MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Statement to the Twenty Second Session of the United Nations Working Group – 19-23 July 2004

Published by MAC on 2004-07-15

Statement to the Twenty Second Session of the United Nations Working Group – 19-23 July 2004

Presentation under section 5a) Standard Setting - “Free Prior and informed consent”

Timuay Noval Lambo, representing Gokum nog pitu kobogolalan sog pitu Kodolungan.

Thank you to the Chair,

I am Timuay (our word for Chief) Noval Lambo an elder from our branch and region of the Subanon Peoples. I am here as a representative of the Gokum nog pitu kobogolalan sog pitu Kodolungan.

I wish to speak on a serious matter related to free prior informed consent (FPIC) as examined in Mrs Motoc’s paper. We believe this matter gives important lessons on the danger of misrepresentation of FPI, which can make a mockery of our indigenous processes and rights.

Chairperson, if indigenous peoples right to FPIC is to be genuinely respected it is vital that those who claim to represent our peoples are validated and legitimate in the eyes of their co-tribes people and especially in the eyes of the elders who guard our traditions.

It is with sadness that I report in the Philippines we have heard many cases of the undermining and misapplication of FPIC. I will report on one important case of grave concern to us Subanon that reveals many general issues.

We as Subanon elders have been concerned to see outside forces dividing the Subanon community of Canatuan to serve the interests of a foreign Canadian mining company, TVI.

Therefore between 2 and 6 February 2004 we elders from different communities met as the Gokum (or tribal court) to consider the conflicting claims for leadership in Canatuan, which is one of our communities and is also rich in minerals. The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act in the Philippines promises us we have the right to adjudicate such matters.

We considered over 4 days testimony and geneologies of the different claimants.

Our main topic was to decide the legitimacy of a so called “Council of Elders “

of Canatuan created in 2002 by officials of the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and which, it is claimed has given free prior informed consent to large-scale mining on Mount Canatuan.

After deliberation we ruled that the Council of Elders of Canatuan was not a legitimate traditional structure and that it was imposed from outside to serve outside vested interests.

We ruled that many of those included in the so-called council of elders are not of the clan and blood of our ancestor Manglang, and not even originating from the Canatuan area. And therefore had no claim to be representatives of the Canatuan people.

We ruled that the SSAI2 ( Siocon Subanon Association Inc., led by Juanito Tumangkis) was not a legitimate representative organisation of the people of Canatuan as many of its leaders and members were not from Canatuan, are not descendents of Manglang and are not recognised as leaders by the Subanon of the area.

We confirmed that the traditional council headed by Timuay José Anoy are legitimate representatives of their people contrary to much propaganda from the mining company.

We therefore ruled that any and all agreements entered into by the ”council of elders“ or some members of that Council were ruled null and void. We imposed a fine of 1 bulos on each of those involved in the creation of a false body and misrepresentation of local structures of leadership.

Mr Chairman we will submit to you with this statement a copy of our names and judgement.

Finally we are concerned that the division in Canatuan has brought grief and a destruction of harmony which we call ‘topu’. Local People have been killed and injured over some years so we have required a cleansing ceremony to be performed. We hope in this way to restore harmony in the community and protect our sacred area from destruction by mining.

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