Tampakan has been identified by mining advocates as one of the 23 sites of struggle in the Philippines.
Bishop DinualdoGutierrez facilitated the Conference on Mining in Tampakan on 25 May 2009, Bishop’s Residence, Koronadal City.
The conference was triggered by a disc given to Bishop Dinualdo by Fr. Sammy Oracion, on vacation from the United States.
The disc contains slides showing the destruction of the mountain in Tampakan through mining operations: felled lawaan (red and white) trees, trees whose barks were peeled off, erosions, landslides, diggings, use of water to dislodge rocks containing precious minerals, irrigation water reddened by Australian mud used for exploration, ball mill containing mercury, sacks of valuable stones and quarrying. This destruction covered 2005-2008. Very alarming indeed.
Those took place in Crossing Mangisi, Mangisi, Base Camp and Palo 19, Liberty. All within the area of exploration of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. – owned by Xstrata (62.5% – Swiss Co.) and Indophils (37.5% – Australian and Alcantara and Sons).
After comments, discussions and deliberation the group unanimously agreed to create a team to visit the 4 areas for updating.
Name: Diocese of Marbel Environmental Team.
Composition: multi-sectoral: Army, PNP, Media, DENR, Municipality of Tampakan and Diocese of Marbel led by Social Action Center.
Date, time and jump-off place: May 26, 2009, 9 am, in front of the “Municipio”.
Food: c/o SAC and Tampakan Parish.
Transportation and Security: c/o Lt. Col. Joshua Santiago, CO, 27th IB.
Participants: 44 registered. Many from Tampakan Parish. Others: Hon. SP Cecile Diel, Acting Mayor Pedro A. Cagas, Lt. Col. Joshua B. Santiago, PS1 Jose Adorable Sintin, PS1 Virgilio Carreon, Bro. Robert McGovern, FMS, Ms. Leonisa Alfaro (PENRO), Mr. Ireneo Felicilda, Nilo Vargas and Cyrusman Fernandez (MENRO, Tampakan), Fr. Romeo Catedral (SAC), Fr. Angelo Buenavides (DXCP), Fr. Bobby Parreño (parish Priest, Tampakan) and Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez.
Twenty-seven persons were apprehended for “Banlas” method (waterhose) and cases were filed against them.
Mayor Cagas confirmed the authenticity of the slides. Some of the areas are now planted to corn.
SP Diel suggested that the Municipal Board passes an ordinance prohibiting open-pit mining in Tampakan.
There are still forested areas with some waterfalls.
Water in Tampakan Mountains goes to 5 major rivers in 4 provinces: Sultan Kudarat, Davao Sur, Sarangani, South Cotabato, General Santos.
The existence of forest and major sources of water demand that Tampakan Mountain be proclaimed WATERSHED by Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo.
Next meeting: 09 June 2009, 9am. Bp.’s Residence. Agenda: 1) Report by the Environmental Team on the Ocular Visit; 2) Analysis of findings; 3) Strategic Planning; 4) Others.
Source: Communication from the Bishop (No. 533, 28 May 2009)