MAC: Mines and Communities

Lumads Voice Alarm On Mining Firm Entry

Published by MAC on 2007-01-20
Source: Sun Star ()

Lumads voice alarm on mining firm entry

By Lino Dela Cruz, Iligan Correspondent Sun Star

20th January 2007

PAGADIAN CITY -- The Subanen tribe here expressed alarm over the coming start of mining operations in the towns of Roseller T. Lim and Titay in Zamboanga del Sur by the Benguet-Oreline Mining Company.

In a recent consultation here by at least 81 traditional Subanen leaders and 300 Subanen inhabitants of the two towns, Fernando Mudai, head of the tribal leaders, said the mining operations target in the two towns is situated in the 50,000 hectares of ancestral domain claim by the tribe.

The Benguet-Oreline Mining Company has applied for at least 4,278 hectares inside the ancestral domain of the Subanens.

There is already an existing mining operation of another Canadian-owned company, the Toronto Ventures (TVI) mining company, which had applied for 37,000 hectares that is also within the Subanen ancestral claim, according to Mudai.

Mudai cited the provisions of the requirements of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) in the Free Prior and Inform Consent (FPIC), which mandates the applicants for mining operations to consult the inhabitants. Mudai further claimed that the TVI operation is in violation of the Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous People's Rights Act.

"We want the government to develop our ancestral land for agriculture, provide agriculture facilities for our decent livelihood because gold mining for us is a curse and we will fight against the destruction of the environment because it is where our lives depend," Mudai said.

Mudai explained that the mining operations of the two companies will affect at least seven major rivers in the Zamboanga Peninsula namely Siocon river, Panganuran river, Kipit river, Patawagan river, Tupilac river, Patalon river, Malayal and Lintungan rivers.

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