“The people of Mindanao are raging and our resistance grows stronger every day. Leave now, or face the people’s resistance.” – Panalipdan Mindanao secretary general Dulphing Ogan
By DEE AYROSO
MANILA – The Lumads of Mindanao brought their rage to the offices of large-scale mining corporations in Makati City on Nov. 25 and demanded the pull out of these companies from their ancestral lands.
“We have come to the National Capital Region to warn foreign and private mining corporations,” said Panalipdan Mindanao secretary general Dulphing Ogan. “Get out now. The people of Mindanao are raging and our resistance grows stronger every day. Leave now, or face the people’s resistance.”
The Lumad protesters, who are part of the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao, picketed the offices of the Canadian Toronto Ventures Incorporated (TVI) in Makati, the Glencore-SMI-Xstrata and the Filipino-Malaysia-owned Apex mining in Fort Bonifacio. They were joined by anti-mining activists, environmentalists and other indigenous peoples groups.
Piya Macliing Malayao, spokesperson of the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP), said the protest actions “contain the wrath of the people for the killings, displacements, and loss of land and life due to mining interests.”
Malayao quoted the Mines and Geosciences Bureau data which showed that mining tenements cover more than 311,000 hectares in Mindanao, with an estimated $ 313 billion-worth of mineral wealth. Most of these mining agreements and permits are in Lumad ancestral territories.
“The Aquino government’s policies that open up mineral lands to mining investments jeopardize the life, rights, and land of many indigenous peoples communities, especially in Mindanao,” Malayao said.
“Up to 100,000 indigenous peoples from 39 indigenous groups will lose their lands, homes, and livelihood from mining operations,” Malayao said.
For government, “tubo” (profit) is more important than the “katutubo” (indigenous peoples), she said.
Along with large-scale mining comes intensive military deployment and operations, the protesters said. This has triggered evacuations and other human rights violations. According to KAMP data, 20 indigenous peoples who opposed large-scale mining in their ancestral lands were killed by suspected military, paramilitary or mining security.
Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of the Kalikasan Peoples Network for the Environment, said mining operations in Mindanao has “ravaged” the island.
“Mining-affected areas like Compostela Valley, the Surigao provinces, and Zamboanga del Norte bear the scars of destructive mining. If this destruction goes unabated, the people are sure to suffer famine, flashfloods and other disasters,” Bautista said.
The protesters performed a tribal war dance in front of the mining offices.
“The people will continue to resist until our last breath to defend our lands and resources. We will not allow you to destroy and plunder our forests, rivers and mountains. More and more Lumads and peasants will declare more pangayaws (tribal war) against destructive large-scale mining in Mindanao,” Ogan said.
The protesters cited the ongoing pangayaws by the Talaingod Manobos in Davao del Norte against Alsons corporation, and the B’laan against the Glencore-SMI-Xstrata’s Tampakan Copper-Gold Project in South Cotabato.