MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Petition on TVI in the Philippines

Published by MAC on 2001-06-29

Petition on TVI in the Philippines - 29 June 2001


The indigenous Subanon people of the Zamboanga region are one of the most numerous indigenous group in the Philippines. They have struggled for many years to secure recognition and respect for their rights to their ancestral lands. In the area of Canatuan the local Subanon organization- the Siocon Subanon Association has been recognised, even by the government, as the legitimate ancestral landholders. Despite this the Canatuan Subanon are being harassed and abused and their wishes ignored.

TVI Pacific, a Canadian mining company, lodged a claim to mine for gold and other minerals within the Ancestral Domain. Against the wishes of local people they have tried to impose themselves on the area since 1994.

TVI have employed armed security guards and have consistently blockaded the roads with check points. The guards have banned the entry of food and imposed a total economic blockade. Human rights abuses including the violation of sacred sites, shootings, placing hidden spikes in the trails and damage to property have occurred.

In September 1999 the company used armed men including police to violently disperse a peaceful pick et mounted by the Subanon to prevent the entry of drilling equipment into their sacred grove. Protestors were mauled, beaten and kicked, others were tied and arbitrarily detained. This year guards have continued to confiscate peoples goods. In January they shot at one local resident and dismantled the house  and destroyed the property of another.

Despite this the company continue to receive support from the Candian and Philippine Governments

The Subanon remain totally opposed to the presence or operations of TVI Pacific.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, support the sustained and clearly expressed local opposition and calls of the Subanon people for:

revoking of the mining licence (MPSA) of TVI Pacific to operate in the
Canatuan area and the immediate withdrawal of their guards and personnel.

2. The company and government to respect the rights and wishes of the
Subanon people and halt the systematic abuses being suffered.

3. Repeal the Philippine Mining Code (RA 7942) and uphold and respect the rights of indigenous peoples throughout the Philippines to determine the future of their ancestral lands.

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