MAC: Mines and Communities


Published by MAC on 2001-05-01


Appendix 1


Announcement of the Subanen Timu-ays (Leaders) of Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte, who met in Summit in Dapiwak, Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur, on October 27-29, 1997.  

We, the recognised Timu-ays (leaders) of the Subanen people after mature consideration, resolutely and firmly oppose any plans to mine Mt. PARAYA and surrounding areas because of the following reasons.  

1. In the beginning the Subanen people lived in the lowlands, but when the Bisayan people encroached on our land we were forced to withdraw. At times we were given Salt, Food, Clothes, and other things in exchange for our Land. More of our land was taken without exchange. Even though it was heartbreaking for us to have our land taken, we were forced to move because of fear and humiliation. We recognised that our Culture and ways were different, yet it has survived even as we have been pushed back to the hilly and isolated mountain areas.  

2. If we move from our present Domain we don‚t have any hope of transferring to land because we see that people now inhabit all areas. We also see that we cannot go back to the lowlands where we lived in harmony with nature before because people now claim these lands as theirs.  

3. If the land and Mountains are devastated by Mining our livelihood will be destroyed because no plants or animals can survive on it.  

4. Our Ancestral Land is being occupied, taken and lost to us.  Here in Western Mindanao only hilly and mountainous land is left to us in the areas of Mt Paraya, Mt Pinukis and Mt Malindang.  

5. If Mt Paraya is also destroyed not only the Subanen people will be affected but also people in the lowlands because the source of drinking water and irrigation comes from the mountains.  

6. Our land is Sacred. It is the source of our daily needs, and most of all our ANCESTORS have been buried here. Land is the source of life for all creatures and things.  

7. When the land is destroyed and cannot be used for planting because of Mining, we will also lose our Subanen Culture, which is tied so closely to the land.  

Because of these reasons,  

We, the Timu-ays from Mt Milandang, Misamis Occidental, Pinukis, Subugay, Bayog, and Mt Paraya Timu-ays, Dumingag, Zambaonga del Sur, (and a representative of the Timu-ay from Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte) are united in our stance of opposition to the plan to have our lands mined or any part of the whole of the Zamboanga Peninsula. This area is to be preserved for the future generations to enrich our heritage.  


Appendix 2

Letter from Survival International to Rio Tinto  

Mr. Robert P. Wilson
Rio Tinto
6 St James Square 
London SW1Y 4LD  


Dear Mr. Wilson  

A recent Survival field visit to the Philippines has raised some important issues about Rio Tinto's explorations in that country.  

Our researches indicate that the company, shareholders and the Philippine Government are being misled by some company employees who have, for example, selectively quoted from a letter from affected communities in a way which effectively reverses its meaning: claiming that the Subanen Leaders Forum (SLF) organization in Zamboanga del Norte supports mining exploration activities, or at least is open to them, when in fact it is clearly opposed. Henry Agupitan, (Exploration Manager, Philippines) made such claims during a consultation meeting on 30 June 1997 in Pagadian City. This claim echoed responses given by Mr. Leon Davis during Rio Tinto's AGM in May. Of course Mr. Davis himself may have been misinformed and we therefore enclose a copy of the full text of the SLF letter for your information.  

It seems that this is not an isolated incident. For another example, a company report to the Philippine Government, dated 30 September 1996, referring to a 'consultation' in Pagadian City on 23 September falsely claimed that it was 'very successful'. In fact, more than 300 Subaanen who attended specifically to oppose exploration on their lands found it ‘very unsatisfactory’.  

We would be grateful if you would look into these matters as they obviously call into question how Survival's developing relationship with Rio Tinto might evolve. It is obviously difficult to dialogue constructively if the company position is based on misinformation about the extent of local opposition.  

Following our field visit, we have no doubt whatsoever that the vast majority of Subaanen communities are clearly and deeply opposed to any and all plans for exploration or mining on their lands. We hope that this is also the message now conveyed to the company by Dr Glyn Cochrane following his own researches.  

In addition we met many Subaanen who felt both angry and betrayed at the company’s failure to acknowledge the real feelings of local people.  

The situation in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur, seemed particularly alarming and the local peoples' opposition was particularly strong here. The company’s links with a local mining company (Zamboanga Mining Corporation) appears to have been used to bypass the usual necessity (through FTAA application) to secure the local acceptance of indigenous groups before proceeding.  

We are in close contact with the indigenous organisations in the Zamboanga provinces and, as ever, are prepared to offer them what support we are able. We would naturally be interested in hearing your own views before we proceed. Our firm belief is that the local people do not want exploration or mining on their lands and that these views have been clearly expressed. Furthermore our understanding is that the company has already agreed that, in such cases, it will not go ahead against local wishes.  

We are also taking up similar concerns with other mining companies in the area.  

Yours sincerely,  

Stephen Corry
Director General
Survival International

Appendix 3  

from TEPI (copy of full text with PIPLinks)  

to Director Horacio C Ramos
Bureau of Mines 

30 September 1996 ...

para 3 "Please be informed also that consultative meetings were done in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur and Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte on 23 september1996 and 25 September, 1996 , respectively. The objective of the meetings was to set up an interchange of information, issues and concerns among TEPI staff, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) the Mines and Geodetic Bureau (MGB) office of Southern Cultural Communities (OSCC) local government units, non-government orgsanisations (NGOs) Catholic church leaders, Subanon tribal leaders and landowners. Both meetings were very successful, particularly in dispelling the notion that mining was imminent over 5000sq km of the region...."  

Henry P Agupitan Exploration Manager  

Appendix 4  

Charles O Frake, Samuel P Capen Professor of Anthropology  
Buffalo, NY 14260 

(716) 645-3839 
FAX (716) 645-3808 

March 6, 1998  

Frank Nally SSC The Columban Missionary Society:  

Thank you for your communication. I share your concern for the welfare of the Subanen people. What follows is a full copy of the only written report I submitted to Rio Tinto. ( notes withheld gn They consisted of a brief listing of of potential topics for further study was presented by Dr Frake) They did not ask for recommendations and I offered none. They have not asked for any written elaboration of the topics I listed. Also at no time have I ever presumed to advocate a position to the Subanen on this or any other issue.  …..

Sincerely, Charles Frake

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Appendix 5  

Extract from field notes Geoff Nettleton may 99  

"asked Datu Agdino then about the letter signed by him requesting the return of the company. He had already been informed of the existence of such a letter. We showed him a copy. He was very angry. He denied ever signing or seeing the letter. He provided an example of his signature to show that the signature on the letter was nothing like his own. This was clearly the case. He said that he would file a legal case against Isis for the forging of his signature.  

Datu Agdino also raised other issues.  

1. "I think this letter in English is not the work of Isis. He cannot write like this in English" 2. Agdino identified various signatures on the list who are in fact people who cannot write and normally mark their letters with a thumb print. NB most unusually (suspiciously) for a tribal ratification document signed by many elders the CESTRIA letter has all written signatures and No thumbprints. Agdino who knows the people identified the following "signatories" as among those unable to write Embinan Guilingan (said to be the father of Isis) Guinalomon Copiz (I met this old lady on 29 June - in fact her name is Guinalomon Lumapay (Copiz was her father's name.) She confirmed in person that she had not seen or signed the letter. Could not read or write, did not understand English. That while the signature obviously referred to her it was not in fact the name she now uses for herself because she uses her married name. She also said she was opposed to the entry of Rio Tinto. " It is not true that Titik is in favour I live near there (Bucana) and we are opposed." Agdino also identified Potong Tanglanan (Timuay bgy Titik LPostigo), Endal Mardincial, Titik Leon Postigo, Manad Guilingan (bgy Bucana Sindangan), Asa Saplid (Timuay, Bucana), Takil Anod (Titik, Sindangan. ) as others who would in reality have thumb printed if they wished to affirm.  

I confirmed Agdino did meet with Frake who came in company of Edgar. Frake did no ask or talk about the mining however Edgar did.  

Saturday 29 Meeting of Sindangan Tribal Council, at Rooftop Municipal Hall Sindangan. Over 100 participants. I was introduced and later spoke (briefly). I was later asked by Datu Agdino to give information on the impacts of mining, which I had not in the first place volunteered to do, because the meeting was primarily for other purposes. There were numerous questions and expressions of concern.  

Visminda Paculanan from Situ Balikbalik Sindangan told me before the meeting "We don't want this mining because we fear for the future of our children. We have a simple life but we have a culture of peace in harmony with God"

Manuel Silang attended the STC meeting wearing his CRA (Rio Tinto company) cap. He said he was Barangay Capt of Titik until 1994 (from 1971?). He reported that he got the cap because he was a worker/consultant when the company first came to the area. He confirmed he is a board member of CESTRIA. However he reported He did not sign the letter. There was no meeting to discuss it. He personally does not agree with its content. He said for a long time, he has consistently said his place is not open for mining. He said "If the company come back and try to mine there will be big trouble because many CESTRIA members just don't agree."

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