2 August 2010
Brgy. Diwalwal, Monkayo — Local lumad–farmer organization Nagkahiusang Katawhan sa Diwalwal (NAGKADIWA) refuted claims by the Joel Brillantes Mining Management Corporation (JBMMC) in a paid advertisement, that the ongoing campaign against the bidding of the 729-gold rush area is “anti-development.”
“Dakong bakak ug insulto ang gipamahayag sa JBMMC. Lehitimo ug makatarunganon ang mga protesta sa katawhan batok sa bidding ug planong pagbaligya sa Diwalwal Minahang Bayan ngadto sa mga higanteng korporasyon sa mina sama sa Philex ug uban pa,”said Rey Elejorde, chairperson of NAGKADIWA.
He added that, “Katungod namong mga gagmay nga minero ug lumulupyo sa Diwalwal nga panalipdan ang Diwalwal sa makadaot ug maki-langyaw nga interes sa mga higanteng mina.”
After the postponement of the July 31 bidding over the 729 – hectare gold rush area of the Diwalwal Investment Development Area (DIDA), the local private mining firm JBMMC has published a paid advertisement in the form of an open letter addressed to the new president in local and national newspapers.
According to NAGKADIWA, in the said ads, JBMMC has clearly labeled the Diwalwal protest movement as anti-development and as provoking the patience of the government through many protest actions launched against the entry of large-scale mining firms in the area.
NAGKADIWA clarified that although the paid ad has named MT. DIWATA 729 COALITION as the group “behind what is actually a people-led initiative against large scale mining,” JBMMC has also “maliciously twisted” the truth behind the historical struggle of the people against large-scale and foreign mining in Diwalwal.
NAGKADIWA recounts that incidents of gas poisoning and deaths related to violence inside mining tunnels has dramatically escalated when foreign-owned Southeast Mindanao Mining Corporation or SEM entered into a partnership with the JBMMC back in the 1990’s.
“The struggle between SEM and the small-scale miners was fierce then triggering many barricades and mass demonstrations. In July 25, 2002, a poisoning incident in Australia and Helica tunnels allegedly ordered by the JBMMC superiors killed miner Roberto Zamora and injured 43 others. A barricade of more than 5000 miners at the Tagmanok Bridge ensued later,” Elejorde narrates.
Massive troop deployment of 300 government forces were sent to “contain” Diwalwal. The barricade was brutally dispersed by the 701st Brigade with the use of an APC tank and in the process, hit protesters and the corpse of miner Zamora.
Elejorde added that the “violence” in Diwalwal was used by then Arroyo government to takeover Diwalwal in the guise of enforcing tax collection and addressing pollution. Since the takeover, the Arroyo government has limited the operations of mining companies, small-scale miners and the rest of the abanteros to areas covering above the 600 meters sea level.
“But these military actions were clearly in favor of the interests of the JBMMC which is owned by the deceased notorious warlord and Arroyo govt. ally former Monkayo Mayor Joel Brillantes,” said Elejorde.
Elejorde said that the government takeover in Diwalwal has been a mere “sham state control” and is far from realizing the needed nationalization of the precious gold reservation area.
MR. FRANCIS MORALES
PANALIPDAN SECRETARY GENERAL