MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Philippines Update

Published by MAC on 2006-06-26

Philippines Update

26th June 2006

100 TVI Armed SCAAs Harass Helpless Farmers, Demolish House and injure four 26th June 2006

Press Release Tito Natividad Fiel, DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues Canatuan, Tabayo, Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, Mindanao, Philippines – It is difficult to imagine how terrified helpless farmers were, when they were harassed two nights ago by around 100 Special (Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit or CAFGU) Armed Auxiliary (SCAA) of the Canadian mining firm TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc.

According to Nonong Purigay of the Canatuan Farmers Association (CFA) four farmers were seriously injured, one of whom is a local catholic chapel lay minister called Jimmy Acope. The other three farmers injured were John-john Romano, Manolita Galves and her husband Loloy Galves.

The heartless SCAAs, who were led by Retired Lt. Cortes, mercilessly demolished the house of the Galves family and looted valuables such as the television, VCD and DVD player, other personal belongings and an undetermined amount of cash.At around 10pm on June 24 this year, Nonong Purigay telephoned the DCMI office and reported an unusual troop movement of the company’s SCAA. He warned at the time that TVI’s SCAA forces were gradually moving towards the Galves residence.

When they were a few meters from the house, the SCAAs stalled for a short while, but then finally overran the property, demolishing it and looting all the things found inside, according to Nonong Purigay’s account.

Purigay noted that around 50 SCAAs directly assisted on the demolition of Galves residence while the other 50 secured the surrounding area and prevented other farmers from assisting the Galves family in stopping the demolition. As a result of the incident, Mrs. Galves collapsed, and the SCAAs forcibly dragged her away from the house, while they were continuously demolishing the house. The SCAAs pointed their guns at the people who wanted to help Mrs. Galves.

According to Purigay the commotion ensued for an hour until the SCAAs gradually retreated from the Galves residence, after putting the materials from the house on TVI dump trucks and moving them to places unknown.

DCMI personnel telephoned the mobile phone of Eugene Mateo, the President of TVI Resource Development Philippines on the night of June 24 to inform him about the action taken by his SCAA in Canatuan, but despite ringing several times it was not answered. It was also not possible to get through to the mobile of Ed Coronel, the company’s Director for Social Commitment.

Manolita Galves and her husband Loloy suffered serious physical injuries as a result of the incident. It is hard for them to walk around without assistance, due to the punches and bat strokes employed by the SCAAs. The four who were injured are in need of medical treatment in the town of Siocon, or elsewhere in the province. However, the four victims feel anxious about reporting to the proper authorities for documentation and medical attention because the company bans them from passing through the company’s numerous checkpoints.

On June 13, fifty families near the open cut mining pit of TVI staged a vigil to guard their respective residences from any act of demolition by the company’s SCAA. Because of the vigil the company’s bulldozer operator failed to move the equipment towards the residences.

But on June 17, TVI - using large numbers of SCAA - bulldozed the farm-plants of the farmers, such as root crops, bananas and other farm durable plants. On this date, two staff of Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC) Cagayan de Oro office, the team leader, Carl Ceasar Rebutta, and Zherwinah Mosqueda, a paralegal officer, were to visit Canatuan.

When they arrived the company’s SCAA officer was initially instructed not to allow them to enter area of the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA), but then relented. But this was after people distinctly heard the instructing voice talking to the relevant office over the handheld radio say that "if they are from the LRC, do not let them enter the MPSA area, and ask them where they are going and for what purpose".

The SCAA forces of TVI have monitored the movement of the two LRC staff by keeping members of its forces close to the residence of Timuay Tii, which is close to Canatuan, but outside of the MPSA.

The two LRC personnel felt highly restricted in their work with the community, and decided to go back to R.T. Lim, Zamboanga Sibugay. The family of Timuay Lino Tii accompanied them to R.T. Lim, but when they returned home, the company’s SCAA held them for an hour at the checkpoint before allowing them to pass, because "they had received guests".

TVI takes Hostage Four Injured Residents

26th June 2006

Press Release Tito Natividad Fiel, DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues Canatuan, Tabayo, Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, Mindanao, Philippines – The Canatuan Farmers Association (CFA) today accused TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc of taking hostage the four injured farmers who were maltreated by the company’s 100 Special (Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit or CAFGU) Armed Auxiliary (SCAA) two nights ago during its sudden harassment against the helpless farmers for force negotiation.

Manolita Galves, a resident of Canatuan, who suffered serious physical injuries during the incident, in a phone interview today accuses TVI of banning them from passing through the company’s checkpoints. It is doing this to force her, and her family, to enter into a negotiation with the company against their wishes. The company’s emissary has continuously been looking for her inside the ancestral domain because it wants to talk to her. But she has advised her companions to tell TVI’s negotiator that she does not want to even look at the shadow of any TVI negotiators.

The company has placed all its checkpoints in a red alert status to ensure that the injured residents cannot get away from Canatuan and seek police assistance for official documentation or proper medical attention, in case people discover the extent of the SCAAs maltreatment while their injuries are still current. At company checkpoints, SCAA have asked travelling passengers whether they know the exact whereabouts of the four injured people. But no one has yet provided information to the SCAA.

On June 24 in the morning, the victims called Mayor Ceasar Soriano of Siocon by mobile phone to help them escape from this ‘hostage situation’ and seek proper medication. The victims said that the Mayor promised them to go to Canatuan and rescue them, but until now, he has not arrived.

The Most Rev. Jose R. Manguiran, the Bishop In-charge of the DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues (DCMI) yesterday instructed DCMI staff to coordinate with the Very Rev. Edgar Agora, Parish Priest of Siocon, to assist in rescuing the alleged TVI hostages.

In March 17, 2004, TVI SCAAs indiscriminately fired at legitimate protesters in Barangay Pisawak, Siocon, wounding four including the 70 year old Subanon chieftain Timuay Macario Salacao.

The said shooting generated moral support from neighbouring barangays that caused Alnor Construction from Surigao, a subcontractor of TVI Resource Development Philippines, to withdraw.

Affected Communities Launch Anti-TVI Resource Development Philippines Campaign

26th June 2006

Press Release Tito Natividad Fiel, DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues

Jose Dalman, Zamboanga Del Norte, Mindanao, Philippines - Around fifty community leaders from thirteen towns of the provinces of Zamboanga Del Norte, Sibugay and Del Sur are expected to gather at Millennium Formation Center, St. Augustine Parish during 27-29 June 2006 for a Zamboanga Peninsula Conference on the ‘Impact of TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc.’

The event aims to sum up the community experience in dealing TVI and the company’s attitudes towards affected communities, forge a common position and a people’s movement against TVI, and formulate a concrete steps against this aggressive mining firm.

The thirteen areas are composed of Mt. Canatuan Siocon, Baliguian, Labason, Liloy, Bacungan, Sindangan, Barangay Tamarok Jose Dalman, Katipunan, and Sergio Osmeña, which all belong to the province of Zamboanga del Norte. Others are coming from Bayog, Dumingag, Mahayag and Midsalip which all belong to Zamboanga Del Sur.

The delegates are expected to arrive at the venue in the morning of June 27. At 1:30-2:30, the Parish Priest of Jose Dalman, Rev. Fr. Nemesio Sayon, will celebrate a mass.

The Most Rev. Jose R. Manguiran, the Bishop In-charge of the DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues (DCMI), is expected to give his inspirational message to all the delegates. He is expected to share why he strongly stood up against large-scale, foreign-owned and open cut mining.

The community leaders from Canatuan, downstream of Siocon, from Barangay Tamarok Jose and from Bayog are expected to share their experiences and positions on TVI issue.

On the second day of the conference Jun Urot, Secretary General of Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) Western Mindanao will tackle the issue of debt and mining. The Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC) National Office will talk on confronting the mining industry and why the Mining Act of 1995 should be scrapped. It is likely that a declaration will be signed, and an action plan formulated as the final output.

It is also expected that the conference will culminate in a parade that the delegates and the youth of St, Augustine Parish will participate in.At this moment, TVI is the most aggressive mining firm operations in the Zamboanga Peninsula, expanding beyond its current operation in Siocon, Zamboanga Del Norte. TVI’s modus operandi there has included armed harassment against the affected communities, especially the legal and legitimate holder of Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT).

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