Barangay Anislagan Resistance to Philex Mining (Philippines)

Appeal for solidarity and resistance against Canadian Philex Mining and Manila Mining corp, with description of ecological destruction, from Barangay Anislagan, Philippines. Contact us for more details about financial solidarity etc. More news coming soon.

Philex Mining Livelihood Training Centre

A patch of land along the road and near the anti-mining picket/road blockade site which is 1 hectare was purchased by Philex Mining for a livelihood training centre. In the guise of aiding economic subsistence to the locals of Brgy. Anislagan, the project is eyeing to open up a nursery seedling area for technological development. Initially, this would appear as a promise of security and stability in the livelihood of the Barangay but in return this would push the intrusion/re-entry agenda of the company and would totally exploit the people overtime.

The area is currently being cleared out and toiled by a dispossessed faction of people in the Barangay. Philex, a Canadian based Mining company, is now on its exploration stage and is already drilling the forest working hand in hand with Silangan Mindanao Mining, Inc. The people of Barangay Anislagan, including members of the ABAKATAF -Anislagan Bantay Kalikasan Task Force (a local ecological resistant group in Barangay Anislagan) are all dependent on traditional peasantry and have been defending their land, ecology and traditional way of life since 2001 when
Manila Mining Corporation and Anglo-American came in – the first mining proponents that entered their area.

All people are antagonistic to the projects put up by these companies because it triggers conflict and confusion among the members of the community apart from its devastating effects on the delicate balance of the Northern Surigao forest, most especially being a critical watershed area. Unfortunately, a faction of the community is pro-mining now. This has disturbed the peace and harmony that once existed in the community and has caused enduring problems amongst the people.

Ecological and Social Havoc

Ocular inspection was recently initiated by the Barangay Anislagan anti-mining community and support groups. Evidence showed that the Philex mining exploration has caused wanton environmental destruction. The drilling operation of Silangan Mindanao Mining, Inc. is paving 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 from the mining exploration.

A fraction of their water sources, (use for irrigation and potable drinking water) turned grey during the inspection and there’s a rushing need to inform the local Water District of Placer municipality of the critical situation. Moreover, this is a pain in the ass for farmers of the Barangay because the road to the forest is now completely covered with mud giving them and the animals a hard time in transporting goods and crops.

Case Background

On September 26, 2000 a General Assembly of the barangay of Anislagan was held through the request of Manila Mining Corporation requesting the residents to conduct mining exploration in their area. The residents strongly denied their request because of the fear that the exploration and subsequent mining operation would destroy eventually their water sources, rice fields and farms. Because of this the residents sent position paper regarding their opposition to officials of the the local and national DENR (Department of the Environment and Natural Resources), MGB (Mines and Geosciences Bureau-DENR) and the Department of Agriculture.

Despite the opposition of the residents, Manila Mining Corporation (MMC) continues to negotiate with the Barangay officials. Because of this the residents conducted a picket rally on February 24, 2001.

Another Barangay consultation was held on July 28, 2001 at the Barangay Hall to accommodate the request of the MMC. This was attended by several NGO’s and church sectors. At that consultation, it was confirmed by the
residents and officials of the Barangay not to permit the MMC to conduct any exploration and other mining activities in their area. After the consultation the UCCP also sent a resolution and position paper registering its opposition to any mining activities in the area to the DENR, various levels of the local government and other agencies of the government. On September 26, 2001 the residents noticed that the MMC personnel have started to conduct mining exploration including the setting up of the camps and other equipment. Because of this the residents, through the efforts of many religious sectors, organized the “Anislagan Bantay Kalikasan Task Force” (ABAKATAF) and elected Pr. Gay Reveche of the UCCP as its Chairperson.

On November 5, 2001 the residents noticed the MMC personnel in two vehicles at Sitio Payao bringing equipment and provisions to their camp.

The residents asked them to return. The workers angrily returned and in the process almost rammed the residents. The following day the residents, together with the Barangay Council, Barangay Captain Rudy Soriano and
members and officers of ABAKATAF, went to the camp of MMC, about and requested the workers to stop their operation and discontinue the building of their bunkhouse. On November 7 an emergency General Assembly of the
Barangay was held because the company intensified its supply and activities in the camp. On that assembly the residents were united in resolve to stop the activities of MMC workers. They went to the camp with the Barangay Captain Rudy Soriano, Barangay Council members and officers of the ABAKATAF. They negotiated with the workers, and a certain geologist Subang agreed to inventory the equipment and other supply of the workers
and have them deposited in the Barangay Hall. He also signed a note agreeing that these things be deposited in the Barangay Hall. On November 8, 2001 a representative of the Safety Department of MMC, together with
two policemen, went to the Barangay and requested that the “confiscated” things be returned to the company. But the residents refused to hand over the “confiscated” things unless the company signed an agreement that
henceforth it will not bother the place anymore.

On November 9, 2001 the residents were united in resolve to conduct a picket rally protesting the continuing aggression of the company against the people and their place of abode. About 400 residents barricaded the
roads of Barangay Anislagan to prevent any workers and vehicles of the MMC to continue their operation.

On November 16, the residents received a noticed that they were accused by the company, and on November 20, 2001 they received a summon for the hearing of the case. The case specifically mentioned several locals and
other officers of ABAKATAF and residents of Barangay Anislagan as respondents of the case. It was noted that the case did not specify the Barangay Captain and members of the Barangay Council as respondents.

Because of this the residents decided to come to the hearing at Surigao City on November 22, 2001 at 8:30 in five truckloads to register their opposition and protest to the continuing aggression and harassment of the MMC. They believe that the filing of the case is a form of harassment by the company so that the residents may buck down for the continued entry of their operation into their farms and land.

However all residents are willing to agitate until they are imprisoned, together with their children, to register their opposition to the aggression and destruction of their farms, water supply and homes by the Manila Mining Company in Anislagan.

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This entry was posted on Friday, March 5th, 2010 at 4:19 pm and is filed under Eco Struggle.