MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Urgent Action on TVI in the Philippines

Published by MAC on 2001-07-10

Urgent Action on TVI in the Philippines - 10th July 2001

Background

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 picket 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.

We ask you to write to the following people support the sustained and clearly expressed local opposition and calls of the Subanon people for:

Please write to:-

Jean Cretien MP
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington St
Ottawa
Canada K1A 0A2

or write to Prime Minister Cretien through the Canadian embassy in your country

Please write polite letters and include the following points

1. The Siocon Subanon Association as the legitimate representatives of indigenous people of the area oppose the presence and operations
of all large scale mining within their ancestral lands. This is their right within Philippine laws.

2. Therefore the mining licence (MPSA) of TVI Pacific to operate in the Canatuan area should be withdrawn.

3. The guards, company personnel, check points, arms and equipment should be immediately withdrawn.

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

Also to the Philippine Government:

Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Aroyyo
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
Metro Manila
Philippines

Pointing out that in accordance with the above that they should 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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