Priest: IPs ‘coerced’ for Tampakan mining consent

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MANILA, May 30, 2015 –- The director of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel (SAC Marbel), Fr. Joy Pelino appeals to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to investigate its regional offices’ activities in obtaining the IPs’ consent to mining, saying they are being forced to agree to something they clearly do not want.

“We call on the NCIP to immediately and judiciously respond to the call of the IP. If activities are pursued this comes out to be a continuous betrayal of the IPs rights and also of NCIP policies—we have yet to be clarified if what should be implemented in Tampakan is the 2006 or the 2012 FPIC Guidelines. And we continuously urge for the clear en banc decision on the matter,” the priest said in a recent statement.

No consent

According to an Alyansa Tigil Mina statement (ATM), B’laan tribes people have initially submitted a petition for NON-FPIC coverage where they stated they do not consent to the Tampakan Copper and Gold Mining Project.

Five leaders of the B’laan tribe from Bong Mal in Tampakan, South Cotabato went to Cagayan de Oro on May 27 to submit a position paper to the NCIP, requesting an immediate postponement on any free prior and informed consent (FPIC)-related activities in their area.

“We are not ready for the FPIC processes because of unresolved cases of human rights violations, where two of the victims are my father, Bong Fulong Anting Freay, and my brother-in-law Sonny Boy Planda. This is also one of the many reasons why we are against mining in our territories,” said Eking Freay. Freay was a victim of an ambush in 2013 by Task Force KITACO, which was formed to secure the mining project area.

Human rights abuses

According to the ATM statement, the B’laan people particularly object to the NCIP Region XI and XII offices’ persistence in obtaining their consent to the Tampakan mining project even in the face of unresolved human rights abuses, as well as what they consider “violations of B’laan tradition and culture.”

“In the end, what we seek is NCIP to be advocates for IP rights and be the voice of the IPs, and not facilitators of mining projects and other development aggressions,” Pelino added.

SAC Marbel, SOCSKSARGEND CARE and ATM are part of Tampakan Forum, a technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue. (Yen Ocampo/CBCPNews)

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