About 50 environmental advocates from Mindanao stormed the headquarters of a mining company in Makati City on Tuesday to protest the alleged killings and displacement of indigenous peoples in their communities.
1:40 PM | Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
MANILA, Philippines—About 50 environmental advocates from Mindanao stormed the headquarters of a mining company in Makati City on Tuesday to protest the alleged killings and displacement of indigenous peoples in their communities.
Dulping Ogan, secretary general of Panalipdan Mindanao, a network of environmental advocates, said the operations of TVI Resources Development Philippines Inc. had affected the livelihood of about 3,500 small-scale miners in Bayog town, Zamboanga del Sur province.
Members of indigenous tribes also hit the environmental destruction of their communities.
“Ang masaklap sa nangyari doon (Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur) ay inagaw ng TVI ‘yung claim ng mga small-scale miners na around 3,500 workers at may kasamang dependents, so ine-evict sila. Bukod sa eviction, nangyayari ang grabeng patayan. Ilang mga katutubong Lumad na small-scale miners ay pinatay,” Ogan said.
(TVI evicted around 3,500 small-scale miners. Aside from the eviction, some members of indigenous groups who are also small-scale miners had been killed.)
Ogan also slammed TVI and other mining companies for allegedly acquiring ancestral lands through a sham Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) from indigenous peoples living in the area.
For its part, an executive of TVI, who held a dialogue with the protesters, said the company had dutifully followed government guidelines in order to operate in the area.
Kaycee Crisostomo, director of corporate communications of TVI, said the company secured the FPIC from the Subanen tribe living in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur.
“This is a process which does not only follow the law but is also witnessed by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. So as far as we’re concerned, we have followed the process of the law, we have secured the necessary social license not only from the indigenous Subanen tribe but also from the individual barangays (villages) in Bayog and also from the provincial government,” Crisostomo said.
Crisostomo discredited the claims of the protesters that small-scale miners had been evicted in the area.
“TVI did not force or evict anyone from the area. What they are pertaining to is the dismantling of illegal mining operations in the area led by the provincial government and its allied agencies,” Crisostomo said.
The TVI executive also denied that the mining company was involved in the alleged human rights violations committed in the area.
“Human rights violations is something we do not tolerate,” Crisostomo said.
The protest action is part of the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao, a campaign which seeks to shed light on the land, environment, and human rights situation in Mindanao.