MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Philippines update

Published by MAC on 2008-02-09


Philippines update

9th February 2008

The fall out from increased militarisation of Philippine mining is being felt by local communities - and making international news. Rebel attacks on companies continue and, in some cases, company guards have attacked each other in 'turf wars'. The local Philippine company at Rapu Rapu has joined its parent Lafayette Mining in a form of voluntary administration, as a method to deal with increasing debt left from the mine's shut-down following waste spills.

Following the report that local indigenous Subanon had lobbied Atlas Consolidated against its intention to invest in TVI Pacific's mine, Atlas has confirmed that it will not be a partner in the project.


Philippine military recruits residents to defend mines near their communities

By Carlos H. Conde, International Herald Tribune

5th February 2008

MANILA: In response to attacks on mining companies by insurgent groups in the Philippines , the military has agreed to recruit and train residents in communities near the mines as a defence force for the companies.

The policy, officials said, is just one of several that the government is pursuing in its efforts to promote the Philippines as a major player in the mining industry in Asia .

Under the plan, the military, with the help of local governments and the mining companies themselves, would recruit residents in communities where mining investments are present. It would then train and arm the recruits to help guard the companies from armed groups, mainly the New People's Army, which is Communist and is responsible for most attacks against the mostly foreign-based mining companies.

The latest attack occurred on Jan. 1, when Communist rebels swooped down on the base camp of a copper-mining project in the southern Philippines owned by Xstrata, a miner based in Switzerland . The company said the rebels destroyed office buildings and other structures, causing an estimated $280,000 in damages.

Officials said security is the main problem that mining companies in the Philippines face. Because the companies operate in remote regions of the country, they are easy targets of Maoist rebels, who have been waging what they call a "protracted people's war" in the countryside in the last three decades. It has the stated purpose of driving out foreign capitalists, among other revolutionary objectives.

The guerrillas usually demand "revolutionary taxes" from these firms, and those that fail to pay are usually targeted for attacks, army officials said. The military said the New People's Army currently has about 5,700 regular fighters, down from the estimated 12,000 in 2002. The administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has vowed to crush the insurgency by 2010.

Foreigners are allowed to operate mining projects in the Philippines and the government has been trying to lure more of them. According to official estimates, the country has an estimated $1 trillion worth of mineral wealth. In the case of the Xstrata project, in Mindanao , the company said it was "one of the largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits in the Southeast Asia-Western Pacific Region."

Despite these riches, the industry only generates about $1 billion a year in revenues. The lack of safety and security has been cited by the government as a major factor for the lack of investments.

An army spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr, said the civilian defence units would be considered reservists and "cannot be employed as bodyguards or operate independently from the military in the area." A regular army officer would be assigned to every defence unit.

Torres said the setup was ideal because it would not require the deployment of more regular troops and that such matters as feeding the militias would be taken care of by the mining companies.

Last week, the military deployed civilian defence units to a mining project owned by DMCI Mining in the northern Philippines that has been threatened by the Communists.

While not categorically endorsing the plan, Xstrata said the scope of the attack on its project necessitated more government intervention.

"The safety and security of our staff, contractors and visitors is a paramount consideration," Emily Russell, a spokesman for Xstrata, said Tuesday. "We will continue to seriously assess the risks in light of the continuing threats against mining companies, and work with the host communities, our security service provider, and the local authorities to ensure a safe and secure environment for our employees."

Tom Green, executive director of Pacific Strategies and Assessments, a risk-analysis company that counts among its clients foreign mining companies in the Philippines, cautioned that the government from relying too much on the civilian defence units.

"From years of dealing with security issues like this, this is probably bad news for mining companies," Green said in an interview.

Given the history of the Philippine military with militias, Green said that these armed local volunteers "would have minimal, if any, training - no discipline. You're not going to find stellar citizens to volunteer. But you'll find guys without jobs, local thugs probably. You end up with guys that are not really much of a deterrent for the New People's Army."

Green said he viewed the plan as a "cheap way out for the Philippine armed forces."

Environment groups have likewise opposed the plan. The use of these militias, said Clemente Bautista, of the Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment, "will only result in more human rights violations against communities, civilians, and organizations opposed to mining operations."


Solon [congresswoman] hits plan to allow mining firms to have militias

By Fernan Marasigan, Reporter , Business Mirror

31st January 2008

A MILITANT legislator on Wednesday assailed the proposal of Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Armed Forces chief of staff, to train and provide militias to mining corporations in the country.

"Undoubtedly, this will lead to more human-rights violations and displacement of tens of thousands in mining areas all over the country. This has been the experience of many Lumad communities in Mindanao, and even in other regions when indigenous groups opt to oppose the destruction of their land and the disruption of their lives by the operations of big mining firms all over the country," said Party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan of Gabriela.

Ilagan cited the massive evacuation in 12 Lumad communities in November last year, owing to military operations allegedly intended to protect mining explorations around the Andap Valley Complex, the second-largest coal deposit in the country, and where Chinese mining corporations have investments.

"Military activities threatened the Lumad and peasant communities in the towns of Tago, Cagwait, Marihatag, San Agustin, Lianga and San Miguel in Surigao del Sur, who are actively opposing the mining operations," Ilagan said.

She said "it is very alarming that instead of conducting consultations in communities, mining companies and multinationals opt for the military solution in order to continue operations and pursue profits at the expense of the communities.

"We have received reports that the increasing presence of military detachments and the installation of police checkpoints are observed in other mining-affected areas nationwide, including Lafayette on Rapu-Rapu Island, Albay, Filminera on Masbate Island, Marcopper in Marinduque, TVIRD in Zamboanga del Norte, NMRDC on Mount Diwalwal, Compostela; Rio Tuba in Palawan; Crew Minerals in Mindoro Oriental; and Climax Arimco/Oxiana in Nueva Vizcaya, Abra, Batangas and Zambales," she said.

Ilagan also claimed that of the 886 victims of alleged extrajudicial killings documented by the human-rights group Karapatan from January 2001 to July 2007, 17 have been identified as being active or leading the campaign against mining projects in their respective communities.

Ilagan said reports revealed that the Armed Forces has offered to assist mining firms in their security requirements, offering to organize, train and equip private security guards to protect exploration and production sites from rebel attacks.

"This is clearly a move toward the intensification of militarization of mining communities, and has to be stopped," said Ilagan.


Mining companies indulge in turf war

Manila Times

6th February 2008

STA. CRUZ, Zambales: Mining companies here are squabbling over precious minerals found in the mountainous part of this town.

According to a source of The Manila Times, security personnel from David M. Consunji Mining Company Inc (DMCMI) and A3UNA almost clashed with one another at the Bolitoc pier.

The sources added that personnel of A3UNA have barricaded the entrance of Balitoc pier to prevent other mining firms from using it.

DMCMI earlier secured a temporary restraining order accusing A3 UNA for violation of mining rights.

Philip Romualdez of the Chamber of Mines was earlier quoted as saying that A3UNA has illegally mined an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 metric tons of nickel ore since June last year.

Last week, police authorities seized a ship identified as M/V Globetrotter, said to be owned by a Greek proprietor, and a barge allegedly operating under Bueno Coady International Corp. and A3UNA. The vessels were allegedly loaded with illegal ores.

Benguet Corp., another mining company here, have also filed a case of mining theft against A3UNA for allegedly pillaging the properties of Eramen Minerals Inc. and Filipinas Mining.

The province of Zambales , according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, has an estimated mineral deposit worth $65 billion.

One of the big problems according to the source is a territorial boundary since this mining companies operate close to one another.

-- Anthony Bayarong


Living in the shadow of the resources boom

Nick McKenzie, The Australian Age

2nd February 2008

AS JUANITA Cut-ing tells of the armed soldiers who arrived at her door, her husband prepares breakfast. With the flick of a knife, he cuts the neck of a bony chicken and drains its blood into a bowl. In the remote village of Didipio in the north of the Philippines, little is wasted.

The soldiers came to the stilt home in the middle of last year to enforce a summons that the mother of three has repeatedly ignored, ordering her to vacate her home of 25 years.

"When the military men arrived, I felt so troubled and nervous," says Cut-ing. "But then I told myself, 'Why should I be afraid? This is my land.'"

Not for long. Her house and dozens like it sit on land destined to be flooded. In their place will be a dam to store waste from an open-pit gold and copper mine. Melbourne-based company OceanaGold plans to dig up $3.6 billion worth of gold and copper over 15 years from beneath a small hill overlooking Didipio, a village settled 50 years ago by the Iffugao, indigenous farming people.

Where OceanaGold points to the money, jobs and improved infrastructure it is bringing, Cut-ing sees a community divided and the destruction of her dream to fulfil a tradition of passing her house and farmland to her children.

"What will happen in 15 years, when the mine company packs up and goes?" she says. In the time it takes her to finish her story, the chicken is plucked, boiled and served for breakfast. As Cut-ing serves the cooking liquid as a drink, she seems almost unaware that in 12 months, the mine will roar to life and her home will be gone.

Her story is being played out in mineral-rich developing nations across the world as Australian miners lead the charge of First World companies seeking to capitalise on the mining boom. Companies emphasise the economic opportunities they bring to their poor and often unstable hosts --- a third of the Philippines' 88 million people live on less than $2 a day --- and insist that modern mines can be environmentally and socially sustainable.

Critics highlight other aspects of the global mining march: they allege corruption, lacklustre environmental oversight and unsavoury relationships with the local military or private security teams.

Non-government organisations such as Oxfam, which last year subjected OceanaGold to a damning report (rejected by the company), as well as politicians such as Greens senator Christine Milne, say Third World countries cannot hold foreign miners to account.

"Companies get away with shonky environmental and human rights practices in those countries. Australian companies overseas need to be held accountable in Australia," Milne says.

Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner Peter Drennan, who oversees investigations into companies alleged to have bribed foreign officials or accused of complicity in war crimes, says most Australian companies operate within the law. But he also says that only the naive would believe corruption or misconduct doesn't sometimes happen. If it does, investigating it in a developing nation can be trying.

"The environment in which these businesses are operating, the changing nature of the governments, the role of public officials --- it is a very complex and difficult environment," Drennan says.

Finding the truth about mining companies in the Third World is complex and often confusing. The Philippines has become a flashpoint, especially for Australian miners, because of a concerted campaign in the past three years by the Government to attract foreign investment. Incentives include giving foreign companies full ownership of mines and generous tax concessions. Of the Philippines' 50 priority mineral projects, 12 involve Australian players.

The issue is deeply contested. On one side are the anti-mining Catholic Church and NGOs; on the other, an industry promising to maintain human rights and environmental standards and an often unstable national Government desperate to attract foreign capital. Between the claims and counter-claims, both sides have grievances. The miners say they are unfairly labelled environmental vandals, while the royalties they give communities are ignored. The critics point to irregular payments, local officials on company payrolls and avoidable toxic spills.

Peter Duyapat, a short, stocky indigenous man, farms using the water from one of Didipio's two rivers that will be diverted to make way for the mine. In the 1990s, Duyapat, a village councillor, worked for another Australian company, Climax Mining, guarding its bulldozer. Until it was taken over by OceanaGold in 2006, Climax held the rights to the Didipio project and spent more than a decade getting the required approvals from the local and national authorities. But in the late '90s, before Duyapat was to cast his council vote on the mine, he conducted a field trip to troubled mining projects elsewhere in the Philippines and decided the risks were too great for his village.

Duyapat's house is a sturdy, bare wooden building with a metal roof held down by rocks, a cause for derision among pro-mine supporters. "They think I am mad for not taking any more work from the mine," he says.

Nor did Duyapat accept an unusually generous relocation deal, greater than that offered to other villagers, from Climax company employee Carlos Migleas. By Migleas' own admission, he offered Duyapat a "double deal" involving the purchase of his land as well as buying him a new property. The offer was made before Duyapat had voted on the council about whether to endorse the mine. Getting Duyapat's backing could have reversed much of the anti-mine sentiment in the village.

In refusing Migleas' offer, Duyapat says he asked him: "Now you know you cannot buy all the people in Didipio, what will be your next step?" When the local council voted to approve the mine in 1999, Duyapat was the lone dissenter. At the time, many of his fellow councillors were working for the company, common practice in the Philippines.

The director of the national mine bureau, Horatio Ramos, acknowledges that employing local councillors, who must sometimes approve and scrutinise company operations, is ethically questionable. He also acknowledges that the multiple permits and approvals needed to run a mine, while ostensibly created to safeguard the environment and local residents, create opportunities for corruption. But Ramos is also a realist.

"That they hire your sons so you can disperse with some minor favour; I do not think that is corruption. For me, I look at it as a minor thing, giving favours. I do not know if you are a moralist, but I am not."

OceanaGold's chief executive, Stephen Orr, defends the employment of local officials and says an internal investigation by the company has found no evidence of irregular offers to local people, which are banned by OceanaGold. "Some people have a lot to offer from a public official standpoint in terms of representing the community. And they also happen to be exceptional employees for us as well," Orr says.

Under mining laws that require royalties to be paid to the local community, Orr says OceanaGold will contribute $US550,000 a year to projects that will long outlast the company in Didipio. The company has already brought jobs, better roads, a new school, scholarships and medical clinics.

Orr says the use of armed officials to deal with locals who refuse to accept generous company compensation offers to leave their homes is a matter for the Government. "We specifically requested there not be police or military presence."

Part of OceanaGold's challenge is to convince locals that it will not repeat the sins of other mining companies. In the rebel-infested southern Philippines, controversy has surrounded the use by some miners of heavily armed private security guards or military-trained, privately funded militia, who often operate with minimal accountability.

Then there is the environmental cost. Even though mining companies now operate under new laws and with new technology, past projects such as the Marcopper mine on the island of Marinduque cast a long shadow. A decade after the Marcopper mine shut down, fishermen on the banks of Marinduque's Boac River complain of itchy skin and depleted catches. The island's health officer, Dr Honesto Marquez, sees a stream of patients with conditions he suspects are linked to mine waste. "Heavy metals pollute little by little."

The Marcopper mine began poisoning the island of more than 200,000 people in 1969, when it was created by Canadian mining company Placer Dome in a secret partnership with corrupt dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Between 1974 and 1991, the mine dumped 200 million tonnes of waste into the sea. In 1996, the bursting of a waste dam pumped 4.4 million tonnes of waste into the Boac River, spoiling the aquatic environment. The then president, Fidel Ramos, declared a "state of calamity" on the island after high levels of heavy metals were found in the blood of 59 children. A United Nations team said the disaster had been preventable.

BY THEN, two Australians --- the president of Marcopper, John Loney, and mine manager Steven Reid --- had been charged with breaking environmental and mining laws. After lodging an appeal, both were allowed to leave the country. But the locals had nowhere to go. Despite 30 years of mining on the island, the community remains one of the nation's poorest.

As a child accompanying his father fishing in the bay used as a dump site by Marcopper, Wilson Manuba recalls feeling constantly sick. Thirty years later, after a series of chronic infections that failed to heal, Manuba was diagnosed with arsenic poisoning and given a choice: death or the amputation of his leg. He chose the leg and has received no compensation.

Since Loney and Reid were charged, three of the judges who presided over the ultimately unsuccessful appeals against the charges have died. The case itself, though, is still alive. Six months ago, two public prosecutors were assigned to revive court proceedings against the men. Reid, who now works as a senior executive with a mining company in Canada, and Loney, who chairs the board of WA-based firm Australian Mineral Fields, did not return The Age's calls or emails but have previously denied wrongdoing.

The Marinduque Government is suing in the US the company that took over Placer Dome, mining giant Barrick Gold, to get the tens of millions of dollars it says is still needed to clean up the island.

Placer Dome's conduct is still invoked by NGOs to attack new projects with no connection to Marinduque. It is partly why any environmental incident involving a new mining company can spark intense protest. So it was for Melbourne-based miner Lafayette, when things went wrong at its open-pit mine in late 2005.

The launch of the Australian-owned open-pit mine on the island of Rapu Rapu, south of Manila, was intended to herald a new era of foreign mining. But Lafayette rushed it. In mid-2005, metal prices skyrocketed and the company decided to start operations early, with environmental safeguards not in place. In October 2005, a pump malfunction caused 20 tonnes of mine waste, including cyanide, to flow into two creeks. Three weeks later, heavy rain and a poorly designed dam caused another spill. Mining officials later declared the two spills "very much preventable" and the result of company "negligence and unpreparedness".

Only a few fish were killed, and the company responded by overhauling its management and upgrading its operations, but Lafayette become the cause celebre of the anti-mining movement.

"The fish kill was not at all very serious," says mines bureau boss Horatio Ramos. "(But) it was serious to the extent that it destroyed the image of the industry --- we were looking at Lafayette as a model, but it was not managed properly." The spills also hit Rapu Rapu's fishermen hard, as locals refused to buy their fish.

On top of an 18-month ban on its operations and a record fine of $258,000, the company was attacked by the Catholic Church and NGOs, with claims that Lafayette was responsible for subsequent fish kills. A banner draped over the local Catholic church depicts bloated and rotting fish alongside the words: "Lafayette says this is a hoax!!! Will the Government side with the people?"

During The Age's recent trip to Rapu Rapu, Lafayette community relations boss Joey Cubias said a village councillor had claimed he had to publicly oppose the mine or else "a bullet will welcome me back to my village".

Another local company manager, Teddy Marquez, chided Lafayette's former Australian managers for being "too honest" in presenting the 2005 spills. "Do you call it bread with sugar or do you call it cake?" he says.

Local priests say such an attitude is indicative of the industry's rhetoric. Bishop Lucilo Quiambao says Lafayette's royalties have flowed only to a small number of villages and will not lead to long-term economic prosperity.

He says his church has had to deliver rice to hungry fishermen unable to sell their catch because of continuing suspicion --- fuelled by the church --- that the fish aren't safe to eat. "Whom do the companies really favour --- the poor or the investors?"

Others tell a different story. Former Lafayette employee and village mayor Reynold Asuncion says the mine has boosted the living conditions in his impoverished community. Last year, Lafayette employed 320 workers, including 180 from Rapu Rapu's 30,000-plus population. In several villages, Lafayette has built toilets and houses and supplied electricity and medical clinics. But it has not been enough to win over the region's most senior politician, provincial governor Joey Salceda, a former chief-of-staff and current economic adviser to President Gloria Arroyo. Salceda describes the company as "a thorn in my butt".

He claims Lafayette secured tax concessions several years ago in a "suspicious and highly irregular" manner that unfairly eroded what should have flowed into local and national coffers. "The point with Lafayette is that they do not even have a compliance officer (to safeguard against corrupt practices)."

Lafayette's managing director, David Baker, who joined the company in 2006, describes the attacks as without basis and politically motivated. His complaint is not without justification --- one of Salceda's staffers encouraged locals to protest against the mine at a recent rally. The waiving of some taxes, Baker says, is a fair trade-off for the risks and costs of setting up a mine in a developing nation.

"You will find families that are enormously grateful for (the company) saving their child's life, providing what we would describe as minimal care but which for them is inaccessible," Baker says.

At the company's compound in mid-December, employees played The Age a slideshow describing Lafayette's contribution to the community. At the same time in Australia, its managers were trying to find a way out of the company's heavy debt, caused partly by the ban on its operations after the cyanide spill and typhoon-damage. The slide-show stated that Lafayette was "healing wounds, touching lives, fighting hunger, (giving) a brighter future". An hour later, in Reynold Asuncion's village, a teacher complained that he had not been paid by the company for four months. Two weeks later, Lafayette was placed into voluntary receivership.

The company's administrators are now searching for a foreign player to take over a mine potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Waiting for them will be a community divided, from the locals in desperate need of work to those warier than ever of the promises of foreign miners.

Nick McKenzie is an Age investigative reporter.


Rapu Rapu firms file rehabilitation plea at Pasig RTC

Business World - Vol. XXI, No. 134

7th February 2008

PROPONENTS of the Rapu Rapu mining project have filed for corporate rehabilitation, describing the move as aimed at conserving assets in the face of outstanding debts.

The petitioners said the project incurred debts after it ceased operations in November 2005, when cyanide spills shut down the copper and zinc mine for more than a year. The Environment department allowed operations to resume in February last year.

"The company cannot support the manner by which previous loans were structured because it did not take into consideration the suspension of the mining operations," Bayani Agabin, Lafayette spokesman, said in an interview.

Mr. Agabin said the company has considerable debts from banks and trade suppliers, but declined to say how much exactly was owed. He said the rehabilitation plea also aims to prohibit creditors from closing mortgages.

The statement said the rehabilitation "was deemed necessary by the Filipino management team to protect legal interests." It added that the proponents were in talks with a Korean investor for a possible infusion that would allow them to raise funds for equity, operations, and debt restructuring.

Negotiations, the group said, "might take some time."

The statement also said that once the new investments come in, debt repayments could be resumed.

"For now, it is in the interest of Albay [province], the Rapu Rapu community, our employees and other stakeholders, and the environment to make sure our revenues go into funding our operations first," Mr. Agabin said in the statement.

The Lafayette spokesman also said the petition for rehabilitation did not mean that the company was bankrupt, adding that the Rapu Rapu mine was still a "viable project".

"Rehabilitation is a solution that aims to continue every benefit that we have been providing to the host communities and the people and businesses we deal with," he said.

He also said that the demise of the company managing the Rapu Rapu project would mean that people in Albay would lose their jobs. The company has around 1,000 employees.

The group said it expects to be in rehabilitation for 60 days.

The move comes after Lafayette filed for voluntary administration in Australia to avoid bankruptcy. The voluntary administration plea, earlier reports said, was to give the Australian parent firm time to obtain new capital or sell its local unit. --- EBD


Atlas backs out of mining project with TVI Resources

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña, Philippine Star

7th February 2008

Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. (ACMDC) is no longer interested in pursuing a joint venture with TVI Resource Development (Phils.) Inc. in connection with the Canatuan copper zinc sulphide project in Zamboanga del Norte.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, ACMDC said the P42-million advance it extended to TVIRD and TVI International affiliates of Canada' TVI Pacific, will now be treated as a secured six-month loan.

The Canatuan mine, considered as TVI's most advanced project, has been put into operation as the first foreign-financed mine in the Philippines in recent years.

Instead, ACMDC and investment fund Crescent Asian Special Opportunities Portfolio infused an additional $10 million into Carmen Copper Corp., which operates the Toledo copper mine in Cebu .

Carmen Copper used to be one of the largest copper producers in Asia from 1955 until the suspension of its operations in 1994 after its mine site was hit by a typhoon.

The Toledo mine has deposits of 874 million metric tons with an average grade of 0.41 percent copper. It is seen to produce copper concentrates by the second quarter of 2008.

Initial production is seen to reach 20,000 tons per day and is seen to increase further to 42,000 tons.


Atlas Company's Withdrawal from Mining on Subanon Ancestral Domains

LRC --KsK Statement

9th February 2008

A firm stand by a marginalized but dignified people to defend their ancestral lands can also knock some sense into the heads of those at the helm of a formidable mining company.

The Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation (ACMDC)'s decision to back out from a joint venture with the TVI Resource Development Philippines (TVIRD) in Canatuan, Zamboanga del Norte, came barely a week after two Subanon leaders urged ACMDC's management to stay clear from the Subanon's ancestral lands.

The Subanon people earlier decried that the ACMDC and TVIRD proposed joint venture was a partnership to continue destroy their ancestral domains and desecrate their sacred site, Mt. Canatuan. TVI's current mining activities allowed by the Philippine government consist of at least 500 hectares within the Subanons' ancestral domains of about 8,000 hectares.

On February 1, the Subanon peoples represented by Timuay Jose Anoy and Timuay Fernando Mudai visited Atlas office in Mandaluyong City to meet and convince the mining company's officials to withdraw from the Subanons' ancestral domains. On February 6 ACMDC officially announced that it was backing off from a mining partnership with TVIRD.

ACMDC's decision showed good judgment, and clever business sense. The ACMDC spared itself from what the Subanons' earlier warned as the company's potentially "costly mistake". By withdrawing, ACMDC avoided being dragged into the deepening troubles of an apparently financially and politically beleaguered Canatuan mining project of TVIRD.

TVIRD's years of mining depradations on Subanon lands have met stiff resistance from affected communities. The well-documented abuses and human rights violations continued to hound the notorious Canadian mining company even right before its own homeground and policymakers. At one time, TVIRD was compelled to answer charges of various human rights violations and possible transgression of Canadian laws before its own Parliament. And currently, TVIRD stands accused, together with the Philippine government of racial discrimination and other human rights violations lodged by the Subanons before various legal fora as well as the United Nation's Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

Over and above, the ACMDC's withdrawal is primarily a victory of the Subanon people's just struggles . This modest but incremental gain is what inspires and nurtures the broadening movement against large-scale and destructive mining in the country. The Subanons and other courageous indigenous peoples in mining-affected rural communities are at the forefront of this resistance.

The Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth-Philippines (LRC-KsK/FoE-Phils.), together with other fellow advocates and kindred organizations, shall continue to act in solidarity with the indigenous peoples' determined efforts, and accompany them in their concerted actions until they take full control of their lives, regain their ancestral lands and reclaim their dignity as they chart their own path of development and future as self-determined peoples.

For details, please contact: Mr. Sammy Gamboa LRC-KsK, Communications and Networking Officer (CNO) (Tel. 632-928-1372)

 

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