MAC: Mines and Communities

Bishop's Mining Committee Reaffirms The Tvi Resource Development Philippines Lies

Published by MAC on 2006-10-04
Source: DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues


TITO NATIVIDAD FIEL, Program Coordinator, DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues

4th October 2006

Dipolog City – The DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues (DCMI), headed by Bishops of Dipolog, Ipil, Ozamiz, Pagadian, Iligan and Marawi, last month reaffirmed the alleged lies of TVI Resource Development Philippines, a Calgary Canada based mining firm.

DCMI continues to refute the company’s repeated claims to the Mineral Development Council (MDC) - which is under the office of the Philippine President - that it has released a baseless accusation against the company for unauthorized demolition of the house of farmers in Mount Canatuan, Tabayo Siocon Zamboanga del Norte, two-months ago.

In a letter from DCMI Executive Director Charles Alferez to Under Secretary Soledad M. Cagampang-Decastro (the Executive Director of MDC) said that the information it published in the Internet was simply the true and factual circumstances of the inhumane eviction of the Galves family. DCMI strongly stands by the information and the issues raised by its partners in Manila.

The letter notes that TVI Resource Development claims that Mr Galves is a former small-scale miner and not a helpless farmers. But Mr. Alferez argues that his being former small-scale miners does not negate the fact that they are still helpless farmers.

“What made them helpless was the fact that their humble abode was demolished under the cover of darkness and without a court order while surrounded by a large number of heavily armed TVI Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAA) who eventually manhandled them”, the letter explains.

They are no longer small scale miners, as their mining activities were completely stopped by TVIRD in the year 2003, and they are now farmers who, after obtaining the consent from the legal and legitimate holder of ancestral domain Timuay Jose “Boy” Anoy, cultivated the piece of land that they were occupying.

Alferez on his letter explains that a day before the house was eventually demolished the surrounding plants were destroyed and bulldozed and made an island out of their house.

The letter notes that the traditional, legal and legitimate holder of the relevant Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) is Timuay Jose “Boy” Anoy, and not Erdulfo Comisas, as claimed by the company.

“Moreover Timuay Boy Anoy is the true Timuay and leader of the Subanon communities in Mount Canatuan not because he was elected to be so by the community that he represents, but because he is anointed by tradition and possesses the true and direct blood line of a descendant of the Apo Manglang, their revered ancestor,” Alferez explains in his letter.

Mr. Alferez explains that Erdulfo Comisas has been elected by the association that he represents under the supposed auspices and facilitation of TVIRD. But the association he represents does not represent the Subanon.

TVI claims that the Siocon Subanon Association Inc. (SSAI) was responsible for the dismantling of the house of the farmers, and not TVI upon the recommendation of the Multi-Partite Monitoring Team (MMT). However, the letter asks if it were not TVIRD that was responsible for the dismantling of the house of the farmers why then was the heavily armed SCAA deployed against the unarmed civilians during the demolition, and why was the heavy equipment of the company used in bulldozing and levelling the house of the couple?

TVI cite the resolution of the Commission on Human Rights issued on June 10, 2005 and the resolution of the Provincial Prosecutor’s office which allegedly excuse TVI of committing human rights violations when its SCAA member Noel Manggubat fired towards picketers causing injuries on March 17, 2004. But the letter argues that even if the Commission on Human Rights and the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office egally exonerated TVIRD on human rights violations, they did not conceal the moral culpability of those who injured unarmed picketers as a result of the irresponsible “warning shots” fired by Noel Mangubat, as ordered by Ret. Col Valentino Edang. The incident did not also dispel the doubts of many of the true intention of the warning shot, as it was fired to the ground and not to the air.

The church, and the people of Siocon and the rest of Zamboanga del Norte cannot stand by when ordinary people like these farmers are easily deprived of their constitutional right of abode and to their livelihood, and especially when their cry for redress only falls on deaf ears of most government authorities.

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