Philippines anti-mining protestors shotPublished by MAC on 2004-03-18
Philippines anti-mining protestors shot
Press Release - Philippine Indigenous Peoples Links
Thursday 18 March 2004
Four protesters - who are attempting to stop a Canadian mining company, TVI Pacific from digging an open-pit gold mine on their land - were shot at and wounded at approximately 5.00 pm 17 March while blockading the company's equipment in Canatuan, Zamboanga del Norte on the Philippines island of Mindanao.
The blockade has been on-going since Sunday 14th March, and is made up of church and community leaders, as well as local indigenous (Subanon) and Muslim (Moro) workers, farmers and fishermen. They have gathered together under a multi-sectoral movement, called "Save our Paradise". Over 100 demonstrators have shown up daily, surrounding TVI's excavator, two bulldozers, two dump trucks and a ball mill (mining equipment used for separating ore).
There was an attempt by the company to break the blockade, using members of the company's own paramilitary guard, or SCAA (Special Civilian Armed Auxilliary). The SCAA fired their automatic rifles and four of the demonstrators were hit and wounded and were treated in hospital. The wounded are Subanon Timuay (tribal elder) Macario Salacao, a President of the Siocon Federation of Subanon Tribal Councils (SFSTC), Edie Cayabyab, Juan Veloria and Dakbot Lorete. Despite this incident the blockade continues. Three of the injured suffered minor injuries perhaps resulting from ricochets. Mr Cayabyab has a bullet lodged in his leg.
The local Subanon people have been struggling to resist the entry of TVI into their territory since 1994. They have repeatedly asserted their total opposition to the operations of TVI. Timuay (local tribal leaders) from the different regions of the Zamboanga peninsula who are members of the Piksolobukan nog Bansa Subanen (PBS), an organization of traditional leaders, are supporting the protesters. Other Subanon organizations also oppose. The Timuay said the TVI operation will ruin their ancestral land, destroy their livelihood, and cause displacement. They also said TVI will be operating in violation of some of its legal requirements. The picketers are drawn from the affected Subanon communities and Subanon, Settler and Moro (Muslim) people from downstream of the mine who fear and oppose the planned mine.
In 2002, the municipal government of the town of Siocon, which covers the mine site, passed a resolution banning any form of destruction especially large-scale mining. On February 26th the Mayor of Siocon promised to file a temporary restraining order on TVI for its alleged violation of the "social acceptability clause" that requires the agreement of the community before the project could proceed to a full-blast open-pit mining operation. The protesters are asking for the mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) granted to TVI to be cancelled.
Quote: "The people have spoken that TVI is a threat and they should pack up and leave at once
Our Bible states in the Book of Genesis that God creates but out of greed and profit, some men desecrate nature." Fr. Mamert Dolera, priest of Siocon
Quote: "We are appealing to all mining companies and governments if, as they claim, they are concerned about community development they must go away from our territory because what we have experienced is not development and not what we want for our sustainable future."
Onsino Mato, Secretary General Siocon Subanon Association Inc addressing the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, July 2001
Philippine Indigenous Peoples Links
Tito Fiel, Coordinator
Further background information is available at the following websites:-
Paramilitaries Guarding Canadian Mine Shoot Protestors in Philippines
Urgent News Release - March 17 2004
Paramilitaries guarding a mine development owned by TVI Resources, a Canadian mining company, opened fire on a peaceful blockade at 5 pm today, wounding four.
A report from Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines filed by the Diocesian Committee today states that large numbers of Special (Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit CAFGU) Armed Auxiliary (SCAA) of TVI Resource Development Philippines (TVI), a Calgary Canadian-based mining firm stormed and surrounded the protesters at around 5:00 pm and fired their armalite automatic rifles into the group.
The protestors were on a road leading to the minesite at Canatuan, 3 kilometers from the town of Siocon and 20 kilometers from the proposed mine. The farmers, Subanon indigenous people, fisher folk, fishpond operators and a church group started the barricade on March 14 at around 4 pm. All are members of a multi-sectoral group organized in Zamboanga del Norte called Save the Paradise and Watershed movement.
They are trying to stop the building of an open pit heap leach gold mine in the mountains above the town of Siocon. The mine is on land belonging to the Subanon indigenous people and has been hotly disputed since its inception.
The SCAA troop was led by a Retired Col. Edang, a TVI SCAA commander. The SCAA is employed by TVI to guard their site.
Four of the victims suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Wounded were: Subanon Chieftain Macario Salacao, President of the Siocon Federation of Subanon Tribal Council (SFSTC) Edie Cayabyab, and supporters, Juan Veloria and Dakbot Lorete.
The Mayor of the Town of Siocon downstream of the mine has been seeking an injunction to stop it. In 2002, the Municipal Council of Siocon passed a resolution banning any form of environmental destruction, especially large - scale mining.
The four wounded were brought to the Siocon Emergency Hospital for treatment. One of these has a bullet lodged in his knee.
The protesters say they are invoking their constitutional rights to block TVI equipment, because TVI has failed to get social acceptability from the local government of Siocon, from the Indigenous People, the Subanon, who hold a legal and legitimate Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claim (CADT), and from the other local governments. On September 2003, during the environmental forum sponsored by the local government unit here through the Department of Interior and Local Government in partnership with DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues, a declaration was passed banning any form of environmental destruction passed and signed by 181 barangay officials from all over Siocon.
The protestors are demanding that the government to cancel TVIs Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) and order the company to vacate from area without conditions. The Save Paradise movement is calling all concern people all over the world to support their demand to cancel the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) of the company and to instead support improved the agriculture in the area.
For more information contact :
Tito Natividad Fiel, Coordinator,DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues,
G/F, Diocesan Pastoral Center, Sicayab, Dipolog City,Tel/Fax: (065) 212-3678 firstname.lastname@example.org
Geoff Nettleton, PIPlinks, 136-771-8889, email@example.com
Joan Kuyek, National Co-ordinator, MiningWatch Canada, 1-613-569-3439, firstname.lastname@example.org
Suite 508, 880 Wellington St.
Ottawa, Ontario K1R 6K7 Canada
tel. (613) 569-3439 fax: (613) 569-5138