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