MAC: Mines and Communities

"Respect Our Rights": Subanon reiterate call to Philippine government

Published by MAC on 2008-11-10
Source: Tito Navida Fiel, DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issue

Dipolog City, Philippines - The Subanon People of Mount Canatuan, Tabayo Siocon Zamboanga del Norte led by its chieftain Timuoy Jose "Boy" Anoy has reiterated its demand to the Philippine Government to respect their rights over their ancestral domain.

Timuoy Anoy has criticized the validation meeting on the question of leadership on the roughly 8,000 hectares of ancestral domain in Mount Canatuan, facilitated by National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) on October 30, this year.

In his letter dated November 4, and lodged to the office of the NCIP-Zamboanga del Norte on the next day, he stressed that he has opposed the validation meeting made by the NCIP and accused it of being deceitful.

The meeting was organised by the NCIP, with the personnel from Ulysis Mining, to get the Free and Prior Informed Consent from the Ancestral Domain Holder for their plan to mine coal inside the ancestral domain.
He said, he was only informed of the meeting two weeks before it happened.

But he stresses his sadness and disappointment that instead of having FPIC on Ulysis Mining, it turned into a leadership validation process.
This was not necessary because the leadership had been already validated, through the NCIP provincial office of Zamboanga del Norte and the Subanon traditional judicial body (the Gokum), few years ago.

"The meeting was a deceitful one and a kind of manipulation" Anoy said on his letter to the NCIP. The original information was this was an FPIC process of Ulysis, but there was no personnel from Ulysis while TVI's personnel were present in the meeting and try to meddle in the discussion.

Timuoy Anoy asserts that the position of the Canatuan traditional leaders against the entry of mining, especially by the Canadian company TVI, has been continually presented to the NCIP many times, but the NCIP has failed to act it upon.

"It appears that the NCIP is forcing the Subanon to recognize the Council of Elders, which was created by the NCIP and supported TVI, but which has no right according to Subanon traditional and customary law to manage, negotiate and decide on the disposition of the ancestral domain", Timuoy Anoy's letter added.

The letter also criticizes the current initiatives of TVI to divide the ancestral domain in Canatuan between TVI, Bonifacio Patoh the current president of the Siocon Subanon Association Inc. (SSAI), and Juanito Tumangkis the former president of SSAI.

In 1997 the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) awarded the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claim (CADC) to Timuoy Anoy as the rightful, traditional Subanon leader. On June 12, 2003, the Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, personally handed down to Timuoy Anoy the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT), but the NCIP has mainly supported TVI in a dispute created by the company, and until now fails to fully recognize the traditional leadership of Timuoy Anoy in the ancestral domain, as recognised by the Subanon traditional judicial body (the Gokum).

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