MAC: Mines and Communities

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Published by MAC on 2001-05-01

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PEOPLEíS LIVES AND MEANS OF LIVING BEFORE THE OPERATION OF PHILEX GOLD PHILIPPINES

BARANGAY LIBAY

Absence of Siltation, drinking water was natural:

Libay is a coastal barangay where the center of Philex Mining operation is located. It is also home base to the small-scale miners. Barangay record shows there are 458 households living with a total population of 2,610. Male is 1,207, while female is 1,403. Of 458 families, only 23 families were employed by the company.

Representing fisher folk, farmers, small-scales miners, women, and youth 128 people attended the consultation/workshop held on February 23, 1998, facilitated by the organizer of DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues ("DCMI"). Facilitator divided the participants into six groups, and each group explained through their consolidated idea about the impact of Philex Mining operation in Sibutad. Their report said, before the arrival of Philex their seashore was so clear: fish and seashells were in abundance, fishermen never experienced foul odor from the mountain especially at night that they believe to be poisonous chemicals, no drinking water shortage, or fears of poison in their water. The farmers were able to utilize a vast tract of rice field. Some people also engaged in small-scale mining to augment their income, and peopleís capacity for buying increased. And due to the high buying capacity of the people even small businesses were so feasible in the area resulting in the mushrooming of sarisari stores and some funhouses with one putting a warehouse for beverages.

BARANGAY MAGSAYSAY:

This barangay is located near the town proper; the people have traditionally relied on farming, as main source of their daily needs. The barangay captain with the other barangay officials is a piecework contractor of Philex Mining. Representing women, farmers and government employee twenty-eight people took part the consultation/workshop held on March 2, 1998 at their chapel and facilitated by the DCMI Organizer. The facilitator divided the participants into two groups, each group was asked to express their experience before the commencement of Philex Mining operation. Most of them didnít have any qualms in buying the seafood from the fishermen in the coastal area of Sibutad, for them the effect of contamination is not an issue yet because they see more the effects of having dust due to a busy, unpaved road and easy for them to get a drinking water.

BARANGAY PANGANURAN:

This barangay is located along the coastal area with a total population of 507 with 249 males and 258 females. The people have traditionally relied farming and fishing as main source of their livelihood. Of the whole population only 23 persons has been employed to elsewhere.

Representing farmers and fishermen forty-seven people attended the workshop/consultation held on March 7, 1998, at the chapel that facilitated by the DCMI Organizer. Facilitator divided the participants into four groups. Same as the other barangays, each group was asked to answer all about the impact of the Philex mining operation in Sibutad to further dig up about the real sentiments and position of the people. All groups expressed that before, no one was poisoned by seashell. The seashore was so clear without mud and fishermen could easily catch the fish and seashells along the seashore.

BARANGAY CALUBE:

This is located beside Barangay Libay, and very close to the mining site. Before the commencement of the companyís operation, 142 households settled this barangay while engaging in small-scale mining. Most of the people have traditionally relied on farming and fishing as their main sources. The barangay captain with his son and son-in-law and few other barangay officials are piecework contractor of the company.

Despite the act of harassment by manipulating and barring people to attend the consultation/workshop which was facilitated by DCMI organizers held at the chapel on March 24, 1998, farmers, women youth and fisher folk attended the consultation/workshop. Facilitator again divided the participants into four groups. The same with the answer from other coastal barangays, before the commencement of Philex Mining operation, the farmers had plenty of rice harvested, they never experienced of siltation and soil erosion that buried the seashells and feared to be poisonous. Some of them were engaged in small-scale mining.

BARANGAY MINLASAG:

This barangay is located very close to the town proper and the mining site. The Barangay captain here is a regular worker of Philex Mining and very supportive to the company. People have traditionally relied on farming. Representing farmer, women, youth and the church in the person of a lay minister of the Eucharist, twenty- three people attended the workshop/consultation facilitated by DCMI organizer on March 29, 1998, at the barangay chapel.

The facilitator divided the participants into four small groups and he asked each group to state their experience lives and means of living before the commencement of Philex mining operation. Most of the participantsí answers were, there are enough sources for food for the present, and that small scale mining has helped poor people in increasing their buying capacity, making them feel good and comfortable.

BARANGAY SINIPAY:

This Barangay is an island, a kilometer NE of the port of barangay Libay, Sibutad, Zamboanga del Norte. The people have fishing as main source of livelihood while a few of them engaged in small-scale mining before Philex Mining started its operation. Some of the men are now working with the company. Barangay captain is supportive with the peoplesí cause against the environmental destruction due to the Philex mining operation. This barangay has 105 household, 321 male and 337 female with a total population of 658.

Representing mostly fishermen, women and youth, fifty people attended the consultation/workshop facilitated by DCMI organizer held at the barangay hall on April 14, 1998. As with the other barangays before the company operated, fishermen easily caught fish as much as ten kilos on a given night by fishnet, while different kinds of seashells were in abundance that allowed school children to earn a little amount for their weekly allowance during school days. They enjoyed a fresh drinking water from the source in the mountains of Lalab, Sibutad, where the Philex Mining is being placed now. The barangay has spent thousands of funds for the people in the island to avail of fresh drinking water for which it is now useless.

BARANGAY SAWANG:

This place is the last barangay of Sibutad and very close to Dapitan City. It is also located along the coastal area. The barangay has 258 households, with a total population of 1,238. Female is 626, and male 612. Most of the people here are either farmers or fishers. The barangay officials here are supportive with the peopleís cause against the destruction of the environment. Representing different sectors, twenty-two people including barangay officials attended the consultation/workshop on April 25, 1998 at the barangay chapel that was facilitated by the DCMI organizer. The peopleís answer was: they have a hard time selling their catch due to fear that was aroused that marine products of the Bay is already contaminated with poisonous chemicals.

BARANGAY CANIM:

This barangay is located along the coastal area in between Libay and Panganuran. People here have traditionally relied on farming and fishing. The barangay captain here, Arnold Banglos, is a piecework contractor of Philex Mining on any kind of work given by the company just to avoid protest from this place. The captain has control over his people, since those jobless and political riders would be benefited by his contract even if it means work for only a day or a week. But despite that, many people have secretly registered their opposition against the large-scale mining operation and voiced their sentiments, because the siltation, soil erosion and other chemical contamination affect their fishermen.

Representing farmers and fishermen, fifteen people attended the consultation/workshop facilitated by the DCMI organizer on April 27, 1998 held at the barangay chapel. They confirmed what the other barangays have answered. They felt the scarcity of marine products along the murciellagos bay and the difficulty in selling these to neighboring towns.

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