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PIA Press Release
2008/07/30

IPs learned from past, now want responsible mining

Davao City (30 July) -- Lumads living on the exact location of the morning site in sitio Magum, Barangay Macambol, City of Mati sought for their right to be represented in the dealings made by the mining firm and the other tribal groups in the area. Representation was necessary to only responsible mining in their place.

In a statement made by tribal leader Alejandro Rufino, he said that his group deserves to participate in all decision-making that concern their ancestral domain because it is where they exactly live.

"Kung unsa man ang mahitabo sa among lugar sa pag-padayon sa pagmina niini, kaming mga taga Sitio Magum and labawng maapektuhan mao nga nangusog kami nga ipasibaw ang among mulo.." (Whatever is the consequence of the mining operation would greatly affect us, especially those from Sitio Magum. This is why we seek for participation and representation.), said Rufino.

That is also the same reason why the Magum and Macambol Proper tribe organized as a separate tribal council, he said. They simply wanted to be heard and to participate in all actions that may affect them directly.

Rufino stressed that the indigenous People's Rights Act (IPRA) says that the government and even anybody should listen and take into consideration anything that affects the IPs interests and their lives.

Rufino's group was disappointed to the statement made by National Commission on Indigenous Peoples commissioner Felicito Masagnay calling the group as "unrecognized by the NCIP."

In a news item that came out earlier, the NCIP only recognized the groups of Rufino Mapinogos of Macambol and Rogelio Lemente of Cabuaya and that no other tribal group has the right to claim for representation.

He questioned Masagnay who claimed that the cited ancestral domain is only owned by a particular tribe, but by all indigenous people.

The tribal leader claimed that they were part of the negotiation previously made as the mining company was just about to start exploring the area.

Rufino narrated how his group, situated in Sitio Magum, suffered the ill-effects of a local mining firm that formerly explored, extracted minerals in their area but immediately fled after reaping the benefits to themselves.

He stressed that the Magum group is simply preventing the old experience to happen again. Rufino clarified that his group is not backed by any of the mining firm. However, his tribal council would favor the company that promotes responsible mining.

"Kami musuporta sa kung kinsa man ang makahatag sa amo ug responsableng pagmina." (We would support anyone who could give us responsible mining.), he added.

The leader mentioned BHP Billiton as having shown environmental consciousness and protection efforts during the period that the foreign company conducted its exploration phase. (PIA XI) [top]

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