Philippine community once again foils large mining firmPublished by MAC on 2010-01-19
Source: LRC Press Release (2010-01-15)
The community of Anislagan in Mindanao, southern Philippines, has once again mounted a blockaded to stop mining companies encroaching on its land.
This time, Philex Mining has been prevented from creating a "livelihood training center".
Double Whammy for Two Largest Mining Firms in a Small Village
Community Victory: Village folks block the entries of Philex Mining and Anglo America-Plc
LRC Press release
15 January 2010
Surigao del Norte - It is little known that a small village in Mindanao thwarted Philex Mining, the Philippine's largest mining firm, after the community blocked the firm's entry to inaugurate a pseudo-livelihood training center on 11 January 2010.
Almost the entire populace of Anislagan, Placer, Surigao del Norte installed a makeshift checkpoint as early as 5:00am in preparation for the inauguration of the newly bought 1 hectare of land by Philex for the proposed livelihood training center. The Philex 6-vehicle convoy backed out after they failed to pass through the thousand residents of Anislagan forming a human barricade.
Rizalina Lisbos, a mother of four children, one of those on the front line of the human barricade said: "Women and children here are ready anytime to defend our land. This land is where we survived. We should fight for it!".
Philex started its actual mining operation in the adjacent Barangay (village) of Timamana, Tubod, Surigao del Norte in the 1st quarter of 2009. Philex's operation in Tubod, also known as the "Bayugo Project", started as early as 1999 for their exploration activities. There was strong opposition from the Tubod people until the mining company started their community relations projects, like livelihood, drainage improvement, sports activities etc. After that people started to begrudgingly agree to the mining project.
However, the adjacent village of Anislagan sustained their opposition to mining for almost ten years, led by Anislagan Bantay Kalikasan Task Force (ABAKATAF), which is composed of multi-sectoral and interfaith groups in the village.
Exactly one (1) year ago, ABAKATAF blocked the mining workers of Anglo American Plc, to stop their exploration activity inside their village covering 326 hectares. While this is a small mining operation in terms of hectares, according to the mining engineer of Anglo-American it would be a world class deposit. The Anislagan project, known as the "Kalayaan Project" was a joint venture of Anglo-American and the Manila Mining Company. Anglo-American Plc. claims on their website to be onw of the largest mining companies in the world.
Anislagan, Placer, Surigao del Norte is an area very rich in natural resources. It has been identified by the government as a priority area for mining because of its rich mineral resources. It has first-class nickel and gold minerals. It is also abundant in its farm produce. Lakes, rivers and springs also surround it and it gives sufficient food and livelihood for the communities in order to survive for the coming years. Brgy. Anislagan provides potable water to the entire town of Placer, Surigao del Norte. The threat of mining activities in their area would destroy the communities' livelihood and natural resources.
"Anislagan provides irrigation to rice field in their village and to adjacent villages."We don't need a livelihood training center inside our village from a mining company. What for? We have an existing self-sustaining and community livelihood here. The mining company already affected our irrigation, our rivers, and even to our water supply from their Bayugo project and now they are proposing a livelihood center", narrated by Mr. Ormega, our newly installed ABAKATAF President.
The Barangay council of Anislagan is against mining."The Barangay council already filed a resolution as early as 2002 not to allow any mining activities in our village. They should respect it!" said Kagawad (Barangay official) Merlyn Gamus, a mother of two, and vice president of ABAKATAF.
Carl Cesar C. Rebuta
LRC-CdO, Regional Office