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

Tampakan Forum Press Release

27 May 2015

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 the NCIP’s regional counterparts’ activities to facilitate the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) required for the Tampakan Copper and Gold Project.

Five leaders went to CDO to request the en banc to immediately order the postponement of any FPIC-related activities in their area.

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 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 formed to secure the mining project.

Regions XI and XII latest activities in line with the Tampakan mining project include a level one consultative session for the memorandum of agreement in a hotel in Koronadal City and several other negotiations held in General Santos City. Indigenous Peoples (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 IPs. If activities are pursued this comes out to be a continuous betrayal of the IP 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 the 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.

For more information:
Fr. Joy Peliño, SAC Marbel Director, gillarme8@gmail.com (0939) 8456373
Rene Pamplona, SOCSKSARGEND CARE Coordinator, renepamplona@yahoo.com.ph (0908) 1264530
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Research & Advocacy Officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net

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A Position of the Bong Mal B’laan Bong Banwe in the Conducted

Free Prior And Informed Consent (FPIC) and in the Processing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Tampakan Copper and Gold Project (TGCP) of the SMI/Glencore-Xstrata

We, as members of the B’laan Community residing in our ancestral territory, the Bong Mal B’laan Bong Banwe situated within the boundaries of the four (4) Provinces: Tampakan, South Cotabato; Kiblawan, Davao del Sur; Columbio, Sultan Kudarat and Malungon Sarangani, strongly states our opposition to the conducted Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) which subsequently resulted in the crafting of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

The conducted FPIC and the crafting of this MOA of the FPIC Team of NCIP Regions XI and XII are clear violations of our tradition and even of the FPIC guidelines, for the following reasons:

1. Almost 70% of the land area that is proposed for mining of the SMI is within our territory, the Bong Mal. A thousand of us residing in the area are to be affected compared to the other peripheral areas

2. We [Bong Mal Community] submitted a petition to the NCIP –Manila on January 2014. It was [copy of] our communal decision not to enter to the process of FPIC, not unless clear responses to our presented issues are given. It was Director Gomez himself of the NCIP-Human Rights and Empowerment Bureau validated our petition and yet as of this another petition, there was no clear response from the commission en banc of the NCIP;

3. The FPIC is a vital process that respects the primacy of the tribal traditions and not a process that gives in to the preferences of the company;

4. The NCIP is supposed to be an institution that protects and promotes the rights of the tribe. But an apparent partiality is witnessed when NCIP gave in to the time frame preferences of the company discounting the readiness of the tribe in Bong Mal to undergo the process;

5. Our Tribal Community in the Bong Mal B’laan Bong Banwe is not yet ready to undergo the FPIC process due to our recent traumatic experiences of militarization, murder of our brothers, going through the ordeal of evacuation and loss of hope;

6. The NCIP did not follow and respect our tradition as a B’laan tribe in getting our consent in the mining project;

We deem all of these are violations to our tribal rights:

1. No sufficient time was given for an in-depth discussion that may result in our full understanding of the process;

2. The NCIP did not follow and respect our tradition as a B’laan tribe in getting our consent in the mining project;

3. There was no result of the conducted Field Based Investigation (FBI) was given prior to the conduct of FPIC;

4. Due to the absence of an FBI, there was a misrepresentation in the entire process of the FPIC;

5. The Bong Mal Community was coerced to undergo the process of FPIC.

6. The Conduct of the following activities outside our territory:
a. Community Consultative Assembly held at Datal Biao, Columbio, Sultan Kudarat
b. Freedom Period at the Family Country Homes, General Santos City
c. Decision Meeting at the Family Country Homes, General Santos City

7. Our Bong Fulong, Fulong, Bae o Fandita were not invited during the conduct of the FPIC process, instead only the clan representatives who were injudiciously selected by the chieftain and the NCIP were invited. This is an apparent demonstration of disrespect to our elders.

8. There was an aggression that happened during the first processing of the MOA, an indication that there are ambiguities in the conduct of the FPIC.

With the above premises, we, with our recognized Bong Fulong, Fulong, Bae, Fandita, Almuos and the entire tribe of the B’laan Community residing within the 70% territory of the Bong Mal B’laan Bong Banwe affected by the mining project of the SMI unite in our stand to urge for the following:

1. Consider the conducted FPIC as null and void

2. Stop and totally disregard the processing of the MOA.

3. Appeal to the commission to conduct an investigation as regards the conducted FPIC for the the Tampakan Copper and Gold Project of SMI.

4. Disallow NCIP to conduct any other further activities that is related to FPIC unless there is a result of the investigation.

We continue to wait for the promised resolution of the commission regarding our submitted petition in January 2014.

Our gathered signatures attest to our unity in pushing for the forgoing. Signed this 14th day of May 2015 at the Bong Mal B’laan Bong Banwe.