MAC: Mines and Communities

Filipinos curse their 'Mining Hell'

Published by MAC on 2014-03-19
Source: Statements, GMA Network, Gulf News, Examiner (2014-03-19)

Last week was designated 'Mining Hell Week' in the Philippines by national alliance Alyansa Tigil Mina, who mobilised local communities and their supporters to campaign in Manila around some key local and national issues.

A delegation of bishops visited the President, primarily to reiterate calls for Glencore Xstrata's Tampakan mine to be stopped. They handed in a letter from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines supporting that call.

Coupled with that message was the continued call for the repeal of the 1995 Mining Act, and its replacement with an alternative mining law, notably the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB), which has been effectively stalling in the legislative system. House of Representatives Deputy Speaker, Carlos M. Padilla, gave his support for such action.

Also highlighted in the week was the Marcopper case, where the Provincial Government of Marinduque is being urged to accept a pitiful settlement of a long-running legal battle by Barrick Gold. What is of particular concern in a generally poor settlement (where much of the money would go to pay lawyers) is that none of the settlement can be used on remediation for disaster-hit areas, or even on maintanence to prevent a worse disaster from the abandoned mine-site.

Coincidentally while this activity was happening in the Manila, the Communist New Peoples Army, once again stressed their continued modus operandi of attack mining companies in Mindanao.

At the same time, civil society groups in the Cordillera are condemning the murder of anti-mining activists, claiming they were killed by the army before being buried in shallow graves. Despite this intimidation anti-mining sentiments continue to be strongly expressed by indigenous groups across the Cordillera (most re.

Finally, the UK company Metals Exploration announced that the Writ of Kalikasan [Environment] injunction against their Runruno mine, Nueva Vizcaya, had been over-turned by the courts. No doubt there will be more to come ...

Bishops seek stop to Tampakan mining in Mindanao

GMA Network

16 March 2014

Catholic Church officials in Mindanao on Thursday reiterated their plea to the government to stop the mining of gold and copper in South Cotabato.

Bishops led by new Cardinal and Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo wrote a letter to President Benigno Aquino III asking for a "God-enlightened decision" on the matter.

"The cost, Mr. President, will far outweigh the benefits to government and the Filipino people," part of the letter signed by 20 other Catholic bishops and archbishops read, according to an article posted Thursday night on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines news site.

Also, the bishops said that while mining can contribute to the economy, the project by global miner Xstrata Plc's Philippines unit may harm the local community and environment.

The CBCP noted the project will explore 13.5 million metric tons of copper and 15.8 million ounces of gold, which can provide P134 billion to the economy each year.

It added the government issued an environmental compliance certificate to Sagittarius, a unit of Xstrata, in February 2013, despite appeals by various sectors to halt the project.

Ignoring petition

Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez claimed Aquino ignored the petition of more than 100,000 people to scrap the mining project.

The church leaders also stressed their opposition against the project is based on "moral grounds," as well as the destruction of almost 4,000 hectares of forested and agricultural land and biodiversity is against the integrity of God's creation.

They added this will dislocate almost 6,000 dwellers, mostly B'laans, from their ancestral land.

"Up to now SMI has not given any proof that open pit mining preserves the integrity of God's creation," the bishops added.

Other signatories of the letter include Quevedo and Gutierrez; Archbishops Romulo Valles of Davao and Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro; Bishops Guillermo Afable of Digos, Patricio Alo of Mati, Emmanuel Cabajar of Pagadian, Jose Cabantan of Malaybalay, Romulo de la Cruz of Kidapawan, Edwin de la Peña of Marawi, Elenito Galido of Iligan, Martin Jumoad of Basilan and Angelito Lampon of Jolo.

Davao Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla, Bishops Jose Manguiran of Dipolog, Wilfredo Manlapaz of Tagum, Nereo Odchimar of Tandag, Juan de Dios Pueblos of Butuan, Julius Tonel of Ipil, Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Collin Bagaforo and Davao Auxiliary Bishop George Rimando also signed the letter, the CBCP said.

Call to repeal mining law

An alliance of environmental and anti-mining groups, the Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), is calling on the government to scrap the Mining Act of 1995 as it claimed the law brings more disasters than benefits.

"The ATM calls on government to repeal the Mining Act of 1995 and to pass the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB), which offers a far more sustainable approach to the utilization and protection of our country's natural resources," the group said in a statement early last week.

It noted that current law allows foreign companies to own Philippine minerals through the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement.

"It permits more open areas to mining than mining-free zones," it added.

The group had set March 10 to 14, 2014 as "Mining Hell Week" to commemorate "the tragedies and the irreversible damage mining activities have continuously inflicted on communities since the enactment of Mining Act of 1995."

Among the tragedies that the group cited were the Marcopper toxic mine tragedy in Marinduque in 1996, the Philex Padcal mine spill in August 2012, and the Kingking mines landslide in Compostela Valley in 2012. - LBG, GMA News


Bishops take mining concerns to President Aquino

Religious figures seek intervention in dealing with Australian firm's ‘environmentally destructive' operations

By Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent

Gulf News

14 March 2014

Manila: More than 20 religious figures have called on President Benigno Aquino III to act against a Mindanao-based mining firm that they accuse of causing massive environmental destruction.

A letter signed by Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo and 21 other Catholic clerics called on Aquino to stop the operations of Saguttarius Mines Inc.

"Dear Mr President: The cardinal, archbishops and bishops listed below strongly urge you not to allow Sagittarius Mines Inc (SMI) to mine the mountain of Tampakan, South Cotabato, for copper and gold," the letter said.

"The cost, Mr President, will far outweigh the benefits to government and the Filipino people."

Aquino, at the start of his administration, had passed a law on the exploitation of underground mineral resources. The new edict, he said, was intended to allow mining operations in the country on the premise that these activities would immediately benefit the areas around the operations and that these pursuits would not cause massive damage to the environment.

But nearly four years into his administration, critics claim, destructive operations of mining companies like Sagittarius still continue.

According to a report by the online news service Rappler, Australian firm Glencore/Xstrata owns 62.5 per cent of Sagittarius. The same report said Glencore/Xstrata is selling its stake in the mining firm.

In their statement, the bishops outlined why they want Sagittarius to stop its mining operations in Tampakan.

"Our opposition to Sagittarius Glencore/Xstrata Copper-Gold Project is based on moral grounds, namely, the destruction of almost 4,000 hectares of forested and agricultural land and biodiversity is against the integrity of God's creation; the dislocation of almost 6,000 surface dwellers, members of the B'laan tribe, and the threat to food security and human life that the mining operations pose through the use of cyanide and heavy metals used in the processing of ores."

The petitioners also blamed past killings of B'laan tribals on the mining operations.

"B'laans will defend their ancestral land - source of food, building material, burial grounds of their ancestors and place of living will adversely affect peace and harmony," the petitioners said, adding that further bloodshed would be prevented if the mining operations ceased.

Various groups have been opposing the Tampakan mining operations over fears for the environment.

"Up to now SMI Glencore/Xstrata has not given any proof that open-pit mining preserves the integrity of God's creation," the bishops said.

Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez of Marbel, which has jurisdiction over South Cotabato, claimed that Aquino had earlier ignored the petition of more than 100,000 people calling for the scrapping of the mining project.

Sagittarius had argued that the mining operations would provide an estimated Php134 billion (Dh11 billion) to the Philippine economy each year.

Despite opposition from various sectors, the government issued an environmental compliance certificate to Sagittarius in February last year.


PNoy must certify as urgent the passage of alternative mining law

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) Press release

13 March 2014

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) on Thursday calls on the Aquino government to certify as urgent the enactment of alternative mining law by Congress.

Since after nearly two decades, ATM, a coalition of more than one hundred organizations, and part of the TAO MUNA, HINDI MINA campaign, said the Mining Act of 1995 (Republic Act No. 7942) has failed to deliver on its promise of economic gains and jobs to communities where large-scale mining firms are operating. The flawed Mining Act of 1995 has so far resulted in disasters that render the revenue share it has allocated for government ridiculous.

"In our report in 2005, we pointed out significant percentage of the forest loss in the Philippines was attributed to mining, in which detrimental impacts to the environment include the deterioration of water catchments, soil erosion and surface run off, the loss of biodiversity and worsening of rural poverty." Maria Belinda E. de la Paz, Chief Operating Officer, Haribon Foundation.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) Executive Secretary Fr. Edu Gariguez called for a moratorium on the issuance of new mining permits and the passage of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB) has been made more urgent by one mining disaster after another due to flawed framework of the Mining Act of 1995.

"There is a need to push for this AMMB because the Executive Order No. 79, is not the solution to our problem," Gariguez added.

EO No. 79 has expanded the "no-go" mining zones in the country to include 78 tourism sites, and farms, marine sanctuaries and island ecosystems in response to the public clamor to protect the environment from mining.

"Again, we reiterate our call to the government to repeal the Mining Act of 1995 and to pass the AMMB, "which offers a far more sustainable approach to utilization and protection of our country's natural resources," Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator said.

This week-dubbed "Mining Hell Week" -as a time of reckoning of the tragedies and the irreversible damage mining activities have continuously inflicted on communities since the enactment of Mining Act of 1995. ATM led various actions including a caravan to different government agencies and the House of Representatives calling for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and enactment of the AMMB.

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[at]alyansatigilmina.net
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Advocacy Officer (0915) 331.33.61 policy[at]alyansatigilmina.net


Alyansa Tigil Mina calls for repeal of ‘unsustainable' Mining Act

Rouchelle R. Dinglasan

GMA Network

10 March 2014

Anti-mining group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) kicked off what it called "Mining Hell Week" on Monday by renewing its call to scrap the 1995 Mining Act, which allows foreign companies to mine through a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement.

"The ATM calls on government to repeal the Mining Act of 1995 and to pass the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB), which offers a far more sustainable approach to the utilization and protection of our country's natural resources," the group said in a statement.

It noted that current law allows foreign companies to own Philippine minerals through the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement. "It permits more open areas to mining than mining-free zones," it added.

The group has set March 10 to 14 as Mining Hell Week to commemorate "the tragedies and the irreversible damage mining activities have continuously inflicted on communities since the enactment of Mining Act of 1995."

Among the tragedies that the group cited were the Marcopper toxic mine tragedy in Marinduque in 1996, the Philex Padcal mine spill in August 2012, and the Kingking mines landslide in Compostela Valley in 2012.

Early this month, the Mining Industry Coordinating Council announced that the clean up and rehabilitation of Philex's Padcal mine has been completed.

"Since the 1990s, the presence of large-scale mining... [has] led to acute changes in the environment and the community," Jaybee Garganera, ATM national coordinator said in the same statement.

"With climate change already upon us, mining disasters are most likely to happen with a flawed mining law and inadequate regulatory environment," he added.

Last month, a report by the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines showed that the country's mining sector has been lagging.

"Mining hasn't progressed at all. Illegal mining has progressed. The economy is suffering because illegal miners don't pay revenue to the government and people suffer because of the damage they do to environment," said Ian Porter, Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. president.

"The Philippines has great opportunity in mining and should create a responsible, environmentally-friendly mining regime that could create thousands of jobs," he added. 


Large mining corporations in the Philippines acting with impunity

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) Press Release

12 March 2014

Groups and supporters from Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) gathered today to denounce mining corporations' impunity outside of the offices of mining corporations like Philex, Nickel Asia, Sagittarius Mines and Barrick Gold.

ATM, a coalition of more than one hundred organizations, and part of the TAO MUNA, HINDI MINA campaign, said we are critical with these mining companies based on experiences of many mining affected communities supported by many studies have found that they are plundering the country's mineral reserves without any consideration for the communities or the environment.

"Marcopper, Philex, Nickel Asia, Sagittarius Mines and Barrick Gold mining corporations are linked to and responsible for tragedies, repression and violence in the areas where they operates. For 19 years under the Mining Act of 1995, we have witnessed outbreaks of violent attacks in mining affected communities in many mining-affected communities in Marinduque, Benguet, South Cotabato and Eastern Samar," Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator said.

"The government has done little to investigate and prosecute those responsible. Not only did these mining companies damage the environment but they also violate people's human rights. Community leaders have been threatened. Trumped up criminal charges ('criminalization of human rights defenders') have been laid against a number of community leaders," Garganera added.

"In the case of Marcopper, Marinduqueños are convinced the case we filed against Placer Dome Inc. (now Barrick Gold) in US on October 4, 2005 is probably the last major chance to seek justice. For 30 years, they have operated in the island with seeming impunity, as to have damaged the Calancan Bay with mine tailings." Beth Manggol, Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MaCEC).

In August 2012, Philex's Padcal tailings pond spill of 20-million metric tons of mine waste. Rehabilitation was concluded this month but did not clean up the Balog and Agno River; while most adversely affected communities are not compensated. The Php 1 billion fine that was paid by Philex did not include compensation for downstream communities of NAPOCOR.

Garganera further said "Sagittarius Mines' mining investment in South Cotabato continue to cause injustice in indigenous peoples communities. Due to the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project, community leaders and their families have been murdered and more of them are threatened by the militarization in the area."

Tampakan and nearby communities are militarized allegedly to protect the mining investments there. On October 18, 2012, tribal Blaan mother, Juvy Capion and her two sons John and Jordan were killed in what the Philippine Army's 27th Infantry Battalion considered as "operational lapses".

The killing of Capion is linked to the Blaan tribe's defense of their ancestral land in Tampakan against the mining company Sagittarius Mines Inc-Xstrata-Glencore that operates in the boundaries of Tampakan, South Cotabato and Davao del Sur.

While, Nickel Asia owns several mining companies. Their investments and operations in Eastern Visayas, Southern Palawan, and the CARAGA Region cause irreversible damages to the environment, ATM cited.

Nickel Asia was selected as private sector development partner for the post-Yolanda rehabilitation efforts in Eastern Samar, a policy that was openly opposed by ATM.

"While these mining companies make a big profit from the country's resources, majority of Filipinos continue to live in poverty with no schools, no hospitals and other entitlements. This situation cannot be allowed to continue," said Garganera.

This week-dubbed "Mining Hell Week" -as a time of reckoning of the tragedies and the irreversible damage mining activities have continuously inflicted on communities since the enactment of Mining Act of 1995. ATM led various actions including a caravan to different government agencies and the House of Representatives calling for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and enactment of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB).

--

Farah Y. Sevilla
Policy Research and Advocacy Officer
Alyansa Tigil Mina National Secretariat
c/o Haribon Office, 2F Santos and Sons Bldg.
#973 Aurora Blvd., Cubao, Quezon City.
Telephone: +63 (02) 434-4642
Fax: +63 (02) 434-4696


Legislator renews call for alternative mining law

Press release

12 March 2014

Lone District of Nueva Vizcaya Representative and House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Carlos M. Padilla said the enactment of alternative mining law is important to provide a new policy in managing our country's mineral resources and in resolving glaring flaws of the Republic Act No. 7942 otherwise known as the Mining Act of 1995.

"Given the track record of mining in the Philippines under the Mining Act of 1995, we have witnessed one mine disaster after another, displacement of population and the militarization of communities where mining operations exist," Rep. Padilla said.

Despite all the praises and promotion by the government and mining industry of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 as a "world class" mining law, the overwhelming truth remains that for the past 19 years, the Mining Act of 1995 has legitimized the plunder of our mineral resources, the destruction of our environment and displacement of communities.

Brandished by government and mining sector as "one of the best in the world," the Mining Act of 1995 only proved to be a recipe for disaster.

In his privilege speech today at the House of Representatives, Rep. Padilla renews call for Congress to revisit the Mining Act of 1995 and assess its implementation. Likewise, he cited the increasing opposition and public opinion towards mining due to various disasters attendant to large-scale mining operations.

"In light of the foregoing facts, it is high time for Congress to put premium in the human dignity of communities and biodiversity value of our country's mineral resources. No less than an alternative minerals law will do this," Rep. Padilla said.

Rep. Padilla added that under the present law, it allows 100% ownership of minerals by foreign entities through Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAAs); allows for more open areas to mining than to mining-free zones; grants auxiliary entitlements to mining firms such as timber rights, water rights and even the right to use explosives among others; and allows tax deduction, yet leaving communities divided and underdeveloped and which traditional livelihoods directly dependent on natural resources destroyed.

In the province of Nueva Vizcaya is home to two large-scale mining companies, OceanaGold and FCF Minerals. One of the first Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) approved under the law is Didipio Gold Project in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya, now under the operation of Oceana Gold Philippines Incorporated (OGPI).

"The two mining companies are all threats to my province's mountains, water systems and agricultural products. This is true because at a broader scale the impacts of mining are not contained within the mining area but the use of explosives naturally results in deforestation and slope destabilization," Rep. Padilla said.

He emphasized that "I won't allow my province of Nueva Vizcaya's natural resources wantonly destroyed in the name of profit."

"We saw the increasing number of barricades put up and managed by peoples who refuse to give up their ancestral lands. And we saw numerous provincial and municipal ordinances passed opposing the entry of mining companies in their areas," Rep. Padilla added.

In February 2014, the House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading House Bill 3667 seeking to declare the province of Nueva Vizcaya as a mining free zone.

The bill authored by Rep. Padilla provides it shall be unlawful for any person to mine or engage in mining operations in Nueva Vizcaya. Violators shall be penalized with 6 to 12 years imprisonment and a fine of P100,000 to P500,000.

The campaign against large scale mining in Nueva Vizcaya has strong public sentiment and this is led by the Diocese of Bayombong Bishop Ramon Villena, people's organizations and civil society organizations.

This week-dubbed "Mining Hell Week" -as a time of reckoning of the tragedies and the irreversible damage mining activities have continuously inflicted on communities since the enactment of Mining Act of 1995. Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) led various actions including a caravan to different government agencies and the House of Representatives calling for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and enactment of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB).

Groups and supporters from ATM gathered today to denounce mining corporations' impunity outside of the offices of mining corporations like Philex, Nickel Asia, Sagittarius Mines and Barrick Gold.-end-


Groups urge gov't: seek justice for victims of Marcopper toxic mine tragedy, other mining disasters

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) Press Release

11 March 2014

Led by the Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), groups called on the government to step up and lead the people in demanding justice for victims of the Marcopper toxic mine tragedy and other mining disasters.

This morning, the groups went agency-hopping in a caravan from Bantayog ng mga Bayani to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), then to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Office (DENR), and concluded in front of the House of Representatives (HOR).

At the DENR, the group with the Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC) submitted a petition for the agency not to allow the acceptance of the Nevada settlement offer related to cases filed after the Marcopper toxic mine disaster in March 24, 1996. The case up to now is yet to be resolved.

The group demanded that the DENR must not sign the waiver to pave way for the Marcopper Settlement.

In its endorsement letter, ATM said that the government should not allow the settlement to push through, because if accepted, Marcopper, Placer Dome and Barrick Gold will only leave "the burden to rehabilitate and ensure the recovery of the damaged areas to the government and communities."

MACEC added that government should not let this settlement erase the responsibility of the mining companies to rehabilitate Marinduque and compensate the people affected by the tragedy.

At the HOR, the groups reiterated that the Mining Act of 1995 (Republic Act No. 7942) is a flawed policy in many ways-and that its disastrous impacts has only benefited a number of foreign and local mining firms at the expense of many Filipino communities.

ATM national coordinator Jaybee Garganera said: "19 years and the Mining Law continue to fail us. It is about time that we scrap this law and enact a new bill that will ensure that mining companies, such as Marcopper can and will be held responsible and accountable for the effects of their mines."

The group also called for the rehabilitation of many abandoned mine areas that today stand at around 800 closed down mines.

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[at]alyansatigilmina.net
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Advocacy Officer (0915) 331.33.61 policy[at]alyansatigilmina.net


There is no price tag on our dignity!

20 million dollars is unacceptable, an insult to Marinduque people's demand for justice!

Barrick wants to enter into a compromise clearly because the people of Marinduque was able to sustain their struggle for justice and make them accountable and face justice for the devastation of the life and livelihood of the people.

1. 7 MILLION OUT OF THE 20 MILLION DOLLARS (35%) WILL ONLY GO TO LAWYERS FEES. Only USD 13 Million / PHP520Million will be left. The irony is that NOT a single cent may be used for rehabilitation or payment for damages;

2. THE USD 13MILLION/ PHP520 MILLION IS NOT SUFFICIENT AND CANNOT BE USED FOR:
a. Payment for Environmental Damages in Calancan Bay, Mogpog River and Boac River
b. Payment for Economic Damages -
i. Loss of Use and Enjoyment of Calancan Bay and surrounding areas,
ii. Destruction of Fishing Industry and Lost Income,
iii. Loss of Secure Sources of Food Supply,
iv. Destruction of the Tourist Industry,
v. Non-User Losses - "forgone income",
c. Harm to Human Health -
i. Respiratory and Lead Disability Problems,
ii. Heavy Metal Toxicity,
d. Necessary Remediation -
i. Remediate, restore and balance the ecology of the Mogpog and Boac Rivers
ii. Pay for the reintroduction of harmed species into restored environments
iii. Renovate and rehabilitate the Tapian Pit and San Antonio Pit "to an environmentally safe condition"

3. MARCOPPER IS CLEARLY LIABLE AND THEY ARE THE ONLY CULPRIT ALONG WITH PLACER DOME/BARRICK GOLD UNDER PHILIPPINE LAWS. There is no other liable individual or company, their operations caused the actual damages to the rivers and ecosystems of Marinduque island. Under Philippine Laws, they are liable for the payment and full rehabilitation costs.

4. Any future spill or damage that may arise from unmaintained and unrepaired Marcopper structures such as the San Antonio Pit, Tapian Pit, the waste dumps, Maguilaguila Dam will not be paid.

If the Provincial government (SP members especially the Governor) accepts the 20 million dollars from Barrick Gold, does this also mean:
1. That they are taking full responsibility for the clean-up of the damaged rivers and ecosystems brought by the mine disaster?
2. That they are also taking full responsibility of whatever disaster may bring of the poorly maintained and deteriorating condition of the mine facilities and structures?
3. That they are taking away the hope and opportunity to make Marcopper/Placer Dome/Barrick Gold face justice for the crime of denying the people of Marinduque to live in a healthful and balanced ecology, that the local government swore to protect and uphold under the local government code;

We call on our Leaders, do not compromise the future of this island; do not compromise the future generations of Marinduqueno's. Fighting for what is right and just is more logical and accepting a compromise is not wisdom but a treacherous act, a sell-out of our dignity that crumbled in exchange for a few silver coins.

Will 520 Million pesos be enough to:
1. Desilt ___ km Mogpog River, 4.4 Million (x 30%) tons of toxic mine tailings spewed into Boac River and ____km Calancan bay?
2. Compensate ______ thousand families who have totally lost their source of potable water ?
3. Compensate ______ thousand families who have totally lost their source of food from rivers, streams and bays?
4. Pay for damages to crops, farm animals and houses and other infrastructure?
5. Fully cover medical expenses related to lead contamination, heavy metal toxicity?
6. Cover future siltation of the rivers from the mine waste dumps and mine pits?

It is hard to imagine that the dead rivers could ever breathe life again. Lost lives will never be replaced.

We call on the Provincial Board to REJECT this arm-twisting "take it or leave it" offer from Barrick Gold, DEMAND full accountability for the mining disasters, DEMAND FULL REPARATION FOR ACTUAL DAMAGES, REHABILITATION COSTS AND FINES, Immediately conduct the FULL REHABILITATION of the Mogpog River, Boac River, Calancan Bay.


Letter from Municipality of Boac, Office of the Sangguniang Bayan [local council]

18 March 2014

THE HONORABLE OFFICER
Concerned National Government Agency
Republic of the Philippines
Manila

Dear Sir/Madame:

The Municipality of Boac will commemorate the 18th Anniversary of the Marcopper Mining-related Boac River Disaster of 1996, the biggest mining industry disaster in the country, this coming March 24, 2014. Sadly, the commemoration is another frustrating story among us Marinduqueños because justice remains so elusive until now.

While we put our hopes in the case filed by our Provincial Government in Nevada, it did not turn out to be satisfactory as the last processes of the settlement negotiations and the conditionalities imposed become more frustrating, unreasonable, unfair and abusive of the province's goodwill.

It is in this wise that we are furnishing you with our Sangguniang Bayan's third resolution regarding the matter to seek your most immediate intervention and appropriate action. Enclosed is our resolution entitled: RESOLUTION NO. 2014-028: RESOLUTION FURTHER CONSOLIDATING AND GALVANIZING THE OFFICIAL POSITION OF THE EIGHTH SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF BOAC IN RELATION TO THE PROPOSED NEVADA CASE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT OFFERED BY BARRICK GOLD CORPORATION TO THE PROVINCE OF MARINDUQUE IN THE LIGHT OF NEW DEVELOPMENTS AND AMENDMENTS OFFERED BY BARRICK GOLD, REITERATING THE RECOMMENDATIONS CONTAINED IN THIS BODY'S RESOLUTION NO. 2013-100 DATED DECEMBER 18, 2013 AND RESOLUTION NO. 2014-023 DATED FEBRUARY 24, 2014 AND FOR OTHER RELATED PURPOSES.

In order to expedite the transmittal hereof, we respectfully asked the assistance of the Alyansa Tigil Mina Secretariat to personally submit and deliver the enclosed Resolution to your good office.

Very respectfully yours,
MIGUEL R. MAGALANG
Sangguniang Bayan Member
(Author of the Resolution)
myke.konseho_boac[at]yahoo.com


NPA rebels own up deadly attacks in Philippines; vow to strike at plantations, mining firms

By Mindanao Examiner

11 March 2014

DAVAO CITY - Communist rebels have owned up to daring and deadly attacks on police and military targets in the southern Philippines that killed at least a dozen people.

Dencio Madrigal, a spokesman for the New People's Army-Valentine Palamine Command, said the attacks on a police base and military forces in Davao del Sur's Matanao town were punishment for their "reign of terror" against indigenous tribes and other communities opposing mining operations in the province.

"The March 10 police headquarters raid and ambush demonstrated the NPA's determination to punish the fascist AFP and PNP units operating in Davao del Sur and its boundaries. The 39th Infantry Battalion remains as security forces and fascist thugs of Glencore Xstrata - a mining giant poised to continue to exploit the nearly 100,000 hectares of mining-rich ancestral lands of Lumad Blaans and peasants in the region."

"The AFP and PNP units in Matanao and other towns in Davao del Sur deserved to be disarmed and punished because in their defense of Xstrata mining, they have killed, injured, discharged aerial bombs, all part of their reign of terror against the Lumad and settlers communities who have fiercely battled against mining since 1992 when the project was still under the Western Mining Corporation," Madrigal said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

Madrigal said rebel forces seized seven M16 automatic rifles and several ammunition vests, two 9 mm pistols, one .45-caliber pistol, and a radio communication set from the police headquarters. He said the raid left 3 policemen and two other lawmen were killed in the fighting that also left two rebels dead.

He also accused the police of coddling drug pushers and other criminal syndicates in the province. "They are, thus, legitimate targets of the people's army at any time of the year," he said.

Madrigal also condemned the arrest of 9 innocent civilians on suspicion they were part of the NPA forces that attacked in Matanao town. "Their failure at intelligence work, notwithstanding, the Matanao PNP trained its eyes against nine hapless civilians, namely, Renante Urot, Joey Alberca, Rufoboy Gama, Laudemer Gama, Noel Morangit, Roger Natonton, Julio Sales, John Rey Pabillo and Christopher Sales."

"The police tagged them as NPA members and arrested the group after the raid, at 7 in the morning. The civilians were on their way to attend a fiesta at Barangay Savoy in Matanao when they were illegitimately arrested," he said.

Madrigal said 9 soldiers were also killed, including Lt. Ludevico Alejo; and 7 more wounded after rebels remotely detonated a military truck carrying reinforcements in the village of Asbang. He also dismissed allegations by the Eastern Mindanao Command that the NPA has been using landmines.

"It is hypocritical for the Philippine government and the AFP to condemn the NPA's continued use of command detonated explosives as the latter's main weapon of choice for guerrilla warfare. The country's mining laws and the state's counter-insurgency policy, the Oplan Bayanihan, have resulted in the massive and indiscriminate pillage of resources, killings, and displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilian communities," he said, adding mining companies are legitimate target of the NPA.

NPA targets

Jorge Madlos, a regional rebel spokesman, has previously warned mining firms and fruit plantations in the southern Philippines.

"Military operations in Mindanao have escalated and have become more extensive with the aim to thwart the ever growing and widespread people's protest against destructive mining operations and plantations owned by imperialists, the big comprador bourgeois and big landlords. "

"After having ravaged the environment by way of wanton logging, imperialists and the local ruling clique insidiously intend to inflict even greater devastation to the environment; and, to deprive, oppress and exploit further the Lumads, Moro, peasants and workers in order to satiate their greed for super profit," he said.

Madlos said among their targets are Russell Mines and Minerals, Apex Mining Corp. and Philco in southern Mindanao; Dolefil, Del Monte and Sumifru plantations in northern Mindanao; TVI Resource Development Philippines whose operations in ancestral domain of indigenous Subanen and Moro tribes are being opposed by the rebel group.

"If one recalls, more than 400 families were forced to evacuate their ancestral lands because of TVI and the ruthless military operations that ensued to protect it in Buug, Zamboanga del Sur. In order to defend the people's human rights and general wellbeing, the NPA launched tactical offensives against TVI as well as against units of the AFP-PNP-CAFGU protecting it, such as the ambush on February 2012 that hit elements of the army intelligence group operating on the behest of TVI and the imposition of the local government to allow TVI mining operations on Subanen ancestral lands is one of the bases the NPA raided on April 9, 2012 the PNP station in Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur," Madlos said.

NPA rebels also intercepted a group of army soldiers who were using a borrowed truck from TVI and disarmed them in Diplahan town in Zamboanga Sibugay province two years ago. The rebels also burned the truck before releasing the soldiers.

"In view of these events, the NDFP in Mindanao calls upon the Lumad and Moro peoples, peasants and workers, religious and other sectors to further strengthen their unity and their courage to oppose the interests of imperialist mines and plantations, which are exceedingly damaging to Mindanao, to its people and to the environment. We call upon the units of the NPA in Mindanao to be ever more daring in their defense of people's interests against the greed and rapacity of the local ruling classes and their imperialist master," Madlos said.

TVI Resource Development Philippines has repeatedly denied all accusations against them. It recently ended its gold mining operation in Mount Canatuan in Zamboanga del Norte's Siocon town after several years of operations and now has a gold-silver project in the town of Bayog in Zamboanga del Sur province and a nickel plant in Agusan del Norte province.

It is among mining companies operating in Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte that had been attacked in the past by Muslim and communist rebels. (Mindanao Examiner)


Condemn the Massacre of the Ligiw Family by the 41st Infantry Battalion!

Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) statement

10 March 2014

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) strongly denounces the massacre and brutal killing of Freddie "Fermin" Ligiw, Edie Ligiw and their father Licuben Ligiw on March 2, 2014 in Sukaw, Domenglay, Baay-Licuan, Abra by elements of the 41st Infantry Battalion, which has a notorious track record of rights violations in Abra, such as indiscriminate firing, arrest and detention, harassment and intimidation of community members. The victims' bodies were recovered on March 8 by kakailian in a shallow grave near the victims' pacalso, a temporary shelter for farmers and small-scale miners. Their hands were bound and their mouths were gagged. They were piled on top of each other. They were obviously buried, in the perpetrators' hope that they won't be found, that no one will know. Fermin was a member of Sidakan-Anakbayan, and with his brother and father, members of the Lenneng-Killeng Tingguian Farmers Association (LEKITIFA). These organisations are members of KASTAN (Kakailian Salakniban tay amin a Nagtaudan), the CPA Abra chapter. The victims were active leaders of the people's campaign against destructive mining in Baay-Licuan.

Data gathered by the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) shows that as early as February 19, elements of the 41st IB conducted military operations in Lenneng, where Fermin was forcibly taken to serve as a guide in the military operations against suspected NPA presence in the area. Family members last saw Fermin, Edie and Licuben on March 2 at their pacalso. The three were expected to be home in sitio Sukaw the same evening, but they never showed up. The family searched for them the following day. Search teams were later organised to continue looking for the victims, until the grave was discovered on March 7. Fermin was scheduled to meet with CHRA and the Abra Human Rights Alliance on March 4 or 5 to give his account of when he was coerced to be a military guide. He never made it to the meeting.

Not so long in late February, a fictitious organisation Ifugao People's Council circulated posters in Banaue with malicious accusations against Jude Baggo, CHRA secretary general; Emerson Soriano, CPA Staff; Beverly Longid, KATRIBU President and former CPA chairperson, among other personalities, whose names and photos appeared in the posters, in still another desperate attempt to vilify defenders and advocates of indigenous peoples rights and human rights. In another northern Luzon province just recently as well, peasant leader Romulo dela Cruz was abducted on March 1st in Isabela. He has not been surfaced until now.

At least 43 indigenous peoples were killed in cold blood under this current PNoy regime, which has long-proven it is no different from the past Arroyo regime. It is the same fascist regime that instigates, plans and executes this national policy of terrorism across the country. Today it is called Oplan Bayanihan and is masked with deception and pronouncements of respect and recognition of human rights and international humanitarian law, but in reality, its concrete examples include the bombings in Malibcong and Sagada last year and the rape of young women in the mining community of Mankayan in 2012. As in Arroyo's Oplan Bantay Laya I and II, Oplan Bayanihan is implemented by the Armed Forces, and is therefore accountable for countless rights violations, including PNoy as commander in chief of the AFP. We demanded from PNoy justice for all victims of human rights violations under the Arroyo regime, but all it did was add to the number of killings, harassment and enforced disappearance of human rights and development workers, activists and advocates.

What does government intend to do with the increasing number of victims, orphaned children, families and communities when it has the knack allowing such injustice to prevail? Clearly, there is no room for human rights and justice under this regime, and we the people must rage against a State that breeds lawlessness and human rights violations. PNoy must step down, lest he is ousted.If the State can go on with the killings and vilification only because of people's political beliefs, then who will protect and defend the people? The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which Philippine government is a signatory, states that "Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law..." Therefore, let us not allow this culture of terrorism and impunity to continue. Let it be known that the people have a right to defend themselves, to mobilise for our human rights, and to rise against fascism and extra judicial killing as what happened to the Ligiw family, and against a terrorist and fascist regime.

Reference:
ATB Anongos, Secretary General

CORDILLERA PEOPLES ALLIANCE
No. 55 Ferguson Road
Baguio City 2600, Philippines
Telephone No. +6374 3044239
Fax No. +6374 4437159
Email: cpa[at]cpaphils.org
Webpage: www.cpaphils.org


Not a 'mass grave,' Ligiw family slay are extrajudicial killings--IP group

Indigenous peoples organization Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) condemned the slays of Licuben Ligiw, and his sons, Freddie "Fermin" Ligiw and Edie Ligiw, all farmers and members of the Binongan tribe in Baay-Licuan, Abra.

According to a statement by 1st Lieutenant Rowena Abayon, 5th Infantry Division spokesperson, the Ligiws were executed by the New People's Army and then buried in a 'mass grave.' KAMP and other human rights groups are unconvinced, however.

"This is no mass grave. Rebel executions is a worn lie of the AFP, meant to overshadow the fact that the AFP are victimizing unarmed civilians under its counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan," Piya Macliing Malayao, spokesperson of KAMP claimed. "The Ligiws are civilians but are a thorn in the side of the AFP, because of the family's involvement in organizations that condemned the militarization and human rights violations exacted by the military to the people in the province."

KAMP says Fermin was due to file on March 4 a human rights violation report to the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) after he was used as a guide to aid the military in pursuing members of the New People's Army.

According to a report made by the CHRA, The Ligiws were reported missing by their family on March 6, and were found after a search on March 7, buried in a shallow grave near their hut. They were bound and gagged, and placed unceremoniously on top of one another. The CHRA suspects that members of the 41st IB, who are said to be conducting operations in the area when the Ligiws were last sighted on March 2, may be involved in the killings.

"These slays top off the of the headcount of extrajudicial killings of indigenous peoples. There is no end to the military's brutality against the indigenous peoples and the Filipino people fighting for their rights. We condemn the massacre of the Ligiw family, and demand the pullout of the military in indigenous communities in Abra," Malayao said.

KAMP says that the Ligiw massacre raised the killings of indigenous peoples to 43 under President Aquino's administration. Earlier this year, Lumad leader Rolando Ambongan, a datu (village chief) in Buenavista, Agusan del Norte was slain, his killing is attributed to paramilitary group Bagani Force and Cafgu under the 29th IBPA. Ambongan was a staunch-anti-mining plunder activist, who resisted the entry of mining in their ancestral lands. Ambongan is also a member of progressive indigenous peoples' party, Katribu Partylist.

The Ligiws were also active members of activist organizations, says KAMP. Fermin is a member of activist group Anakbayan. All three are members of KASTAN (Kakailian Salakniban Tay Amin ti Nagtaudan), the provincial chapter of Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) in Abra.

"Like other indigenous peoples slain before them, the Ligiw family has gained the ire of the military because of their political affiliations and involvement in anti-mining plunder, and anti-militarization campaigns in the province. The killings of activists like themselves are no news in the Aquino admininstration, who had cradled impunity so well," Malayao said.

KAMP has organized the Stop the Killings of Indigenous Peoples Network in 2012, in response to the "unabated killings of indigenous peoples."

Kalipunan ng Mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP)
National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples Organizations in the Philippines
Room 304 NCCP Building, near Quezon Avenue corner EDSA, West Triangle, Quezon City
(02) 412-5340
www.katutubongmamamayan.org


Cordillera villagers rally behind Kalinga tribe in mining dispute

Manila Bulletin

1 March 2014

The indigenous communities of the entire Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) stand four-square behind the Balatoc tribe of Pasil, Kalinga province that is currently waging a relentless campaign to protect their ancestral lands from illegal mining operators.

Leaders of the BAMIKBA, Inc. issued an open letter to help resist the Chinese-led consortium Carrascal Nickel Corp. (CNC), which was eyeing the vast gold and copper deposits in the Batong Buhay site being claimed by the Balatoc tribe as their ancestral homeland.

The Batong Buhay mine site is within the eastern flanks of the Cordillera Central Range and is about 320 km north of Manila. The mine site covers 444 hectares and has 86.9 million metric tons of mineral reserve consisting of 0.59% copper and 0.253 grams per tonne of gold.

BAMIKBA is an acronym for Benguet, Apayao, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Kalinga, Baguio, and Abra provinces comprising the CAR.

In the open letter dated Feb. 14, 2014, leaders of the broad-based group said BAMIKBA is a non-stock, non-profit association registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission meant to promote the well-being of the inhabitants of CAR, among other major objectives.

"A socio-political heritage of the Cordilleras is the inter-tribe peace pact system invariably called in the local tongue among its practitioners as bodong, podon, (and) pechen. Its elements are people, territory, law and governance," the letter stated.

According to the BAMIKBA letter, signed by its president Henry Aliten, the peace pacts continue to exist and are strongly practiced by the indigenous peoples of the CAR.

They explained that territory refers to the ancestral domain of the people maintaining time-honored peace pacts with neighboring communities within the Cordilleras.

"As such, they have rights, including obligations, relative to resources within their domain which are recognized, promoted and protected under the Constitution, national laws, and other international declarations (or) treaties," the letter said.

It added that it is also the right of the indigenous peoples, locally called "binodngan," to have priority in the exploration and exploitation of natural resources within their respective domain. Outsiders seeking to undertake such activities must secure first the concurrence of the affected communities embodied in the free and prior informed consent (FPIC) of the binodngans as required by Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act. The BAMIKBA called for a national recognition of their rights as binodngans to decide by themselves what to do with the natural wealth within their ancestral domain.


Metals Exploration Says Philippines Environmental Writ Dismissed

By Steve McGrath

Alliance News

3 March 2014

LONDON - Metals Exploration PLC Monday said the Supreme Court of the Philippines has dismissed a writ against the company alleging it was breaching environmental laws.

In a statement, Metals Exploration said the so-called "writ of Kalikasan" against its FCF Minerals Corporation subsidiary, which owns the Runruno gold project in the Philippines, was the second attempt to enforce this type of writ.

A writ of Kalikasan is a legal remedy under Philippine law which provides for the protection of a person's right to "a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature," under the Philippine constitution.

According to the company, the court had noted that the petitioners had tried to establish environmental damage that prejudices the life, health or property of inhabitants in the area.

"Once again, FCF believe these claims are driven by vexatious intent, are entirely unfounded and the petition is based on significant inaccurate facts," Metals Exploration said.

"Our focus had been marginally diverted whilst we sought to dismiss these writs and now we have successfully achieved this we can continue the important work of putting Runruno into production, and always mindful of our duty of care to the environment as we progress," Chairman Ian Holzbrger said.

Metals Exploration shares were up 6.7% at 5.6 pence Monday morning, one of the biggest gains on the London market.

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