MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Defend our Land and Patrimony! Defend our Future! - An Interfaith Statement of the Peoples of Mindan

Published by MAC on 2006-01-20

Defend our Land and Patrimony! Defend our Future! - An Interfaith Statement of the Peoples of Mindanao

by Mindanao Interfaith Conference on Mining Plunder

20th January 2006

Zamboanga del Norte Convention Center, Dipolog City

"That Creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God" Romans 8:21

"And the earth We have spread out; set thereon mountains firm and immovable; and produced therein all kinds of things in due balance." Qur'an, 15:19

"(Land is) a gift from Magbabaya to a people he has put in a place in order to develop and guard Creation. As a divine gift, it could not be owned by anyone for one cannot own that which gives life." Dibabawon Tribe

We - representatives from the Lumad and Moro peoples, the Catholic and Protestant churches, people's organizations, local governments, advocates for the environment, and other support groups - gather in this historic conference in Mindanao to strengthen our unity in faith, convictions, and action against large-scale mining plunder.

In the midst of our diversities in faith, we express our unwavering unity to defend life, land and patrimony against the most vicious plunder of large-scale mining.

Ten years into the implementation of the Mining Act of 1995, we have witnessed wanton destruction of rivers, forests and fields; the loss of homes, ancestral lands and farms; the spread of militarization, terror and plunder with the entry of large-scale mining into the communities.

Intensifying this plunder is the Arroyo government's ferocious revitalization of the mining industry; and the reversal of the Supreme Court on the petition filed by La Bugal B'laan Tribal Association, as these have lured mining explorations and permits into the country and particularly into Mindanao. In fact, 10 mining projects in Mindanao are being made priority by the government, including four in Caraga, four in Southern Mindanao, one in Socsksargen and one in Western Mindanao. In Moro territories, the exploitation of natural gas and oil resources by foreign entities is now in the pipeline.

The very experiences of the communities in Canatuan, Siocon; Columbio, Sultan Kudarat; Placer, Surigao del Norte; Sulu and other areas in Mindanao have shown the deprivation of the lands of the Lumad, Moro and Christian communities, the disintegration of our people's cultures, and the transgression of our human rights.

State-ownership and control of Mt. Diwalwal, Compostela Valley is likewise being used as a pretext to eliminate thousands of marginal small-scale miners to pave the way for mining multinational and transnational monopoly of its mammoth deposits.

Given these conditions present in Mindanao, we state that large-scale mining can neither bring development, sustainability and peace, because what we see is the dying of the environment, ancestral lands and communities with the onslaught of mining plunder.

We hold the Arroyo government principally accountable for the suffering and death of our peoples and Creation as it is the most rabid purveyor of mining liberalization. As she serves our mineral resources to mining TNCs/MNCs on a silver platter, her hand is bloodied by the many deaths arising from mining incursions, the dying of our environment, and the depletion of the life-source of our future generations.

We are prepared to meet the greater challenge posed by this administration to shed off the remaining safeguards to our patrimony as enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution by concocting Charter Change, an act that will be more vicious and rapacious than the 1995 Mining Law.

We come forward with our response, as stewards of Creation, defenders of ancestral lands, advocates of the environment, to affirm our commitment to defend our land, our life, and our patrimony.

We are emboldened by the ongoing movements in Mindanao coming from the Lumad, Moro and peasant communities, the Catholic and Protestant Churches, and support groups to resist the entry of mining firms. We rely on the boundless resources of our faiths and convictions in this fight, inspired by the victory of the Biblical David over Goliath, the triumph of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) over the oppressive Quraish landlords of Mecca, and guarded by the Spirit of Linuyan, the keeper of our ancestral fields.

The Truth is our weapon in response to the lies and myths being spinned by mining TNCs/MNCs. Mining liberalization are the exact opposite to genuine national development. Liberalized, export-oriented, and extractive mining will only make a ghost island of Mindanao - a bleak eventuality already proven by the experience of mining-ravaged Third World nations.

Therefore, we raise the unity among the peoples of Mindanao towards these calls:

* End all large-scale mining explorations and operations in Mindanao;

* Scrap the Mining Act of 1995 and other related mining policies detrimental to the environment and patrimony;

* No to charter change and the sell-out of our sovereignty and natural resources;

* Hold mining companies and government agencies accountable for the destruction of ancestral domains, environment and lands;

* Stop military operations in mining-affected and mining-targeted areas;

* Press for an alternative people's mining policy to sustain genuine development

Panalipdan Mindanao! is our rallying call. Panalipdan! Mindanao is our unequivocal response.

(Approved and signed by 230 delegates in the Interfaith Conference)

Contact Panalipdan! MindanaoSecretariat: c/o InPeace
Mindanao, Rm. 101 Kalinaw Center for Interfaith
Resources, 13 Francisco Avenue, Juna Subdivision,
Matina, 8000 Davao City.
Tel/Fax (082) 299-4964

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