Communities Of Resistance

Posted: February 23, 2012 in Communities Of Resistance

WARRING RESISTANCE IN THE HINTERLANDS:
The Agitating Tale Of Barangay Anislagan

By: Tilo Kuizon

The resistance in Barangay Anislagan in Placer, Surigao del Norte is probably one of the most unrelenting community resistances of Surigao. For eleven years, the people of Anislagan have been prolifically expelling every intruding mega machine in all directions. First kicking off with MMC (Manila Mining Corporation) in 2000, the villagers applied strong community kinship, grassroots strategy and dauntless direct actions to stop the mining company from horning in. Though tensions were in their highest intensity and situations were boiling hot, the villagers were very determined to move toward their goals – to defend their village and protect nature.

In 2007, MMC finally pulled back and passed the job to another mining company, KCGR (Kalayaan Copper-Gold Resources, Incorporated). With MGB at their back, KCGR was awarded with 284.761 hectares of land for their operation.

Anislagan

Location of Anislagan in Surigao del Norte, Mindanao

Still, the villagers were fierce against the killer drillers. When their permit expired in 2009, another company entered, the SMMC (Silangan Mindanao Mining Corporation), a subsidiary of the Canadian Mining company Philex Mining Corporation. The concession awarded by the corporate enzyme-MGB to SMMC increased to 11,934 hectares. Still facing unassailable community resistance, SMMC-Philex tried the old time divide-and-rule tactic to weaken the foundations of the village resistance and further thrust their corporate agenda. To date, Philex is one of the most active mining companies operating in the archipelago. For years, they have had active mines in Benguet, Luzon and Northern Surigao, Mindanao that have caused catastrophic social and ecological conditions. The deleterious effects they brought to their host communities and the surrounding ecology reveal the horrifying wickedness of the corporate agenda.

CONTOURED BY UMPTEEN MINERALS

Barangay Anislagan is situated in an elevated terrain peaking up to 171 meters above sea level. The village is in ruinous and above earthquake zone where trembling reaches up to 7 > Ritcher. The climate is warmest in June and Coldest in February. The nineteen to twenty two tropical cyclones that hit the archipelago each year and the actual touch of the village to the typhoon belt make it susceptible to vicious storms all year through. In the 1980’s, the village was struck by a disastrous cyclone named ‘Lilang’ which destroyed heaps of farmlands and infrastructures. It still remains until today, a typhoon prone area.

Circum Pacific Belt of Fire

Owing to the geo-political emplacement of the area, Anislagan is one of the twenty Barangays in the municipality of placer in Caraga region. If viewed on the larger scale, it sits on the contours of the Circum Pacific belt of fire. With its pristine forests, thick vegetation, and long history of volcanism, minerals are incredibly abundant. Among the reported minerals in the surrounding mountains of Anislagan are copper, gold and platinum. These minerals are formed in rich bio-diversity areas like the surrounding ecology of Anislagan.

CONTINUING CONFLICT OF INTEREST ON GAIA’S EXPRESSIONS

The mega flora and fauna of the eastern Caraga region, among the many, make the Philippines one of the 17 mega diverse countries in the world. It is home to multifarious species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, rodents, insects, and a legion of wild vegetation, some of them nowhere else to be found only in Caraga. There are about four major mountain ranges in the upper region of Caraga, all of which houses astonishing flora and fauna which are jeopardized by a constellation of development factors. The continuing threats to endemic species in the region like the Pithecophaga jefferyi or the endangered Philippine Eagle, leaves them choiceless but to depart the biota and migrate somewhere else. Since these birds of prey are territorial (350 square kilometers per couple), settling in a new place can be extremely dangerous. Threats will come from all directions, from human settlers to poachers, the resident birds of prey in the area, the dynamics of the biotic community, the economic arrangement of the local community, and so forth; its major ramifications like extinction rate is just so catastrophic.

Glancing at the bigger picture, the cornucopia of Caraga’s biological diversity also makes it highly susceptible to corporate encroachment projects. Efforts to preserve the last remaining wilderness of the region are indeed tireless. However, the task would not be merely done only by outside groups but the cooperation between them and the local community is necessary. These efforts are nonetheless, overshadowed with development-related activities such as mining. Because the geological formation of minerals occur in rich biodiversity areas like Caraga, it reserve some of the world’s largest ore, copper and gold deposits. In this regard, Anislagan as a tiny village in Caraga, became a target host community of the allured mining moguls.

Glancing at the bigger picture, the cornucopia of Caraga’s biological diversity also makes it highly susceptible to corporate encroachment projects. Efforts to preserve the last remaining wilderness of the region are indeed tireless. However, the task would not be merely done only by outside groups but the cooperation between them and the local community is necessary. These efforts are nonetheless, overshadowed with development-related activities such as mining. Because the geological formation of minerals occur in rich biodiversity areas like Caraga, it reserve some of the world’s largest ore, copper and gold deposits. In this regard, Anislagan as a tiny village in Caraga, became a target host community of the allured mining moguls.

PLAINLY ROLLING ON THE HILL

Anislagan is among the 20 barangays of Placer municipality. The village is an interior hinterland farming community located at the Northern part of Surigao just 35 kilometers away from Surigao City, Mindanao. The terrain is characterized by plain to rolling hilly slopes. Close to Anislagan are six neighboring villages of Tubod (the mine site of Philex Gold), Alegria, Bacaug, Giganit, Kitcharao, Mainit and Sison. There is a growing number of 700 families in each municipality with an increasing count of 300 families per village.

The first settlers of the village came from Visayas. They were predominantly from Bohol (Middle part of Philippine Archipelago) more than 70 years ago. Since then, people have enjoyed the abundance of nature and have lived sufficiently with their farms for almost 80 years. Locals cultivate rice, corn, produce copras and maintain a number of livestock. In the last several decades, their method of farming was somewhat conventional. With the aid of local groups in close cities particularly Butuan, the farmers of Anislagan shifted from traditional to organic farming. In the coming years, they are eyeing to completely transform the farm anatomy to organic agriculture of more or less 70 hectares. Right now, there are about 1,400 people living in the village.

ENDLESS RESISTANCE IN THE HINTERLAND

Situated in ‘Asia’s Mining Capital’, folks of Anislagan are left with polarized choice of do or die. The first social tension happened in August 2000. Manila Mining Company (MMC), a 62 year old mining firm (who currently has 2,000 hectare mining tenement in Surigao del Norte) caused extreme and grave retaliation amongst the residents when they entered the community. In spite of people’s opposition in the negotiations, MMC bravely reposted and pursued their plan to mine. Among the first steps the villagers took was a petition letter against the usurpation. In the hopes of getting support from the local, regional and national government, they did the tedious work of making people aware of the disastrous impacts of mining, collecting signatures from the neutrals for their petition letter. The letter was then passed in September 30, 2000 to the MGB regional and national directors, Secretary Cerilles of DENR, Secretary Angara of DA (Department of Agriculture), and former President Estrada.

In contrast, MMC did a ‘shadowy mission’ to cleverly respond to the tensional confrontation. The aim of their mission was to get asignatories for a requirement of their temporary exploration permit, the FPIC – Free and Prior Informed Consent from the host community. Because they were fully aware of the anti-mining stance of the locals, a deceptive trickery of a medical mission for Anislagan came about. In the activity, they took pictures and gave free medicines in exchange for the resident’s signatures. The signatures then served as their FPIC and their legal basis of approval from the residents of Anislagan. By 26th of September 2000, MMC met with the Barangay Council of Anislagan informing them of their full legal rights to mine Sitio Payao (a sub-section of Anislagan). In the meeting, MMC aggressively told the villagers that they will conduct an exploration. At first, the villagers tried to dialogue MMC. They raised several concerns including the inevitable destruction of their crops, farmlands, forests, and the jeopardization of the municipality’s main watershed which provide potable drinking water for many villages in Placer. As expected, their effort did not awaken MMC; they were too persistent, grossly hostile and preposterously apathetic.

Road Blockade

This heightened the tension well enough to benchmark a resistance that still continues up to the present. The squeezing pressures from all sides, including no response from any of the aforementioned government branches, the continuing onslaught of MMC to the village, and the fear that worst case scenario will come soon if no counteraction is taken, the villagers decided to take the struggle in the grassroots level. The people went out full pledged, fiercely barricading the road to Sitio Payao preventing any suspicious intruder from ingress. They were simultaneously picketing while working on their farms, taking diurnal and nocturnal shifts. The picket lasted about two months. MMC never managed to horn in due to the proactive resistance of the villagers. Instead, they called for another community consultation which caught them ludicrously defenseless. What happened was, instead of attending the meeting, the people of Anislagan locked up the venue of the meeting (Mutli-purpose hall) to keep the company’s representatives from entering. And so it was another defeat for MMC on the micro-scale.

Despite that, MMC still fought for the gold. Because they could not seem to figure out how to deal with the community detestation, their next move was a discreet one. They sent out personnel to prudently set up a mining camp and take samples. However, their sloppy operation did not last long. In November 16, 2000, a resident of Sitio Payao noticed that there were a few outsiders who were transiting their area. The observer then asked who they was, where they were from, who sent them and what’s their sense of purpose. The confessed that they were from MMC sent by a person named Mr. Ona, apparently the geologist of the partner company DDCP (Diamond Drilling Corporation of the Philippines). Learning about the corporation’s tacit operations, the village officials went shortly to Sitio Payaw. They investigated the field staff and shortly thereafter, Mr. Ona arrived. The officials then advised Mr. Ona and the workers to move out and they agreed.

Nonetheless, it was still just halfway to climax. The people of Anislagan realized that the company is still intruding and sneaking in every possible way despite their militant efforts. By November 2000, the officials had a meeting with several groups in the village to further advance the stoppage of MMC’s exploration. On the other side of the pole, In February 2001, the DENR-MGB and PENRO (Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office) called for an assembly with the people of Anislagan to tell them about the further exploration. Conscious that it was just a waste of time, the residents did not attend the meeting but continued their picket in the village. One of the speakers courageously exclaimed, “I will die for Anislagan if MMC will continue to trespass”.

Five months after, MMC consulted outside groups including NGO’s and religious sectors in the hope of winning their sympathy. However, the residents continually refused and resisted every infamous semantic about MMC. Having learned about the gradual vacation of heavy mining equipments to the uplands of the village, the residents sit together to cook another strategy. In 26th of September 2001, the Anislagan Bantay Kalikasan Task Force (ABAKATAF) was formed in response to the ever increasing assault of the mining interlopers.

Two months after the formation of Anislagan, one of the village officials informed the residents that MMC was still vacating equipments such as tarps, cements, barrels and so on, for their bunk house in Daliron (the spot of the mining activity). When the people heard the news, they joined together to tell the workers to stop the drilling and advised them to immediately move out of the area. One of the drivers of the company’s vehicle was so angry that he almost run over the residents. Now cognizant of the operation status, the village officials agreed to have a survey in Daliron the next day.

They advised the workers to stop constructing their bunk house because the residents refused any mining activity in the area. After three hours, they called for an emergency assembly and later agreed to collectively visit the drilling site in Daliron. 3 o’clock in the afternoon, after a short dialogue with the mining workers, they mutually agreed to deposit all the equipments in the Barangay/Village hall. The equipments were inactive for more than a week.

Ten days later, several MMC personnel came to the village to claim their equipments. The villagers refused and instead proposed to make a written agreement that they can claim their belongings only if they will agree not continue their operation and would not bother the village anymore. They of course, did not conformed to the conditions. In November 20, 2001, the hidden structures behind the deceptive front began to unfold when ten of the residents were accused of robbery, coercion and violation of section 7, R.A. 7942. The notification came from the hall of Surigao and complainants were MMC/DDCP. At that time, MMC was gradually creeping in on local government officials. In November 22, 2000, the residents discovered that in Macalaya (near Sitio Payao), the drilling equipments were complete and were good to go for the operation.

At 8 in the evening, the residents went to the boundary of Anislagan-Macalaya. They went up to guard the drilling equipments and prevent any continuance of the operation, they stayed up whole night. At 8:30 in the morning, just when most of the picketers were home, about 60 workers from MMC came with their drilling equipments ready to get things rolling.

a news team interviewed Bgy. Capt. Manuel Tejada beneath their makeshift hut which the residents built to monitor any attemp by mining companies to enter their area.

With them are three negotiating officers of the company. Seeing that they could not get pass the road because of the handful of villagers who were barricading the way, the company officers then showed them a ‘permit to pass’. Conversely, no arrogant paperwork stopped the villagers from barricading. Realizing that it was lose-lose situation, MMC informed the picketers that police will come soon and so the residents waited for the corporate agenda enforcers.

At 1:30 pm, the chief of police in Placer came. In front of the residents, the police officer read the entire Temporary Exploration Permit (TEP) making the residents angry. He tried to negotiate and convince the picketers but all means failed and so he went home. The villagers continued the picket despite the cold-rainy, muddy set up of the area. The day after, MMC/DDCP sent another legion of workers in Daliron. They were caught handy with lead pipes making the villagers very hostile. No violent confrontation happened though, but it remained an open conflict for quite sometime. By December 2001, the Governor Barbers (Governor of the province) sent letters to both MMC and Anislagan Barangay officials asking to settle the dispute between them. Several negotiations were made between both parties for sometime but those talks didn’t made any difference at all.

A year later, Dr. Materdo, a sudden pop out in the scene guy, wanted to give free medicines to Anislagan for his medical mission. The villagers refused his entry because they’ve had enough of their clever trickery and lies. Someone was photographing the picketers discreetly. Vigilant of the company’s next step, when the picketers knew that they were being photographed, they approached the person to confiscate the camera but he refused. They called a police officer to do the talking and get the camera. Conversely, they were accused of ‘grave coercion’, ‘slight physical injury’ and ‘qualified trespass to dwelling’. In spite of that, the picket line did not cease but instead grew stronger as groups from outside joined the villagers in solidarity.

By August 2002, successive events occurred instantaneously. 7 in the morning of the 5th of August, a legion of armed men rushed inside the village. Seeing the strangle looking crew, one villager tried to probe them of their presence but the workers all played deaf and continued to rush towards the picket line. A woman in the picket shouted help when she saw the strangely aggressive look of the armed militia. One neighbor heard the call and so he immediately went to the picket line but was dragged by one of the militia towards their vehicle. Slippery and slimy, he managed to escape the harassment. Simultaneously, another picketer was ringing the bell to alarm the villagers of the situation. After a few moments, the people rushed in to see what’s happening.

Several moments later, the PNP (Philippine National Police) came to stay with a handful private security guards. A couple of hours later, a ten wheeler truck bolstering sugar canes and other hidden materials, came. Then a lawyer of MMC came and brought with him a camera crew to video-graph the picket rally. The villagers took counteraction by taking photos of the lawyer. When he noticed their activity, he blew the top and threatened some people of escalating a court case against them. He and his crew continued to video-graph the situation threatened the people and continued to throw aggressive statements against the picketers. Nonetheless, they were still firm in the picket line. A few hours later, the lawyer and his camera crew together with a handful of other MMC/DDCP agents, left the place.

In the next following months, a number of activists in the village received warrant of arrest for violations they never did. Strategically, the villagers got more firm and sturdy with regards to counteraction and managed to handle the situation well enough to continue their struggle. By September 2002, at 2 am in the morning, four vehicles of MMC/DDCP, transporting equipments, violently rushed the road heading towards Sitio Payao. There were about 30 security guards and 60 workers, their cars were so fast that it would be impossible for the villagers to catch up. Because of that, the villagers just went up the hill and blocked all exit roads. By that time, there were three picket lines in different locations. They were guarding the exit points so well that not anyone from the company could escape. Trapped in an odd situation, about 30 workers of the company sneaked out in the forest heading towards the flatlands of Surigao del Norte.

The next morning, soldiers came (without nameplates) rushing toward the picket line. They were pointing their guns towards the rallying people. With mixed emotions, the picketers were still valiant to stop the soldiers from entering. When asked about their purpose, the soldiers told the picketers that they just want to send food to the trapped MMC/DDCP workers. However, the villagers refused their entry and so they all left. The corporate warriors’ attempts only resulted to defeat. Having fully understood the situation, they deployed aggressive militias to take care of the situation. By September 2002, when the residents was sitting in the picket line, they were shocked to see a flock of children running fearfully. A band of guards were running after the kids while two security guards headed towards the picket line pointing guns at the picketers. They destroyed picket materials while continually threatening the picketers. Some days later, they had a meeting with the MGB in the village hall. They made an agreement regarding the arrangement of the equipments and so a few days after, all the machineries went back to the hands of the oppressors (MMC/DDCP-MGB). Included in their agreement is the assurance that MGB will guard the place and ensure no ingress of any sort.

After one month, the residents noticed many strange things. In October 10, 2002, they were surprised to see heavy equipments in the drilling site in Daliron. The ABAKATAF ran after them and attempted a dialogue to remedy the situation. The villagers quickly rushed to their camp and advised the personnel to vacate. In response, the workers did not listen at all instead continued transporting the machineries to the upland. They were all desperately rushing that one of the heavy equipment went by the river towards the drilling site. At that point, the people of the village could not take any prissy dialogues with those folks and the village officials could not anymore control the situation. Because of the intensified tension, the people burned two of their equipments using dried coconut leaves to fuel the fire. One of the company drivers jumped out of the machinery and managed to escape safely. After several days, the company responded violently. They planted bombs in one house in the area and although nobody got hurt, the people were much traumatized. In addition, they were baited as a ‘BRC or Barangay Red Council’ by the government. The government’s red baiting tactics accused the village as a communist supporting village providing medical services to NPA’s (New People’s Army). The accusation did not survive long in the public because they could not prove it.

By early 2003, when the US waged the second gulf war in Iraq, the residents of Anislagan Barangay council made a resolution not to allow any mining company in their area. They were again doing a lot of legal battle and passed their resolution to many sectors of the regional and local government. At the same time, they were very active in protests marches and rallies outside the village. They were endlessly campaigning against the intrusion of the company and pushing the cancellation of the temporary exploration permit. With them are different outside groups including KASAMA KA (A loose coalition of Northern Surigao Farmers for the Protection of the Environment), LRC (Legal Rights Council), UCCP (United Church of Christ in the Philippines), and Caraga Ecumenical Socio-Pastoral Action Centre (CESPAC). While they were actively thrusting their campaignin all sides, the list of cases filed against them also grew long. They were accused of frustrated homicide, robbery, grave misconduct and abuse of authority, and so forth… All in all there were 23 criminal charges against ABAKATAF. There were court hearings but none of those accusations proved truth and so they were dismissed later.

In 2005, the Philippine government sold the country’s resources in the London Mining road show to businesses all over the world. Basically the deal was – businesses are allowed to have a 100% ownership over land, water, forests and other areas that may be included in the mining operation. The dynamics of the open conflict remained fragile for several years. The people of Anislagan nonetheless, went on with their way of life despite the vulnerability of the situation. By 2007, MMC renewed their permit to operate using a subsidiary – Kalayaan Copper-Gold Resources, Incorporated (KCGR) and worked with an British mining mogul, Anglo American PLE. When they realized that they cannot succeed anymore, they finally handed the tenement to Philex Mining Corporation, a Canadian Mining giant.

Philex was completely aware of the history of resistance in the village. They employed a combination of old and new strategies against the villagers.

By December 2009, SMMI-PHILEX bought one hectare of land located at Purok 4, Barangay Anislagan for a deceptive community livelihood project. The project claims to ‘provide jobs’, ‘protect the environment’ and uplift the villagers’ living standards’ by making a nursery project area, an organic piggery area, small ruminant project area, training house and office area, range chicken project area, organic fertilizer production area, floriculture project area, mushroom production project area, and an organic vegetable project area. Philex’s livelihood program further assume that they can delude the residents with their promise of economic security, better jobs and better lives. However grandeur the project may seem, the curtains of oppression have already revealed itself, ABAKATAF cannot be anymore deceived by this corporate fueled trickery. Instead, the piles of stones of the livelihood area which served as the gates were dismembered just a few days of its construction.

Residents together with outside support groups like LRC, among the many, had an ocular inspection in the drilling site of the company. Evidence showed that the Philex mining exploration has caused wanton environmental destruction. The drilling operation of Kalayaan Copper – Gold Resources, Inc. has paved way for more disasters such as landslides and mud erosions and would inevitably lead to total destruction of forest by mining machineries, and poisoning of rivers from toxic chemicals the exploration.

In 2010, s fraction of their potable drinking water turned grey during the inspection. So they rushed to inform the local Water District of Barangay Anislagan (the water company the profits from the watershed) of the critical situation. Farmers of the Barangay had problems with their water supply because the road to the forest was completely covered with mud giving them and the assisting animals (Carabaos) a hard time in transporting goods and crops.

The ABAKATAF and the growing anti-mining sentiment of other residents comprise the antagonistic stance of the villagers. There were a few people however, who were mesmerized by the company’s jiggery-pokery. They serve as the workers of the livelihood center up until now receiving rather a small amount of salary to what has been promised. It has been demonstrated by experiences of many host communities, that the employment of locals in mining establishments are rather short lived because corporations often require highly skilled individuals like geologists, engineers, and so on… The plight of most people deceived by mining corporations is woeful. Right now, Philex Gold Philippines works with Kalayaan Copper Gold Resources, Incorporated together with Anglo-American PLC. Their drilling operation is currently sited in Timamana, Tubod, Surigao del Norte, a village adjacent to Barangay Anislagan.

PHILEX WILL SELL THE CAT: CORPORATE OPERATIONS IN THE COMMUNITY

The list highlights the name of the companies, their subsidiary companies, bullets of their community invasion, and their contact details:

MANILA MINING CORPORATION

Manila Mining CorporationThis is one of the oldest mining firms in the Philippines. They are the longest operating mining company in the Caraga region, started digging the earth in the late 1940’s and Caraga in the 1970’s. They have extracted tons of minerals including copper and gold in two areas in Surigao del Norte. The two projects are the “Kalayaan Copper-Gold project” (adjacent to the Boyongan mine site of Anglo-Philex), Surigao del Norte and the “Placer Mine” also in the Eastern Mindanao Ridge in Surigao del Norte.

The Kalayaan Copper-Gold project aims to mine tons of copper and gold deposits in the area. While the Placer mine aims to extract the same minerals at a very destructive degree. At the moment, MMC narrows it focus on the exploration of more minerals (more destruction) and ore delineation to enhance its mineral processing of gold.

In Anislagan, MMC started to encroach in 2000. They have caused grave violations of human rights, arrogant institutional violence against the residents of the village, and serious intra-familial and intra-community conflict. They can be contacted at:

Manila Mining Corporation

20th Floor, Lepanto Bldg.
8747 Paseo de Roxas
Makati City 2117
Philippines
Tel. (632) 815-9447
Fax: (632) 819-3786

KALAYAAN COPPER-GOLD RESOURCES, INC.

Kalayaan Copper-Gold Resources, Inc. engages in the exploration, mining, development, milling, concentrating, converting, smelting, treating, manufacturing, buying, selling, producing and dealing in all kinds of ores, metals and minerals, hydrocarbons acids, and chemicals. The company was incorporated in 2006 and is based in Makati City, Philippines. Kalayaan Copper-Gold Resources, Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Manila Mining Corp

They can be reached at:

21st Floor, Lepanto Building
8747 Paseo de Roxas
Makati City, 2117
Philippines
Phone: 63 2 815 9447
Fax: 63 2 810 5583

ANGLO-AMERICAN PLC

Anglo American is one of the world’s largest diversified mining groups. Their unique portfolio of high quality mining assets and natural resources includes precious, base metals and bulk commodities. They are the world’s leader in platinum and diamonds, as well as being a leading producer of coal. They are a major producer of copper and are making significant steps to develop a footprint in iron ore. Their coal business, Anglo Coal, is the world’s sixth largest private sector coal producer and exporter, with operations in South Africa, Australia, South America and Canada.

Anglo american PLCIn Anislagan, the company did a joint venture with Manila Mining Corporation in their copper-gold project in 2000-2003. They have caused serious trouble on the internal lives of the community and have fueled austere angst from the people.

This is a huge company of more or less 105,000 employees all over their mining tenements in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, North America and South America.

Contact this mega-destroyer at:

20 Carlton House Terrace
London SW1Y 5AN,
United Kingdom
Phone:+44-20-7968-8888
Fax:+44-20-7968-8500

PHILEX MINING CORPORATION

Philex Mining Corporation is a mining giant based in Ontario, Canada. In the Philippines, they have mining claims of 77,861 ha of land under the Mineral Sharing Agreement (MPSA) and mining lease contracts with the government. The company’s main mine site is the Padcal copper and gold mine in Benguet. In this site, the company is undergoing the development of its 782-meter level mine that will lengthen the mine life until 2011. Philex’s 81 % owned Canadian subsidiary Philex Gold Inc. (PGI) owns Philex Gold Phils.,

Philex Mining Corporation

They currently have three mine sites in the Philippines. One is the Padcal mine in Benguet, Bulawan mine in Negros Occidental and are working with their subsidiary SMMC in Surigao del Norte for a copper-gold project. In September 1995, 12 people were buried when a waste pond collapsed in Placer, Surigao del Norte.

In Anislagan, they bought one hectare of land to façade their filthy interest in the village’s minerals. They hired several local residents to work in their livelihood area. The property still exists today but it caused serious angst from the villagers. In the past, they have secretly drilled the upland of the village and caused siltation in the village’s rivers and creeks. They jeopardized the farms of the villagers and have caused abhorrence in the grounds.

They can be found in:

Philex Building

27 Brixton Street,
Pasig City 1600 and
P.O. Box 2398, MCPO,
Makati City P.O. Box 3394
Manila Philippines
Tel: 631-1381 to 88
Fax: 633-3242
Telephone: (632) 631-1381 to 88
Fax : (632) 633-3242 / (632) 634-4441
Email : philex@philexmining.com.ph
Website : http://www.philexmining.com.ph
In Benguet,

Padcal Mine Site

Padcal, Tuba, Benguet, Philippines
Smart FCT : (+63)919-540-0796 / (+63)918-919-3266

And at their head office:

95 Wellington Street West, Suite 1200,
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2Z9.
Phone: 1(416) 365-3711
Fax : 1(416) 941-885

SILANGAN MINDANAO MINING CORPORATION

Is a subsidiary of Philex Mining Corporation. Both companies are currently working in the Boyongan Copper Project in the boundaries of Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Sur. Their mining tenements are one of the most active mining sites in the Philippines. Contact this company at their regional office at:

Paloma compound, Kilometer 4,

Barangay Luna,Surigao City
Philippines 8409

And at their corporate office:

Philex Building
27 Brixton Street,
Pasig City 1600 and
P.O. Box 2398, MCPO,
Makati City P.O. Box 3394
Manila Philippines
Tel: 631-1381 to 88
Fax: 633-3242

SOCIAL AND ECOLOGICAL HAVOC

In a nutshell, the impacts brought by MMC-KCGR, Anglo-American and PHILEX-SMMI are the following:

Socio-cultural:

 Intra-familial trouble amongst residents

 Intra-community tension between the anti-mining and pro-mining

 Traumatization of several individuals from militia intervention

foul smell from the chemicals at the silt ponds are drained into the river systems of anislagan watershed

 Distrust to corporations and government

 Severe distress from endless protests, rallies and pickets

 Disrespect to Locally agreed guidelines for the community and the environment (LGU codes and Barangay resolutions)

 Deep, growing resentment to mining career people due to the criminal charges slammed against them

 Institutional violence and subliminal mental violence from the constant threats they get from those Draconian corporations

 Potentials: (1) loss of livelihood, (2) growing intra-familial and inter-community conflict, (3) displacement of many families if full blown mining operation happens

one of the mine tailings pond of SMMC which contains dangerous chemicals 2

Ecological:

 Siltation in rivers and creeks

 Lack of water supply for irrigation of farmlands

 Patches of forest were denudated

 Potentials: (1) contamination of water systems from petrochemical spillage, (2) contamination of soil from the percolation of toxic materials, (3) total devastation of the entire surrounding ecosystem

THE ECHOING WAVES OF THE HYPER DIMENSION

Personal testimonies and confessions of different individuals reveal the psychological impacts of the corporate encroachment. Many of the villagers are devastated to witness the intra-familial and intra-community conflict they are going through. In addition to that, there are individualized detestations, occasional frustrations, distrust to institutions, combined agitation, psychological trauma from militia’s assaults, fear and hopelessness. These feelings highlight the most significant psychological impacts of mining on the internal lives of people and unfold the pressure of the system per se to their private lives. Farmers, women, youth, children and elders often talk about their personal whines against the situation and the common denominator is resiliency. This is one of the most striking characteristic of the village. Because the community values strong family ties, communitarian kinship; because they are action-oriented and in many ways, optimistic, they are able to deal with the problems that haunt them on a daily basis. Even if other individuals fall down, they still have a strong sense of communitarian-ecologist view of the world which I believe, motivates them to defend the village and nature up to now.

On the other hand, the mining firms consist of institutional psychopaths that manipulate and corrupt people. These leviathans deliberately cause harm to the whole ecological spectrum with no moral convictions of any sort. Bakan (2005) was clear cut about his contentions that “corporations are pathological institutions that are deliberately programmed, legally compelled that externalize cost without the regard for the harm it may cause to people, communities and the natural environment” (p. 72-73).

Village's water supply

While executives of MMC-KCGR, AAEPI and Philex-SMMC crusade their way to superprofits, company growth, more convenient lives, extravagant meetings and conferences, and reduce the things they worry about; the people of Anislagan worry more about the fate of their farmlands, water systems, their livelihood, the forests that support them, and in general the political-economic security of their families and the whole community.

Looking at the collective interior, the eco-centric view of the villagers and their super militant tactics can discourage any mining firm to set foot in their village. The people of Anislagan are very keen and firm in defending the village and nature against doomsday. The other half does the opposite. The persistent nature of corporate moguls and the constant pressure of the national government to local communities to cater corporate projects predate their rights to a healthy livelihood and environment. With the state’s full support and resources on their side, these companies are able to prey on small communities like Anislagan. While MMC-KCGR, AAEPI and PHILEX-SMMC are tactically employing strategies in advancing their narcissistic corporate agenda, they deliberately caused intra-familial and intra-community tensions which never existed before they came. In 2007, almost all the residents were personally against mining. When Philex entered the picture, the community was polarized in halves. These inter-subjective realities can only be felt from personally talking and understanding the villagers concerns, an activity which corporations are pathological with. Not excluding other people in the village, some individual behaviors pave way for the companies to set in. Due to a multitude of reasons including slow economic growth on the lives of farmers and slow pace of economic security for some families, some individuals has a venality and susceptibility to accept bribes from the company. This explains why the community is now divided in half.

There are reported amoeba illnesses, deaths of Carabaos, siltation in the village’s water systems, lack of water supply for irrigation of farms, compromise of safe and secure drinking water, potential loss of people’s livelihood, and potential devastation of the whole ecological surrounding in Anislagan. These are all compromised to enhance the health of the company executive’s bank accounts, and ultra profit for MMC-KCGR, AAEPI and PHILEX-SMMC.

Moreover, the socio-economic and political factors that pillar the present condition envelopes a multitude of dimensions. On the international level, the Philippine government is constantly pressured to cater international demands due to its every increasing debt from global financial institutions and its egocentric ambitious politicians. The laws designed and implemented to cater those demands, the participation of government corporate executives in extraction projects such as that of the SSS (Social Security System) president, the encouragement of pro-development aggression organizations such as the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, and the perpetual corruption on the interiors of government branches fuels the crucible of people, culture and nature of Anislagan.

THE FACE, BODY, AND BEHAVIOR OF THE STRUGGLE

The experiences the villagers had in the past in battling the corporate freaks left open a latent conflict that can erupt anytime. But since there is a broken connection between the villagers and the company (mainly due to operating in a different location), the conflict declined at a certain state where confrontations are not evoked. The relationship between the ABAKATAF and the Philippine government seem to suggest a broken connection. On one end, there is a clear disregard of community concerns by the national, regional and local government and on another; there is an obvious anti-community, anti-nature, pro-mining stance of the folks in these branches. With regards to the mining companies, MMC-KCGR, AAEPI and PHILEX-SMMC, the communities are in constant confrontation with them whether in the legal field or in the grassroots. NGO’s, People’s organizations and other supporting groups on the contrary, are the only groups that allies the ABAKATAF struggle. Attempts to consolidate their efforts and bring the issue to the international level is somewhat unstable at the moment as international groups have their own burdens and the possible connection between them and the ABAKATAF is considerably hard to establish for the time being.

Life's most essential substance

The holarchies that underlie the motivations of ABAKATAF, the Philippine government and the corporations are nested in different realms. The ABAKATAF addresses nothing but genuine, authentic needs of the village and their surrounding ecology. The reason why they are actively engaged in lobbying their issue in the legal and grassroots field, networking to other groups, restructuring their organization, cooking new tactics and strategies, and participating in endless assemblies and meetings while simultaneously taking care of their families and farmlands cries nothing but to continue the defense of their right to life, liberty and healthy environment. In contrast to that, the DENR-MGB claims to implement the law on mining responsibly and asserts that mining companies would help grow the Philippine economy. The tactics and fronts are obviously fabricated as their actions stem from their core values systems – extracting tremendous perks and bonuses from unjustified sources. The greediness and ambitiousness of government executives explains the whole scenario and the profit shares of the Roman Catholic Church’s Archbishop of Manila. They use elements of grandiose and tyranny as facade and further push their real agenda.

The corporations, on the other side, claims to be socially and environmentally altruistic in their operations. They assert that what they want is sustainable development and profitable partnership between the government and the community when all they need is to suck the minerals that lie beneath the grounds of the villages they prey on. It is true that these corporations are deluded in their claims to promote sustainability because their greediness always exceeds the resources. However altruistic their projects may look like, their ultimate crusade is profits.

Moreover, the structure of global power is inversely proportionate to the suffering of Anislagan and the pollution of their bio-region. The global financial oligarchs, down to the mining corporations, Philippine government controls the stream of power channeling directly against communities like Anislagan. As habitual offenders of human rights and ecological stability, corporations hijack the communities in every conceivable circumstance. Their behavior is like a dam and lock mechanism that when suppressed, results to coercion and violence. In response, ABAKATAF also aggressively replies through protests and direct confrontations. Another thing worth looking at is the roots of these conflicts. The profit oriented motivations of mining corporations flare up astonishing repercussions. The ramifications are numerous including ever increasing and expanding familial and community tensions, continuing threats to security of livelihood, and healthy environment of the villagers, continuing jeopardy to security in terms of crime, harassment and violence from institutions and governments; and the probable livelihood loss and ecological breakdown of the village.

The flux and flow of Anislagan’s struggle against mining is maintained by a number of factors including the perpetual apathy of Philippine society to such isolated issues, the pro-active stance of the national, regional and local government to mining, the horning in of government executives in the industry, and the deployment of militias to protect the corporations’ interests. On the other end, there’s a lack of support from outside groups in the local and international level, there’s also a growing community divide in village itself, and there’s not enough financial and human resources for adequacy of the whole work. When these factors synthesize, we’ll have a stable condition, and that’s the suffering of Anislagan.

THE CURRENT SITUATION

At the moment, ABAKATAF works closely with a handful of NGO’s, PO’s in the local scene, and several foreign supporters on the international scene. They are currently attending court hearings to attend to the counter charges they filed against DENR-MGB, PHILEX-SMMC, and a handful others. The status of the hearings can be vaguely read at the moment as the judiciary aspect seems to reveal its true nature – protect the interests of capitalists’ leviathans. They are also working on reorganizing and restructuring their organization as they face new threats and challenges, and deal more complexities and intricacies in bureaucratic processes of the criminal court. Added to that, the farmers are also busy working on converting their farmlands to organic agriculture. These were made possible with the aid and continuous support of outside groups and organizations. As hopes for victory become cloudy in the criminal court, the ABAKATAF with the help of LRC is now hopping in to the environmental court. Let’s see what’ll happen.

If you want to learn more about ABAKATAF and Anislagan directly get in touch with them and their supporting groups visit these sites:

ABAKATAF Website: http://saveanislaganwatershed.blogspot.com

LRC (Legal Rights Council Website): http://lrcksk.org/

ALTERDEV Services Foundation, Incorporated: 162 Cariaga Bldg., J.C. Aquino Avenue, Butuan City

Philippine Network of Rural Industries, Inc. (PhilNet-RDI): http://www.philnetrdi.org/

Undangon ang Mina Network: http://www.undangonangmina.alphabetthreat.co.uk

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