Mining firm moves
to evict Subanen folks and farmers in Zamboanga
and peasant families have until the last day of February to leave their
homes and ancestral land or face eviction by a Canadian-owned mining firm.
According to the
Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE), Toronto
Ventures Inc. (TVI) which holds a Mineral Production Agreement in Siocon,
Zamboanga del Norte, is going to file eviction notices against the 86
families on Wednesday next week. TVI Philippine manager John Ridsdel and
lawyer Pablo Bernardo allegedly confirmed the filing of eviction notices.
Three of the 86
families already received formal notices which allegedly demanded them to
leave the soonest. These are the families of Emmanuel and Gaga Gonzaga,
Ireneo and Luciana Calibo, and Joey and Josie Gonzaga. They are among
farmers actively resisting the operations of the mining firm.
Reason: the houses of
the 86 families will allegedly be buried as the company progresses in its
current expansion work.
established its mining claim in the mid nineties, 8,000 families of
farmers and Subanens lived in the foothills of
Canatuan, site of TVI's open pit mine. Now, there are less than a hundred.
With the eviction notices to be filed by TVI, Godofredo Godi of the Save
Siocon Paradise Movement said that the mining company plans to wipe out
all human settlements in the area. But Godi said TVI has no right to evict
the people because they have settled in Siocon for years prior to TVI's
venture in the area.
The leader of the
Subanen tribe in Siocon, who is also among those threatened of eviction,
however, said that whatever happens they will not leave their houses and
Timuay (leader) Jose
"Boy" Anoy, chairman of the Siocon Subanen Association Inc (SSAI) and
holder of a certificate of ancestral domain title (CADT) in the area, said
that TVI can only have its wishes "over our slain bodies." "Even if it
means death, we will continue fighting TVI because our land is our life
and it has already been taken from us by TVI which has the slightest
respect of our indigenous rights and sacred practices," he said.
of Mt. Canatuan used to be a sacred
site for Subanen folks worshiping practices. It has since been shaven off
by the mining firm to make way for its open pit mine.
National Coordinator Clemente Bautista, also co-convenor of the Defend
Patrimony alliance, said the displacement of people is among adverse
consequences of the Mining Act and the liberalization of the mining
"Even as we support
the just and legitimate fight of peasants and Subanens against TVI as well
as all other indigenous Filipinos and sectors opposing large-scale TNC
mining, what is happening in Siocon best illustrates what the mining
program of the Arroyo administration is all about. It is not about
responsible mining. It is also definitely not about being pro-people and
about respecting indigenous peoples' rights. No to TVI! No to TNC plunder
and violations of people's rights," said Bautista.
February 11, 2005
Posted by Bulatlat
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© 2004 Bulatlat
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