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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Special Report at abscbn-NEWS.com

Mining conflict: Farmers claim company seized their lands

PURPLE S. ROMERO, abs-cbnNEWS.com, Newsbreak | 10/10/2008 8:13 PM


All may be well in the island of Homonhon right now, but Marina Amoroto, who resides in Brgy. Bitaugan, believes that the apparent peace serves as the calm before the storm.

A couple of months ago, on August 9, 2008, around 200 residents from barangays Cagusuan and Pagbabangnan raided the barracks of Cambayas Mining Corp. in Homonhon, eastern Samar.

Cambayas Mining Corp. (CMC) is reportedly owned by Chinese company Peng Cheng. According to the March 31, 2008 Mining Tenements Statistics Report of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), CMC is currently applying for a mineral sharing production agreement.

The attack was staged mostly by farmers who claimed that the mining company seized the lands awarded to them by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through a certificate of stewardship agreement in 1992.

The certificate of stewardship agreement allots its owner the right to till a portion of the forest land for 25 years. Amoroto said that a number of families in her barangay were awarded the certificate.

Amoroto added that nobody from their area is yet up in arms against CMC because they are still able to work on their lands freely, unlike in Brgy. Pagbabangnan, where signs of “No Trespassing” have purportedly been erected on the farmers’ soil.


Mayor's 'permit'

One of those farmers who was greeted with a “No Trespassing” sign when he visited his farm last March 2008 was Eladjio Princillo, or “Tata Ladying.”

Princillo plants kalamansi in his three-hectare land in Brgy. Pagbabangnan, which under the certificate of the stewardship agreement, is placed under his care until 2017.

He was surprised to see the sign, but opted not to take things sitting down. Princillo’s attempt to “regain” his land is chronicled in the documentary “Ha Homonhon,” produced by a group led by Daniel Canada, a member of the non-government organization Kilusang Mangingisda.

As shown in the documentary, Princillo went to the local office of DENR to ask why he was allegedly being prevented from entering the land awarded to him by the government in 1992.

Sadiri Pastores, an environment and natural resources community officer in the neighboring municipality of Guiuan, advised Princillo to put his concerns in writing and assured him that his claim to his land would still be recognized.

Princillo also headed to the office of Guiuan Mayor Annaliza Kwan, who belied that the local government has jurisdiction over the entry of mining companies.

However, RA 7942 or the Mining Act of 1995 stipulates that the local government is plays an active role in the process of granting permits to mining companies and monitoring their activities.

A whole section in Department Order 96-40, the implementing rules and regulations of the revised Mining Act, has in fact been allotted to defining the role of the local government unit in mining projects.

Section 8 emphasizes that the local government unit should ensure that local communities are properly consulted before any mining company could acquire an exploration permit.

Local public officials also have the responsibility and power to demand from mining companies a comprehensive plan for the community’s development and rehabilitation, the nitty-gritty of which are laid-out in the Environmental Compliance Certificate, the Social Development and Management Plan, and the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP).

Aside from this, the local government unit is also a member of the multipartite monitoring team which keeps eye on the implementation of the projects specified in the EPEP.

But Kwan maintained that her office has no authority or participation in the approval of mining operations and told Princillo to write a letter to the DENR instead.


DAO 25

But Princillo doubted that both the CENRO and the local government would raise a finger to help him. “Even if I write a thousand letters, nothing would happen,” he said.

Canada told abs-cbnnews.com/Newsbreak that Princillo would later join the August raid on the barracks of CMC. He set the “No Trespassing” sign which was allegedly put in his farmland, into fire.

We called up CMC to get their side, but we were told that their operations manager is still doing field work and is not available for comment. We also e-mailed questions to the CMC president, but we have not yet received any response.

Aside from mining, however, one of the potential threats to the farmers’ stewardship claim that was also raised in the documentary is the implementation of DENR Administrative Order No. 25, (DAO 25) or the “Guidelines in the Implementation of Upland Agroforestry” in 2005.

DAO 25, signed by then DENR Sec. Michael Defensor, opens around four million hectares of Philippine forest lands for the development of upland agroforestry farms and plantations.

It was concurrently signed on November 17, 2005 with DAO 24, which on the other hand, allows business enterprises to use “idle” coastal areas for fish production and other “non-extractive activities.”

Sec. 3 of DAO 25 stipulates that that the four million hectares “may” initially include 1. 9 million hectares of land covered by the Community-Based Forest Management Program (CBMFP.)

The certificate of stewardship agreement, which Princillo has, is one of the two types of land tenure instruments issued by the DENR for the use and development of forest lands covered by the CBMFP.

In 2006, local online news site Visayan Daily Star reported that Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Antonio Cabrido confirmed that 25 CBFMP agreements were cancelled in Negros Oriental as a result of the implementation of DAO 25.

However, Pastores assured Princillo that his CBFMP claim would not be cancelled because it was issued before 2005. He added, however, that those which were given out after the issuance of DAO 25 would be voided.

We called up DENR Undersecretary Eleazar Quinto and former DENR Sec. Michael Defensor to confirm this but we were not able to reach them.







6 comments:

  1. Tama nga na maipakita ang videos sa Homonhon dun sa CCP para naman makita ng mga kinauukulan ang mga masasamang epekto ng mina doon. Nagtataka lang ako,bakit naman sasabihin ng magandang mayor ng Guiuan na wala siyang kinalaman dun sa mga nangyayaring pagmimina dun sa Homonhon? Mali naman yata yon at saka dun sa pinanood kong video bakit may sinasabing..."Ako ang mayor ng anti-mining at ako ang mayor ng pro-mining"...medyo magulo ang ibig sabihin nun ah.Saan ka ba talaga kampi mahal naming mayor?

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  2. Naipakita nga videos sa Homonhon ,Masyadong nakafocus ang attention sa mina and tanong ' MINA NGA BA ANG PINAKAMALAKING PROBLEMA NG ISLA?".Naroon ang ituro ang ilang kinauululan bilang responsable sa naturang issue na kung tutuusin it is our look out also we homonhonanon in general,Dahil hindi magiging posible ito kung mismo tayo hindi natin pinahintulutan.Sa videong ipinalabas nakatuon ang lahat sa mina,,pero ang tanong MINA nga ba ang pinakamalaking suliranin or issue ng isla.Sa mga kumikilos na ipaglaban ang isla isa ang tanong ko.."Mina ba o kabuhayan?".Bakit hindi magkaisa sa susunod na maiparinig sa kinauukulan ang tunay na problema ng isla... "LACK OF SOURCE OF LIVELIHOOD".bakit di naman natin subukang magkaroon ng boses para dito?

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  3. Dahil may punto ang ilan sa pagsasabing hindi mo makakain ang chromite....Kung may mga kapitalistang bibili ng resources na ito para ilan na walang ibang mapagkukunan ,practically itratrade nila ang resources na yun.I think pamilyar tayo sa kasabihang... "aanhin mo ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo."

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  4. Para sa mga anti mining and pro-mining, Kung sa mina hindi tayo pwedeng magkaisa bakit di natin pakinggan ang punto ng bawat isa,,, bakit di kapwa bukasan ang isip kung bakit ang ilan ay hindi makikiisa para matigil ang mina ng isla... "kakulangan ng mapagkakakitaan",,, "BAKIT DI MAGKAISA PARA SA HANGARING ITO SA UMPISA AT MAGKAISANG ITIGIL ANG MINA AFTERWARDS..SIGURO MAS MADALING MAUUNAWAAN NG BAWAT ISA KUNG BUBUKSAN ANG ISIP AT PUSO AFTERALL MGA HOMONHONANON GUD KITA .."WARAY IBA NGA MAUGOP HAN ATON ISLA KUNDI KITA MISMO NGA MGA TUMINONGNONG HAN ISLA,,"

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  5. BAGO SANA TAYO GUMAWA NG ANUMANG HAKBANG MAS MAKABUBUTI PARING GAWING MALINAW AT NAIINTINDIHAN NG LAHAT,IMULAT ANG LAHAT SA TUNAY SA SITWASYUN NG ISLA ANG KABUUANG KAALAMAN TUNGKOL SA ISSUE AND MAKABUBUTING IPAKITA ANG DAPAT MAKITA NG LAHAT,AT RESPETO PARIN SIGURO..HUWAG PAABUTING MISMO TAYONG MAG TAGA ISLA AY DI MAGKASUNDO SUNDO...RESPETO AT PAG UNAWA..IT TAKES TIME...

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  6. siguro pinakamahalaga ay ipaalam natin sa mamayaman doon kung ano ang epekto nito sa mga naninirahan doon.
    marami akong nakausap na mga resedente doon tungkol sa mina, at ang sagot nila iisa "para kang bumangga sa pader". pero papano nga bang masasabing bungga sa pader samantalang karapatan lang mana nila ang kanilang pinaglalaban. sa bandang huli doon ko rin matuklasan ang dahilan.
    1. di ka aasikasuhin ng lokal ng pamahalaan, ipagpapasapasahan ka kung saan saan, kung kani-kanino.
    2. ultimo medya na syang kakampi ng mga mamamayan nasusuhulan na rin, bago pa man makarating sa isla nasusuhulan na ang mga ito.
    3. ang mga naninirahan doon walang sapat na pondo para ipaglaban ang kaligtasan ng kanilang pamilya.
    4.ang delekado ang lugar pwede kang madukot ng walang makakaalam sa kadahilanang walang malapit na isla o mapagkukublihan oras kinalaban mo ang namumuno ng nima.
    isa lang naman ang ibig sabihin non masyadong maempluwensya ang mina doon dahil sa kasakiman ng lokal na opisyal. SYA BA ANG NARARAPAT ITALAGA SA ATING NAYON PARA SA KAAYUSAN NITO? ITO BA BA ANG IBIG SABIHIN NYA SA TULONG, sa iyong palagay kahit di ka man resedente doon bilang isang taong nagmamalasakit sa lugar na yon makatao ba ang ginagawa ng kanilang mayor? kayo na pong humusga

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