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Press Release: B’laan leaders submit petition to NCIP en banc, claim illegal activities of regional offices

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Press Release

27 May 2015

B’laan leaders submit petition to NCIP en banc, claim illegal activities of regional offices

Cagayan de Oro – Leaders of B’laan from Bong Mal in Tampakan, South Cotabato submitted today a position paper to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) en banc against their regional counterparts’ activities to facilitate the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) required for the Tampakan Copper and Gold Project. ­

NCIP receives petition submitted by B'laan leaders

NCIP receives petition submitted by B’laan leaders

Five leaders went to CDO to request the en banc to immediately order the postponement of any FPIC-related activities in their area. Position paper of Bong Mal Bla’an re NCIP conducted MOA negotiations_original Bisaya version_27May2015

They explained the different activities by NCIP regions XI and XII to get their consent are confusing the people since they have initially submitted a petition for non-FPIC coverage where they firmly stated their opposition to mining and that will not give consent to the Tampakan mining project.They also highlighted the dubious procedures by NCIP FPIC teams and their violations of B’laan tradition and culture.

“We are not ready for the FPIC processes because of unresolved cases of human rights violations, where three of the victims were my father, Bong Fulong Anting Freay, brother Victor 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—also a victim of an ambush in 2013. The deaths were a result of separate attacks by members of the Philippine military, and Task Force KITACO formed to secure the mining project. These are only some of the HRVs committed in the Bong Mal Bong Banwe B’laan territory.

Regions XI and XII latest activities in line with the Tampakan mining project include level one consultative session for the memorandum of agreement in a hotel in Koronadal City and several other negotiations held in General Santos City. IPs and support groups observed that the discussions focused on the demands of the indigenous group and royalties in exchange for their consent.

Their consent is critical to the project holders as 70% of the mining project area is within their territory—Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title 102 (CADT 102), where a large portion of SMI-Xstrata’s open-pit will be developed. The project also affects three other ancestral domains, CADTs 108 and 72 and Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claim 74. Thousands of indigenous peoples will be forced to resettle outside their territories.

The NCIP en banc led by Chairperson Leonor Oralde-Quintayo welcomed the indigenous leaders with the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel (SAC Marbel), SOCSKSARGEND CARE and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM). Quintayo said they would look into the case.

Fr Joy Pelino, Director of SAC Marbel said: “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.  

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.”   The NCIP en banc is yet to issue a statement or resolution regarding the B’laan Bong Mal Banwe petition for non-FPIC coverage for the Tampakan mining project submitted last January 2014.

The said petition also posts a question on how the NCIP tries to address the readiness of IP communities to engage FPIC processes.

SAC Marbel, SOCSKSARGEND CARE and ATM are part of Tampakan Forum, a technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue.