MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Caraga natives decry mining, logging

Published by MAC on 2006-08-23

Caraga natives decry mining, logging

PIA Press Release - http://www.pia.gov.ph/news.asp?fi=p060823.htm&no=05

23rd August 2006

Davao City (23 August) -- Scared of the awful destruction that occurred in various places of the country, the indigenous peoples in Davao Oriental, particularly in the municipality of Caraga, came out with a very strong position against logging and mining.

The position paper was the apex of a two-day IP Coalition Assembly held at the Caraga Parish Development Center, on June 17-18, 2006.

In the said document, the IP's ascertained that despite the turbulent times, they will never allow their ancestral domains to be maligned, and destroyed at any cost.

Also, the "lumads" stressed that they will never allow themselves to be divided, displaced from their houses, and be disunited as a tribe and family.

As such, the IP's expressed worries and feared the threats of logging and mining that has engulfed their community.

They asked for the cancellation of the Mining Act of 1995, cancellation of permit, license, and agreement for the operation of logging and mining in the province, especially those that do not conform to the process as stipulated in the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act-IPRA, and other laws.

The indigenous peoples are also asking for respect to their ancestral domains, and the real implementation of the IPRA, and other laws for the protection of ecology.

And to show sincerity in protecting the environment and their ancestral domain, the IP's vow to disown members of their tribe who were used, and allow themselves to be used by people who showed interest in destroying the environment and considered such as a clear act betrayal to the tribe.

Other neighboring municipalities are also requested to show the same concern, and to strongly prohibit mining and logging, and other means of ecological destruction in their respective areas.

Sangab, Caraga Tribal Chieftain Copertino Banugan, in giving the rationale to the assembly, challenged his tribesmen to prove that they cannot be lured by money.

He said that logging concessionaires and mining companies think that their principles can be brought with money. The tribal chieftain confirmed that they are really facing a big problem now, because lumads have different views and are divided.

Accordingly, the thrust will never prosper, and it will be difficult for them to join in the coalition should they do not agree on one thing.

The participants came from the different municipalities of Caraga, assisted by TREES, INC., Lungga Center , Tanggapan ng Katutubong Pilipino, Sumancoda Tribal Council, Pantuyan Tribal Council, Pyaggaguwan Learning Center, Malibago Planters, Inc., FOMFI, and SMCAI, groups united for the noble cause of ecology.

Mayor Alice Mori of Caraga, and Indigenous Peoples Apostolate-IPA Diocesan Director Fr. Bert Ombon also attended the coalition assembly. (PIA XI and DXHM)

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