MAC/20: Mines and Communities

quot;Declare them guilty, O God. Let them fall, because of their schemes"- Psalm 5:11

Published by MAC on 2004-10-23

"Declare them guilty, O God. Let them fall, because of their schemes"- Psalm 5:11

Statement of the NCCP in Solidarity with the People of Sicocon Against Toronto Ventures Incorporated

23rd October 2004

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) applauds the people of Siocon, for being united against the mining activities of Toronto Ventures Incorporated (TVI) in Mt. Canatuan, Siocon. We congratulate the municipal officials for standing alongside the people in opposing TVI. We are inspired by the unity forged by all sectors in the community, both Muslim and Christian in that far away coastal town of Zamboanga del Norte.

The NCCP denounces in strongest terms the indifference of the government agencies to and their buck-passing of the plea of the people of Siocon for the preservation of Mt. Canatuan. Along with the Clergy of the Diocese of Dipolog, we condemn the lies, arrogance and misrepresentations of the TVI. We hold the government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo responsible for this blatant ecological-disaster-in-the-making and the violation of the right of the Subanen tribe to ancestral domain.

In joining the call for an end to the mining operations of TVI, the NCCP affirms its opposition to and call for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995. This affirmation is made more so that the Supreme Court has ruled that certain provisions of the Act are illegal. We are aware that TVI has been granted a tax holiday and a hundred percent repatriation of its profits. This is neither an answer to the fiscal crisis nor is it a long-term solution to plug a cash-strapped government riddled by corruption. It is an indication of the government's irresponsible governance and of its subservience to foreign dictates. It is a failure to put the interests of the majority of the citizens of this land as its priority.

The Subanen and the population of Siocon have shown us the way. We cannot be as the people of old: "like a half-baked loaf of bread, relying on the nations around them and do not realize that this reliance on foreigners has robbed them of their strength. . . Because their leaders talk arrogantly, they will die a violent death, and the Egyptians will laugh". (Hos 7:8- 9,16). Such will be the end of irresponsible leaders.

MS. SHARON ROSE JOY RUIZ-DUREMDES General Secretary

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