MAC/20: Mines and Communities

A Failed Promise - The Dumingag Case

Published by MAC on 2006-11-01
Source: Published in Mindanao Monitor

A Failed Promise - The Dumingag Case

By Ellen Red Inside Mindanao, Published in Mindanao Monitor

1st November 2006

Dumingag, Zamboanga Del Sur - Reforestation was promised by logging companies to the people in this town. This never happened.

This time, with the promise of responsible mining of TVI Minerals Processing, Inc., the people in this town are wary; while others are downright saying not to the planned entry of the mining company.

"Based on our experience, the areas that were destroyed by logging never again regained its former appearance and state. What more with mining where the mountain itself will be destroyed?"

Written in the dialect, this is the common sentiment contained in the many letters sent by the people of this town to Constancio Paye Jr., region IX director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The letters signed by both the Subanon. The ethnic group in this town, and settlers from neighboring provinces, added.

"As the logging companies did not fulfill the reforestation agreement as stated on the Timber License Agreement (TLA), the same thing would happen with the mining company. They could never bring back the soil of the mountains that they would destroy, flatten, and dig."

A TLA is a privilege granted by the State to a company to utilize forest resources within forestlands with the obligation to develop, protect, and rehabilitate those resources.

In the year 2002, the municipal government of Dumingag released a document saying that as a "consequence of illegal logging and widely practiced kaingin (slash and burn) system of farming, the forest classified as timberlands have been reduced to mere forest patches".

TVI Mineral processing, Inc., an affiliate of a Canadian Mining Company TVI Pacific Inc., filed before the regional office of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) -Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) two exploration permits for exploration of gold, copper, silver, and other associated metallic mineral resources in three barangays in this town: namely Dapiwak, Dilud, and Lipawan; covering a total of 13,446 hectares.

Republic Act 7942 otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, defines exploration as the searching or prospecting for minerals resources by geological, geochemical or geophysical surveys, remote sensing, test pitting, trending, drilling, shaft sinking, tunneling, or any other means for the purpose of determining of determining the existence, extent, quantity and quality thereof and the feasibility of mining them for profit."

Teofila Tumalis, a Subanon residing in barangay Dilud, Dumingag, told Inside Mindanao in her dialect. "The tribe here agreed that we would not allow the entry (of TVI Minerals Processing, Inc.). Because our crops will be destroyed. We will not able to till our land."

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