MAC: Mines and Communities

Protests mark Earth Day commemoration in Mindanao

Published by MAC on 2010-05-01
Source: Mindanao Examinar, GMANews.tv, others (1900-04-25)

Hundreds marked Earth Day in the Philippines by protesting against Xstrata/Indophil's Tampakan mine, and the coal fired power stations that are planned to power the mine which will be built by the associated local company Alsons).

Separately, but on the same day, a People's Court of the Communist New People's Army (NPA) reiterated their guilty verdict on Xstrata and its local subsidiary. The 'court' called for NPA units "to arrest corporate executive officers of Xstrata-SMI and/or their top level official representatives and to bring them to the People's Court for the proper legal and judicial proceedings" based on "revolutionary justice".

Protests mark Earth Day commemoration in Mindanao

Mindanao Examinar

22 April 2010

KORONADAL CITY, Philippines - Widespread protests marked the commemoration of Earth Day in various parts of Mindanao as different groups called for a stop to operations of mining and fuel power plants in the southern region.

The protests, organized by member organizations of SOCSKSARGEN Climate Action Now (CAN), said the continued operation of mining and coal-fire power plants are threatening people's lives, livelihood and the environment.

Some 1,700 protesters marched around the town center of Tampakan in South Cotabato to demand the pull-out of XSTRATA-Sagitarius Mines Incorporated in the province.

"We have to protect the lifelines of the communities in Tampakan and other areas otherwise our dignity as human beings will be lost eventually," said Fr. Gillarme Joy Pelino, Vicar of Tampakan Parish, who joined the rally.

Gillarme added: "The people's struggle against XSTRATA-SMI's copper-cold project will continue to groundswell and we see more communities and organizations joining our ranks in the months to come."

"More than 40,000 hectares of rice fields in South Cotabato and Davao del Sur provinces will be affected the XSTRATA-SMI's mining project. We, the irrigators, have decided to join the campaign because we fear that we will end up with no food to provide for our children," Ireneo Felizilda, President of Tampakan Irrigators Association, said.

The irrigators and other grassroots organizations joined the church initiated Save SOCSARGEN Movement, a local alliance that vowed to oppose the mining project and other extractive industries and to campaign for climate justice.

Indigenous peoples groups also joined the protests. Daguil Capion, a B'laan tribe leader residing inside the mine development area, said: "The mining project has already divided our people. They're not even respecting our right to a genuine consent by withholding important information."

The protesters also signed a declaration against the Tampakan Copper Gold Project of XSTRATA-SMI and for a new mining law written.

Fr. Romeo Catedral, Social Action Center director of the Diocese of Marbel, lauded the local church initiative saying that "the Diocese of Marbel has always been consistent with its stand against XSTRATA-SMI's mining project".

"We say that the government has not been responsive to the issue of global warming and climate change. It continues to allow large-scale mining and other extractive activities which will only lead to the irreversible loss of biodiversity and worse, destroy the future of the communities," Catedral said, adding that they are pushing instead for the passage of the Alternative Mining Bill to replace the present mining law.

The protesters also held a caravan in Koronadal City where they held a rally in front of the regional office of the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau.

In Maasim town in Saranggani province, at least 300 protesters picketed in front of the proposed Alcantara owned 200MW coal plant site in Sitio Tampuan to dramatize their vehement opposition to the project.

Led by Maasim Peoples Coalition on Climate Change, the group marched with their placards from a nearby beach resort towards the plant site before holding a program where leaders took turns in lambasting the project.

"The construction of the Coal Fired Power Plant is an act of the demon and never will it follow the will of God to make the people live in the fullness of His creation" said Pastor Roel Ubatay, a minister of a small B'laan protestant community, during the picket.

Maasim fisher folks also slam the project saying that it threatens the coastal waters of the town that serve as their only source of living.

Fisher folk leader Mariano Panugas said "it can never be true that we will enjoy the same resources from the seas after the construction of the coal fired power plant. Fish will die or will go farther where our small boats can't go".


Protests In Philippines Mark Earth Day Commemoration - Indigenous People Demand Halt To Extractive Projects

http://indigenouspeoplesissues.com

22 April 2010

Protest activities marked the commemoration of earth day in various parts of the region as groups call for a stop of various extractive projects that threaten people's lives, livelihood and the environment.

Organized by member organizations of SOCSKSARGEN Climate Action Now (CAN), the protesters particularly targeted a mining project and a coal fired power plant and call for climate justice amidst the threat of global warming.

Giant mining firm hit

Around 1,700 people led by the Catholic Church marched around the town center of Tampakan, South Cotabato on Tuesday to demand the pull-out of XSTRATA-Sagitarius Mines Incorporated (SMI) in the area.

"We have to protect the lifelines of the communities in Tampakan and other areas otherwise our dignity as human beings will be lost eventually" declares Fr. Gillarme Joy Pelino, Vicar of Tampakan Parish in a protest-rally attended by religious followers, farmers and irrigators associations and indigenous peoples.

Gillarme added that "the people's struggle against XSTRATA-SMI's copper-cold project will continue to groundswell and we see more communities and organizations joining our ranks in the months to come."

"More than 40,000 hectares of rice fields in South Cotabato and Davao del Sur will be affected the XSTRATA-SMI's mining project. (We) the irrigators have decided to join the campaign because we fear that we will end up with no food to provide for our children" said Ireneo Felizilda, President of Tampakan Irrigators Association.

The irrigators and other grassroots organizations joined the church initiated Save SOCSARGEN Movement, a local alliance that vowed to oppose the mining project and other extractive industries and to campaign for climate justice.

Indigenous Peoples groups also joined the protests and belie company claims that they have been very supportive of the copper-gold project.

Daguil Capion, a B'laan leader residing inside the mine development area laments that "they (XSTRATA-SMI) say we're okey but in truth we're not".

"The mining project has already divided our people. They're not even respecting our right to a genuine consent by withholding important information" Capion said in the local dialect.

The protesters later signed a declaration against the Tampakan Copper Gold Project of XSTRATA-SMI and for a new mining law written in a large tarpaulin.

Fr. Romeo Catedral, Social Action Center director of the diocese of Marbel lauded the local church initiative saying that "the Diocese of Marbel has always been consistent with its stand against XSTRATA-SMI's mining project".

"We say that the government has not been responsive to the issue of global warming and climate change. It continues to allow large-scale mining and other extractives which will only lead to the irreversible loss of biodiversity and worse, destroy the future of the communities" Catedral said adding that they are pushing instead for the passage of the Alternative Mining Bill to replace the present mining law (RA 7942).

Around 500 of the crowd held a caravan towards Koronadal City to stage a protest in front of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office XII in the afternoon led by the Alliance for Genuine Development (AGENDA).

Act of the demon

In Maasim, Saranggani province, at least 300 protesters picketed in front of the proposed Alcantara owned 200MW coal plant site in Sitio Tampuan to dramatize their vehement opposition to the project. A number of youth mimicked Avatar movie characters during the said protest.

Led by Maasim Peoples Coalition on Climate Change (MP3C), the group marched with their placards from a nearby beach resort towards the plant site before holding a program where leaders took turns in lambasting the project.

"The construction of the Coal Fired Power Plant is an act of the demon and never will it follow the will of God to make the people live in the fullness of His creation" said an agitated Pastor Roel Ubatay, a minister of a small B'laan protestant community during the picket.

Maasim fisherfolks also slam the project saying that it threatens the coastal waters of the town that serve as their only source of living.

Fisherfolk leader Mariano Panugas said "it can never be true that we will enjoy the same resources from the seas after the construction of the coal fired power plant. Fish will die or will go farther where our small boats can't go".


People's Court finds Xstrata, partner guilty of environment abuse

GMANews.tv

25 April 2010

A rebel court has ordered the ‘arrest' of executives of a mining firm and its local partner operating in Mindanao, after finding them guilty of abusing the environment and local residents.

The People's Court of Far South Mindanao ordered the New People's Army (NPA) to ‘arrest' officers of Swiss miner Xstrata plc and top-level representatives of local partner Sagittarius Mines, Inc.

The People's Court issued an en banc resolution finding Xstrata and Sagittarius Mines guilty "for the continuing plunder of our natural resources and [for] causing irreversible damage to the watersheds and the major river systems in south central Mindanao," the National Democratic Front Far South Mindanao said in a statement on the Communist Party of the Philippines Website

"While still in their so-called exploration stage, the company has already caused damage on the fragile ecosystem..., destroyed mountains and are forcing tribal residents to leave their ancestral lands and find livelihood elsewhere," it said.

It said Xstrata's large-scale open pit mining will net it billions of dollars but leave Filipinos "nothing but dust, industrial waste and environmental ruin, which would affect not just us but the next generations."

The group added that Xstrata-Sagittarius Mines' large scale mining is damaging watersheds and major river systems in the provinces of South Cotabato, Davao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani.

In Davao del Sur, the NDF said the company is building its tailing pond right within the watersheds near Mal River, which would contaminate and destroy two national and 19 communal irrigation systems and the livelihood of at least 9,000 farmers.

"The same will happen to Koronadal Valley because the Koronadal watershed will also be affected by the open pit mines. At stake is the food security of Mindanao's rice granaries. No less than the Davao City and Davao del Sur Federation of Irrigators Association has passed a resolution strongly opposing the mining operations of Xstrata-SMI," it said.

The Catholic Church had also opposed the company's operations, it pointed out.

"Even more stringent is the clamor of residents who want the company out. But Xstrata-SMI has remained deaf to the people's voice," it added.

Not content with mining, the NDF said Xstrata also plans to build a coal-fired power plant in Malalag town, Davao del Sur, which would produce the electricity needed for the company's operations.

It said a coal-fired power plant is another dirty industry that will harm the people living around Malalag Bay.

"It will also contaminate the bay, which is the source of livelihood of at least 30,000 fisherfolk," it added.

Company officials were not immediately available for comment. - NPA, GMANews.TV

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