MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Her Excellency

Published by MAC on 2004-03-17

Her Excellency
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
New Executive Building
Malacanang Palace Compound
J.P. Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila, Philippines

Fax: 0063 2 8323793

Your Excellency,

Recently, I received alarming information about the incident in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, on March 17, 2004, when guards of the mining company TVI Resource Development, a subsidiary of a Canadian mining company, Toronto Ventures Inc. fired into a group of civil protesters, wounding four persons. They were protesting against the mining activities of TVI Resource Development Philippines.

TVI Resource Development Philippines has been conducting operations of a series of gold mines in Siocon since 1995. It was reported that the company has taken the work of small-scale miners and also forcibly appropriated some of their properties, affecting a total of 10,000 small-scale miners since then. In addition, many agriculture workers living in the area have been facing difficulties accessing their farmlands as well as transporting their farm products to town because of four checkpoints established by TVI Resource Development Philippines. The company has now started to conduct large-scale mining in over 508 hectares in Subanon ancestral land based on the mining rights given by the Philippines government in 1998. Not only are 300 families facing eviction, water source as well as farmlands will be contaminated in the area due to mining operations, thereby threatening the right to food of Subanons.

As a States Party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Philippines is duty-bound under international law to respect and protect the right to food of the indigenous peoples of Subanon. As a person working international for the realization of the right to food, I would like to ask you, Madam President, to:

- withdraw the license of TVI to operate in the area;

- to prevent the eviction of the 300 farmer families;

- bring to trial those responsible for the shooting.

Please inform me about the steps you will initiate in this regards.

Sincerely yours,

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