MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Jamby Madrigal-ncip, Denr Legitimizing Land Grabbing By Miners

Published by MAC on 2007-02-03
Source: EEDPartners/LRC

Jamby Madrigal – NCIP, DENR Legitimizing Land Grabbing by Miners

Press Release - EEDPartners/LRC/Tebtebba

3rd February 2007

Quezon City – “I hope that the UN will be able to pressure this government to stop the land grabbing from Indigenous Peoples legalized through the NCIP (National Commission on Indigenous Peoples) and the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources).”

This was the message of Senator Jamby Madrigal, Chair of the Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples, to UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples Rodolfo Stavenhagen yesterday at a national consultation. Madrigal cited the cases of several provinces where foreign mining companies and other commercial interests were given permits by the NCIP to enter and operate within the lands of indigenous peoples. In Rapu-Rapu in Albay, where the La Fayette Mining Corporation was allowed to operate at the expense of the livelihoods of Taboy, a diminishing population of indigenous people in Albay; in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte where the TVI Mining Company was given permit to operate right within the ancestral domain claim of the Subanon. Madrigal also shared the case of the Ati communities in Boracay, where there was forced relocation of the Ati’s to give way to a resort.

“The NCIP is ordering the Ati communities to be relocated – I have asked them whose side are they on? Why are they not protecting their rights, but instead forcing them to relocate?” Relocation is not an option with ancestral domain and lands. “To relocate means that they are being considered as squatters.”

“The NCIP is tasked to be independent, to promote and protect the human rights of the Indigenous People. But my years of dealing with them have proven to be otherwise.”

Madrigal was sharing her “frustration with NCIP” at the National Consultation with the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples in Quezon City, where several leaders from the indigenous communities came to give their testimonies to Stavenhagen. More angry than frustrated, the community leaders accused NCIP as “an agent of mining companies” to allow entry to their lands. According to Bobby Lingating, from Midsalip, Zamboanga, the NCIP has recently entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with a mining company despite the lack of a free and prior informed consent (FPIC) from the Midsalip communities. In Midsalip, a council of leaders with 42 members has been allegedly created by NCIP, which consequently gave the FPIC. The members were mostly barangay officials. “These are leaders of the government, not of our communities,” Lingating stressed. This is the same story heard from Timuay Jose “Boy” Anoy, a Subanon leader from Canatuan, Siocon, Zamboango del Norte. A new council of elders was constituted by NCIP in their communities which entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with TVI. This MOA is being used by TVI as a legal document to support its continued operation in the area. The TVI’s mining concession of 508 hectares lies within the coverage of the Subanon’s Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) which was issued by NCIP in 2003.

The FPIC from the indigenous community in the area is a legal requirement for any company to operate, under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). “But we now know that these FPIC’s of the mining companies, are being obtained under duress, under force, or by plain forgery,” Madrigal said. With these FPICs, “the NCIP is legitimizing the land grabbing of the miners.”

“The most frustrating part of my job is dealing with a patronizing, corrupt commission,” lamented Madrigal. “I wanted to give them a budget of 1 peso last year.”

The NCIP should be truly independent, she urged, and not to be protective of their appointed position. “We know for a fact that she (Janette Serrano, Chair of the NCIP) has been appointed by Norberto Gonzales, allegedly one of the worst human rights violators.”

Stavenhagen was asked, both by Madrigal and the indigenous leaders, to add pressure into making the NCIP and the Philippine government, accountable in the continuing landlessness and other human rights violations with the entry of large-scale mining operations and other commercial interests in their ancestral domains.

Stavenhagen is here for a 2-day national consultation as a follow up from his official visit in 2002. Results from this consultation will inform Stavenhagen’s report to the UN Council of Human Rights.

For more information on the visit of UN Special Rapporteur on the Indigenous
Peoples Rodolfo Stavenhagen, please contact -
Voltaire Tupaz (EED Partners-TFIP) – /09066603572
Raymond de Chavez (Tebtebba) – /09175072789
judy a. pasimio (LRC) – /09062568341

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