April 2012


eastwind journals30 Apr 2012 04:15 pm

eastwind journals 36 – TAMPAKAN FORUM PRESS RELEASE fact finding mission

eastwind journals 36
 
eastwind journals are the personal journalistic writings of Bernie Lopez or other articles he endorses. They are not part of the healing ministry. Any views or comments are his own and does not reflect those of the ministry.
 
________________
PRESS RELEASE
TAMPAKAN FORUM
April 30, 2012

 

Digos City, Davao del Sur – Mining, Conflict and Death of IPs in Tampakan
 
 
Following the blocked entry of the church and human rights groups led fact-finding and solidarity mission to Bong Mal, Tampakan South Cotabato.Twenty seven (27) of the more than a thousand B’laan natives awaiting the arrival of the team in Bong Mal, managed to get past the barricades in Brgy. Kimlawis, Kiblawan Davao del Sur to meet the fact-finding team in Digos City last April 26, 2012.

 

Earlier, iron pipe barricades were set up by hand-held radio equipped pro-mining locals and scholarship grantees of SMI at Pulang Bato, Tampakan, the first gateway to Bong Mal, the actual site of the proposed 500 hectare-wide open-pit of the mining project. A woman who earlier identified herself as the barangay’s bookkeeper restrained the barricaders on giving any more information.

 

In their traditional garbs and with faces still weary from the 3-hour road travel aboard hired motorcycles and lack of sleep the night before, men and women, Blaan elders, young mothers with their infants, middle-aged adults and adolescents laid down mats on the floor to squat on for the focus group discussion with the fact-finding team at the multi-purpose hall of the San Isidro Labrador Parish in this city.

 

In their native tongue, translated in Visayan and Filipino by local translators, the B’laans recounted stories and testimonies on the situation besetting their communities in the first quarter of this year, every now and then retracing past or earlier events related to the Tampakan mining project of Sagittarius Mines. 

 

Diya Capion, an elder woman told the team of her anguish and pain of having lost her sons since her family staunchly opposed the mining’s entry into their once peaceful communities. One has been imprisoned and the other three sons declared by the military as outlaws and fugitives. Life has never been the same to her and her family since then. She along with the other fellow B’laans have witnessed and fallen victims to physical and psychological violence wrought upon them by military elements who destroyed houses, crops and makeshift warehouse where they keep their farm produce in the course of a man hunt operation against one of her sons, Daguil Capion.

 

“ Takot na kami pumunta ng kagubatan para manguha ng pagkain namin simula nuong  pinagbawalan na ang mga lalaki pumunta doon (we don’t go to the forest anymore to fetch food since it has been prohibited) “ said one of the younger men who is somehow able to express in Filipino. “Takot kami lalo na sa nakita namin na kapag tutol ka sa mina, yung mga sundalo ng 27th IB  na lumalakad sa gilid-gilid para mag patrol, manghuhuli at ma-charge kami na NPA (we are afraid because if we are caught by the 27th IB soldiers on foot patrol, they can arrest us and just charge us as NPA/rebels) ” , he added in broken Filipino. 

 

One of the women, holding back tears, lamented the injustice that she and her family suffered. She questioned the fact that her husband who became wanted by the military, and was subsequently captured was still killed last December 5, 2011 during an operation as claimed by the military. She said that images of her helpless husband still haunt her to this date.

 

Another B’laan woman narrated that last January 13, in search of her now fugitive husband who she said was one of those who actively barricaded against the mining project, police personnel raided her small abode, divested them of their few belongings such as cooking pots and pillows, terrorized her children when in their presence, the police threatened to arrest her, should she refuse to reveal her husband’s whereabouts.

 

Still other stories freely came out; burial grounds of a young man’s parents accidentally ran over by a bulldozer while undertaking road widening, razed houses and farms as a result of road expansion activities, SMI and the military prohibiting people to construct new huts or abodes and imposing curfew in the community, male members of the community were not allowed to go to the forests to gather food, hunt and farm and women have to seek the permission of the military who assigns time limit when they go to the forests to perform tasks and roles which the men are already unable to do because of the imposed restraints.

 

They also cited that SMI notices were posted in their houses last march 21, setting march 22 as cut-off period for them to enlist in something that is totally incomprehensible for them as many of the B’laans couldn’t write and read and had to rely on others to explain and translate to them  in their native language the information in the posted notices which were in Bisayan.

 

“They beat up, hurt and kill our men then outlaw those who hide away or stand up against them, threaten our women and children,control and limit our movements, access to our communal resources, prohibits our natural way of life” the mother of the now fugitive sons bemoaned.

 

It also disturbed them that attempts to bring these problems  to the attention of their village chieftain  only to be told that they have no rights anymore over their lands as it is public domain anyway.  This, they say is totally an unacceptable explanation since Bong Mal is their ancestral domain, and it is a common known fact.

 

As aggrieved parties, they reiterated that they are not even after payment or indemnification anymore. They just want SMI out from their ancestral domains. An elder man said “ if other communities wants SMI in their area, let them and we will respect that, but the mining company should not force their mining operations in communities who doesn’t want them, such as Bong Mal.”

 

Most of the gathered B’laans agreed to the thoughts expressed by several of them that the present conflict and rift between and among B’laan communities and clans caused by the mining issue can be resolved if only they will be left by themselves to settle and bridge the divide based on their customary laws and beliefs. “This is not possible as long as 7 military detachments with soldiers telling us that we are crazy not to accept SMI in our lonely place they say, are in our midst and SMI personnel meddles and worst, employ deceptions and manipulations to fan even more the conflict that they created in the first place,” said an elder B’laan man.

 

A teenage B’laan girl who was silent and was just listening intently for the most part of the exchanges opened up in a chant-like tone about her fears and feelings on the present situation that befell her community and her people. “ There’s not many of us B’laans anymore left in this world, If SMI will really force its way and its mining operations in our community , it is like vanishing half of our race us B’laans, because by their doing, we are made to fight and turn against each other. It is the children like us who will suffer the most and I fear this will all lead to pangayao (tribal war) if they will not stop“ the young B’laan uttered in native vernacular.

 

Most of those in the group were in unison in agreeing to an elder woman ventilating that they are being driven away from their ancestral lands. “ They are forcing mining on us and sending us away. But we have nowhere else to go. Not in the resettlement area where they want us relocated. When our lands are taken from us, and us, plucked away from our land, it is tantamount to death for us B’laans.”

 

Meanwhile, Digos Bishop Guillermo Afable said that in the 3 years that he has followed the developments related to the Tampakan mining issue , it was only after having personally listened to the stories of the B’laans gathered that day in the diocese’s auspices that he came to understand the social  impacts of the mining project to the natives of the area, “which goes beyond claims of economic benefits by the mining company, the local and national government units supporting and aggressively pushing for it. The rights of the Indigenous people should be respected and protected not risked “ the bishop added.

 

Tampakan Forum had already pointed out last year in its critic of SMI’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) document submitted to the Environmental Bureau of Management (EMB) for review that mitigation in the form of a Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) fails to appreciate the unique cultural identity of the B’laan, and merely enumerates standard social development interventions . The ESIA fail to understand and truly take into account the interplay between the Blaans, their culture, knowledge and interaction with their environment is critical.

 

The Tampakan project is set to dislocate an estimated 2,600 families or 4,000 individuals , mostly or 3,000 B’laans in the mines development site that straddles 3 overlapping CADTS (Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles ) and 1 CADC (Certificate of Ancestral Domain Certificate) belonging to the B’laan communities covering about 74% or 7,095 of the 10,000 hectares of the proposed mine site.

 

Tampakan Forum is a technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue convened by the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. Anti-Mining Campaign (PMPI) in collaboration with Social Action Marbel, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID), Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Friends of Earth Philippines (LRC-KSK), Philippine Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLINKS) and the London Working Group on Mining in the Philippines and IUCN CESP-SEAPRISE.

  

Contact Persons:
FR, GILLARME JOY PELIÑO –  (083) 2283793
ATTY. MARIO E. MADERAZO – (02) 3534287, (mobile) 09228501873

 

The Secretariat
Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc.
2nd Floor, No. 8 Cordillera St. Cor. Ramirez St.
Barangay Doña Aurora
1113 Quezon City , Philippines
Tel. No. (02) 353- 4287
Fax. No. (02) 353- 4396
www.2003pmp.org
eastwind journals30 Apr 2012 01:54 am

eastwind journals 35 – THE INEVITABLE WAR IN TAMPAKAN

eastwind journals 35
 
eastwind journals are the personal journalistic writings of Bernie Lopez, and are not part of the healing ministry. Any views or comments are his own and does not reflect those of the ministry.
 
________________________________
THE INEVITABLE WAR IN TAMPAKAN
Tampakan Fact Finding Mission Article No. 2
 
Read Article No. 1 – Open Letter to Pres. Aquino and Xstrata, re – tampakan genocide. http://www.sisterraquel.com/2012/04/eastwind-journals-34
View other past FFM articles – shown at the end.

 

This article will show how data from the recent Tampakan Forum Fact Finding Mission (more information at the end) points to the inevitability of war in Tampakan, site of the proposed Xstrata-SMI gold-copper mine. The ‘loyalty matrix’ below shows the increasing polarization of forces leading towards war.

 

continue
                                     CLICK IMAGE FOR FULL VIEW

 

Analysis –
  • The B’laans (in red) are at the center of conflict, splintered beyond re-integration, the final victims of war. They make up the 25,000 of the affected 40,000 individuals. Is an inter-tribal peace pact possible? Yes, but improbable because both sides are extremely polarized.
  • The President, beleaguered by powerful lobby forces on both sides, does not have a clear stand, postponing a promised EO, sticking to the status quo of contradicting laws (Mining Act versus the IPRA). He has expressed support for both mining and anti-mining groups.
  • Xstrata stockholders in the London and Swiss stock markets are unaware of the human rights abuses against Filipinos. When a Subanen chieftain spoke during a London stockholders meeting of TVI, they were shocked at the inhuman treatment of indigenous people and voted that TVI close its Midsalip mine in Mindanao.
  • National government agencies are predominantly pro-SMI for strange reasons. Note that either you are for or against, nothing in between, meaning if you are pro-SMI you are necessarily anti-people, based on abuses the B’laans are getting from SMI.
  • The DENR temporarily denied the ECC of SMI based on an open pit ban imposed by the South Cotabato government. There are fears the provincial government may succumb to Xstrata-SMI financial and political pressures to reverse the ban.
  • When the ECC was denied, this emboldened Xstrata-SMI to further intensify its mining activities, which is illegal. They have the gall to defy laws and continue committing human rights abuses because they know the government is too weak and incapable of stopping them, and can easily be bought with ‘development funds’ and an illusion of huge tax revenues, which are but a trickle of their profits. Powerful mining multinationals manipulating laws and mutilating weak Third World nations is a global trend. They are emboldened by weak resistance.
  • The British embassy (representing its government) issued a statement in support of Xstrata, keeping silent about the abuses suffered by the B’laans. So it is grouped with the anti-people.
  • Xstrata-SMI turns a blind eye on ongoing conflicts. Is it hoping that conflict escalates as an excuse for the military to raise havoc and leave a no-man’s land for SMI? They know the B’laans said they will never leave and would rather die in their ancestral domain. Do they have a so-be-it response?
The ‘escalation matrix’ below reveals historical events leading to the present stalemate, a situation where outside forces and circumstances have continuously hemmed in the B’laans in their tiny universe, forcing them to the next escalation stage.

 

                                        CLICK IMAGE FOR FULL VIEW

 

Analysis –
  • The role of militarization, with SMI participation through its Australian mercenary, in the suppression of B’laan rights is a crucial factor in the vicious circle of escalation. This suppression is resulting in hunger through denial of food sources and curtailment of freedom to practice their ancient religion, forcing them to adopt more violent responses. This is the essence of the escalation principle.
  • SMI never gave an inch to B’laan demands, hinting that they want to force an escalated conflict as an excuse for militarization and forced relocation. SMI, with its vast financial resources, could have easily paid for damages of crops, and land use rentals, which are a drop in the bucket. They have intensified relocation moves without an ECC, which is illegal.
  • The anti-mining B’laans are agreeable to a peace process through a dialogue with pro-mining B’laans provided there are no SMI and military present. When comments were made that this is a useless exercise, they said they have to exploit all means, no matter how small, because it is the last resort. They do not want to be forced into a pangayao or an inter-tribal war of pro- and anti-mining groups, as this will result in B’laans killing B’laans.
  • The NCIP wants to conduct a survey of pros and antis. Considering the bad reputation of NCIP personnel siding with miners, this is a dangerous move, since they can easily manipulate results.
  • A pangayao will necessarily trigger instant total escalation as the antis will be forced to seek NPA help, and the pros military counter-response, resulting in genocide. In this Xstrata-SMI death wish, the cleansing will result in its take over to mine blood-drenched gold? Will President Aquino agree, for a fistful of blood-drenched gold?
  • The Fact Finding Mission was crucial in having the B’laan voice heard and projected in the media. The Church support has two effects – to control growing B’laan anger seeking more violent options; and to assure the B’laans they are not alone in their struggle, so they look more towards peaceful resolution. The Church wants to focus on these peaceful options that will save the B’laans from genocide.
Recommendations towards peace in Tampakan –
  • Complete demilitarization of the mine site area, to be replaced by a civilian monitoring group representing all stakeholders. The NPA can also be asked to stay away through the ongoing peace talks of government and rebels.
  • Ban the military in coordinating with Xstrata-SMI to satisfy its mining interests rather than establish ‘security’ and safety for residents.
  • Work towards an inter-tribal dialogue without outside forces. Let them handle their peace process themselves as they have done for centuries.
  • The government should order Xstrata-SMI to stop all illegal activities, especially continued exploration, road widening, relocation moves, until an ECC is acquired.
  • Ban Xstrata-SMI from giving ‘development funds’ to buy LGU support.
  • Ask the British Embassy and Government to clarify their stand on the safety of B’laans, and if this is against Filipino interest, file a diplomatic protest.
  • Work towards the establishment of a ‘peace zone’ implemented in the Arakan Valley and Sagada in the past, where no armed groups are allowed in the zone, where both sides are allowed to monitor the other in terms of presence of arms.
advance copy
eastwind journals column
Opinyon Magazine
bernie lopez
redgate77@gmail.com

 

_______________

Other FFM articles

1

Tampakan Forum – MINING CONFLICT AND DEATH OF IPs IN TAMPAKAN

http://www.sisterraquel.com/2012/04/eastwind-journals-36

2

Tampakan Forum – RELOCATION TANTAMOUNG TO DEATH – B’LAANS

http://www.sisterraquel.com/2012/04/eastwind-journals-33

3

Mindanews – Fact-finding mission blocked from entering Sagittarius mine site

http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2012/04/26/fact-finding-mission-blocked-from-entering-sagittarius-mine-site/

4

Sunstar – Probe on ‘abuses’ at mine site starts

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/local-news/2012/04/27/probe-abuses-mine-site-starts-218438

5

Veritas 846 News Team – Simbahang Katolika, kaisa ng mga katutubo sa paglaban sa operasyon ng pagmimina sa Tampakan
http://www.veritas846.ph/article.aspx?articleID=1570

6

Indigenous People’s Issues & Resources – Stop the Divide, let the B’laans decide.

http://indigenouspeoplesissues.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14798:philippines-stop-the-divide-let-the-b-laans-decide&catid=32:southeast-asia-indigenous-peoples&Itemid=65

 

 

 

_____________________________________

Fact Finding/Solidarity Mission Information.
 
The Fact-Finding/Solidarity Mission was composed of  the Tampakan Forum members – Philippine Human Rights (PhilRights) Center, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines / National Secretariat for Social Action,Justice and Peace ( CBCP-NASSA), Koalisyon ng Katutubong Samahan ng Pilipinas (KASAPI), Task Force Detainees of the Phil (TFDP), Radyo Veritas and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). Tampakan Forum is a technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue convened by the Philippine-Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) in collaboration with Social Action Marbel, AlyansaTigil Mina (ATM), Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID), Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Friends of Earth Philippines (LRC-KSK), Philippine Indigenous  Peoples Links ( PIPLINKS) and the London Working Group on Mining in the Philippines and IUCN CESP-SEAPRISE. Also present during the fact finding mission were Social Action Centers of Digos and Columbio, Passionist Fathers representatives, the Gensan Bureaus of Inquirer and ABS-CBN, and Mindanews. Inputs were also taken from an earlier Fact Finding Mission conducted on March 29, 2011, attended by Social Action Center Marbel, 27th Infantry Batallion (IB), CHR, National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), DXCP, and Sto. Nino Parish, Tampakan. Tampakan Forum and Fact Finding Mission contacts include Fr. Gillarme Joy Peliño (083) 2283793, Atty. Mario E. Maderazo (02) 3534287, (mobile) 0922-8501873.
eastwind journals28 Apr 2012 01:39 am

eastwind journals 34 – OPEN LETTER TO AQUINO AND XSTRATA on tampakan genocide

eastwind journals
 
OPEN LETTER TO AQUINO AND XSTRATA on tampakan genocide
Fact Finding Mission Article No. 1
 
Dear President Aquino and Xstrata-SMI President Peter Forrestal, I hope this letter gets to you because many Filipinos can no longer stand the insults and abuses being meted on the B’laans of Tampakan, South Cotabato. If you do not do anything about this, there will be a terrible war never before seen in Central Mindanao in defense of the ongoing slow genocide of the B’laans, all for the gold in the hands of foreigners, and the trickle they will give to the government. Are mining forces intentionally inducing conflict as an excuse to kill or drive away protesting B’laans from their ancestral domain, where the gold sits. This letter will be copy-furnished to PMS Malacanang, DENR Secretary Paje, MGB Director Jasareno, CHR, NCIP, and the media.

 

This article is based on the Church-NGO-led Fact Finding/Solidarity Mission conducted on April 26, 2012, under the aegis of the Tampakan Forum (more info at the end). The fact finding mission was prevented by SMI-led pro-mining barricades from entering the venue inside the proposed mine site, so that 27 B’laans with two two-month old babies, had to trek to the Digos Church on 7 motorbikes to penetrate the barricade. No one could stop them from expressing their voices to the world about what is being done to them. Here is what they had to say.
 
See Tampakan Forum Press Statement for more details at http://www.sisterraquel.com/2012/04/eastwind-journals-33.

KILLING ME SOFTLY
 
At present, this is what Xstrata-SMI, a ‘prestigious’ mining firm, fourth largest worldwide, is doing to the B’laans. They have partnered with the 27th Infantry Batallion under Col. Alexis Bravo, with 7 detachments in the proposed mining area, to impose a reign of terror akin to the vicious counterinsurgency campaigns during the Marcos era, as an excuse to suppress dissent against the mining project. They say it is better to die instantly than slowly. Only the vicious resort to slow death. Here is a list of ‘Killing Me Softly’ (KMS) activities of Xstrata-SMI and the military.

 

KMS No. 1. The B’laans are not allowed by the 27th IB to go to the forest, their source of food, in fear that they would coordinate with imagined NPA elements. Later, they allowed only women, but they had to ask permission first. They are slowly dying of hunger, worse that a bullet in the head.

 

KMS No. 2. The 27th IB forbids the B’laans from meeting at night in fear of imagined coordination with the NPA. The B’laans congregate twice a month in ‘chapels’ or houses of prayer. The suppression of the B’laans right to religion and freedom to pray is considered as a form of slow spiritual death. On top of denying the body, they deny the spirit, an unforgivable inhuman crime against Indigenous People.

 

KMS No. 3. The 27th IB conducts random sporadic house raids where they confiscate or throw away clothes, kitchenware, and farm animals. The B’laans right to privacy is violated. Please, Col. Bravo, if you do not know this, investigate the abuses of your soldiers. This is an unforgivable crime against the B’laans. They are human beings. Do not look at them as ‘rebels’.

 

The connivance between Xstrata-SMI and the military is confirmed by Col. Bravo himself, who admitted in dialogues that SMI indeed approached them and requested for their help. Is Xstrata-SMI involved in military planning? Does it dictate or ‘suggest’ measures not for security but for suppression of dissenters? Those are the $64,000 questions. The employment by large mining multinationals of military forces in Third World countries is a global trend. As long as money flows in, there are no protests.

 

KMS No. 4. When the ECC was denied in January 2012, Xstrata-SMI’s mining preparation activities surprisingly intensified. They are confident their multi-million-peso PR will break all the hurdles. They continued exploration, widening roads to accommodate huge drilling machines which bore deep 6-inch-diameter holes in the ground. (Such drilling in a network of fault lines, such as in Tampakan, have triggered earthquakes in many places worldwide.) Road widening has destroyed cornfields and sacred burial grounds, contributing to the killing-me-softly of B’laans, both physically and spiritually. When the B’laans asked for compensation, the SMI people simply said the land was no longer theirs. Development activities without an ECC is illegal, but the government seems unable to stop Xstrata-SMI from these blatant violations. These activities also violate human rights.

 

KMS No. 5. SMI has ongoing relocation efforts inspite of not having an ECC and no Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC), which are blatant violation of our laws. They have asked pro-mining mayors, who have received SMI development funds, to be the spokesperson for these illegal moves. SMI imposed deadlines for the B’laans to submit an inventory of their properties so they can be compensated for the relocation. They threatened that non-compliance means no compensation. The B’laans had to sign the inventory, which SMI will consider as evidence they agree to relocation. SMI set up giant streamers announcing relocation, thinking the B’laans, majority of whom do not read, would understand. The B’laans do not know what is going on. Are DENR, MGB, NCIP and CHR helpless to stop these blatant violations? Please let us hear from you.

 

SMI wants to relocate the B’laans of Bongmal to Atmurok, inspite of knowing there is a long standing tribal feud between B’laans of Bongmal and Atmurok. Are they intentionally inducing tribal war as an excuse for more military control in behalf of SMI?

 

Dear President Aquino and Mr. Forrestal, why does Xstrata-SMI have the gall to blatantly disregard and violate existing Philippine laws. Is the government tolerating this so that it can get taxes from the mining operations? If not, why is it so helpless. We want some replies.

 

Fact Finding/Solidarity Mission Information.
The Fact-Finding/Solidarity Mission was composed of  the Tampakan Forum members – Philippine Human Rights (PhilRights) Center, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines / National Secretariat for Social Action,Justice and Peace ( CBCP-NASSA), Koalisyon ng Katutubong Samahan ng Pilipinas (KASAPI), Task Force Detainees of the Phil (TFDP), Radyo Veritas and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). Tampakan Forum is a technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue convened by the Philippine-Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) in collaboration with Social Action Marbel, AlyansaTigil Mina (ATM), Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID), Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Friends of Earth Philippines (LRC-KSK), Philippine Indigenous  Peoples Links ( PIPLINKS) and the London Working Group on Mining in the Philippines and IUCN CESP-SEAPRISE. Also present during the fact finding mission were Social Action Centers of Digos and Columbio, Passionist Fathers representatives, the Gensan Bureaus of Inquirer and ABS-CBN, and Mindanews. Inputs were also taken from an earlier Fact Finding Mission conducted on March 29, 2011, attended by Social Action Center Marbel, 27th Infantry Batallion (IB), CHR, National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), DXCP, and Sto. Nino Parish, Tampakan. Tampakan Forum and Fact Finding Mission contacts include Fr. Gillarme Joy Peliño (083) 2283793, Atty. Mario E. Maderazo (02) 3534287, (mobile) 0922-8501873.

 

Advance copy
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opinyon magazine
bernie lopez
redgate77@gmail.com
eastwind journals28 Apr 2012 01:01 am

eastwind journals 33 – PRESS STATEMENT tampakan forum FACT FINDING MISSION

PRESS STATEMENT
TAMPAKAN FORUM
28 APRIL 2012

 

STOP THE DIVIDE, LET THE B’LAANS DECIDE

 

                The Fact-Finding/Solidarity Mission organized by Social Action Center of Marbel and the Tampakan Forum in coordination with the Dioceses of Kidapawan and Digos is calling on the PNoy Administration to immediately resolve the brewing conflict among the B’laan tribe in view of the rift created by the aggressive push of SMI to pursue its mining project in Tampakan despite the denial of SMI’s application for Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

 

            The fact-finding mission that we conducted last 25-26 April 2012, have indicated the following:

 

·         Intensifying conflict among the B’laan Tribe.  Road blockades  have been put up by members of B’laan tribe identifying themselves as supporters of SMI’s mining project  at the road in Pulabato and Danlag.  Men, women and even children manning the barricade declared that they are not allowing any person or group identified to be opposing the mining project to enter, which actually happened to the members of the fact-finding/solidarity mission team last 25 April 2012. They declared support to SMI on account of the benefits they are receiving from the former. On the other hand,  B’laans residing in the interior part of Lafla, Gumiket Ayem, Nakul Tana, Alyong 1 and 2 and Bong Sbang have barricaded all roads leading to their respective communities as an indignation against the mining project and the on-going efforts of SMI to facilitate the process of their relocation to T’marok. What is currently at the hands of our government and SMI on account of the FTAA, is an intensifying conflict which should be resolved under the terms and processes of  the B’laans.
·
Increased military presence.  Seven (7) detachments were placed at  Campo 5,  Datal biao,  two in Bongmal,  Salnaong,  Alyong and  Kiamo which are either manned by personnel from AFP and CAFGU. A COMPAC Police substation of Kiblawan PNP was installed early this year including the Headquarter of PNP Provincial Mobile Group of Davao Del Sur, all in Gumiket Ayem. A curfew is now being enforced between 10pm to 4 am in Bong Mal. Last  27 January 2012, members of the military  just entered the place for worship/ritual  for the reason that the military personnel are looking for the three (3) suspects of a murder case. And last December 2011, when the military conducted a search for the 3 “wanted” members of the B’laan tribe, residents of Bong Mal claimed that they were restrained to go to the forest or in any part of their community without seeking permission from the military. Only women were allowed to go to the forests. There were accounts also of military personnel roaming the community without any identifying name patch.
      Confusion and anxiety over the impending relocation. Last 22 March 2012, residents of Bong Mal were surprised about the announcement from SMI contained in a tarpaulin posted in various places,  which according to our informants,  indicated 22 March 2012 as the deadline for registration for those who are consenting to the relocation as part of the preparatory activities for SMI’s mining project. Our informants indicated that they barely understood the content of the announcement and they were at a loss of the process of the relocation. What they are only aware of is their pending relocation to T’murok should the project of SMI proceed. The B’laans in T’marok on the other hand is opposing this plan and they have vowed to oppose such relocation plan. According to them, there was no genuine consultation on this relocation plan of SMI and this is one reason why they will never allow the mining project to proceed.
       Non-compensation for damages. According to our informants, their crops like corn, cassava and coffee were destroyed due to the bulldozer that levelled-off their farms to give way to the  access roads for drilling operations and road-widening as part of the  preparatory development for the mining project. They are resenting the non-compensation of the damages they sustained because according to the tribal chieftain, they will not be compensated anymore because the land is already paid for by SMI. Again, this indicate the inadequate or absence of information dissemination on how compensation can be claimed by the mining-affected communities.

 

               The foregoing, clearly indicate the absence of the appropriate and adequate consultation process on how the mining-related activities of SMI is being conducted. People whether for or against the mining project are caught in between and their confusion and anxiety for fear of the unknown make them vulnerable to resolve their problem on their terms. The military presence even will not  help if their presence is on the pretext of maintaining peace and order. The B’laans who are against the mining project have expressed their willingness to resolve their differences based on their customs and tradition with those groups who are supporting the mining project. They are willing to dialogue with each other but without the presence of any third party, the government and much more SMI.

 

Based on our initial findings, we recommend the following:
1.       Total pull-out of the seven (7) military detachment in the communities
2.       Enforce a definite moratorium on all SMI activities in the area
3.       Recognize and respect the customary laws of the B’laan on conflict resolution
4.       Undertake a meaningful FPIC in the mining-affected areas
5.      Ensure transparency and accountability of tribal chieftains, SMI and local government unit in dealing with the members of their communities

 

The Fact-Finding/Solidarity Mission is composed of  the Tampakan Forum members , Philippine Human Rights (PhilRights) Center, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Phil .- National Secretariat for Social Action,Justice and Peace ( CBCP-NASSA), Koalisyon ng Katutubong Samahan ng Pilipinas (KASAPI), Task Force Detainees of the Phil (TFDP), Radyo Veritas and the Commission on Human Rights.

Tampakan Forum is a technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue convened by the Philippine-Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) in collaboration with Social Action Marbel, AlyansaTigil Mina (ATM), Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID), Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Friends of Earth Philippines (LRC-KSK), Philippine Indigenous  Peoples Links ( PIPLINKS) and the London Working Group on Mining in the Philippines and IUCN CESP-SEAPRISE.

  

Contact Persons:
FR, GILLARME JOY PELIÑO – (083) 2283793
ATTY. MARIO E. MADERAZO – (02) 3534287, (mobile) 09228501873

 

The Secretariat
Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc.
2nd Floor, No. 8 Cordillera St. Cor. Ramirez St.
Barangay Doña Aurora
1113 Quezon City , Philippines
Tel. No. (02) 353- 4287
Fax. No. (02) 353- 4396
www.2003pmp.org

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