On the UN-declared International Day of the World’s
Protest picket in Congress and Press Conference
on the Situation and Struggles of Mining- and Dam-affected Communities
August 11, 2015
End the Puppet, Fascist, and Anti-Indigenous Peoples US-Aquino Regime!
Intensify our Struggle for Ancestral Land and Self-Determination against Imperialist Plunder and State Repression!
Statement of KATRIBU on
the occasion of the United Nations-declared
occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples,
KATRIBU celebrates the victories of the indigenous peoples worldwide to
firmly assert our birthright to ancestral land and self-determination as
we continue to struggle against intensified imperialist plunder and State
Kakay Tolentino, Alta-Dumagat
National Coordinator of BAI Indigenous Women's Network
Edwin Danan, Ayta, Sec.Gen of Central Luzon Ayta Association (CLAA)
|Amalia Ninge, Palawan Inter-tribal Federation|
Roger Soluta, KMU Secretary-General
Pstr. Ernani O. Diacos
Program Assistant of the Faith, Witness and Services Program
of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines
|Clemente Bautista, KALIKASAN National Coordinator|
Lilian Faliao, Save Mankayan Movement
Indigenous Peoples Day: Defy Mining Plunder, Militarization and Damnation! --- KATRIBU
Quezon City – In commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, and with thousands of signatures on hand, members of the Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas and Scrap the Mining Act Network trooped to the House of Representatives to call for the immediate scrapping of the Mining Act of 1995.
“20 years of foreign plunder, human rights violations and ancestral land-grabbing is enough. There is no more time for further delay, the congress must swiftly repeal the destructive Mining Act of 1995 and enact the Peoples Mining Bill. While the indigenous peoples are being displaced and killed, and our mineral resources depleted, cohorts of BS-Aquino and the mining corporations in the congress has been delaying for 5 years now the enactment of alternative bills to the condemned RA 7942 Mining Act,” said Piya Malayao, a Bontok-Igorot and Secretary General of KATRIBU.
Mine? Or Theirs?
The Mining Act of 1995 gives foreign companies the right to bring home 100% of their profits from their mining activities. The law also gives them freedom from requisition of investment and expropriation. Foreign mining companies are also exempted from taxation for 10 years and are given leeway in obtaining easement, water and timber rights.
All of the provisions pave way to displacement of IP communities all over the countries. Out of the 712 approved mining applications, 251 are inside the mineral-rich ancestral domains of different indigenous communities. President Aquino has fully made use of the law and reinforced it with his mining Executive Order 79. As of 2013, Aquino has already approved or renewed a total of 218 mining applications.
“President Aquino has exacerbated the IP dilemma
through various Public-Private Partnership programs under his
administration. Aquino has also allowed 410 hydropower dams, 27 geothermal
and 33 coal power projects that will affect thousands of IP communities.
But the said projects will only strengthen the monopoly of Aboitiz, Lopez,
Ayala and Cojuangco families and foreign business partners in the power
industry,” Malayao added.
KATRIBU has also criticized the administration for being the main sponsor of violence against the indigenous peoples. Under the Aquino administration, KATRIBU monitored 61 cases of extra-judicial killings, 9 incidents of bombing of communities and farmlands, 52 cases of forced evacuations which have displaced more than 20,000 indigenous peoples, and trumped-up charges against 176 leaders and members of IP organizations. There were also 82 cases of attacks on 57 community schools for lumad children, which were in the form of encampment, destruction and divestment of properties, vilification and harassments and intimidation of students, teachers and staff.
KATRIBU also mentioned the recent disappearance of John Calaba, a Dulangan Manobo and an anti-logging activist from Sultan Kudarat. Calaba disappeared on April 30, 2015 when he visited the outpost of AFP-trained security forces of David M. Consunji Inc. (DMCI). KATRIBU sees this as an evidence of the collusion between private security forces of land-grabbing companies and the military.
“Aquino was able to make mining plunder and other
destructive projects easy by unleashing his military and paramilitary
dogs. They made use of various intimidation and harassment tactics to
displace IP communities. The call for scrapping the Mining Act of 1995 is
deeply related with stopping the vicious anti-people, anti-insurgency
program, Oplan Bayanihan,” Malayao concluded. #
Indigenous Peoples and Advocates urge Congress to the Repeal the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, Enact a Patriotic, Pro-Indigenous Peoples and Pro-environment Mining Law
On the occasion of the United Nations-declared International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the Scrap the Mining Act Network, KATRIBU Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas, and SULONG KATRIBU Partylist indigenous peoples' (IP) representatives from various mine-affected communities and Manila-based IP rights advocates lobbied Congress to repeal the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (R.A. No. 7942) and enact a patriotic, pro-Indigenous Peoples, pro-environment mining law. The group also staged a picket at the North gate of the House of Representatives to support the petition and protest large-scale and destructive mining in the country.
Catholic church personality Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB with the indigenous peoples leaders from Central Luzon, Benguet, Mindoro, and Palawan submitted the petition signed by some 15,000 signatories to the offices of House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, Natural Resources Committee Chair Francisco Matugas and to the secretariat of Cultural Communities Committee.
Pya Macliing Malayao, KATRIBU Secretary General and a convener of the Scrap the Mining Act Network said, “For us indigenous peoples, the Mining Act of 1995 opened the flood gates of mining projects in our ancestral territories. For 20 years, the law facilitated and continues to legalize the land grabbing of our ancestral lands and resources by foreign and large scale mining companies. Our resistance to these mining projects resulted to the violation of our human rights – many of our leaders and members were extra judicially killed, others threatened and harassed. Trumped-up charges were also filed against our leaders and community members in mine-affected area. The Mining Act is not only a threat to our land and resources but the very survival of indigenous communities all over the country.”
Since the enactment of the Mining Act of 1995, various groups that include IPs and environmentalists actively lobbied congress to repeal the law. A strong movement against large-scale and destructive mining developed in the past years.
In 2011, legislators from the Makabayan bloc filed a bill to repeal the law and pass a pro-people, pro-environment mining law. And in 2012, the Committee on Natural Resources formed a technical working group to deliberate on the issues against the Mining Act and consolidate various bills filed. However, the process did not prosper. Again in 2013, the Makabayan bloc refiled a revised bill to repeal the law and pass an alternative pro-people, pro-environment mining law.
Malayao further said, “Under the present mining policy, it is only big multinational mining companies and their local partners that profit in the extraction of our country’s minerals. Host communities are displaced, suffer loss of livelihood and remain in poverty. These mining operations dump waste to our rivers, lakes, and seas; destroy our mountains, forest, and watersheds. To save our last remaining frontiers, mineral wealth and our country from further destruction, we should scrap the Philippine Mining Act 0f 1995.”
“In our communities, we will persist in defending our land, resources and life against the plunder and destruction of large-scale and destructive mining as we join the Scrap the Mining Act Network to urge Congress to repeal the anti-people, anti-environment law. The 15,000 signatures we initially submitted to Speaker Belmonte and Rep. Matugas of the Natural Resources Committee signifies the peoples’ clear demand to repeal the present mining law. We expect the Congress, delegated to ensure peoples’ interest to do its task”, Malayao added.
The Scrap the Mining Act Network will continue its nationwide campaign and gather hundreds of thousands of signatures from various parts of the country and abroad. The network will also lobby the Senate. As long as large-scale and destructive mining continue, the Network will launch protest actions and raise the issue and concern as a platform in the upcoming 2016 elections. #
Reference: Jill Carino, TFIP Executive Director and Convenor |
While other indigenous peoples celebrate their small victories in their
communities in commemoration of the International Day of the World's
Indigenous Peoples, the IPs in dam-affected communities travel to the
Metro to forward their position against dam projects being imposed in
POSITION PAPER ON DAMS
Rivers are an essential part of indigenous peoples’ lives and communities, and have been integral to their holistic development. Rivers form part of the territories of many indigenous peoples and serve as good sources of food and water for household and agricultural uses. Rivers also play a major role in the spirituality and belief systems of many indigenous groups.
Many strong and vast river systems that are located in indigenous peoples’ territories in the Philippines have been subject to dam construction for different purposes such as energy, irrigation and water supply. The Ambuclao and Binga Dams, built along the Agno River which flows through Benguet up to Pangasinan, were among the first large dams built on rivers located in IP territories. These dams were able to produce electric power but also led to the dislocation of Ibaloy families.
Other dams followed, with similar effects on indigenous host communities. These were the Pantabangan, Casecnan, Pulangi IV and San Roque Dams. In these huge projects, indigenous peoples were sacrificed for the common good as the dams promised irrigation services, power generation and flood control. Some of these dam projects did not face strong opposition, despite the lack of a proper free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) processes. The Kalinga and Bontoc peoples’ victory against the giant Chico Dam Project was exceptional. It served as inspiration for other indigenous peoples to struggle against large dams and other large-scale projects in their communities.
II. Current Proposed or Ongoing Dam Projects
At present, the government is strongly pushing for the construction of more large dams including the Pulangi Mega Dam V in North Cotabato and Bukidnon, the Kaliwa or Laiban Dam in Rizal and Quezon, the Jalaur dam in Panay, the Balog-balog Dam in Tarlac and the Tinoc Minihydro power plant and Alimit Hydropower Complex in Ifugao. All of these have yet to be constructed completely. Already, there is widespread opposition by indigenous peoples’ organizations, communities and their advocates because of the serious threats posed by these dam projects. Another concern is that these dams will be constructed even without the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of indigenous communities. All large dams built in the past did not undergo the necessary FPIC processes with the affected indigenous communities located upstream and downstream of the dams.
III. Issues Surrounding these Dams
- The people to be affected by these dams decry the lack of genuine FPIC processes in the planning and construction of these dam projects as evidenced by the following:
= bypassing the traditional tribal or village leadership when conducting community consultations;
= giving more weight to approval by barangay officials instead of consensus by the community members;
= “divide and rule” tactics such as bribery of key leaders, formation of bogus indigenous peoples’ organizations and designation of chieftains or councils of leader contrary to traditional customary practices and indigenous socio-political institutions;
= threats and coercion by military units of indigenous peoples to give their consent, otherwise they are branded as communists, anti-development terrorists and subjected to other human rights violations;
= , FPIC processes for energy projects are foregone with the justification that the Electric Power Industry Reform Act does not explicitly provide for FPIC by indigenous peoples.
The government claims that dams are being built to provide better energy, irrigation and potable water services to its citizens. However, control and management of these dams will eventually transfer to private corporations.
The Laiban Dam is currently being bid out to several domestic and foreign companies that are willing to invest in the provision of water supply for Rizal and Metro Manila. The SN Aboitiz, one of the leading energy transnational companies, is the main proponent of the Alimit hydropower complex in Ifugao. Although the Jalaur Dam is proposed by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), it is being funded by the Korean Government through its export-import bank.
This means that dams are built primarily for business and profit by private corporations instead of for the provision of much needed services by the government.
C. Physical Displacement of IPs from their Ancestral Domain
Indigenous peoples are threatened by displacement from their ancestral domains once these dam projects push through. For instance, the Jalaur River dam project will displace around 17,000 Tumandok once construction and operations start.
Vast areas are needed to build the giant dam and other support structures. Also needed is a huge reservoir for storing the huge volume of water to operate the dam. In the case of Pulangi Dam IV, , ten whole villages of indigenous peoples in Maramag Bukidnon were submerged by the reservoir.
Building of dams has several environmental risks. The building of the dam structure will result to massive soil movement, making it vulnerable to earthquakes and strong typhoons, which are common natural occurrences in the entire Philippines. Breaking or erosion of the dam structures may result to severe flooding and massive displacement of communities and farms downstream. The indigenous communities along the Jalaur River fear this because of the location of the dam structure near a fault line.
Diverting the river poses risks to the biodiversity in these freshwater ecosystems. Indigenous fish species will be endangered, causing serious problems in the food and livelihood sources of the people.
Aside from flooding, massive erosion and siltation of rivers are feared, especially without proper maintenance of the structure, watershed or the surrounding environment such as the reservoir and upstream parts of the river.
With these, more indigenous peoples and other communities will be at risk of displacement and destruction of fields where staple crops and other food and cash crops are produced.
Rivers are part of indigenous peoples’ lives as communities and distinct ethnolinguistic groups. They are a source of identity, serve as a boundary between territories and as a venue for important rituals and community or tribal events.
For indigenous peoples, rivers are an essential part of their ancestral land. Damming of rivers, changing their use or diverting their flow also means desecrating their ancestral lands and the loss of indigenous knowledge and culture .
IV. Recommendations, Immediate Actions, Demands and Calls
5. Stop the privatization and monopolization of rivers and water resources.
11 August 2015
Protests around the Metro call for closure of DMCI coal mine, revocation of Mining Act
Protest actions on mining converge today at Quezon City, as citizens from Antique province hold pickets outside the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to call for the closure of the Semirara Coal Mine owned by the DMCI company, simultaneous with a multi-sectoral protest action at the House of Representatives calling for the scrapping of RA 7942, or the Mining Act of 1995.
“The Filipino people are opposing not only the destructive and deadly large-scale mining operations exemplified by the DMCI-Semirara open pit coal mine, but also the Mining Act of 1995 which facilitates the more rapid entry of such irresponsible mines. A broad national petition to scrap the Mining Act is fast reaching an initial target of 20,000 signatures, a clear demonstration of the people’s stand against foreign mining plunder,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment.
The protest outside Congress was led by the Scrap the Mining Act Alliance, a broad national formation united against the said mining liberalization policy and for the enactment of a new, pro-people and pro-environment mining law. Meanwhile, the pickets at DOE and DENR were mounted by the Save Antique Movement.
“DMCI’s coal mining in Semirara Island has to be stopped as founded on its gross environmental infringements and human rights violations,” said Virgilio Sanchez, president of Save Antique Movement.
The Semirara coal mine recently figured in a landslide tragedy that killed at nine mine workers last July 17. The coal mine already figured in a similar tragedy back in 2013 where 10 workers also died, as well as in various incidents of barges containing coal stockpiles or heavy equipment capsizing into the sea.
According to studies cited by Caritas Philippines, coal mining activities in Semirara have destroyed over 83 hectares of mangrove expanses and at least two kilometers of coral reefs from 2009 to 2014 alone, and how the operations continue to poison rich fishing grounds shared by Antique, Romblon, Mindoro and Palawan.
“The existing power privatization and mining liberalization policies are convenient excuses for the government to legitimize irresponsible mining and energy projects, claiming there are standards, regulations and safeguards put in place. The 20-year experience of communities under the policy regime of the Mining Act says otherwise. The landslides in Semirara was once a tragedy, but for it to occur twice proves that so-called responsible mining is a farce,” said Bautista.
Under the Mining Act, at least 19 mine spills and other incidents of mine pollution were recorded by Kalikasan, or almost one major incident per year. The worst has been the Philex mine spill in Padcal, Benguet last August 2012, where at least 20 million metric tons of mine waste inundated the entire Togupon Creek and the connected Agno River.
“The continuing perpetuation of the destructive and plunderous Mining Act is a hallmark of the Aquino administration’s brand of environmental governance. We must put an end to this policy of poison and plunder, and must make sure that politicians that will continue this mining policy regime are no longer allowed to remain in power,” ended Bautista.#
Network for the Environment
August 11, 2015
Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP)
|Mo. Mary John Manansan, Convenor, of Scrap Mining Act of 1995 Network|
Arnel delos Santos, Dumagat,
Sec. Gen. of Bigkis at Lakas ng Katutubo sa Timog Katagalugan (BALATIK)
Mary Grace ProdigoLobaton
Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes
House IP Committee Chair Rep. Nancy
declared Persona Non Grata
Photos by Katribu Nasyunal
We are reposting the declaration of “Persona Non Grata” status to Nancy Catamco by the 700 Manobo evacuees led by the lumad leaders of the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon (Unity in Defense of the Ancestral Land).
1) Deception of over 700 lumad evacuees in UCCP Haran last July 16, where she brought B/Gen. Alexander Balutan of the 10 ID and Col. Harold Cabreros of the 1003 Bde, PA, and their intelligence cohorts into the evacuation area without the prior knowledge of the evacuees and their support groups. This illegal entry of the military forces posed significant danger to the refugees;
2) Disrespect for the lumad leaders from Talaingod and Kapalong, Davao del Norte,and from San Fernando, Bukidnon, by questioning the legitimacy of their status as leaders;
3) Siding with the military, as manifested in her refusal to heed and understand the calls of the evacuees for the pull-out of military forces in their communities, thus becoming an AFP spokesperson;
4) Twisting of facts during and after the dialogue, which obscured the reality of intense militarization in the countryside and the genuine struggle of us lumads for our rights;
5) Insensitivity to our current situation, when she called our children “stinky”, and the lumad population “ignorant”;
6) Surrender of her lumad status by her clear collaboration with state elements who threaten the lives and cultures of lumads.
We hereby close all avenues of interaction with Catamco. She also cannot enter the grounds of our evacuation site here in UCCP Haran, or in our communities in Talaingod
Many times in the past we have taken part in dialogues mediated by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and many times we have been treated with respect and understanding, our side heard and articulated fairly by Mayor himself. Such are the kind of dialogues that we will willingly enter, not the ones where Nancy Catamco presides and steps on our human rights and dignities.
Here we also reaffirm that we are the true leaders of the people in Talaingod, not the IPMR leaders under the NCIP, which have become the current puppies of the reactionary government of the US-Aquino regime.
Given this day July 22, 2015,
Indigenous peoples' protest picket in Congress -1
Indigenous peoples' protest picket in Congress -2
Indigenous peoples' protest picket in Congress -3
IP leader speaks at protest picket in Congress - 1
Mother Mary John Manansan
KAMP's Pia Malayao
Katribu calls for scraping Mining Act of 1995
video by Kodao Philippines