April 20, 2012
Conference on mining plunders to ink covenant against foreign
Foreign mining aggression in the region escalates opposition among
grass root communities. Peasant andlumad (indigenous people)
leaders from various provinces in Davao gathered in today’s
Peoples’ Conference on Mining Plunder and Resistance said the
encroachment will lead to more internal displacement, landlessness,
poverty and militarization.
“We want the voice of the farmers, the lumads to be heard. While
the voice of the civil society is important, we should listen more
to those whose daily subsistence depend on the resources directly
found in the land. With every shift in the climate, every mining
permit granted and mining militia deployed in mining areas, their
plight and survival becomes more dismal,” Francis Morales,
secretary general of Panalipdan Southern Mindanao, said.
The conference aims to forge a Peoples’ Covenant against Foreign
Large-scale and Open-pit Mining, an agenda which the community
leaders will forward to their respective towns and cities.
Organizers of the event are the Panalipdan-Southern Mindanao,
Kalikasan Party, Promotion of Church Peoples’ Response and the
Rural Missionaries of the Philippines in cooperation with other
Armando Manial , spokesperson of Pasaka Confederation of Indigenous
Peoples Organizations in Southern Mindanao said, “From the
conference, we aim to gather the narratives of the lumads and the
farmers about their collective history of their now threatened
lands and the strategies they want to use to defend their rights
amidst this influx and encroachment. The data will be used as basis
for policy recommendation for local, national and international
The conference highlights local case studies of grassroots from
Paquibato, Davao City, Pantukan, Maco, Mabini, Monkayo, Compostela,
New Bataan and Davao Del Sur — current sites of struggle against
US-Canada’s St. Augustine Mining Corp., Australia’s One Asia
Resources, Canada’s Cadan Resources
, China’s Skynix Holdings
and Taiwan- Joel Brillantes’ Yeng Yi Corporation.
Panalipdan said more than one million hectares have been applied
for by mining corporations in the region. It noted the increase of
large-scale mining operations under the Aquino administration.
The group which has been calling for the scrapping of the
Philippine Mining Act of 1995 is sour about the new mining policy
of the Aquino government.
“Increased taxation does not make mining liberalization and foreign
plunder right. Taxes and royalties cannot commensurate to the
biodiversity and resource loss caused by mining TNCs. What we need
is a bill like the Peoples’ Mining Bill which sees to the
nationalization of the mining industry and set the direction
towards a genuine agrarian reform program for a more sustainable
future,” Morales said.
The two-day conference will peak with a Cultural Protest and Unity
Torch Parade at the Freedom Park on April 21.
PANALIPDAN Southern Mindanao