NCIP team discovers illegal mining in Magpet

What is going on?

MAGPET, North Cotabato (MindaNews/29 May) – A team from the National
Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and village officials has discovered
illegal mining activities in Barangay Amabel here.

Team leader Manuel Yamuta in his report said the mining activity that started
January is being undertaken by two groups.

He said Jaime Alfuerto Jr., a former village official of Alimodian in
Matalam, North Cotabato and Allan Ularte of General Santos City are behind the
mining activities in the area.“The duo served as managers and financiers of two separate operations although
they are both operating in the same place,” Yamuta said.

Yamuta’s team also found four newly-constructed tunnels estimated at six feet
high and four feet wide, constructed along the hilly portion of the Manado
riverbank.

The four mining tunnels, 20 feet deep, were constructed with the use of wood
braces made from squared timber which was also cut along the banks of Manado
River.

This prompted the group to conduct a tree stump inventory. They found 16
Lawaan trees
were illegally cut with an aggregate volume of 111.86 cubic meters.

Mineral ore were also found, some stockpiled in newly constructed bunkhouses
that serve as shelter for hired miners and laborers.

The investigating team also found one brand new engine in the mining sites
which will reportedly be used for the processing of ore.

Julius Ularte Espinosa, designated mining area supervisor, stressed that
Trinidad “Neneng” Sibug, former head of the Office of Southern Cultural
Communities (OSCC), gave them the authority to conduct mining exploration in
the area.

The mining sites were within the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claim (CADC)
area No. 056 awarded to Datu Santos Suhat.

Espinosa said the mining exploration was financed by an interim set of
incorporators, namely, Allan Ularte and Raul Misa as consultants, with Julius
Espinosa, Pedro Ularte, of General Santos City, Libantas Ansabu, a native of
the place and Sibug.

Sibug declined to comment.

She told DXND Radio for Peace that she will face whatever sanctions there may
be, in the proper forum.

Magpet mayor Efren Piñol was surprised upon learning about the illegal mining
activities and the cutting of trees in his town.

“It is really a slap on me. As a leader of this town I should act on it
immediately,” he said.

Piñol blamed village officials in Barangay Amabel for not reporting the
matter to his office.

“It is impossible that the village officials where the illegal mining
exploration and cutting of trees took place didn’t know these? They must
responsible for these,” he said.

The mayor is consulting his lawyers on the possible filing of charges against
those involved in the illegal mining activities, and the village officials as
well. (Williamor A. Magbanua/MindaNews)

About mindanaw

A Journalist from Mindanao

One response to “NCIP team discovers illegal mining in Magpet”

  1. Meg Gayod says :

    Advocacy Campaign Case Study

    ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN CASE STUDY: THE ANTI-MINING ADVOCACY PROJECT OF THE PHILIPPINE MISEREOR PARTNERSHIP

    By: Eero Brillantes, CEO, Mind Bullet Inc. (http://www.mindbullet.org/)

    I. THE CONTEXT

    In 2005, The Anti-Mining Advocacy Project was launched by the Philippine Misereor Partnership (PMP) . It is a large group of civil society and peoples organizations being supported by development assistance from the German’s Bishops’ Conference. It was an attempt by anti-large scale mining advocates within members of PMP to share knowledge, networks, and on the ground advocacy experiences. It was likewise recognized that national synchronized activities needed to be done and for the group to establish working links with other big campaigns and foundations like the Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Foundation for Philippine Environment (FPE), National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace-Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (NASSA-CBCP), and Ecology Desk-Archdiocese of Manila. I was hired to head the advocacy team for PMP.

    To me and the team, the challenge was multifaceted. The campaign comes at the heels of a resurgent and energized mining industry with the government itself doing a global marketing blitz. The Supreme Court overturned a previous decision of not allowing international mining companies to perpetuate in the country. Mining and mining applications were mushrooming all over the country.

    Armed with limited budget but lots of well meaning organizations and dedicated advocates, a strategy was mapped out to put the brakes on large scale mining and bring groups to the negotiating table.

    II. THE END GAME MAPPED OUT

    The end game was two pronged. First was to get support from Philippine Bishops to come out with a statement critical of the unabated large scale mining in the country. Second was to leverage the support of Bishops so that the government will engage in dialogue and hopefully concrete commitments are solicited.

    III. THE TRIGGER LAUNCH

    To trigger the campaign, an anti-mining road show was implemented. Two compelling videos entitled Sa Ngalan ng Mina (In the Name of Mining) were produced and distributed to all campaign members and affected communities. A photo exhibit was also distributed along with the videos. Highlighting these visual presentations were the celebrated anti-mining struggles of communities in Didipio, Nueva Viscaya, Mt. Canatuan in Zamboanga Del Norte, and Rapu Rapu Island in Bicol. (The anti-mining videos and photo exhibit were done by award winning video film maker Geraldine Torres-Brillantes).

    IV. ACCELERATOR ACTIVITIES

    Representatives of affected communities, especially the indigenous peoples, went on a national media blitz to drum up support for the campaign.

    Tactical awareness and mobilization activities at the level of affected areas in around 78 provinces were done through out the year.

    Support from Metro Manila came from Catholic Schools with strong environmental protection advocacies.

    The roadshow went on for about a year. By that time, community level opposition was already gaining critical mass in many areas. Through the combined efforts of PMP, ATM, like minded groups, and affected communities themselves, the stage was set to put into motion the demand for a dialogue with government.

    V. IMPLEMENTING THE END GAME SCENARIO

    The PMP campaign staff sought the assistance of NASSA-CBCP, the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and also a member of the PMP, to spearhead the dialogue efforts.

    By that time, the CBCP through a pastoral statement reiterated its call for the care for environment and for government and mining companies to become accountable for the destruction of communities with large scale mining activities.

    In March 10, 2006, at the Traders Hotel in Manila, NASSA-CBCP conducted a National Mining Forum, attended by social action directors and staff representing many of the affected communities. It was also during that forum that an important side meeting was scheduled. A selected delegation of Philippine Bishops met with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Speaker Jose De Venecia, along with some cabinet secretaries. Incidentally, March 10 also marked the anniversary of the passage of the Philippine Mining Act.

    The dialogue resulted in the following:

    1. A review by the legislature of the Mining Act of 1995
    2. Creation of the Bastes commission to review and recommend courses of action on the issue of fishkills and pollution done by Lafayette Mining in Rapu Rapu island, Bicol.
    3. Direct assistance to communities affected adversely by large scale mining.

    VI. ENFORCEMENT OF AGREEMENTS

    As of this writing, the enforcement of the agreements are being done through the Office of the President and the NASSA-CBCP. In turn, NASSA-CBCP updates the PMP and other campaign stakeholders. While this constitutes a very important track, other campaigns and initiatives are ongoing at the international, national, and community levels. The struggles of affected communities continue.

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