MAC: Mines and Communities

Philippines: New moves to ban unprocessed ore

Published by MAC on 2014-09-10
Source: Statements, Reuters, Inquirer, Rappler, BW online (2014-09-10)

... but will it make a difference to mining-related violence?

Bills have been introduced into the Philippine legislature which would require domestic processing of all minerals extracted in the country prior to export. The bill, filed by Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino, a first cousin of President Benigno Aquino, is similar to the one introduced recently in Indonesia. It could have massive implications for nickel mining in the country, where currently much of the ore is shipped out unprocessed.

This can only lead to a backlash from mining executives. The industry as a whole has seen some recent growth, but it will only add to the arguments of industry leaders over taxation issues.

That growth in production should be helped by the final clearance for Philex Mining to resume full operations at the Padcal mine in the Cordillera, which was shutdown after a tailings leak two years ago. Civil society groups have denounced the decision, pointing to ongoing concerns with the waste facilities.

Civil society groups with concerns over mining have continued to bear the brunt of human rights violations. An indigenous leader, Genasque Enriquez, known for his anti-mining statements was arrested on trumped up charges in CARAGA. In Davao, activitists campaigning against the impact of a coal-powered plant were murdered.

A Canadian overseas delegation visited Region 9, to investigate concerns about mining-related human rights violations. They "heard testimonies of extra-judicial killings, torture, assault, illegal detention, intimidation, harassment and forced displacement" including "how members of [TVI's] 'blue guards' have acted in ways that devalue human dignity and that demonstrate an alarming disregard for the human rights of the Subanen people in Bayog."

Not long after the visit tribal leaders in Bayog made a decision to grant their free, prior, informed consent to TVI in the violently contested area, apparently cutting short an agreed process which included a request for the company to provide all documents to the leaders. In those circumstances it is questionable how 'free' such a decision truly can be.

Philippines senator files bill to ban mineral ore exports

Reuters

3 September 2014

MANILA - A Philippine senator has filed a bill urging a halt to exports of unprocessed mineral ores, similar to a ban introduced by Indonesia that led to a sharp spike in nickel prices and cut exports of other ores.

The Philippines, which has vast but largely untapped mineral resources, has been looking at ways to raise the contribution of mining to its economy.

The bill, filed in late August by Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino, a first cousin of President Benigno Aquino, would require domestic processing of all minerals extracted in the country prior to export if passed into law.

This may require nickel miners, for example, to build more smelters to process the ore before shipment. Some ores are shipped directly to China and Japan for processing.

The Philippines currently has two processing plants for nickel, both owned by the country's top producer Nickel Asia Corp, two for gold, and one for copper, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

Paolo Benigno Aquino is one of 24 members of the upper house Senate, which is dominated by allies of the president.

"This measure seeks to generate more domestic income, attract more investments, and lead to more jobs and livelihood for the Filipino people," the bill said in its explanatory note.

Mining contributed less than 1 percent of the Philippines' gross domestic product from 2003 to 2012, the note said.

But the mining industry believes investments in mineral processing plants will only come once the government addresses issues of high power costs, poor infrastructure and security threats from communist rebels in the countryside.

"It will be like the Indonesian situation where thousands lost their jobs because of the mine shutdown due to the ban. We are not ready for that," Ronald Recidoro, Chamber of Mines of the Philippines' spokesman and vice president for legal and policy.

"If we want to attract quality investments, the government must first address those issues. Rather than make it mandatory, they should instead offer incentives, tax incentives," he said.

In January, Indonesia, the world's biggest nickel ore exporter, imposed a ban on outbound shipments of unprocessed mineral ores as it sought to extract more value from its mineral resource.

Uncertain Future

The proposed legislation comes at a time when the Philippine mining industry faces an uncertain future as the government aims for new tax legislation to boost its share of mining revenues.

Conflicting regulations, such as whether or not to ban open-pit mining, and a strong anti-mining lobby led by the leadership of the local Roman Catholic Church have also deterred investment and hampered projects, such as Glencore Plc's $5.9 billion Tampakan copper-gold mine in southern Philippines.

A similar bill was filed in July in the House of Representatives by Congressman Erlpe John Amante, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

Mines and Geosciences Bureau head Leo Jasareno told Reuters the state agency had not been consulted prior to the filing of the Senate bill, and it was premature to say whether it would recommend that the government support the bill.

The office of Senator Aquino said the bill was filed without any consultation with the government. The Senator hoped state agencies will support the measure once it is discussed by the Senate environment committee.

The timing of any potential ban on exports was unclear.

The Senate bill proposes six- to 12-year imprisonment plus a fine equivalent to twice the value of seized mineral ores for those found guilty of exporting mineral ores. The existing law does not have limits on mineral ore exports.

The bill also seeks to amend certain provisions in the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, which allow 100 percent foreign ownership of mining. (Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco and Erik dela Cruz in MANILA.; Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in SYDNEY; Editing by Richard Pullin and SImon Cameron-Moore)


Philippine lawmaker sees 5-year grace period before ore export ban

Reuters

9 September 2014

MANILA (Reuters) - A proposed ban on exports of unprocessed metal ores from the Philippines should only take effect five years after legislation to boost mineral processing is put in place, the proponent of a bill before Congress said on Tuesday.

Congressman Erlpe John Amante told Reuters he hoped two bills seeking mandatory domestic processing of all minerals extracted in the country would become law within the next two years. The Philippines could triple its revenue from mineral exports if the bills became law, he said.

Amante's bill, which was filed in July, has been approved at the committee stage in the lower chamber of Congress, and is now ready for plenary debates. A matching bill has been filed in the upper house Senate.

Amante said he believed miners should be given a five-year grace period once the law was enacted to build processing plants before a proposed ban on ore exports took effect, similar to a law in Indonesia.

"I think five years will be fair enough for investors to put up processing plants," he said in an interview with Reuters at his office in the lower House. "We've started the ball rolling so I'm very hopeful with the timeline."

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje, in a separate interview, said the government would support the identical bills filed in both chambers of Congress.

"Our proposal is to go for the banning of ore exports on the condition that in the draft bills there will be support system for the establishment of processing plants," Paje told Reuters.

The Philippines is a major supplier of nickel ore to China for its stainless steel industry. Concerns over the proposed legislation has pushed up the nickel price in recent days. (Reporting by Erik dela Cruz; Editing by Richard Pullin)


Philippine committee approves bill banning mineral ore exports

Reuters

8 September 2014

Manila - A Philippine bill seeking a halt to exports of unprocessed mineral ores has been approved at the committee stage in the lower chamber of Congress, one of two bills aimed at extracting more value from the country's mineral resources.

The measure will go next to a full session of the lower house of Congress for discussion and voting, but no schedule has yet been set, said Ronald Madrigal, staff to Congressman Erlpe John Amante who introduced the bill in July.

A counterpart bill has also been introduced in the upper house Senate by Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino, a first cousin of President Benigno Aquino.

(To read the bill in full, click bit.ly/1pGeIoV)

The bills, which would require domestic processing of all minerals extracted in the country prior to export, have raised concern at the possibility of a halt to exports of nickel ore from the Philippines, in line with similar action by Indonesia.

London Metal Exchange nickel rose 1.7 percent in early European trade on Monday and have risen more than 7 percent since news of the potential Philippines ban was revealed last week.

The Philippines currently supplies China with virtually all of the nickel ore that it uses to make nickel pig iron, a raw material used by steelmakers, following the Indonesian ban that took effect in January.

The bills aim to generate more income from the Philippines from mining, which has vast but largely untapped mineral resources.

If passed, nickel miners would be have to build more smelters to process ore before shipment.

The Philippines currently has two processing plants for nickel, both owned by the country's top producer Nickel Asia Corp, two for gold, and one for copper, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

(Reporting by Erik dela Cruz; Writing by Rosemarie Francisco; Editing by Richard Pullin)


Gov't engages miners on proposed revenue sharing scheme

Philippine Daily Inquirer

25 August 2014

The Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) has reached out to the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines and other foreign chambers as it hopes to work out the issue raised by the local and foreign business community over the proposed mining revenue-sharing scheme.

Mines and Geosciences Bureau director Leo L. Jasareno however admitted that there would be little room left for further adjustments in the proposed bill which was already submitted to the Office of the President (OP).

"The [business groups] sent a formal letter to the MICC, raising some issues, such as the government's share [under the new bill] being too high, and that the proposed scheme will not be competitive and will only discourage further investments," Jasareno explained. "But the proposed bill is already completed and is with the Office of the President. We just want to meet with them to discuss the issues and explain to them our side. This is part of our protocol to continue engaging them."

The MICC is also set to meet with members of Congress on Sept. 1 to push the proposed bill.

Under the MICC-proposed tax-sharing scheme, the government will take 55 percent of a mining operation's adjusted net revenue or 10 percent of gross revenue, whichever is higher. There are also provisions on taking a certain percentage from windfall profits. This will be much higher than the current tax regime, which only takes 2 percent of the gross revenue in a mining operation, plus 5 percent if the mining site is classified a mineral reservation area.

"That's the principle behind the new scheme, for the government to have a higher share or stake and to implement a more simplified computation," Jasareno further said.

Business groups have earlier called for the retention of the existing Philippine Mining Act, considering it to be an effective piece of legislation if properly implemented.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines also cautioned the government in further raising taxes on mining under the proposed reforms to the existing Mining Act because this would only serve as a disincentive to many prospective investors.

The Philippine government must also strictly regulate small-scale miners to ensure that they will pay their fair, rightful share of taxes to the government. The government must also make sure that these miners will be as socially and environmentally responsible as the large mining companies, CanCham president Julian H. Payne said in an earlier interview.

COMP, for its part, expressed dismay over the MICC's proposed tax hikes, which the group said would not help in attracting investments needed to develop the country's mineral resources in a responsible manner. Amy R. Remo


Metal production expands 17.11%

By Czeriza Valencia

The Philippine Star

13 August 2014

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine metallic production rose by 17.11 percent in terms of value in the first quarter of the year on increased revenues from gold production, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said yesterday.

The aggregate value of metal production for the first three months of the year is placed at P21.98 billion, up by P3.21 billion from P18.77 billion recorded in the same period last year.

Gold production accounted for 38.56 percent of the total production value during the period with aggregate earnings of P8.48 billion, up 17 percent from P7.27 billion in the comparative period.

Higher gold production during the first quarter was due to "substantial" increase in production in the following projects: Didipio gold project of Oceana Gold Philippines Inc. in Nueva Vizcaya, Toledo copper project of Carmen Copper Corporation in Cebu, and Padcal copper-gold project of Philex Mining Corporation in Benguet.

Revenues from direct shipping nickel ore and nickel sulfides comprised 34.80 percent of the total metal production value for the period at P7.65 billion.

The growth in revenues from nickel direct shipping ore alone slowed down 14 percent in the first quarter to P3.59 billion from P4.16 billion. The MGB attributed this to lower production caused by unfavorable weather condition that prevailed in Dinagat Islands and Surigao province during the start of the year where 18 out of the 27 actively operating nickel mines in the country are located.

Out of 18 mines operating in Dinagat Islands and Surigao del Norte, 11 mines reported zero production in the first quarter.

"A nickel mining operation, being surface mining, is always vulnerable to the weather condition," said MGB director Leo Jasareno.

Revenues from copper production comprised 24.30 percent of the total metal production value during the period at P5.34 billion, up by 33 percent from P4.02 billion during the comparative period.

The remaining 2.34 percent, or P514 million, came from the combined values of silver, zinc, iron ore and chromite. Revenues from Iron ore from small-scale mining operations amounted to about P320 million.

Two producers of copper, gold and silver have also ceased operations in the first quarter of the year. The Rapu-Rapu Poymetallic Project of Rapu-Rapu Processing Inc. (RRPI) in Albay concluded its operations last year and has started its final mine rehabilitation activities.

The Canatuan Mining project of TVI Resource Development Philippines Incorporated in Zamboanga del Norte ceased production mid-January after its ore reserves had been exhausted.

Three new mining projects, meanwhile, are expected to start operations this year: the Vitali Iron Ore Mining Project of Atro Mining - Vitali Inc. in Zamboanga City that has a mine life of 10 years; Libjo Nickel Laterite Project of East Coast Mineral Resources Co., Inc. in Dinagat Island that has a mine life of 10 years; and Agata Nickel Laterite Project of Minimax Mineral Exploration Corporation in Agusan del Norte that has a mine life of 11 years.

These projects holding Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) entail total investments of P1.46 billion. Once these projects begin contributing to the production stream, the country would have 46 operating mines all in all.

Metal prices were less favorable for producers during the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year. Gold fell by as much as 20.77 percent to $1,292.93 per troy ounce in the first quarter from $1,631.81 per troy ounce on the comparative period.

The MGB said the average gold price is expected to become steady at $1,300 per troy ounce level for the meantime.

Gold demand during the first quarter came mostly from the jewelry industry, investment and central bank purchases.


Philex Mining bags final clearance

Business World online

28 August 2014

PHILEX Mining Corp. has secured final regulatory clearance to resume full operations at its Padcal gold-and-copper mine in Benguet, a little more than two years after the facility shut down due to a tailings leak.

In an Aug. 27 letter to Philex Mining President Eulalio B. Austin, Jr., Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Leo L. Jasareno noted that "issues emanating from the tailings spill incident (on Aug. 1, 2012) have been substantially addressed, to warrant the resumption of the normal operation of Philex under the existing mining contracts with the government."

The miner, the letter noted, complied with its environmental obligations after the accident, including payment of required fees, carrying out of remediation measures, and submission of proof of its tailings dam's integrity.

Hence, Mr. Jasareno wrote, "the cease and desist order dated Aug. 2, 2012 of this office is hereby permanently lifted to allow Philex Mining Corp. to resume mining operations in its Padcal Mine in... Benguet..."

Philex Mining is one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Company Ltd., the others being Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld.


MGB's approval of Philex to resume operations imperils communities and the environment

AGHAM Press Release

31 August 2014

The approval of the Mine and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to allow Philex Mining Corp. to resume its Padcal mine operation is a clear case of the government's blatant disregard of the safety of the communities living within the mining area, according to scientist group Agham Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (Agham).

"The statement of MGB Director Leo Jasareno that the issues raised by communities and civil society have been sufficiently addressed and that Philex have complied with its social responsibility to warrant the resumption of the normal operations is deceitful and distorted," said Finesa Cosico, secretary general of Agham.

Agham is part of the group Philex Watch, with Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment, Center for Environmental Concerns Phils. and other civil society organisations whose concerns were resolved according to MGB Director Jasareno.

Philex Watch is group of civil society organisations which was formed to engage the DENR-MGB to monitor the compliance of Philex for the rehabilitation of the dam structure and the affected impact sites based on the recommendation of the former Senator Sergio R. Osmena III, the Chairperson of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

"In the series of consultations with MGB, substantial technical documents such as the Environmental Impact Statement, approved TSF3 design and other pertinent documents stipulating the basis for the extension of the operational life of TSF3, were never provided by MGB for the transparent review and assessment of the monitoring group," said Cosico.

"We have reiterated the need to review technical documents, even when the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection Secretary Neric Acosta called for the investigation on the case, but Philex remained adamant in providing the documents being demanded from them," said Cosico.

Philex Mining Corp was slapped with a cease and desist order after its Tailings Storage Facility Three (TSF3) in Benguet breached on August 1, 2012 resulting to the 20 million metric ton (MMT) mine tailings spill that destroyed the Balog River and the confluence of Balog and Agno River. The incident was dubbed as the biggest mining disaster in Philippine history due to the magnitude of the spill and the impacts it brought to the communities.

"Philex did not heed the clamour of civil society organisations which called for the decomissioning of the TSF3 because its operating life is only 18 to 20 years. TSF 3 was constructed in 1992 and its operation should have ended in 2012 but Philex insisted in utilizing the structure way past its design life. The breach can be attributed to its deteriorating condition and not a mere force majeure as Philex claimed," said Cosico.

According to the group, Philex is known to be notorious in using phased-out storage facility structures. The company has a string of historical accountabilities since it started its Padcal operations in 1958. The TSF1 extended its operation for four years despite reaching the 10-year limit of the structure in 1977. The TSF 2 collapsed due to foundation failure In 1992.

"With the MGB's decision allowing Philex to operate despite its repeated offense, it threatens the lives of the people and would cause environmental risks. As a regulatory agency, MGB must prioritize the safety of the people and the protection of the environment and not the corporate greed of the Philex", ended Cosico.


Reference: Finesa Cosico, Agham secretary general, 09178115445
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Philippines: SMI renews bid for $5.9bn mining project

By Edwin Espejo

Asian Correspondent

20 August 2014

Despite government failure to address policy issues in the mining industry, Sagittarius Mines Inc (SMI) is still hopeful it will get the necessary permits and clearances needed to pursue its stalled Tampakan Copper and Gold Project.

It is poised to conduct more rounds of consultations with stakeholders, including obtaining the consent of communities and local government units that will be affected by its multi-billion dollar project.

The Tampakan project straddles the Mindanao provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur and Sarangani in the Philippine covering more than 20,000 hectares.

SMI currently holds ownership of the Tampakan project.

Early this month, the Mines and Geoscience Bureau forwarded to its central office the feasibility study of SMI for further review.

The mining company earlier scaled down its operations and has not given a timetable when it would commence commercial operations after the government failed to settle the issue on government share in the proceeds and income of mining operations in the country.

The government set up the Mining Industry Coordinating Council to thresh out a host of mining policy issues, including amending the 1995 Philippine Mining Act.

Malacañang, however, has yet to release results of consultations held by the council and is yet to submit to Philippine Congress a draft proposal that will amend the mining law.

A source from SMI who requested anonymity as he is not authorized to issue a statement said they are still working with the national government to resolve key issues.

These include permitting requirements, fiscal regime and others that the "national government can address."

SMI had already obtained an environment compliance certificate to proceed with its project but was to obtain approval and business permits from host local government units.

The local government of South Cotabato however passed an ordinance in 2010 banning the use of open-pit mining in the province.

SMI was also required by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to obtain anew free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities that will be affected by its mining operations.

Company sources said it will begin the process of obtaining consent from tribal communities in September.

Key corporate issues

As this developed, minority SMI stockholder Indophil Resources NL said it is confident they will be able to proceed with the US$5.9 billion project after its majority partner Glencore successfully sold the latter's interest in the Las Bambas copper and gold project in Peru to Chinese investors.

One of the reasons Glencore withheld full financing for the project was the uncertainty of the Las Bambas sale which, if it did not push through, could have meant the sale of the Tampakan Copper and Gold Project.

"In principle, we understand that on closure, this divestment frees Glencore and therefore its interest in Tampakan from the MOFCOM conditions," the Australia-based Indophil said in its report to the Australia Stock Exchange in July.

Indophil was referring to the conditions set by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce before it approved the merger between Glencore International and Xstrata PLC to form the world's 4th largest diversified mining company.

The merger put into hold the full development of the Tampakan project as Glencore, who owns 62.5 per cent of SMI, publicly stated it was not keen on pursuing ‘greenfield' projects.

Greenfield projects are those that are yet to commence commercial production.

The rest of SMI's stake, at 37.5 percent, is owned by Indophil Resources NL.

SMI earlier announced it would commence commercial production in 2019.

But due to several uncertainties that included difficulties in obtaining government permits, Glencore scaled down its exposure to the project forcing SMI to lay off 940 of its workers and employees, representing 85 per cent of its total workforce.

SMI likewise terminated the services of its consultants including its drilling operations.


Anti-mining, anti-pork indigenous people's leader in CARAGA detained and slapped with harassment suit-again

Kalikasan PNE Press Release

23 August 2014

Environmental activists condemned today the illegal detention and the latest strategic lawsuit against public participation or SLAPP filed against Genasque Enriquez, a Manobo leader under the indigenous peoples alliance KALUMARAN and a staunch opponent of destructive large-scale mines and agri-industrial plantations in the CARAGA region of Mindanao.

"With the illegal arrest of Genasque Enriquez, it is becoming clear that mining transnational corporations and their military attack dogs are growing desparate in the face of the industry's worsening crisis and the people's intensifying resistance," said Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator of Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) and spokesperson of Task Force-Justice for Environmental Defenders (TF-JED).

Enriquez was a known leader who opposed the controversial Taganito Mining Corporation, a large-scale mining operation exposed by media in 2011 to have caused massive environmental degradation and people's displacement, among other development aggression projects.

In a report by KALUMARAN, a member organization of Kalikasan PNE's Mindanao-wide network Panalipdan Mindanao, Enriquez was said to have been illegally arrested by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), 30th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, and the Philippine National Police in Surigao City around one o'clock in the afternoon yesterday on August 22, 2014.

"With this latest SLAPP slapped against Enriquez, environmental advocates slapped with SLAPPs under the administration of Pres. Noynoy Aquino number to 114. The Aquino government has allowed large-scale mining corporations and other forms of development aggression to act like his bosses, harassing opposition with impunity," Dulce said.

According to KALUMARAN secretary general Dulphin Ogan, "The slapping of false criminal charges against indigenous leaders is consistent with the design of the government's Oplan Bayanihan program which aims, among others, to neutralize opponents especially of big extractive industries like mining and plantations either through imprisonment or extrajudicial execution."

Environmental advocates vs pork

Enriquez was arrested shortly after he joined a press conference to send off a CARAGA delegation who will attend the People's Initiative Congress against the Pork Barrel Systemin Cebu City today.

"Like our fellow environmental advocate Genasque, we also joined the people's crusade against the pork barrel politics of Aquino and his allies. We knew the link of both the presidential and congressional pork barrel to projects that aggravate environmental destruction, which also deplete the people's funds that could have gone to legitimate environmental and social protection programs," Dulce explained.

"It is abhorrent for an environmental defender and anti-pork crusader to be the subject of rights violations a day before the historic people's congress that seeks to abolish all pork barrel funds. Genasque should immediately be released so he can continue his struggle for the environment, IP rights, and a pork barrel-free clean and green governance," ended Dulce.

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The Kalikasan PNE is a convening organization of TF-JED. It is also a convening organization of the Environmental Network against Pork Barrel and Corruption (ENAP Corruption!).


GENASQUE ENRIQUEZ, Lumad Leader from CARAGA Arrested with False Charges

KALIPUNAN NG KATUTUBONG MAMAMAYAN NG PILIPINAS URGENT ALERT

22 August 2014

Mr. Genasque Enriquez, a Manobo leader, secretary-general of KASALO and Vice President of the KATRIBU Partylist was arrested today, 22 August 2014, at 1:00 pm after attending the press conference for the People's Initiative in Surigao City. Enriquez was arrested by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police.using an alias warrant. He is currently being held at the Surigao City Hall under the custody of the CIDG.

The arrest of Mr. Enriquez was in relation with frustrated murder case No. L-2540 filed against him on March 25, 2013 in Lianga del Sur by the elements of the 11th Special Action Company and the 75th IBPA. This was in connection with an NPA ambush against these operating elements of the military in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur on July 21, 2012. Incidentally, Mr. Enriquez was a guest in a local radio show in Butuan City when this happened.

Genasque Enriquez, in his capacity as KASALO Caraga leader, is well-known for his stand opposing heightened militarization, corporate mining and commercial plantations that affect Lumad communities in Caraga and the whole of the Philippines. The forced evacuations due to militarization in Mamanwalumad communities in Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Norte in February to March, 2012 put him in frequent confrontations with elements of the 30th IBPA and Civil Military Operations (CMO) officials of the 4th Infantry Division.

From 2012, Enriquez has been filed with at least 3 trumped up charges related to criminal cases and attacks of the New People's Army to the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Mr. Enriquez is one of the many IP leaders facing grave threats due to their unwavering stand and leadership of anti-mining and anti-militarization campaigns of indigenous peoples' organizations and communities in Mindanao and the whole country.

Enriquez is a member of the National Council of Leaders of KAMP, the national alliance of indigenous peoples organizations in the Philippines, and the 2nd nominee of the KATRIBU Partylist in the 2010 and 2013 national elections.

UA prepared by KAMP, 22 August 2014

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


IP Leader Released on Bail as Trumped up Cases Vs Progressive Organizations Trend in CARAGA

Karapatan Caraga statement

23 August 2014

Surigao City - KATRIBU Partylist National Vice Chairperson and Kahugpungan sa mga Lumadnong Organisasyon sa Caraga (KASALO Caraga) Secretary General Genasque Enriquez was released after posting bail on three alleged frustrated murder charges before Judge Victor Canoy of the RTC Branch 29 in Surigao City at 11:45 am today.

After his arrest on August 22, concerned citizens and organizations immediately trooped to the Surigao City Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) office to ensure his safety. Among the quick reaction teams to respond was the Sisters Association in Mindanao (SAMIN) led by Sr. Noemi Degala, SMSM and Sr. Stella Matutina, OSB.

His bail was posted with the assistance and immediate support of progressive grassroots organizations, church people and civil society organizations and institutions based in the Caraga region. His arrest has also met with widespread protest among national and international human rights and IP organizations that he has engaged with in his work.

"This is clearly another case of state harassment against progressive leaders and organizations to silence us amid the mounting public clamor for change. What is dangerous is that 101 John Does have been included in the warrant that was used to arrest him ", said Karapatan Secretary General Naty Castro.

Members of peasant organization, Unyon sa Mag-uuma sa Agusan del Norte - Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (UMAN - KMP) Armando Toreta and Eutiquio Bulat-ag were also arrested separately on trumped up murder charges and are still detained in Butuan City to date.

"These trumped up charges are trending in Caraga. There have been names of civilians, leaders and members of progressive organizations, that were maliciously added on to criminal cases filed by the AFP in the civilian courts, connecting them with known NPA offensives.", claried Castro. "With utter disregard to due process, just like Genasque, they are not given the chance to respond to complaints at the investigation stage before these cases are filed and warrants of arrest are issued."

"This is a disturbing trend to further curtail our civil liberties. Human rights defenders like Genasque Enriquez are put at risk because of their public defense on the side of the poor and the powerless, who have only their people's organization as a weapon against tyranny and abuse. The Aquino Administration is no different from the previous Arroyo Regime in its total disregard for human rights and due process," concluded Castro.#

Reference: Naty Castro, Karapatan Caraga (09071009904)

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KASALO-Caraga SecGen and KATRIBU 2nd nominee GENASQUE ENRIQUEZ arrested on trumped up frustrated murder cases

Case: Political Persecution, Illegal Arrest, Illegal Detention on Trumped Up Charges

Victim/s: GENASQUE B. ENRIQUEZ

Male, 41 years old, father of 4, Secretary General of Kasalo-Caraga and second nominee of KATRIBU Partylist

Place of Incident: Dale's Food House, Rizal St., Surigao City

Date of Incident: August 22, 2014 at around 1 o'clock in the afternoon

Alleged Perpetrator(s): Philippine National Police-Surigao City, 30th IB PA and elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

Account of the Incident:

At around 1 o'clock in the afternoon of August 22, 2014, GENASQUE B. ENRIQUEZ was arrested in Surigao City, by virtue of an alias warrant of arrest issued against him in March 25, 2013 by the Regional Trial Court Branch 28 of Lianga, Surigao del Sur. Three counts of frustrated murder (Frustrated murder case no. L-2540) have been filed against him by elements of the Philippine Army.

Enriquez was about to leave Dale's Food House in Rizal St., Surigao City when members of the PNP-Surigao City, 30th IB PA and the CIDG arrested him. Genasque just came from a press conference held by members of the Abolish Pork Movement (APM) and representatives of people's organizations in Caraga in the same restaurant. The group was scheduled to travel to Cebu City tonight to attend the People's Congress to Abolish Pork through the People's Initiative Bill on August 23.

The members of the police, military and the CIDG took Enriquez and brought him to the CIDG detention center at the Surigao City Hall where he is currently detained.

Genasque B. Enriquez is the current Secretary General of Kasalo-Caraga. He has been a victim of intimidation and harassment committed by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines operating in Caraga. He has been among those in the forefront to demand the respect of human rights of the indigenous people (IP), expose human rights violations committed by operating troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the indigenous people and communities and protesting against the destruction of ancestral lands by large scale mining operations and plantations. He has been vilified countless times by officials and spokespersons of the AFP on air during radio interviews and in face-to-face negotiations and dialogues.

Kasalo Caraga has been accused without basis for being a front of the CPP-NPA because of its staunch support for grassroots IP organizations,its anti-largescale mining campaign and human rights work. Enriquez has previously faced trumped up charges of murder and frustrated murder, associating him with known offensives of the NPA which were later dropped by the Office of the Prosecutor and Department of Justice after further investigation.

As his experience in the previous case he faced, he has not received any notice of complaints filed against him from the Surigao del Sur Prosecutor's Office, thus depriving him of his right to respond to the complaint as per due process. They failed to inform him of the current cases that were the basis of the alias warrant that was served to him during his arrest.

Karapatan-Caraga believes that the charges made against Genasque B. Enriquez are trumped up cases and his subsequent arrest was aimed at silencing him and his organization.

Recommended Action:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:

The immediate release of GENASQUE ENRIQUEZ.
Immediately withdraw the frustrated murder charges against GENASQUE ENRIQUEZ.
Immediately release GENASQUE ENRIQUEZ from detention.
The Philippine Government to observe the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all the major human rights instruments that it is a party and signatory to.
To stop political persecution, illegal arrests, detention on perceived enemies of the Philippine Government.

You may send your communications to:

H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: op@president.gov.ph

Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
Email: stqd.papp@opapp.gov.ph

Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-6193 / 911-0488 / 982-5600
Fax:+63(2) 982-5600
Email: osnd@philonline.com, dnd.opla@gmail.com

Atty. Leila De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-1908
Trunkline 523-84-81 loc.211/214
Fax: (+632) 523-9548
Email: lmdelima@doj.gov.ph

Hon. Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our addresses below:

KARAPATAN CARAGA
2nd Floor, Gabriela Women's Resource Center
Fourth Street, Guingona Subdivision
Butuan City 8600
Agusan del Norte
Philippines
karapatancaraga[at]gmail.com


Mindanao Lumads condemn arrest of Manobo leader on fabricated charges

Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad sa Mindanao Press Release

22 August 2014

The Mindanao indigenous peoples alliance KALUMARAN calls for the immediate release of Manobo leader Genasque Enriquez as his arrest "smacks of fabricated criminal charges from a government that wants to silence a staunch anti-mining and anti-Oplan Bayanihan critic."

Dulphing Ogan, secretary general of KALUMARAN, today slammed President Benigno Aquino III for the arrest of Enriquez by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), 30th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (PA), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Surigao City at around one o'clock in the afternoon today, August 22, 2014, in Surigao City.

Enriquez is a member of the KALUMARAN Executive Committee and was the second nominee of the Katribu Partylist in the 2013 elections. He is also the secretary general of the Caraga-based Kahiusahan sa mga Lumadnong Organisasyon (KASALO).

Law enforcement agents served an alias warrant on Enriquez moments after he joined a press conference to send off a delegation from the Caraga region who are attending the church-backed People's Initiative congress against the pork barrel system in Cebu City tomorrow.

Enriquez is presently being held at the Surigao City Hall. He is now being reportedly attended to by members of the Union of Peoples' Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM).

Dozens of Catholic nuns and other civil society representatives have trooped to the Surigao City Hall to demand Enriquez's release and to criticize the trumped up charges against the Lumad leader.

"The Armed Forces of the Philippines under 4th Infantry Division chief Brig. General Ricardo Visaya has desperately wanted to see Enriquez behind bars. Previous false charges against him have been dismissed for lack of cause. Suddenly a frustrated murder charge which was purportedly committed by him in 2013 in Lianga, Surigao del Sur sprang up to ensure his imprisonment," Ogan said.

"Genasque was never informed of these charges so that he could have flatly refuted and exposed them as lies before it was resolved by the government prosecutor. This government has no regard for due process and the rule of law and the stealth it employed only emphasizes the falsity of the charges," Ogan added.

Enriquez has been outspoken against several largescale mining companies in the Caraga region as these violate indigenous peoples' human rights especially the right to their ancestral domains. These companies have also been rabidly guarded by the armed forces who have carried out widespread military operations causing the displacement of indigenous communities.

"The slapping of false criminal charges against indigenous leaders is consistent with the design of the government's Oplan Bayanihan program which aims, among others, to neutralize opponents especially of big extractive industries like mining and plantations either through imprisonment or extrajudicial execution," Ogan added.

Ogan said Enriquez's most recent engagement was to facilitate the visit of a delegation of Filipino-Americans who were looking into human rights violations of big mining companies and the armed forces in the Caraga region early this month.

Enriquez spoke about his struggles against trumped up charges and the threats against his life and his tribe, on August 9, International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, which culminated the North America-Philippines Solidarity Affair for Human Rights and Ecological Justice attended by around 120 North Americans and Mindanao civil society leaders.

Dulphing Ogan
Secretary General
Mobile 09128880131


Two activists killed for opposing mining and banana plantations

September 8, 2014

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-126-2014 - http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-126-2014

8 September 2014

--

PHILIPPINES: Two activists killed for opposing mining and banana plantations

ISSUES: Extrajudicial killings; Human rights defenders
--

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform you about the killing of two activists in separate incidents in Davao province. The victims had been involved in campaigning against the impact of a coal-powered plant, a mining operation and banana plantations in their community. Prior to their killing, the military had accused them of being supporters of a rebel group, the New Peoples' Army (NPA).

CASE DETAILS: (Based on the documentation by Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples Rights (KARAPATAN) and Citizens Alliance Unified for Sectoral Empowerment - Davao del Sur (CAUSE))

CASE 1: Activist opposing mining operation killed in front of his wife

On 7 May 2014, at 7pm Ernel Wata Taduyan (35) was shot in the feet in their residence at Kibalatong village, Davao del Sur. He asked his wife Rubelinda for help telling her "Lyn gipusil ko" (Lyn I was shot). She saw the shooting. According to Rubelinda the perpetrators were six armed men allegedly from elements of the 73rd Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army under Lt. Col. Patricio Amata.

Ernel was inside his house when he was shot. His wife begged the soldiers not to kill her husband. She could not see their faces clearly because it was dark due to a power interruption.

Ernel implored his wife to take care of their three children before going into the children's room. He sustained wounds in different parts of his body that caused his death. Investigators recovered 43 empty M16 shells. After the incident, Ernel's family worried and feared for their lives, yet his wife still wants to continue advocacy for her husband.

According to neighbours and relatives, men in motorcycles were seldom seen in the community. However, there were some persons pretending to buy goods in the local stores while inquiring about Rubelinda's whereabouts. Ernel's relatives were also harassed after his death. They were told that they would be killed next.

After Ernel was buried, suspected intelligence agents and elements of 73rd IBPA were continuously looking for Rubelinda and her family to "negotiate." On May 8, 2014, Rubelinda had accused them publicly, thru TV Patrol Mindanao, as perpetrators of her husband's death.

The commanding officer of 73rd IBPA denied the incident and said that they only conducted Oplan Bayanihan, an anti-insurgency program of the government, on the basis of respect for human rights.

According to Rubelinda, in April 2014, she and Ernel were accused of being supporters of the New People's Army (NPA). They were warned by three military of the 73rd IBPA and told to stop supporting the rebels. If they did not comply, they would be listed in the "Order of the Battle", list of individuals by the security forces usually targeted for extrajudicial killings. Rubelinda denied the accusation.

Rubelinda believes they were targeted and harassed to stop them from participating in the campaign against the Anti-Coal Fired Power Plant (CFPP) and mining in Malita.

The couple are members of Church People's Advocacy for the Integrity of God's Creation-Malita Chapter (CPAIGC-Malita Chapter). This is a network of CAUSE-DS, active on environmental issues like CFPP and mining that are destructive to the ancestral lands and environment of the indigenous people like the Taga-Kaulo tribes.

The network continues facilitating discussions in the village regarding the imminent environmental threat from CFPP of the San Miguel Corporation. This business is owned by Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco who has started construction work in Barangay Colaman, Malita, Davao del Sur even though there is remaining opposition.

In one of his business conferences, President Aquino promised the corporations that they can operate without impediment. And the government will pay any operational losses. It has 26 on-going mining applications in Malita, Don Marcelino and Jose Abad Santos in Davao del Sur.

In 2011, there were three documented extrajudicial killings in Malita: Tano Palacay, Zaldy Calibay and Dioquino Squadro all perpetrated by elements of the 39th and 73rd IBPA.

CASE 2: An indigenous man shot dead for opposing incursion of a banana plantation on his ancestral lands.

On the evening of 20 May 2014, neighbors noticed suspicious-looking people roaming around and looking at the residence of Tony Bago and his family at Sitio Kibarot, Lagumit village, Malita, Davao Occidental.

The next day at 9am, Jun-jun Bago, nephew of Tony Bago said that two men in a motorcycle went to Tony's house. Tony and his nephew were going to buy fish when the two men stopped them. The men were wearing balaclavas and riding a yellow XR Honda motorcycle without any license plates.

According to Jun-jun, his uncle assumed that the two men wanted to buy fish. The men stopped and asked Tony if he knew the person in the photo. The men also asked him if he knew Tony Bago. He answered I am sir (Ako Sir). Right after he answered the man took his gun out and shot Tony in the neck and his right arm.

Tony shouted at his nephew to run while the two perpetrators rode off in the direction of Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental. According to the police investigation a .45 caliber gun was used in the shooting.

Tony Bago actively struggled to defend his ancestral lands and strongly opposed the entry of the banana plantation of Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco. Overall, about 300 hectares of ancestral lands will be affected by the large-scale mining in Malita and the neighboring municipalities.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the concerned authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case.

The AHRC is also writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for immediate intervention.

To support this appeal, please click here: http://www.urgentappeals.net/support.php?ua=AHRC-UAC-126-2014

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ..................,

PHILIPPINES: Two activists killed for opposing mining and banana plantations

CASE 1
Name of killed victim: Ernel Wata Taduyan, 35 years old. A resident of Kiblatong village, Davao del Sur. He is a member of Church People's Advocacy for the Integrity of God's Creation-Malita Chapter (CPAIGC-Malita Chapter),
Alleged Perpetrators: 6 armed men from elements of the 73rd Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army under Lt. Col. Patricio Amata.
Date of incident: 7 May 2014 at 7pm
Place of incident: At residence of the victim in Kibalatong village, Davao del Sur.

CASE 2
Name of killed victim: Tony Bago, a resident Sitio Kibarot, Lagumit village, Malita, Davao Occidental. He was a fish vendor and an indigenous person who has opposed the incursion of banana plantations.
Alleged Perpetrators: Two unidentified men in ski masks in a yellow XR Honda motorcycle without license plates.
Date of incident: 20 May 2014
Place of incident: At Sitio Kibarot, Lagumit village, Malita, Davao Occidental

I am writing to raise my grave concern about the killing of Ernel Taduyan, an anti-mining activist and Tony Bago, an indigenous person who has opposed the incursion of banana plantations in their community.

On 7 May 2014, at 7pm Ernel Wata Taduyan (35), was shot in the feet in his home at Kibalatong village, Davao del Sur. He called Rubelinda, his wife, for help and told her "Lyn gipusil ko" (Lyn I was shot). She saw the shooting. According to Rubelinda the perpetrators were six armed men allegedly from elements of the 73rd Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army under Lt. Col. Patricio Amata.

Ernel was inside his home when he was shot. His wife begged the perpetrators not to kill her husband. She could not see their faces clearly because it was dark due to a power interruption.

Ernel implored his wife to take care of their three children before going inside the children's room. He sustained shots in different parts of his body that caused his death. The investigators recovered 43 empty M16 calibre shells. After the incident, Ernel's family worried and feared for their lives, but his wife still wants to continue advocacy for her husband.

According to neighbours and relatives, men in motorcycles were seldom seen in their community. But, some persons pretending to buy goods in the local stores began inquiring about Rubelinda's whereabouts. Ernel's relatives were also harassed after his death. They were told that they would be killed next.

After Ernel was buried, suspected intelligence agents and elements of the 73rd IBPA were continuously searching for Rubelinda and her family to "negotiate." On May 8, 2014, Rubelinda had accused them publicly thru TV Patrol Mindanao as perpetrators of her husband's death.

The commanding officer of the 73rd IBPA denied the incident and said that they conducted Oplan Bayanihan, an anti-insurgency programme of the government, on the basis of respect for human rights.

According to Rubelinda, in April 2014, she and Ernel were accused of being supporters of the New People's Army (NPA). They were warned by three soldiers of the 73rd IBPA to stop supporting the rebels. If they did not comply they will be listed in the "Order of Battle," list of individuals by the security forces usually targeted for extrajudicial killings, Rubelinda denied the accusation.

Rubelinda believes they were targeted and harassed to stop them from participating in the campaign against the Anti-Coal Fired Power Plant (CFPP) and mining in Malita.

The couple are members of Church People's Advocacy for the Integrity of God's Creation-Malita Chapter (CPAIGC-Malita Chapter), a network of CAUSE-DS. They are active on environmental issues like CFPP and mining that are destructive to the ancestral lands and environment of the indigenous people like the Taga-Kaulo tribes.

The network continues facilitating discussion in the village regarding the imminent environmental threat from CFPP of the San Miguel Corporation. It is owned by Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco who has started construction work in Barangay Colaman, Malita, Davao del Sur, despite continuing opposition.

In one of his business conferences, President Aquino promised the corporations that they can operate without impediment. And the government will pay any operational losses. There are 26 on-going mining applications in Malita, Don Marcelino and Jose Abad Santos in Davao del Sur.

In 2011, there were three documented extrajudicial killings in Malita: Tano Palacay, Zaldy Calibay and Dioquino Squadro all perpetrated by elements of the 39th and 73rd IBPA.

On the evening of 20 May 2014, neighbors noticed suspicious-looking people roaming around and looking at the residence of Tony Bago and his family at Sitio Kibarot, Lagumit village, Malita, Davao Occidental.

At 9am the next day, Jun-jun Bago, nephew of Tony Bago said that two men in a motorcycle went to Tony's house. Tony and his nephew were on their way to buy fish when the two men stopped them. The men were wearing balaclavas and riding a yellow XR Honda motorcycle without license plates.

According to Jun-jun, his uncle assumed that the two men wanted to buy fish. The men stopped and asked Tony if he knew the person in the photo and if he knew Tony Bago. He answered I am sir (Ako Sir). Right after he answered the man took out his gun and shot Tony in his neck and his right arm.

Tony shouted at his nephew to run while the two perpetrators rode away towards the municipality of Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental. According to the police investigation a .45 calibre gun was used in the shooting.

Tony Bago actively struggled to defend his ancestral lands and strongly opposed the entry of the banana plantation of Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco. About 300 hectares of ancestral lands will be affected by the large-scale mining in Malita and the neighboring municipalities.

I urge you to ensure that these two incidents are properly investigated and that those involved are held responsible as soon as possible.

The witnesses and families of the murdered victims need to be given adequate protection promptly should they decide to prosecute the case. Those who are facing threats should be afforded adequate protection and the identities of those involved in making threats must be ascertained.

I trust that you will take appropriate action in these cases.

Yours sincerely,

------------------------------
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Benigno Aquino III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

2. Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188
E-mail: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com

3. Police Director Alan LM Purisima
Chief, Philippine National Police
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax +632 7248763
Email: feedback@pnp.gov.ph

4. Ms. Leila de Lima
Secretary
Department of Justice (DOJ)
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004 Manila
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 521 1614
E-mail: soj@doj.gov.ph

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (ua@ahrc.asia)


The Rock Hard Truth-Philippine Learning Tour raises concerns about mining-related human rights violations in the Zamboanga peninsula

KAIROS Press Statement

6 August 2014

We, the Canadian and Philippine delegates of the Philippine Learning Tour, have journeyed as partners to study and investigate the impact of Canadian mining operations in the Zamboanga peninsula. As persons seeking to promote good stewardship of the environment and respect of human rights for all, including the cultural right of self-determination for Indigenous peoples, we stand together to raise a voice of concern for the potential human rights and environmental impacts of ongoing and impending large-scale mining operations in the region.

The Philippine Learning Tour sought to better understand the impact of existing and proposed mining operations in Zamboanga del Sur, as well as the filing of the Writ of Kalikasan by concerned environmentalists, Indigenous peoples, and church people for the Zamboanga peninsula.

This moment of pause under the Writ of Kalikasan is an opportunity to study the situation and to discern that, similar to other locations around the world, the introduction of mining has coincided with reported incidences of manipulation, displacement, harassment and extra-judicial killings. Due to their geographic proximity, some may say that the Subanen people of Zamboanga del Sur are accidentally impacted by large-scale mining interests, but this is not the entire picture.

The Philippine Learning Tour members have come to understand that the Subanen people have an especially close relationship with the mountains that link them incontrovertibly to their environment. We have observed a deep reverence for the sacred mountains from this cultural minority, who primarily thrive as farmers, that greatly exceeds that coming from the dominant cultural value systems. To undermine their culture and way of life, not respecting their ancestral domain and their right to free, prior and informed consent as guaranteed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to displace them from their lands, is tantamount to destroying who they are as peoples. This testimony mirrors the lived experience of the First Nations members of the Learning Tour.

Purposefully, the Philippine Learning Tour engaged in dialogue with two municipalities, Midsalip and Bayog. Midsalip was chosen because it is in the early stages of large-scale mining applications, while in Bayog, land clearing and the installation of infrastructure at the mine site has begun. We wanted to journey with the people of these communities to learn more about the impact at various stages of mining resource extraction.

First and foremost, we learned that the Subanen people are not sufficiently respected and valued. We were disturbed to discover that many young people, though clearly bright and full of potential, have either dropped out of school or are enrolled in levels well beneath the national average for their age. The sad correlation with the experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada was noted by Learning Tour members.

Staggering poverty was glaringly obvious in both municipalities. Significantly, both communities demonstrated stress and the fracturing of Subanen unity in regard to the entry or operations of large-scale mining.

We heard testimonies of extra-judicial killings, torture, assault, illegal detention, intimidation, harassment and forced displacement. TVI Resource Development (Phils.) Inc. (TVIRD) officials told us that they work with the SCAA, a Philippine government trained security force that works with mining companies to protect their interests. In addition, the TVIRD officials told us that they retain through a private security company their own guards - the so called "blue guards" - who are under the direct control of TVIRD agents. The people we spoke to told us about how members of "blue guards" have acted in ways that devalue human dignity and that demonstrate an alarming disregard for the human rights of the Subanen people in Bayog. Alleged incidents of human rights violations were a common thread in the interviews we conducted, and the people's fear is palpable as they believe their lives are in danger.

Members of the Philippine Learning Tour, a shared pilgrimage of visiting Canadians and Filipino church people, students and Indigenous people of the Zamboanga peninsula, were told that the Mining Act of 1995 promotes foreign interests over national welfare and the security of people in communities where mining interests are focused. Rather than serving the interests of the original and local inhabitants, we were told, under the current legislation, development creates division and disunity and can often result in displacing Indigenous peoples from the land they have held sacred for generations.

We call on the Philippine Government and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to be accountable for mining laws and policies that leave the environment vulnerable to massive plunder and irreversible destruction, and subject the Filipino people, especially Indigenous peoples, to widespread violations of their political, cultural, and economic rights. We pray that the Writ of Kalikasan may bring legal remedies to the aid of the threatened environment and those who desire to protect it.

We call on the Canadian government to ensure that Canadian companies operating overseas act in a way that respects and upholds human rights and does not damage the environment.

Canadian Learning Tour members will share the information it has gathered with the Canadian public through its member churches and civil society organizations in order to raise awareness and to generate support for action in support of the communities affected by Canadian mining companies operating in the Philippines.

KAIROS Canada and its partners will use the information gathered on the Philippine Learning Tour to educate Canadians about how Canadian mining activities impact Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in the Philippines, and to inform action campaigns to support those communities. This will include dialogue with TVI Pacific in Manila and Canada.

The information will be used to help inform the Open for Justice campaign, launched in October 2013, and promoted by KAIROS. This campaign calls for federal legislation to hold Canadian companies accountable when they are complicit in human rights or environmental violations overseas, and for the Government of Canada to create a mandatory extractive-sector Ombudsman.

The vast and verdant ecosystems of Zamboanga continue to be under imminent and impending environmental risk -this is the rock-hard truth. We express our deep concern for the safety of the many people who have courageously shared their stories with us and all of our actions are intended to draw attention to their situation and ensure their well-being. People of both nations-Canada and The Philippines--must stand in defence of the environment and the promotion of human rights of all people, especially the right to self-determination of the Subanen peoples of the Zamboanga peninsula.

###

The Philippine Learning Tour is a one-week study by a Canadian delegation coordinated by KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, a social justice organization of eleven churches and religious organizations, in partnership with a Philippine delegation of church workers coming from different churches and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Indigenous people including the advocacy officer of Task Force for Indigenous Peoples and students coming from different schools in Zamboanga Peninsula. In addition to participants from KAIROS Canada, the Canadian delegation includes participants from MiningWatch, the Canada Union of Public Employees, and Idle No More, a grassroots organization in Canada that advocates for the recognition and protection of Indigenous Peoples' in Canada). The tour is spearheaded by PROTECT-a people's organization working to defend patrimony against destructive large-scale mining, environmental plunder and development aggression.


Mine firm signs deal with indigenous people

By Ronnel W. Domingo, Philippine Daily Inquirer - http://business.inquirer.net/177412/mine-firm-signs-deal-with-indigenous-people

26 August 2014

TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD) said it has entered into a memorandum of agreement with leaders of the indigenous Subanen people in Zamboanga del Sur related to the development of the Balabag gold-silver project.

TVIRD said in a statement that Subanen leaders Lucenio Manda and Casiano Edal signed on behalf of their people last Aug. 19 following two months of "exhaustive public consultation" supervised by the National Commission on Indigenous People.

The pact means that the Subanens of Bayog town have given their free, prior and informed consent or FPIC, a regulatory requirement for mining concerns, in relation to the company's mineral production sharing agreement area covering 4,779 hectares in Sitio Balabag.

"Based on its success in Canatuan, we believe in TVIRD's capability to implement development (in Bayog)," Manda said in a statement.

He was referring to the company's flagship copper and zinc project in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, which came on stream in 2004. The Canatuan mine wrapped up operations earlier this year.

In October 2013, Canadian firm TVI Pacific said its local affiliate TVIRD had secured the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for the proposed Balabag project.

"Receipt of the ECC confirms [that TVIRD] has satisfied the requirements of Presidential Decree No. 1586 and its issue comes upon recommendation of the Environmental Management Bureau," the company said in a statement. PD 1586 established a system of environmental impact assessment for the mining industry.

The Calgary-based firm said results of drilling done in 2011 showed that the mineral resource in Balabag was estimated to be 1.78 million tons, with an average grade of 2.34 grams of gold and 72.3 grams of silver a ton.


3,000 Zambales mine workers fear loss of jobs

by Randy Datu

Rappler

19 August 2014

ZAMBALES, Philippines - Mining workers in Sta Cruz, Zambales, said they are starting to feel the impact of the recent closure of 4 nickel ore mining companies that the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Central Luzon suspended.

On Monday, August 18, this led them to stage a protest rally to denounce the decision of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The newly-formed coalition of Mine Workers, Families, and Community (CMWFC) has vowed that it won't stop calling officials of the DENR to lift the suspension order it issued on July 14 against the mining companies.

On July 14, the MGB in Region 3 suspended Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation (ZDBC), Benguet Corporation Nickel Mines Incorporated (MNMI), ERAMEN Minerals Incorporated, and LNL Archipelago Minerals Incorporated (LAMI), citing violations in mining policies.

The suspension orders were issued after a team composed of different government agencies came to the town to assess claims of locals that the mining was causing nickel siltation in rivers, farmlands, fishponds and the sea, according to the MGB.

On July 15, MGB Region 3 Director Danilo Uykieng issued suspension orders prohibiting the companies from extracting nickel ore and expanding their mine areas.

Orlan Mayor, spokesperson for the coalition of mine workers said that with the suspension order the jobs of about 3,000 mining workers are at stake.

Threats of more protests

"There will be no letup in the protest against the unreasonable closure of the 4 mining sites here that led to thousands of job losses," Mayor said in a statement.

A number of mine workers trooped to the municipal hall of Sta Cruz town and the provincial capitol of Zambales on Monday to gather support from their local leaders. They were accompanied by their families, scholars, farmers, and sectors whom the beleaguered companies had supposedly helped at the height of their mining operations.

Mayor said that apart from the job losses, the scholarships of these students, and other social development programs outlined by the companies and the communities are in danger of being pulled out if the DENR does not lift soon the suspension orders on the mining companies.

With the operations of the firms suspended since last month, around 3,000 families who rely on mining jobs to make ends meet were left without options, Mayor added.

"Our provincial and the local government officials are responsible for the welfare of the citizens of Zambales, hence we appeal that they should not simply sit and watch while we lose our jobs and our families starve," Mayor said.

The CMWFC urged both the town council of Sta Cruz and the provincial board of Zambales to issue separate resolutions of support on their plight, asking DENR to lift the suspension and cease-and-desist orders and allow workers to go back to the mine sites.

Last Saturday, officials in at least 8 villages in Sta Cruz threw their support behind the mine workers during the workers' caravan. Apart from this, they have the support of local businessmen who also feel the brunt of the sudden suspension of mining operations.

'Respect DENR decision'

Dr Benito Molino, chairman of the Concerned Citizens of Sta. Cruz, Zambales, has urged the mine workers to "respect and honor" the DENR's decision.

Molino said the evidence is clear that the 4 mining companies have caused environmental destruction in their town.

The suspension orders will only be lifted if the companies implement the "proper mining method" and if the materials in the active mining areas are removed, cleaned and placed in designated stockpile areas with proper drainage system.

The companies were also ordered to implement a maintenance plan while the suspension has not yet been lifted.

MGB Region 3 also formed a team to investigate and assess claims of locals for compensation for damages to their farmlands and fishponds. - with a report from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com


CIDG probing cops in illegal mining

By Julie M. Aurelio

Philippine Daily Inquirer

14 August 2014

MANILA, Philippines-The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group is now investigating the alleged involvement of local policemen in illegal mining activities in Caramoan town in Camarines Sur.

This was after Camarines Sur Gov. Miguel Luis Villafuerte complained that policemen from the Regional Public Safety Battalion and Provincial Safety Company there were acting as security personnel in illegal mining activities.

Chief Inspector Errol Gatchitorena Jr. of the CIDG in Camarines Sur said he has asked the governor to furnish them information and evidence to help in the investigation.

"Our office is tasked by our higher headquarters to conduct an investigation on your complaint regarding the involvement of the personnel from the RPSB and PSC in the illegal mining activities at Caramoan, Camarines Sur," Gatchitorena said in a letter to the governor dated Aug. 1.

The police official said police would use the information as basis for their investigation into the claims.

Earlier, the National Police Commission (Napolcom) stripped Villafuerte of authority over the local police after he allegedly refused to cooperate in the investigation of the death of four small-scale miners shot on March 22 in Barangay Gata, Caramoan town.

In an order dated June 9, the Napolcom said Villafuerte's refusal to cooperate in the investigation, coddling of individuals carrying high powered firearms, and refusal to provide information to the police, are "valid and justifiable grounds for the withdrawal of his deputation as (the commission's) agent or representative."

The governor has since then appealed the order.

The four small-scale miners were allegedly shot by members of Sagip Kalikasan Task Force, which his father, former governor Luis Raymond Villafuerte, formed in 2004.

Villafuerte's office released two letters, on April 7 and on April 29, informing the provincial police director and the regional police director of alleged rampant illegal mining and quarrying activities in Caramoan town.

The April 7 letter directed Senior Supt. Arnold Albis to immediately stop the illegal activities, apprehend the violators, and file cases against violators, including private contractors with no permits in Barangay Salvacion-Hanopol. Villafuerte said damage to the river systems and the environment has been severe.

The governor said a contractor, Partido Construction, has been operating illegal quarrying activities in connivance with local officials of Caramoan, including members of the Philippine National Police. He alleged that Partido Construction was "a known favored contractor" of a political rival.

He also submitted pictures to prove large-scale illegal quarrying activities conducted by Partido Construction, which did not have a permit to quarry or an environmental compliance certificate (ECC).

In the April 29 letter, Villafuerte complained to regional police director Chief Supt. Victor Pelota Deona that the provincial police office had been tolerating the alleged illegal activities on the construction company using vehicles with no registration or number plates. He said the company was operating an illegal cement batching plant near the river without the necessary permits, causing pollution in the waterway and endangering the health of residents.

Villafuerte said that despite repeated violations, "Partido Construction remains free from apprehension by the PNP."

Instead, he said, the PNP apprehended and seized equipment like a backhoe of the provincial government which were not even used for any illegal activities.

Tolerating the illegal quarrying activities of Partido Construction and their inaction on his directive only bolster the suspicion that Partido Construction is in connivance with the PNP, or the PNP is protecting its illegal activities, Villafuerte said in his letter to Deona.

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