MAC: Mines and Communities

Philippines: Mamanwa win, but conflict over royalties remains

Published by MAC on 2009-03-03

The Mamanwa Indigenous peoples of the Philippines have been barricading a minesite on Mindanao since the end of January, demanding payment of a 1% royalty due them from the Taganito Mining Corporation. Now, they have won a victory in gaining their rightful share of these payments.

However, as so often in the Philippines, the deal is mired in complexity and is causing divisions among the recognised leaders.

What is clear is that those tasked with protecting the rights of the Mamanwa seriously let them down by failing to initially secure the correct royalties; and that the unfolding conflict can be squarely laid at the doors of .the company and government


Surigao Tribesmen Hit Divide and Rule Tactics Over Mining Firms' Royalty Fee Row

by Ben Serrano

Mindanao.com blog

22nd February 2009

CLAVER, Surigao del Norte - Tribal leaders of the Mamanwa Indigenous Community of Barangay Taganito this town today lambasted divide and rule tactics hurled by some influential quarters amongst Mamanwa people over still uncollected royalty fees by mining firms operating within their ancestral lands.

Datu Alfredo Olorico and Datu Renante Buklas told this writer that while Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC) have claimed they already deposited the amount of P51.5-M last February 19, 2009 representing the 1% royalty from its gross production from July 2006 to December 2007, to the Land Bank of the Philippines Surigao City Branch, they were not informed neither consulted and worst it was deposited to other account not theirs.

"But that is not enough because according to law, Taganito Mining Corporation and other mining firms owe us more than P500-M representing 1% of the gross income from 1995 to present", Datu Alfredo Olorico in the present of some tribal leaders told this writer in an interview.

The two tribal chieftains claimed their group, the Mamanwa Indigenous Community of Barangay Taganito were the ones greatly affected by the mining operations of the three mining firms within their ancestral and yet they were not the ones being paid.
Datu Olorico claimed they were the ones who signed agreement with the mining firms and yet they were the ones who were left out.

Olorico said that unlike before at the start of their struggle when they were only after of their ancestral rights and no money involved they do not get any help from anybody and now every Tom, Dick and Harry are dipping their dirty little fingers on the problems affecting Mamanwa tribes.

Their group has set up 35 makeshift structures on the road leading the production site since January 29, as they demanded payment of the 1% royalty due them.

Affected Mamanwa Community claimed they will continue barricade unless huge division now among Mamanwa tribal folk because of the divide and rule tactics employed against them will not be settled including correct and exact royalty fees payment.

The Mamanwa tribe holds a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) over 48,870,026.3 hectares in the towns of Alegria, Bacuag, Claver, Guigakuit and Tubod in Surigao del Norte. The CADT was issued on September 22, 2006. The TMC's MPSA was approved July 28, 2008.

The July 2006 MOA, signed by Datu Olorico, Datu Rizal Buklas (father of Datu Reynante) - leaders of the area where TMC is operating - and Datu Emiliano Gedi, the CADT head claimant, stipulated only an annual "financial assistance amounting to P500,000" released in two equal tranches every last week of June and second week of December, until 2031.

But lawyers of the Caraga Indigenous People Management and Development Corporation, a firm set up by Engineer Sergio Pascual to help the Mamanwa Indigenous People's claims claimed that the MOA is not only one sided as it was not written in language understood by the tribes neither it was thoroughly explained, it is unfair because instead of one percent it only stipulated that the Mamanwa beneficiaries will only get P500,000 per year not one percent of the mining's gross income.

The Mamanwas signed an agreement with Engr Pascual giving him authority through Special Power of Attorney to negotiate for and in their behalf in their claims. In return, Pascual draw up plans and created Caraga Indigenous People Management and Development Corporation.
Last October 2008, Caraga Indigenous People Management and Development Corporation summoned the officials of TMC and two other mining firms operating in the area- Oriental Synergy Mining Corporation and Platinum Group Metals Corporation - to a meeting in October 2008 to inform the Mamanwas' demand for the 1% royalty due them.

But the NCIP on November 13 passed Resolution 325 en banc, declaring that the special power of attorney that designated Pascual as Attrney-in Fact of the Mamanwas and the MOA resulting there from "violates the provisions of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act and NCIP Administrative Order NO. 1, Series of 2006" and also declared that it is "contrary to the customs, tradition and practices of the Mamanwa tribe."

But Pascual claimed NCIP en banc had no right to nullify the special power of attorney from and memorandum of agreement he entered into with the Mamanwa and that Jose Dumagan, acting regional director of the NCIP has been declared "persona non grata" by the Mamanwa leaders.

Pascual further added that NCIP should be reminded that the royalty is "not a government fund but a private fund of the Lumads."

Pascual told this writer that the already helpless Mamanwa tribes could have been helped even without his intervention if only concerned government agencies like NCIP, Bureau of Mines and Geo-Sciences were aware of their duties and responsibilities.

"When the Mamanwas were driven out of their ancestral lands in favor of the mining firms' operations, where were they? Pascual asked.

Pascual said he is now preparing to file administrative and criminal charges against government officials, mining firms and others involved in the alleged crime against humanity the crime of neglect against the helpless Mamanwa tribes.

This writer tried to reach through their respective mobile phones NCIP Regional Jake Dumagan and MGB Regional Director Alilio Ensomo including Taganito Mining Corporation Resident Manager Armand Pereyda many times to get their side but to no avail.


 

"Largest royalty payment" to Lumads divides Mamanwas

Carolyn O. Arguillas

MindaNews

23rd February 2009

DAVAO CITY - The estimated 400 families of Mamanwas in five towns in Surigao del Norte ought to be celebrating: they now have P51.5 million, the "largest royalty payment" made by a mining firm to a Philippine tribe, in their bank account. And there will be more payments, for 2008 and every year thereafter, not only from the Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC) but the two other mining firms operating in their ancestral domain.

But no one is celebrating. Instead, there is "kagubot" (trouble).

Datu Emiliano Gedi, the head claimant of the Mamanwas' ancestral domain over five towns in Surigao del Norte and chair of the Provincial Consultative Body of the Asosasyon sa Madazaw na Panagkaisa nan mga Tribong Mamanwa sa Taganito ug Urbiztondo (Ampantrimtu), told MindaNews in a telephone interview that he hopes they can convene a general assembly to settle the issue among themselves.

The amount , representing 1% of the reported gross production of TMC from July 2006 to December 2007, was deposited to the account of Ampantrimtu in the Land Bank of the Philippines branch in Surigao City on February 19.

The amount does not include as yet the 2008 royalty.

But Datu Reynante Buklas of Taganito told MindaNews in a telephone interview on February 20 that he and Datu Alfredo Olorico of Urbiztondo, will not lift the barricade at the entrance of TMC's production site, claiming the royalty should be deposited to their joint account at the Philippine Veterans Bank in Butuan City. The barricade was set up on January 29.

He said Datu Emiliano is not from Taganito or Urbiztondo but Guigaquit. Datu Emiliano acknowledged he is from Guigaquit but added that the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) covers not just Taganito and Urbiztondo.

He added that the two Datus should have attended the December 23 assembly where the decision to open an account for the royalty payment and who would be its signatories was discussed and approved by the body.

Datu Emiliano said that while the two Datus did not show up, about 300 community members did, as well as representatives from the local government, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and the mining firm.

The assembly, he said, decided to open a bank account for the royalty payment and named there persons to be the signatories: Datu Emiliano; Vicente Baldoza, the provincial director of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and a "community representative" named Dodoy Bago, of Urbiztondo.

Had the two Datus been there, he said, they may have been named signatories, too.

The two Datus told MindaNews on February 14 and 17 at the barricade in Taganito, Claver, Surigao del Norte and in a telephone interview on February 20 with Datu Reynante, that they are the chieftains and that the money should be deposited to their account. They are being supported by Butuan City-based contractor, Engr. Sergio Pascual, a former contractor of TMC, who claims he has a special power of attorney from the tribal leaders in the CADT areas.

Under the Memorandum of Agreement, Pascual is to receive 30% as management/negotiation fee, among others.

But the NCIP in an en banc resolution on November 13 ruled that the special power of attorney and the Memorandum of Agreement between Pascual, who is not a member of the Indigenous Peoples, and the Mamanwas "violated the provisions of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 and NCIP Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 2006," and declared it "contrary to the customs, traditions and practices of the Mamanwa Tribe."

Datu Emiliano told MindaNews that of the 18 tribal leaders in the five towns covered by their CADT, only the two Datus are insisting on having the money deposited to their account.

But he assured the two Datus they have nothing to worry about because even if they are not signatories, no withdrawal of the money can be done without a resolution from the group.

Jose Dumagan, acting regional director of the NCIP based in Butuan City, told MindaNews in a telephone interview Friday that Datu Reynante or Datu Olorico can be the fourth signatory if they want. He said he would ask the NCIP commissioners, who passed an en banc resolution on January 30 directing TMC to deposit the royalty to the Ampantrimtu bank account, to allow a fourth signatory.

MindaNews tried to communicate with Datu Reynante twice on Sunday but could not reach him.

But Pascual, who was in the company of Datu Reynante when MindaNews interviewed the latter by telephone on Friday, told MindaNews Sunday that the two Datus will not lift the barricade until TMC deposits the P51.5 million to the Datus' account at the Philippine Veterans Bank in Butuan City.

"Why did they deposit the money to other people?" Pascual asked, adding that Datu Emiliano is "not a tribal chieftain and is not a member of the association."

Documents pertaining to the case, including the July 2006 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between TMC and Ampantrimptu and the NCIP as third party, identify Datu Emiliano Gedi, as the head claimant and chair of the Provincial Consultative Body of the Ampantrimtu. Documents also show that the two other signatories in the July 2006 MOA were Datus Olorico and Rizal Buklas, Reynante's father.

Pascual said Datus Reynante and Olorico will file charges of estafa against the NCIP commissioners, the acting NCIP regional director, the TMC president, the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau, and even the Land Bank for allowing the deposit of the royalty to Ampantrimtu.

Ampantrimtu is the organization of Mamanwas that forged a Memorandum of Agreement with TMC and the NCIP on July 18, 2006, when TMC was applying for a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) for the "exploration, development and commercial utilization of nickel ores/deposits located at Barangays Urbiztondo and Hayanggabon," covering 4,975.03 hectares. Under the law, no MPSA can be granted without the free and prior informed consent of the tribe. Two months after the MOA signing, Ampantrimtu was issued its CADT on September 22, 2006. The TMC's MPSA was approved July 28, 2008.

The Mamanwa tribe's CADT covers a total of 48,870,026.3 hectares in the towns of Alegria, Bacuag, Claver, Guigakuit and Tubod in Surigao del Norte.

The July 2006 MOA, however, stipulated only an annual "financial assistance" to the indigenous peoples in the area, amounting to P500,000, released in two equal tranches every last week of June and second week of December, until 2031.

Pascual is credited by Datus Reynante and Olorico for having informed them that under the Mining Act of 1995 and Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997, they were entitled to 1% royalty from the gross output instead of the measly half a million peso "financial assistance."

Datus Reynante and Olorico told MindaNews at the barricade in Taganito, Claver, Surigao del Norte on February 17 that food provisions for their stay at the barricade are "utang" (debt) they owe Pascual. The Datus said they need two sacks of rice a day.

Datu Reynante told MindaNews he has a total of 46 Mamanwa families under him while Datu Olorico said he has 56 or a total of 102. Not everyone is at the barricade; they come mostly from Taganito.

The Mamanwas number about 400 families or around 5,000 individuals, Datu Emiliano said.

As of February 17, at least 30 makeshift structures had been set up at the entrance to the TMC production site.

Pascual told MindaNews the remedy is for the NCIP commissioners and acting regional director to be replaced with a new set officials so there can be a "bagong pag-uumpisa" (new beginning).

He said they will sue for payment of royalty "retroactive to 1995" when the Mining Act was passed, "not retroactive to July 2006" when TMC entered into a MOA with Ampantrimtu.

Pascual said TMC should recognize the two Datus as the leaders of Taganito and Urbiztondo, and deposit the amount to their account so the barricade would be lifted. He said the two other mining firms "recognized" the two Datus and that a day earlier, on February 21, an official from the Platinum Group Metals Corporation (PGMC) from whom the tribe reportedly has a collectible of "almost 10 million pesos," royalty, paid a "partial amount."

How much "partial" amount was paid, Pascual declined to say. He also declined to name the PGMC official who allegedly paid "partial" (royalty).

Datu Emiliano says that the customary practice of the tribe to deal with the "kagubot" is through "husay" (dispute settlement) and that the December 23 assembly was part of that. The two Datus, however, did not show up there but their community members did, he said.

Datu Emiliano says he hopes they can convene an assembly soon to settle the dispute but adds they have no money.

They actually have P51.5 million. In the bank. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)


Mamanwas continue barricade; mining firm vows to pay P51.5 million

Carolyn O. Arguillas

MindaNews

20th February 2009

TAGANITO, Claver, Surigao del Norte - Representatives of the Mamanwa tribe here have vowed to continue the barricade they set up since January 29 until the Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC) pays the royalty/share due them.

TMC officials said they are willing and ready to pay the P51.5 million royalty from July 2006 to December 2007 but are awaiting guidance from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) on whose bank account the amount would be deposited.

The amount represents 1% of the audited shipment report of TMC from July 2006 to December 2006 when the gross value of the beneficiated nickel silicate ore shipped to Japan and limonite shipped to Australia was P905,396,957.33 and in 2007when the gross value of the shipments of the same to Japan and Australia plus a shipment of low grade soft ore to China totaled P4,248,232,289.08.

The record was forwarded to NCIP acting regional director Jose Dumagan by Alilo Ensomo, Jr., OIC Regional Director of the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau in a letter dated December 17, 2008.

The share from the 2008 output, has yet to be computed. Ensomo said TMC has committed to submit the final audited shipment report for 2008 by "the first quarter of 2009."

TMC resident mine manager Armando Pereda told MindaNews Tuesday afternoon that they are ready to pay "anytime once we receive the instruction from NCIP."

Datu Reynante Buklas and Datu Alfredo Olorico in a January 19 letter to TMC requested that the P51.5 million be deposited to their joint account at the Philippine Veterans Bank branch in Butuan City.

On January 26, however, Vicente Baldoza, acting provincial director of the NCIP based in Surigao City, wrote TMC requesting that the amount be deposited to the account of the Asosasyon sa Madazaw na Panagkaisa nan mga Tribong Mamanwa sa Taganito ug Urbiztondo (Amapantrimtu) with the Land Bank of the Philippines branch in Surigao City.

Amapantrimtu is the organization of Mamanwas that forged a Memorandum of Agreement with TMC and the NCIP on July 18, 2006, when TMC was applying for a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) for the "exploration, development and commercial utilization of nickel ores/deposits located at Barangays Urbiztondo and Hayanggabon," covering 4,975.03 hectares.

Under the law, no MPSA can be granted without the free and prior informed consent of the tribe.

The Mamanwa tribe holds a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) over 48,870,026.3 hectares in the towns of Alegria, Bacuag, Claver, Guigakuit and Tubod in Surigao del Norte. The CADT was issued on September 22, 2006. The TMC's MPSA was approved July 28, 2008.

The July 2006 MOA, signed by Datu Olorico, Datu Rizal Buklas (father of Datu Reynante) - leaders of the area where TMC is operating -- and Datu Emiliano Gedi, the CADT head claimant, stipulated only an annual "financial assistance amounting to P500,000" released in two equal tranches every last week of June and second week of December, until 2031.
Pereda said TMC has released a total of P1.5 million in "financial assistance" in accordance with the July 2006 MOA, for years 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Pereda said that prior to the approval of their MPSA in 2006, their operations were governed by an operating agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources from 1989 to 2014. The Mining Act was passed in 1995 and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) in 1997.

Datu Olorico and Datu Reynante Buklas confirmed having received a total of P1.5 million from the firm which they divided among themselves. But the leaders said they did not know they were entitled to a 1% royalty/share from the gross output.

The Datus said the NCIP did not tell them they were entitled to royalty and that it took a Butuan-based contractor, Engr. Sergio Pascual, a former contractor of TMC, to tell them last year that they were entitled to so much more under the law.

Pascual told MindaNews at the barricade site last Saturday that he represents the tribe and has a special power of attorney from and a Memorandum of Agreement with the Datus.
He lambasted the NCIP and TMC for allegedly exploiting the Mamanwas. He said the NCIP, "the very government agency that should protect the Mamanwas" is not protecting them.
Pascual has set up the Indigenous Peoples Management and Development Corporation (IPMDC), to help the Mamanwas. He said they have "lawyers, accountants, doctors, nurses, etc.."

Asked if the firm has Mamanwa representatives, IPMDC operations manager Romeo Valentino Catalan replied in the negative. "We are representing them (the Mamanwas," he told MindaNews.

Asked how much they would be getting, Catalan said the tribe will give them 30% share.
Pascual said he summoned the officials of TMC and two other mining firms operating in the area-- Oriental Synergy Mining Corporation and Platinum Group Metals Corporation - on October 28 and that TMC did not show up.

Two weeks later, on November 13, the NCIP passed Resolution 325 en banc, declaring that the special power of attorney that designated Pascual as Attrney-in Fact of the Mamanwas and the MOA resulting therefrom "violates the provisions of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act and NCIP Administrative Order NO. 1, Series of 2006" and also declared that it is "contrary to the customs, tradition and practices of the Mamanwa tribe."

On the same day, the NCIP passed Resolution 324 authorizing the acting regional director of the NCIP to "renegotiate, execute, and/or enter into favorable terms and conditions for and in behalf of the Mamnwa tribe of Surigao del Norte and the NCIP

The resolution acknowledged that "some of the terms and conditions" of the July 2006 MOA are "not in consonance with the provisions of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 as well as with Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (RA 8371) which provides for the protection and promotion of the interest of the ICCs/IP," particularly citing the P500,000 annual financial assistance when it should be 1% of the gross production/output as IP royalty/share.

Following Resolution 324, the TMC and NCIP signed a Joint Undertaking on December 8, 2008, acknowledging that the P500,000 annual financial assistance "does not accurately represent the amount due to the Mamanwa Tribe (Ampantrimtu) as their IP loyalty/share" and that "it is the desire" of TMC to "faithfully comply with its legal obligations to the Mamanawa Tribe based on the provisions of both the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997."

The Joint Undertaking was signed by TMC president Gerardo Brimo and NCIP's Dumagan, in the presence of CADT Head Claimant Datu Emiliano Gedi and MGB's Ensomo.
Dumagan told MindaNews in a telephone interview that the NCIP in an en banc resolution number 009 dated January 30, 2009 had resolved that the royalty due the Mamanwas be deposited to the Surigao City account of the Mamanwa association.

Dumagan said he received a copy of the en banc resolution this morning.
Datu Olorico and Datu Reynante on Tuesday afternoon said they would only leave the barricade when the firm pays them the royalty. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

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