MANILA, Oct. 29, 2012— Copper and gold mining project has fueled resentment and hostility in what used to be ‘peaceful’ communities in South Cotabato and Davao del Sur, a Catholic bishop said.
Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez said that the mining operation in Tampakan has become an acute source of tension as well as violent conflict affecting indigenous peoples.
“Way forward. Before the entrance of Western Mining Corporation in 1995, there was relative peace in Tampakan When Sagittarius/Sxtrata/Indophils, successor of WMC, came, trouble started,” Gutierrez said.
Besides this, he said that bloody incident there is now a brewing war between tribal groups B’laans of Brgy. Bong Mal and B’laans of Atmorok.
“SMI (Sagittarius Mines Inc.) decided to relocate the B’laans of Brgy. Bong Mal to Atmorok. These two communities have bad blood between them,” he said.
According to the bishop, majority of the B’laans want the military out of their ancestral land.
“They also want Sagittarius Mines, Inc. to respect their ancestral land, human rights, customary laws and traditional rich cultures. They want SMI to stop the project,” said Gutierrez.
The bishop made the statement Monday following a military operation in Davao del Sur, which left the wife and two children of an anti-mining tribal leader dead.
The military claimed that there was an encounter with the armed group of Daguil and the communities opposed to mining.
The bishop, however, said that those who witnessed the incident claimed, “There was no exchange of firing.”
“We strongly condemned the killings of innocent civilians, especially children, by the military,” he said.
The prelate urged the government to investigate how the military operations to capture B’laan anti-mining activist Daguil Capion left his wife and two kids dead.
He particularly called on the Commission on Human Rights, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the Department of National Defense and the Department of Interior and Local Government to conduct a “thorough, factual, speedy and objective” probe on the incident. (RL/CBCPNews)