defensor, infamous pork barrel queen Janet Napoles, Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa—and of sad faces. The identified people are allegedly cohorts of the mining industry in Malacañang, if not miners themselves.

“We are here to expose to the public who the bigger, more powerful and worse thieves than Janet Napoles – the global miners and their allies among the Filipino government officials,” Judy Pasimio, coordinator of Purple Action for Indigenous Women Rights said.

“The Filipino people have expressed so much anger about massive corruption among our elected officials. We should be able to bring this same anger, if not stronger, and repulsion to the issue of high-level and systematic theft of our minerals, forest and waters by transnational mining corporations aided by Filipino government officials-cum-businessmen who profit from this themselves. The impacts of such thievery of our natural resources by large-scale commercial mining operations have great adverse impacts not just for the communities affected, but for all the Filipino people who are part of this whole web of eco-system – not just now, but for generations to come. They steal not just our resources, but also the future of all the communities who rely on these resources for survival,” Pasimio added.

The annual international mining conference is welcomed for the past five years by activists and mine-affected communities, who oppose the aggressive promotion of Philippine mining. This year, with the theme “Moving Forward—Harnessing Opportunities,” the mining conference will talk about Executive Order 79 and the proposed changes in the mining fiscal regime.

Meanwhile, advocates of a new mining law believe that higher tax and other mining fees is not enough to compensate for the negative impacts of mining to the environment, and people’s lives.

“The present mining law allows for the plunder of our mineral resources at the expense of communities, Indigenous Peoples, and the environment. The list of human rights violations, killings and environmental disasters brought about by mining operations necessitates an overhaul of the policy. To amend the law to raise revenue from the industry is not enough. We need a new law, we need the alternative minerals management bill enacted now,” SOS Yamang Bayan Coordinator Erwin Quinones said.

Rene Pamplona, advocacy coordinator of the Social Action Center of Marbel in South Cotabato concluded, “We have seen how the government is actively supporting the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project, but we also know that it is not ready to manage such large-scale project. Secondly, it is unable to resolve possible conflicts; in our context these are present conflicts, which the government cannot respond to.

For instance, it doesn’t have an immediate remedy for mining mishaps—there are no grievance mechanisms and immediate response for complaints of mining-affected communities. While there is delay in establishing these mechanisms, directly-affected communities are threatened by more violations.”

During the midterm elections, ATM launched a NO CAGE campaign against senators who were linked to mining—Cynthia Villar, Angara, Gordon, and Enrile.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB. (30)

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0927) 761.76.02 nc@alyansatigilmina.net

Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Advocacy Officer (0915) 331.33.61 policy@alyansatigilmina.net

http://alyansatigilmina.net/2013/09/11/press-release-anti-mining-groups-stage-rally-in-front-of-international-mining-conference-venue/

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[Event] Interfaith groups march to international mining confab venue to reject miners-ATM

Interfaith groups march to international mining confab venue to reject miners

Solemn prayer offered for victims of mining-related violence, tragedies

Photo by ATM

Photo by ATM

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A hundred strong Church leaders, seminarians, lay and community representatives marched to Sofitel Plaza Hotel carrying torches and candles formed “STOP MINING” on Monday (September 9, 2013).

Groups led by the Association of the Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) and Faith-based Congress Against Immoral Debts held a liturgical prayer and cultural celebration on the eve of the opening of an International Mining Conference.

Fr Marlon Lacal, O.Carm, executive secretary of the AMRSP led the prayer. He said: “We call on the people behind mining-related tragedies, killings, and violence, put a stop to these. We are all creations of the Heavenly Father and we ought to be stewards of the environment and our brothers and sisters.

Tonight, we pray not only for the past tragedies, but for our future, and the future generations who are the rightful owners of a safe and nurturing environment.”

Community leaders, who shared their negative experiences and struggles against mining in their provinces, including Nueva Vizcaya, Cagayan, South Cotabato, and Zambales, joined them.

“In Creation based on Biblical accounts, Nature or the Environment is our elder brother/sister. As Filipinos, we must pay respect to our “kuya or ate,” but what is happening now, Mining Companies and the Philippine Government are not giving their “respect.” So we urge this companies and government to pay respect, STOP THE IRRESPONSIBLE MINNING!” said Bryan Paler, project coordinator of FCAID.

The solemn prayer protest is part of a weeklong campaign against the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the country. It is an annual Anti-Mining Solidarity Week of Actions held every September parallel to the International Mining Conferences hosted by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines. 

Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina further added, “This annual business-as-usual gathering of international chambers and investors to talk about our mineral resources is intolerable. It is very unfair that these people, together with pro-mining government officials can discuss the future of our forests, environments, and peoples. And so we continue to call on the government—stop prioritizing the mining industry. To the mining industry we say ‘You are unwelcome here!’

Garganera concluded, “If these people are sincere in giving us sustainable development, then they will consider intergenerational equity and put a stop to all this exploitation—save our future, stop mining! Until we figure out how we want to maximize our mineral resources, mining should be stopped!”

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB. (30)

For more information:

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0927) 761.76.02 nc@alyansatigilmina.net

Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Advocacy Officer (0915) 331.33.61 policy@alyansatigilmina.net

http://alyansatigilmina.net/gallery/interfaith-groups-march-to-international-mining-confab-venue-to-reject-miners/

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[Blog] Human rights report rattles XSTRATA-SMI By Bernie Lopez

Human rights report rattles XSTRATA-SMI
Admits funding the military
By Bernie Lopez
eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com

Sister Raquel Blog

The Tampakan Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) is an international study, which was triggered mainly by two factors. First was the escalating violence and killings in the Tampakan proposed mine site area after Xstrata-SMI began exploration, and after the massacre by military elements of the wife and two sons of Daguil Capion, an anti-mining leader (see Youtube links at the end). The suspects are now facing a protracted military court trial. The second factor was the indirect complicity of Xstrata-SMI in human rights violations due to admittance by the Kiblawan Mayor during a congressional hearing that Xstrata-SMI was funding military elements. In fact, SMI openly and casually admits it gave a million pesos to Task Force KITACO, the military group overseeing the proposed mine area.

The pathetic replies of Xstrata-SMI to the HRIA are a rehash of old obsolete retorts of the mining industry already proven wrong. And what was strange is the copy emailed to this author by SMI Public Affairs, did not have a letterhead, and was unsigned. Were they indeed rattled by the report? Did they have an utter fear of coming out in the open, if they indeed felt they had something substantial to say. The preliminary reply on the draft HRIA was signed by Callow.

(Author’s note. This article is a bit lengthy because it gives a historical overview. Readers can go direct to Part 2, if they know the overview. Part 1. Overview. Part 2. SMI Response to the HRIA.)

Read full article @www.sisterraquel.com

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[Press Release] Recent military attack of tribal leaders alarm anti mining groups -ATM

August 29, 2013

Recent military attack of tribal leaders alarm anti mining groups
Confirms murder of Blaan Bong Fuling and son

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Marbel Diocese and support groups in Manila are alarmed at the escalating militarization and human rights violations in the mine area of Tampakan.

After an ocular visit conducted by the team headed by SAC Marbel in Bulol Kalon, Bong Mal Bong Banwe’, recent violent incident occurred confirmed the brutal killing of Anteng and Victo after the house of Anteng Freay was raided by the AFP personnel under the 39th IB, PA and the CAFGUs of 72nd IB in Bulol Kalon. After the killings an encounter ensued between Blaan “Fulong Kamlon Banwe’ (Blaan Tribal warriors) and the government troops.

“We seek the immediate action of the Commission on Human Rights, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Office of the President on this. It has become natural for the people in Tampakan and nearby areas to have guns and different ammunitions for fear of their lives everytime the military and paramilitary groups pass by,” said Fr Joy Pelino, SAC-Marbel Director.

He added: “The government must conduct a thorough investigation on this event. The Blaan Indigenous People’s are dying protecting their ancestral domain. Government troops are killing the IP’s and the government is waging war against them by encroaching into their territories.“

The incident

August 23, between 3:00 to 5:00am, the Bong Fulong Anteng Freay was shot few meters away from his house and almost in front of his wife. Their house was also strafed with bullets—church and support groups of mining-affected communities in South Cotabato and Davao del Sur confirmed after a visit to Bulol Kalon.

Minutes after, Kiit called out to her son who was sleeping in a makeshift hut to tell him his father was killed. Kiit shared Victor went running towards his house and together with his wife and son they run but CAFGUs and the member of the 39th IB were waiting for him and shot him with an M16 rifle also few meters from his wife and son.

Different kinds of empty shells were found including 134 empty shells were found in Anteng Freays house, and 27 empty cartridges where Victor was shot.

The ocular visit report found that military allegations of encounter between the tribal warriors the 39th IB PA and CAFGUs only happened after the killing of Anteng and Victor.

Tampakan Human Rights Impact Assessment Report

In June 2013, the Institute for Development and Peace together with the Commission on Human Rights launched the Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) for the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project. It examined the different impacts of the mining project to the human rights of affected communities. This included the concerns regarding the militarization of the ancestral lands where the mine is located.

The HRIA found that the situation in the area to be precarious, and that “responsibly operating an open-pit mine does not seem feasible.” It added: “Violent incidents and the potential for further violent conflicts interact with and add to these imbalances. Regular armed forces and paramilitaries deployed in the area have intensified frictions between those who have hopes in gaining from a potential mine and those who oppose the project. Thus, the prospect of the mine and the company’s presence have triggered dynamics of militarization and the escalation of violence in the region.”

“The government cannot keep still and quiet on this. This increasing incidents and regularity of the encounters and attacks by our own military against indigenous peoples is unacceptable. Military groups should be pulled out and the incident be immediately investigated on”, Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina said.

Recent Killings in Tampakan

October 2012: Juvy Capion, 27 and two of her sons Jordan, 13 and John, 8 were massacred.

January 29, 30: Kitari and Diyo Capion, tribal defense warriors were killed in military encounter. Kitari Capion brother of Daguil Capion was killed during the raid of the members of the Task Force KITACO, 72nd IB.

June 28: Eking Freay, eldest son of Bong Fulong Anteng Freay and his brother in-law were ambushed in Brgy. Kimlawis, Kiblawan, Davao Del Sur. Sonny Boy died instantly.

One of the stumbling blocks of SMI-Xstrata’s mining project is the absence of the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) of the indigenous groups in the area who oppose the mining project.

ATM is part of the Tampakan Forum, a coalition of international and local organizations that serves as a technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB. (30)

For more information:
Fr. Joy Peliño, SAC-Marbel Director, sacmarbel@yahoo.com
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0927) 761.76.02 nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Advocacy Officer (0915) 331.33.61 policy@alyansatigilmina.net

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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[Statement] ATM Statement on the Downscaling of the Tampakan Mining Project

14 August 2013

ATM Statement on the Downscaling of the Tampakan Mining Project

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This is a victory for the B’laan people, the local communities in Tampakan and the Provincial Government of South Cotabato.

Contrary to the claims of SMI, Indophil and Xstrata, the government rules on mining projects are clear.  The miners have i) failed to secure the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of the indigenous B’laan communities; ii) failed to secure the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the DENR, and iii) failed to convince the local government to overturn its ban on open-pit mining.

SMI, Indophil and Xstrata had failed to comply with Philippine laws and regulations, and can’t be allowed to proceed.

Employment and livelihoods will not be drastically affected with this downgrading of operations.  In fact, 80,000 farmers will continue to benefit from the Mal River as water source to irrigate more than 200,000 hectares of farmlands in South Cotabato alone.  Around 4,000 hectares of forestlands will be preserved, to mitigate the impacts of climate change. The rights of indigenous peoples will now be respected.

The struggle continues.  ATM will sustain its support to the struggle of B’laans to resist the entry of mining in their ancestral domains.  We will work with farmers and women groups to upscale and expand sustainable agriculture.  We stand in solidarity with the local government of South Cotabato to define its own path of sustainable development, without destructive and irresponsible mining.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB. (30)

For more information:

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 0927.7617602

Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Research and Advocacy officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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[Press Release] Groups condemn ambush of B’laan leader and member in minerals-rich Davao del Sur -ATM

Groups condemn ambush of B’laan leader and member in minerals-rich Davao del Sur
Demand immediate investigation, pullout of paramilitary groups

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Groups, supporting the opposition of indigenous peoples and faith-based organizations to the Tampakan Copper Gold Mining project, condemn the recent report of ambush of B’laans Eking Freay and his brother-in-law Sonnny Boy Planda on June 28.

It was between 8:00 to 9:00 in the morning when the two were on their way home after selling their crops in Brgy. Kimlawis when they were fired at by alleged members of Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) under Task Force KITACO (Kiblawan, Tampakan, Columbio). Planda was fatally wounded and later died while on his way to Davao City for medical treatment, a report said.

Freay, community leader of T’bol of the Bong Mal B’laan Territory, was hit in the right thigh and the back but was able to flee toward Bong Mal.

“We condemn the killings and the attack to indigenous communities who have opposed mining in there area. There is more than enough evidence to show that the presence of paramilitary groups there is detrimental to the communities, especially when we know that Task Force KITACO is paid for by the mining company opposed by the people,” said Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina.

Freay is one of the sons of Bong Fulong Anting Freay of the Freay-Capion Clan, and publicly expresses his strong opposition on the presence of SMI/Xstrata and of military detachments in Bong Mal.

“The recent attempted murder of Eking Freay and Sonny Boy Planda adds to the series of unsolved killings victimizing the B’laan community opposing the Tampakan Copper Gold Mining project. The incident clearly illustrates that communities affected by large-scale and destructive mining operations consistently serve as magnets of violence, deception and other forms of human rights violations,” said Dr. Nymia Pimentel Simbulan, executive director of the Philippine Human Rights Information Center.

Simbulan also called on the different government agencies to immediately take action.

“We call upon concerned agencies of the Aquino government specifically the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Justice Department to immediately take action so that justice may be served to victims of the crime. We likewise, urge the Commission on Human Rights to implement measures that will protect the indigenous peoples’ right to life and security.”

Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action—Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP-NASSA) added: “This kind of incident demands immediate action from the State that should protect and uphold the rights of Filipino peoples. Such impunity done towards our indigenous brothers and sisters in Tampakan is unacceptable. Gathering that this is mining-related, if not solely due to mining investments, then the more that mining should not be allowed in the area.”

During a Congressional Hearing of the National Cultural Communities chaired by Rep. Teddy Brawner-Baguilat in February 2013, then Kiblawan Mayor Marivic Diamante confirmed that Sagittarius Mines Inc (SMI) is providing funds for the CAFGU and military operations in the KITACO area.

“We demand an immediate investigation of government offices concerning this. This is not a random event and most importantly, this is not the first time that anti-mining indigenous peoples are killed in Bong Mal, where there is strong opposition to the Tampakan mining project,” Garganera concluded.

The groups maintained that opposition to mining operations in the country are nearing tense levels, as violence and human rights abuses against anti-mining communities also escalate. The same environmental and human rights groups urge Congress to pass a new mining law to address these conflicts.

ATM is part of the Tampakan Forum, a coalition of international and local organizations that serves as technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB. (30)

Press Release
July 5, 2013
For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0927) 761.76.02 nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Dr. Nymia Pimentel Simbulan, PhilRights Executive Director nymia.pimentel@gmail.com
Fr. Edu Gariguez, CBCP-NASSA Executive Secretary edugariguez@gmail.com
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Advocacy Officer (0915) 331.33.61 policy@alyansatigilmina.net

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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[petition] DENR Sec. Ramon Paje: That Pres. Aquino Cancel the FTAA of SMI-Xstrata Tampakan Mining Project

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Ramon Paje: That Pres. Aquino Cancel the FTAA of SMI-Xstrata Tampakan Mining Project

Petisyon ni
Fr. Oliver Castor, CSsR
Quezon City, Philippines

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Despite the existing ban on open pit mining issued by the local government unit of South Cotabato, the residents and indigenous peoples community are still under grave threat from the world’s fouth largest copper producer Xtrata Copper and its Philippine contractor SMI Philippines.

This is because of the existence of the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement signed by the Office of the President that allows SMI to large-scale exploration, development and utilization of an estimated average of 360,000 ounces of gold and 375,000 tons of copper per annum within a mine area covering approximately 10,000 ha (SMI 2013: 11). The open pit would reach an extent of 500 ha and a depth of 785 m while the topsoil stockpile would cover an area of 5 ha and the pit ore stockpile 49 ha (AECOM 2011: 2-9).

If realized, the Tampakan Copper-Gold Mine would be the largest open-pit mine in the Philippines and one of the largest of its kind worldwide. It straddles the jurisdiction of two regions, four provinces, four municipalities and nine barangays. The area is predominantly characterized by rainforest. About 5,000 people – approximately 1,000 households – inhabit the affected area and will require resettlement of inhabitants majority belonging to indigenous communities

An independent Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) on Tampakan conducted by the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) exposed various moments of government deficiencies referring to the human rights of people possibly affected by the Tampakan Project. The HRIA observed a context which is characterized by a combination of government failures, prevailing poverty, a high level of marginalization and discrimination against indigenous groups, especially in terms of basic services, and a generally volatile conflict situation.

It pointed out already occurring and high risks to the human rights of vulnerable population should the project proceed, as the rights to an adequate and meaningful Information and participation, livelihoods, Health, education, culture, and the fundamental right to life, security, and liberty .

Para kay:
Secretary Ramon Paje, Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
That Pres. Aquino Cancel the FTAA of SMI-Xstrata Tampakan Mining Project
Dear Mr. Paje,
Greetings of Peace!
We, residents of South Cotabato together with our fellow Filipinos from the rest of the country respectfully request your good office to help us stop the human rights violations and grave attack to the environment in South Cotabato by cancelling the Financial and Technical Assesment Agreement of Sagittarious Mines, Inc in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

An independent Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) on Tampakan conducted by the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) as commissioned by MISEREOR, the German Catholic Bishops’ Organization for Development Cooperation, the Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund (Fastenopfer) as well as the Swiss protestant development organization Bread for All, recently published on June 13, 2013 observed a context which is characterized by a combination of government failures, prevailing poverty, a high level of marginalization and discrimination against indigenous groups, especially in terms of basic services, and a generally volatile conflict situation.

It pointed out already occurring and high risks to the human rights of vulnerable population should the project proceed, such as violations against the rights to an adequate and meaningful Information and participation, livelihoods, Health, education, culture, and the fundamental right to life, security, and liberty .

In conclusion, a high degree of social volatility and hightened risk of environmental depredation highlight that the possibility to conduct large-scale open-pit mining in a way that is responsible from a human rights perspective does not seem feasible in Tampakan in the current situation.

If realized, the Tampakan Copper-Gold Mine would be the largest open-pit mine in the Philippines and one of the largest of its kind worldwide.

Please do not let this happen to the people of Tampakan. Please do not let this continue to happen to the B’laan tribe. Please be instruments of human rights and stewards of the Philippines’ environment.

Sincerley yours,

Rev. Fr. Oliver Castor, C.Ss.R.

Sumasainyo,
[Ang iyong pangalan]

Sign petition @ https://www.change.org/ph/mga-petisyon/department-of-environment-and-natural-resources-denr-sec-ramon-paje-that-pres-aquino-cancel-the-ftaa-of-smi-xstrata-tampakan-mining-project?utm_campaign=share_button_chat&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

[Press Release] Anti-mining campaigners led bike tour against Ph mining law -SOS Yamang Bayan

Sikad Padyak Laban sa Mining Act 95 Photo by Susan Corpus Lilak

Sikad Padyak Laban sa Mining Act 95 Photo by Susan Corpus /Lilak

Anti-mining campaigners led bike tour against Ph mining law
Sikaran! Tadyakan! Mining Act of 1995 Wakasan!”

SOS-YB LOGO

Manila — Anti-mining advocates and bikers led a bike tour from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Office to the Supreme Court in Manila today to highlight the negative social and environmental impacts of mining and call to repeal the Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942).

This is in relation to the upcoming Supreme Court Oral Arguments on a petition questioning the constitutionality of Sections 80 and 81 of RA 7942 and DENR Adm. Order 2007-12 that establishes the supposed income derived from Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) and Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAAs) set on June 25.

Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina and one of the convenors of Tao Muna Hindi Mina! Campaign said: “We would like to emphasize the need to revisit the current mining regime, present how mining activities have impacted host communities, and let the public judge if the failed promises of development are worth the social and environmental injustices caused by this destructive industry.”

Tao Muna-Hindi Mina! Campaign puts large-scale mining as a major issue that the government should respond to. It reiterates the cry of mining-affected communities for the government to prioritize people and environment over mining.

Incoming Akbayan Representative Barry Gutierrez also urged the Supreme Court to rule against the constitutionality of the Mining Act of 1995 and vowed to file the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB), a bill being pushed by SOS-Yamang Bayan Network.

The AMMB would serve to offset the negative impacts of mining on the environment, strengthen stakeholder participation in mining contracts and ensure that local communities and the government have a greater share of mining profits.

“The Supreme Court should listen to the millions of voices that are opposed to the current system of mining in the country. The current mining law has only favored the large mining companies at the expense of indigenous peoples, local governments and communities, and the environment,” Gutierrez said.

SOS-Yamang Bayan Network Coordinator Erwin Quiñones further explained: “The petitions for prohibition and mandamus were filed in March 2008 to defend the lives, dignity, livelihood, land, and environment and rights of mining-affected communities and Indigenous Peoples. We believe that we should not allow this policy to legalize the attack against our land and people. Despite our call to the Supreme Court to immediately resolve the constitutionality of Sections 80 and 81 of the Mining Law, we also question the constitutionality of the law as a whole.”

The groups are united in their call to repeal the current mining law and enactment of a pro-people, pro-environment alternative minerals management bill that will be filed as the Congress opens in July 1.

“We’re hopeful that we can pass an alternative mining bill in the incoming 16th Congress and correct the years of disastrous mining policies that came as a result of the current. Mining Act,” Gutierrez concluded.

Garganera and Quiñones spoke in behalf of communities opposing MPSAs and FTAAs in Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino Provinces; and South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur. The activity was organized in support of lawyers who will represent the petitioners during the Oral Arguments on June 25—a continuation of the initial hearing last April 16 held in Baguio City.

25 bikers were sent off from DENR in Visayas Ave to Supreme Court in Padre Faura Manila where they were met by a hundred rallyists. (30)

The SOS-Yamang Bayan Network is a national, multi-sectoral movement composed of individual advocates, mining-affected communities, national peoples’ alliances, environmental organizations and networks, church-based organizations, human rights organizations, national NGOs, sectoral organizations from the indigenous peoples, youth, women, farmers, congressional representatives, leaders and personalities advocating for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and the enactment of a new minerals management bill.

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, 0927.671.7602, nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Erwin Quiñones, SOS-YB Network Coordinator, 0921.304.4884, erwin.quiñones@lrcksk.org

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

sign petiton2 smallPhoto by TFDPJ26 copy

[Press Release] STOP COALporate GREED! Protect the ENVIRONMENT! -PMCJ

DENR ACT ACCORDING TO YOUR MANDATE
STOP COALporate GREED! Protect the ENVIRONMENT!

Photo by PMCJ

Photo by PMCJ

pmcj logo

Climate activists trooped to the Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR) office to observe World Environment Day. Led by Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), the group demanded DENR to stop supporting coal projects and issuing new environmental compliance certificate (ECCs)for a project that is detrimental to the environment and communities.

Further, they voiced out their concerns on the alarming scientific revelations, and how the global community and our country must act in the face of climate catastrophes.

The Figures Don’t Lie

Presently there are nine operational coal–fired power plant a total of 4,278 MW, plus there are an additional 16 approved coal-fired power plant projects already in the pipeline producing a total of 4,552 MW. At the same time, there are already sixty coal mining permits given by the national government. These are environmentally critical projects led by Consunjis, Aboitizes, Lopezes that benefit from high electricity rates, given the permit to destroy mountains and other ecosystems, affects peoples’ lives, displaces communities and increase the countries GHG contribution.

According to Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), “The recent announcement of Isidro Consunji that they plan to put up coal-fired power plants in almost all off grid areas in the country clearly demonstrates DMCI’s complete disregard of people’s welfare and environment protection over and above realizing their profit. Add to that the plan of the Aboitiz to beef up their power investments to P125 billion which will translate to a 600MW coal-fired power plant in Subic, 400MW 3 coal-fired power plant expansion in Pagbilao, 300MW Therma South coal plant in Mindanao and an additional coal plant in Cebu, and several more proposed coal plants across the country. Clearly an expression of extreme corporate greed masquerading as bearer of progress and development,”

Kathryn Leuch, coordinator of Palawan Alliance for Clean energy (PACE), added: “Most glaring of these environmentally-destructive projects about to seek approval from the DENR is the 15MW coal-fired power plant which is proposed to be built in biodiversity-rich Narra, Palawan. We at PACE contend that there is no immediate need for an additional energy source in the province. Also, there are three sites for tapping hydropower which can provide about 80GWh of energy, about half of the annual demand of the consumers. To allow the project’s fruition is to inflict direct assault on the environment since Palawan has a unique biodiversity and a sensitive environment. Such a project will only benefit the DMCI scions, the Consujis, who also have a stake at the Berong Nickel Corp. We need assurance from the DENR, the government’s arm in supposedly caring for our country’s natural resources that they will not allow the building of this facility which will serve as a major threat to the preservation of nature.”

In Mindanao, the Alcantaras’ Conal Holdings Corporation is planning to produce energy allegedly for another controversial project, the Tampakan Copper and Gold Mining Project in South Cotabato. It was found that the development of the coal plant is aimed at providing needed electricity for Sagittarius Mines Inc’s everyday operations.

Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina and council member of PMCJ said: “This is a clear example of corporate capture of the country’s natural resources, for their own benefits. Natural resources that are defense against floods, landslides and erosions. The sad fact is that people bear the brunt of disasters. Like in the case of the Padcal spill, Philex hid behind a force majeure provision to buck penalty payments, after almost a century of profiting from mining in Benguet.”

Further, PMCJ questioned the policies of the government on protecting the environment and reiterated the need to do something to ensure that our ecosystems are intact and able to mitigate the impacts of climate change to Filipino communities.

Be Part of the Solution and Not Part of the Problem!

Climate activists oppose the direction of the government in further burning fossil fuels for energy and encourage the government to tap renewable energy sources to solve the country’s power problems.

“Although we only contribute a little to the total global GHG emission around 0.31%, it doesn’t mean that we must allow proliferations of coal-fired power plants in the country. Our leaders must have a paradigm shift, instead of banking on these projects for possible source of energy that the country needs. We acknowledge that we must tap energy sources to meet our demand for power but we definitely say that it must not be done in this manner.

“We want to draw the line here, PMCJ calls for a stop in the use of dirty and harmful energy, like coal and other fossil fuels, renewable energy must be harnessed in a faster way to avert harm caused by these energy sources. At the same time these renewable energy alternatives must be democratic and accessible to each and every Juan dela Cruz because first and foremost and that they are truly the ones entitled to all the developments that this nation reaps.” Arances stressed.

PMCJ also asserts that these coal projects will further destroy the environment and further weaken the adaptive capability of communities and vulnerable areas in confronting the negative effects of climate change. It will only farther aggravate and multiply effects of disasters to the Filipino people.

“We must not let corporations decide for our nation’s fate, we must combat corporate greed in all front and in all forms before this nation is thrown out to the dogs,” Arances concluded.

Recent scientific findings released from Maura Loa Observatory in Hawaii measured the carbon dioxide concentration in the Earth atmosphere at an alarming figure of 400 parts per million (ppm). The international coal industry was identified as the main contributor of more than 60% of the total global GHG emissions.

Reference:
Gerry Arances, PMCJ National Coordinator – 09328778578, gerry.arances@gmail.com
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator – 09 something, nc@alyansatigilmina. Something
Kat Leuch, PACE Coordinator – something
Valentin de Guzman, PMCJ Campaign Staff – something

PRESS RELEASE
June 5, 2013 – World Environment Day

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[In the news] Endorsement for Tampakan project under new SouthCot execs unlikely -MindaNews

Endorsement for Tampakan project under new SouthCot execs unlikely
By Bong S. Sarmiento
May 20 2013

MindaNews

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/20 May)— The ban on open pit mining in South Cotabato will remain a major stumbling block to the effort of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) to operate the Tampakan project with the election of the new set of provincial officials during the May 13 polls.

This after Rep. Daisy Avance-Fuentes (second district), who has been elected as the new governor, vowed to implement the ban on open-pit mining in the next three years, or until 2016.

It was Fuentes who signed the controversial Environment Code that bans open-pit mining before stepping down as governor in 2010 after completing three straight terms.

Fuentes (Nationalist People’s Coalition) defeated incumbent Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr. (United Nationalist Alliance) on Monday’s elections on a vote of 117,855 and 111,214, respectively, or a margin of 6,641 votes.

“I will implement the provisions of the Environment Code that bans open-pit mining,” Fuentes said, noting she was the one who signed the controversial measure.

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[Statement] 30 pieces of silver for SMI’s security -Tampakan Forum

30 pieces of silver for SMI’s security

Statement of Tampakan Forum on SMI’s funding of KITACO and CAFGUs
25 February 2013

Tampakan ForumIt is deplorable. Kiblawan Mayor Marivic Diamante disclosed during the Congressional hearing of the National Cultural Communities of the House of Representatives last 21 February 2013 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.

Speaking in a matter-of-factly manner, Diamante in her testimony before the members of the 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 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.

Mayor Diamante last October 2012 even posted a reward of Php300-thousand for the capture of Daguil Capion immediately after the killing of Capion’s wife Juvy and two children. To her this was a gallant move though she claimed it was not her own brainchild but due to the prompting of her colleagues who rationalized that the B’laan’s will not cooperate with them if the bounty is too small. This is callous and deeply insulting to the honor and integrity of the B’laans.

This deadly deal between the Local government units (LGUs) of KITAKO and SMI defies the latter’s claim to the legitimacy of its claim to bring development in Tampakan. It negates its corporate policy and commitment to respect the human rights of the communities where it operates .

Supporting the CAFGUs and the military can never be justified by SMI. It has only fanned the divide between those who are for and against the Tampakan Mining Project. And it is a conflict created by SMI’s undue persistence to pursue the mining project despite the legal impediment imposed by the provincial ordinance banning open-pit mining in South Cotabato.

Unfortunately, the Mining Act of 1995 and despite Executive Order (EO) 79, is focused on mineral extraction and administrative procedure on how mining and its various phases should be done. We know that conflict is always central to extractive activities like mining given its socially invasive and environmentally destructive nature and processes. Yet the conflict resolution mechanism provided by RA 7942 is not even sufficient and are not appropriate not to mention the capacity and political will of the regulatory agency such as the MGB to handle and address such conflicts. It also lacks among others, provision on access to justice in cases of corporate abuses.

Under the UN “Respect, Protect and Remedy” Framework on Business and Human Rights to which our country is one of the signatories, its foundational principles provide that the state has State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business enterprises, through appropriate policies, regulation, and adjudication; business enterprise has the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, which means that business enterprises should act with due diligence to avoid infringing on the rights of others and to address adverse impacts with which they are involved; and the state should provide greater access to victims HR violations to effective remedy, both judicial and non-judicial means.

Betrayal is what the Congressional Investigation has uncovered from the testimonies of Mayor Diamante, the military and police officers. A betrayal by the government who sworn to protect the human rights of the people and by SMI which has callously and persistently dangled the billions of pesos of expected mining investment unheard of in Southeast Asia. A betrayal with irreparable consequence of digging a big huge and deep hole big enough to sink Marbel right in the heart of the mountains and forest in Bongmal where the majority of the B’laan communities have lived since time immemorial.

Mayor Diamante’s claim to peace and security along with the police and military seemed like a hallowed pact to secure the interest of SMI and the PNoy government’s fetish for investment to sustain the economic growth that it has been bragging about. Yet, the human rights of our B’laan sisters and brothers seemed just a bargain in exchange of the proverbial 30 pieces of silver for which Judas betrayed Jesus that led to His Passion and Death.

Today’s 27th year celebration of EDSA People Power Revolution seemed empty and hallow as we are hounded by the spectre of the Tampakan Mining Project and the conflict it has created among the B’laan communities.

STOP SMI’S DEADLY DEAL WITH TASK FORCE KITACO. DISMANTLE TASK FORCE KITACO. CANCEL THE FTAA OF SMI.

UPHOLD THE RIGHTS OF THE B’LAAN IP COMMUNITIES

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

Contact persons:
Atty. Mario E. Maderazo, PMP-AMC Advocacy and Legal Officer, 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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[In the news] Govt draws flak over Tampakan ECC as groups warn of more environmental disasters, rights violations -InterAksyon.com

Govt draws flak over Tampakan ECC as groups warn of more environmental disasters, rights violations
By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, InterAksyon.com
February 20, 2013

InterAksyon logo2ANGELES City, Pampanga – The government is coming under fire for granting an ECC to Sagittarius Mining Inc., with senatorial candidate Migz Zubiri saying the move ‘disregards’ concerns for the environment and local stakeholders.

“I’m saddened by the decision because it shows disregard for a provincial ordinance that bans open pit mining in the province” of South Cotabato, Zubiri said on Wednesday.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources – acknowledging South Cotabato’s ban on open pit mining – had earlier denied an ECC to Sagittarius, the local unit of mining giant Xstrata Plc, which seeks to operate the $5.9-billion Tampakan copper-gold project.

SMI appealed the decision to Malacanang and, earlier this month, the Palace ordered the DENR to “resolve the company’s ECC without any consideration of requirements other than those imposed under the Environmental Impact Study system.”

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[In the news] S.Cotabato gov snubs go-signal for Tampakan mine -RAPPLER.com

S.Cotabato gov snubs go-signal for Tampakan mine
By RAPPLER.COM
February 20, 2013

rappler_logoCOTABATO, Philippines – The governor of South Cotabato province, which hosts the Tampakan copper-gold project, rejected the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued on February 19.

The ECC allows Sagittarius Mining Inc. (SMI) to start commercial operations at the US$5.9 billion mine. The grant of the ECC was delayed for over a year largely due to the open pit ban imposed by the local government of South Cotabato.

“We have existing environmental code for the province and it includes ban on open pit mining. It’s still legal. Unless the government declare it illegal, then we will continue to implement it,” Governor Arthur Pinggoy said by phone when asked to comment on the latest development.

“If the government will nullify our environmental code, I am going to gather the people and those who are supporting our code to get their views about our possible next steps,” he added.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje told reporters in Manila on Tuesday, February 19, that they issued the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to the SMI project upon the recommendation of the Environmental Management Bureau, an agency attached to the DENR.

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[In the news] South Cotabato Provincial Board supports Governor Pingoy vs SMI project | Sun.Star

South Cotabato Provincial Board supports Governor Pingoy vs SMI project | Sun.Star.
By Bong S. Sarmiento
February 20, 2013

sunstar-network copyKORONADAL CITY — The Provincial Board (PB) of South Cotabato rallied behind the environment code that bans open pit mining, as the local Catholic Church urged the public to intensify the opposition to the Tampakan copper-gold project now that it obtained an environmental compliance certificate (ECC).

“The SP (PB) of South Cotabato will maintain its stand that the open pit ban provided for in its environment code will remain until a competent court declares it ultra vires (beyond one’s legal power or authority),” Vice Governor Elmo Tolosa, the PB’s presiding officer, said Wednesday.

He said the board was not surprised that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) eventually granted the ECC permit of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) because it was in favor of the project all along.

Read full article @www.sunstar.com.ph

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[Statement] Alyansa Tigil Mina strongly condemns, argues environment permit issuance to SMI-Xstrata Mines

Alyansa Tigil Mina strongly condemns, argues environment permit issuance to SMI-Xstrata Mines

atm-logoManila—Alyansa Tigil Mina strongly condemns and questions the issuance of a conditional environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to Sagittarius Mines Inc-Xstrata Philippines (SMI-Xstrata) for the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project.

ATM has informed the Office of the President and the Mining Industry Coordinating Council of the many questions found in the Environmental Impact Assessment submitted to the Environment Management Bureau for the operations of the Tampakan project. We are not convinced that the submission merits the issuance of the said permit, and that many concerns are yet to be resolved before operations are to be allowed to push through.

South Cotabato Environment Code. Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code puts responsibility to local governments to implement policies necessary for the communities. In 2010, the Provincial Ordinance was signed with a provision banning open pit mining in their province due to identified risks. From this perspective, ATM believes that only a Supreme Court ruling can pronounce it unconstitutional or not “implementable”.

Free Prior Informed Consent. There are five tribal communities whom SMI-Xstrate should secure consent or FPIC from—they only have acquired one. Up to now, SMI-Xstrata has not yet fully complied with these and is yet to secure four other FPICs.

Lack of social acceptability and a string of human rights violations. Other than the FPIC from tribal communities, SMI must inform other communities inside and outside the mine tenement area who may be affected by the project—this includes downstream communities of Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, Saranggani, and Sultan Kudarat, whose water sources will be affected, and whose lives will be at risk in case an accident happens throughout the mine life.

As an aftermath also of the opposition against the Tampakan mining project and militarization of the area, people have been murdered, including five B’laan tribe leaders and members. This new development will escalate human rights violations and bloodsheds. We have earlier confirmed that the B’laan people already declared a pangayao or bloodwar against the military deployed in their ancestral domains.

Threat to the stability of the mountains and its watersheds and increases risks to disasters. From the tragedies of Marcopper in Marinduque to the Padcal Mines leakeage in Benguet last year, to the recent Antique Mines landslide, it would be unintelligent to risk the lives and resources that will be affected if the Tampakan facilities break. It is worth noting that one of the mine facilities will be situated on top of several active faults, and that the open pit will cut down at least 200 hectares of old growth forests and watersheds.

In the SMI-Xstrata Environmental and Social Impact Statement, one of their consultants also noted that: “The Tampakan mine has a potential of loss of life and high environmental damage if a failure of dams or rock storage facilities occurs.”

Unfortunately, these rather very important concerns were put aside in the Aquino government’s desire to accommodate the wishes of foreign investors to the country. This move compels us to believe that this government can turn a blind side on environmental and social issues in favor of promised benefits of development projects.

We reiterate that the ECC issuance puts many communities and resources at high risk, and that this is outright a violation of South Cotabato’s Environment Code and the newly issued Executive Order No. 79. This permit is not only questioned by Alyansa Tigil Mina but by the mining-affected communities who have and will not allow mining in their ancestral lands. (30)

About us:

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of Executive Order 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and passage of the AMMB.

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 09277617602

Farah Sevilla, Policy Research and Advocacy Officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net, 0915-3313361

Visit our website: http://www.alyansatigilmina.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alyansa-Tigil-Mina/141872819244724?ref=ts&fref=ts
Twitter: atm_philippines

ATM Statement
February 20, 2013

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[Press Release] Groups Condemn Government for Awarding ECC of SMI/Xtrata -PMCJ

Groups Condemn Government for Awarding ECC of SMI/Xtrata:
TAMPAKAN MINING WILL WORSEN CLIMATE RISK IN MINDANAO

pmcj logoIn a recent development that will worsen the vulnerability of the country, particularly Mindanao, climate justice and environmental groups strongly denounce the P-Noy Administration for recently awarding the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) of SMI/Xtrata and pursuing the construction of the mining project in Tampakan, South Cotabato amidst strong protest.

“We strongly condemn this decision of the DENR and Malacanang!” said Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), “Typhoon Pablo proved that Mindanao is not safe from disasters brought by typhoons and flooding. The approval of mining in Tampakan, as well as other areas in Mindanao, will only aggravate these climate risks and impair the adaptive capacity of communities near the area.” said Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ).

Yesterday, February 19, 2013, the DENR granted Xstrata and its local subsidiary Sagittarius Mines Inc (SMI) its ECC after pressure from Malacanang. Last February 4, 2013 Malacanang through Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, the national government lambasted the decision of the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) of denying SMI/Xtrata its application for an ECC.

SMI/Xtrata was twice denied by the DENR of its ECC “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.”

“Studies have shown that recent devastations caused by Typhoon Pablo (2012) in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, parts of CARAGA region, and Typhoon Sendong (2011) in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan are directly and indirectly caused and worsened by logging and mining in those areas” Arances stressed, “Malacanang have condemned the people of South Cotabato, Saranggani, Davao del sur, and Sultan Kudarat with this act!”

Anti-mining and environmental campaigners agree to these assertions. “Even with great care, mining will always be a threat to our natural resources and to human beings alike. Tampakan will not only exhaust the minerals for the interest of big foreign mining corporations, but it will also fuel climate disasters and can potentially replicate the Philex disaster in Padcal, Benguet.” said Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina, also a member PMCJ.

Last August 2012, the leading promoter of responsible mining in the country, Philex Mining Corp. faced charges from the government due to the leaking of 20 million metric tons of mining waste into the two major rivers in the Cordillera region when its tailings pond burst due to heavy rains. According to DENR, this is the biggest mining disaster in the Philippines.

Tampakan: A Disaster Waiting to Happen

Based on SMI/Xtrata’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the basis for the granting of its ECC, it will have to cut 800 hectares of virgin forest in the area, will use up and waste billions of litres of freshwater, displace thousands of indigenous peoples from their ancestral domain and erect the largest tailings dam in the country, where 1.1 BILLION tons of toxic tailings/wastes will be stored.

“In an area where rainfall is rising and is expected to rise even further, erecting the biggest tailings dam in the country, is a disaster in the waiting, ala Marinduque and Padcal disasters” adds Garganera.

A recent data of the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) culled from the mid-range scenario study of PAGASA stating that Region XII will expect 14.8 percent increase in rainfall with a 0.9C to 1.3C increase in temperature. Rains last month affected the provinces of Saranggani, South Cotabato and General Santos City where 1,102 families where affected by severe flooding due to intense rains in three days.

“With the impacts of heavy rains that our province had just recently experienced, all the more that we cannot allow the contruction of the Tampakan project.” exclaims Agapito Dimol, Program staff of Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) Socsargen Chapter and a resident of General Santos City

FDC Socsargen Chapter sees that climate impacts, mainly due to storms, will only get worse and will not spare their region.

“The residents of South Cotabato have voiced its rejection of the Tampakan project since the beginning, as embodied in our provincial ordinance banning open-pit mining. The national government should recognize this.” Dimol adds, “we demand that they revoke the ECC.”

“Mining has no place in highly vulnerable areas in the Philippines. The P-Noy Administration must heed the call of its citizens and once and for all reject the Tampakan project. We must prepare ourselves for disasters and not do the opposite. Arances concludes.
About PMCJ:
The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) is a broad movement consisting of 103 national networks/alliances and local organizations representing basic sectors, grassroots communities, the marginalized and most vulnerable, including women, indigenous peoples, fisher folk and coastal communities, farmers and rural communities, forest communities, formal and informal workers, environmental groups, urban poor, and others in the Philippines that aims to lead the joint struggles, campaigns and actions in putting forward the climate justice framework as a fundamental element of solving the climate crisis.

 

Please refer to:

Gerry Arances, PMCJ Coordinator, 09328778578,gerry.arances@gmail.com

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, 09277617602,nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Agapito Dimol, FDC Socsargen Program Staff, 09212861341,gscfdc@yahoo.com

PressRelease
February 20, 2013

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[Press Release] Romblonanons pass Environment and Natural Resources Code -ATM

Romblonanons pass Environment and Natural Resources Code
Mining identified as crucial environmental concern

atm-logoOn Monday, February 11, the Provincial Council of Romblon passed its Environment and Natural Resources Code that intends to legislate measures to protect and conserve its environment and natural resources, specifically on destructive industries such as mining and logging.

Gov. Eduardo Firmalo said: “Finally, the Environment Code is passed! We are firm with our decision that Romblon is a special province, with beautiful resources that we should not forgo because of its promised development. As caretakers of our province, we agree that to protect the environment and natural resources is one of our important roles.”

Romblon provincial board member Felix Ylagan, the principal author of the environment code, said that it is timely to approved the ordinance to correct the errors made against the environment.

“The people have spoken very clearly, let there be liberality, it has been said time and again to ‘apply the law not by the letters that killeth but by the spirit that giveth life’; the legislation has far reaching benefits which will protect us now and those of our children’s children,” Ylagan said.

Among the most controversial sections include Sec. 64 on Mining where it stated:

Mining shall not be allowed within one (1) kilometer radius from a declared watershed or watershed areas as identified by the municipality concerned; Mining shall not be allowed above watershed areas regardless of its distance from the declared watershed areas; Mining shall not be allowed in tourism and agricultural areas as identified by the municipality concerned; in areas identified by Presidential Executive Order No. 79, series of 2012; and in Section 19 of Republic Act 7942 as provided shall be applicable within the purview of Section 64 of this Code.

Reacting to the recent passage of the ordinance, Sibuyan Islands Sentinels League for Environment (Sibuyan ISLE) said that the legislation challenges local government units to integrate climate change action and disaster risk reduction management plans in their development programs.

Sibuyan ISLE director Rodne Galicha said: “The path to sustainable development has been laid down and the decision-makers must implement programs which will not worsen the effects of the climate crisis—conservation, protection and rehabilitation of the environment are top priorities as well.”

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) welcomed this development and encouraged more local governments to legislate regulations to mining despite reported intimidation by some national government agencies to give favor to mining operations.

“We are pleased to find out that the provincial policy has been passed already, mainly because we believe that the local policy makers should take a stand and ensure that their environment is safe from critical industries. We congratulate the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Romblon,and the people for the strong political will!” Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of ATM said.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Romblon Ecumenical Forum Against Mining (REFAM) led by Msgr. Ernie Fetalino of the Roman Catholic Church and Bishop Ronelio Fabriquer of the Philippine Independent Church said: “Indeed the strong will of the people reigned after many years—it is the moral obligation of the Provincial Council to decide on the fate of the people towards a genuine environmental stewardship.”

REFAM further said that the approval of the environment code is a significant gift to Romblomanons on the second year commemoration of the province’s biggest anti-mining rally on February 14.

The Romblon Environment Code is passed three years after the South Cotabato Environment Code was passed. This is one of the reasons why the Department of Environment and Natural Resources cannot issue SMI-Xstrata’s Environmental Compliance Certificate for the Tampakan mining project.

Sibuyanons Against Mining (SAM)/Sibuyan Isle, Alliance of Students Against Mining (ASAM) and REFAM together with other lay leaders awaited the adoption of the said Environmental Code.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB. (30)

For more information:
Felix Ylagan, Sangguniang Panlalawigan, 0928-5031215
Pearl Harder, REFAM Secretariat, 0917-5927932
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 0927-7617602
Farah Sevilla, Policy Research and Advocacy Officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net, 0915-3313361

PRESS RELEASE
February 13, 2013

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Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Press Release] Romblonanons pass Environment and Natural Resources Code -ATM

Romblonanons pass Environment and Natural Resources Code
Mining identified as crucial environmental concern

atm-logoOn Monday, February 11, the Provincial Council of Romblon passed its Environment and Natural Resources Code that intends to legislate measures to protect and conserve its environment and natural resources, specifically on destructive industries such as mining and logging.

Gov. Eduardo Firmalo said: “Finally, the Environment Code is passed! We are firm with our decision that Romblon is a special province, with beautiful resources that we should not forgo because of its promised development. As caretakers of our province, we agree that to protect the environment and natural resources is one of our important roles.”

Romblon provincial board member Felix Ylagan, the principal author of the environment code, said that it is timely to approved the ordinance to correct the errors made against the environment.

“The people have spoken very clearly, let there be liberality, it has been said time and again to ‘apply the law not by the letters that killeth but by the spirit that giveth life’; the legislation has far reaching benefits which will protect us now and those of our children’s children,” Ylagan said.

Among the most controversial sections include Sec. 64 on Mining where it stated:

Mining shall not be allowed within one (1) kilometer radius from a declared watershed or watershed areas as identified by the municipality concerned;

Mining shall not be allowed above watershed areas regardless of its distance from the declared watershed areas;

Mining shall not be allowed in tourism and agricultural areas as identified by the municipality concerned; in areas identified by Presidential Executive Order No. 79, series of 2012; and in Section 19 of Republic Act 7942 as provided shall be applicable within the purview of Section 64 of this Code.

Reacting to the recent passage of the ordinance, Sibuyan Islands Sentinels League for Environment (Sibuyan ISLE) said that the legislation challenges local government units to integrate climate change action and disaster risk reduction management plans in their development programs.

Sibuyan ISLE director Rodne Galicha said: “The path to sustainable development has been laid down and the decision-makers must implement programs which will not worsen the effects of the climate crisis—conservation, protection and rehabilitation of the environment are top priorities as well.”

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) welcomed this development and encouraged more local governments to legislate regulations to mining despite reported intimidation by some national government agencies to give favor to mining operations.

“We are pleased to find out that the provincial policy has been passed already, mainly because we believe that the local policy makers should take a stand and ensure that their environment is safe from critical industries. We congratulate the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Romblon,and the people for the strong political will!” Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of ATM said.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Romblon Ecumenical Forum Against Mining (REFAM) said: “Indeed the strong will of the people reigned after many years—it is the moral obligation of the Provincial Council to decide on the fate of the people towards a genuine environmental stewardship.”

The Romblon Environment Code is passed three years after the South Cotabato Environment Code was passed. This is one of the reasons why the Department of Environment and Natural Resources cannot issue SMI-Xstrata’s Environmental Compliance Certificate for the Tampakan mining project.

Sibuyanons Against Mining (SAM)/Sibuyan Isle, Alliance of Students Against Mining (ASAM) and REFAM with Msgr. Ernie Fetalino of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop Ronelio Fabriquer of the Philippine Independent Church together with other lay leaders awaited the adoption of the said Environmental Code.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB. (30)

For more information:
Felix Ilagan, Sangguniang Panlalawigan, 0928-503. 215
Pearl Harder, REFAM Secretariat, 0917-5927932
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 0927-7617602
Farah Sevilla, Policy Research and Advocacy Officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net, 0915-3313361

Press Release
February 13, 2013

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[Press Release] Stop the killings of the B’laans, No to SMI-Xstrata Mines -SANLAKAS

Stop the killings of the B’laans, No to SMI-Xstrata Mines

sanlakas-logo2Barely 3 months after the Tribal communities woke up in the gruesome massacre of Juvy Capion 27 and her two sons Jordan 13 and John 8 last October 18, 2012 a new round of killings occurred.

Last January 29, 2013 two B’laan tribe members Kitari and Diyo Capion were killed by military men allegedly from the Task Force Kitaco. . This is a special task force created under the Army’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade. Whose main assignment is to oversee and secure the areas where SMI-Xstrata’s mining project operates.

“Sanlakas calls on the Commission on Human Rights for an immediate investigation of the killings and mounting human rights violations in the area. Instead of providing justice to the massacred Capion family’s the military sent more troops and conducted more operations in the area. This is overkill, sending trucks loaded with militaries with high powered guns in a peaceful area of the B’laans until SMI-Xstrata came. “Said James Miraflor Sanlakas Party list National Spokesperson.

Helpless men, women and children run for their lives seeking refuge for the fear of getting killed leaving their houses, lands and all means of living. The B’laans is the one of the many Indigenous Peoples living in the area where the SMI-Xstrata mines operate. And they are not alone in opposing the project, in fact just last month the Sanguniang Panlalawigan of South Cotabato re-iterated their position banning open pit mining in the area. A method of extracting minerals from the earth which SMI plans to utilize. According to Sanlakas Sec.General Ms.Manjete Lopez “This are all reminiscence of the Marcos Martial Law era. Wherein the military instead of providing security and protection to the very people they swear to serve ,gave their allegiance to multinational corporations to continue plundering the nation and making the people sink more in the quagmire of poverty. This must be stop and justice must be served immediately. I personally experience same harassment and I knew how it felt to be in their shoes.”

Sanlakas strongly believed that Justice and Peace in Tampakan can only be re-instituted when SMI-Xstrata is no longer around and the military are pulled out from the area. Then the killing stops.
February 7, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS STATEMENT
Contact Person: James Miraflor, National Spokesperson @ 0927-613-2068
Val De Guzman, Media Liaison @ 0919-965-7509

 

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[Statement] B’laan tribe members killed in alleged military ops -ATM

B’laan tribe members killed in alleged military ops
SMI-Xstrata Mines-affected communities call for court martial, high-level investigation

atm-logoTribal communities affected by the SMI-Xstrata Tampakan Copper-Gold Mining Project and their support groups are calling for a high level investigation by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Commission on Human Rights on the escalating tension and violence in the area, military presence and unstable peace and order situation in the mining-affected communities in South Cotabato.

Only three months after the massacre of the B’laan family composed of Juvy Capion, 27 and two of her sons Jordan, 13 and John, 8 last October 18, another alleged encounter was reported killing B’laan clan members, Kitari and Diyo Capion.

January 29, 30 encounter

According to reports gathered by the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel (SAC-Marbel), on January 29, Kitari was going to Sitio Bong Mal when he saw military men identified as members of Task Force Kitaco. Fearing for the safety of his family, he ran back to his home in Nakultana and told his wife and children to leave and stay at their relatives’ place. Thereafter, an encounter took place. Kitari was shot twice.

He was brought to the Allah Valley Hospital in Koronadal City where he underwent operations from the sustained gunshot wounds, but after two hours was declared dead. The family together with SAC-Marbel immediately claimed his body.

January 31, Kitari’s remains were to be buried in Nakultana when another shoot-out between armed men took place in Bong Mal. A relative of Capions was wounded in that encounter and brought to Kiblawan for medication.

Juvy, Kitari and Diyo are related to Daguil Capion, a tribal defense warrior opposing the entry of mining companies in their ancestral domains. After the killing of his wife Juvy and their children, Kiblawan Mayor Marivic Diamante announced a reward for his captivity—dead or alive. (Reported by Inquirer Mindanao, 20 October 2012)

Peace situation and militarization in Tampakan

Communities and their support groups fear that the increasing presence of militias as investment defense forces is due to the entry of SMI-Xstrata in pursuit of the Tampakan mining project.

The SMI-Xstrata Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) for the Tampakan Gold-Copper Mining Project covers 23, 571 hectares in four provinces namely, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur, and Saranggani. The permit overlaps four ancestral domains including CADT 102, CADT 108, CADT 72 and CADC 74.

A pre-requisite before actual operations is the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of indigenous communities who will be affected by the development project. In this case, B’laans and other tribes have not issued their approval/FPIC for the project that will take their ancestral lands from them. It is believed that the presence of the military has increased tensions in the area since the indigenous communities are preventing the mining company from conducting any activity, due to this lack of FPIC.

People, Church and IP Rep call for immediate action

A postponed high-level investigation by the Commission on Human Rights and the Philippine Army is still awaited by the communities and support groups there.

Fr. Joy Peliño, SAC-Marbel Coordinator said: “We condemn this tragic incident even the killings on both sides of indigenous peoples and militaries. This is too much already for the communities that is why we are calling on the President to command the government agencies to investigate and resolve this situation.

We need the intervention of the Commission on Human Rights, together with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police in the Region, to investigate the situation in the mountains. We are aware that there is increasing deployment of military forces and the area, but we believe that there is no concrete reason for them being there other than looking after the mine area thereby threatening the rights of indigenous communities there.”

During a dialogue in the presence of Bp. Gutierrez, Gen. Bernardo, Col. Flores and Lt. Col. Imperial, and the representative from the Bong Mal communities last February 3 the military assured the communities that they can go back to their place safely. Military officials also promised that more restrictions would be ordered against Col. Bravo and that a court martial will proceed in two weeks time.

Another agreement was that space would be granted to the Fulong in Bong Mal to discuss and decide what is best for their communities given the current realities, and to know more who Daguil Capion is and so as not to be labeled simply as a bandit but someone who defends their ancestral land.

“I believe this threat alerts the communities and pushes them to fight against the military for fear of their life and to defend their ancestral land,” Peliño added.

Meanwhile, Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat, chairman of the committee on national cultural communities has scheduled a Congressional Hearing to be held in General Santos to hear from the community leaders themselves their problems concerning human rights and extra judicial killings.

Baguilat said: “I condemn the killing of my IP brothers and sisters and the continued threat of violations against them. In our planned Congressional Inquiry this coming Feb 21, my colleagues in Congress and I will study the different cases and put forward concrete actions to the government offices.”

Peliño concluded: “We look forward to the Congressional Inquiry this February but we also want immediate actions. We strongly call on PNoy to carefully examine whose interest is promoted and protected here but with a clear bias to the least—especially of the IP communities, not just the foreign investment and to command the pull out of military deployment in the area or at the minimum order the cessation of all military activities and violence in areas affected by the Tampakan mining project. Thus allowing the spaces for the Fulong and Bong Fulong. We rather their fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution for self-determination and right to defend their ancestral land.”

Task Force Kitaco is a special task force created under the Army’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade assigned to oversee the secure areas where SMI-Xstrata’s mining project operates.


For more information:
Fr. Joy Peliño, SAC-Marbel Coordinator, sacmarbel@yahoo.com
Atty. Mario Maderazo, PMPI-AMC Project Coordinator, pmpsecretariat@yahoo.com
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0927) 761.76.02 nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Research&Advocacy Officer, (0915) 331.33.61 policy@alyansatigilmina.net

Press Statement
February 5, 2013

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

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