B’laans in Bongmal Territory, Tampakan – Kiblawan are strongly against mining operations in their ancestral land.
On 23 January 2014 they submitted to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples’ (NCIP) National Office a resolution opposing the SMI Glencore/Xstrata’s proposed copper and gold mining project in Tampakan.
NCIP duly received the Resolution. NO action was taken; not even the courtesy of a reply!
In that Resolution they clearly expressed their refusal to undergo the process of Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC); yet the FPIC proceeded.
FPIC is defined in the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) as “the consensus of all members of the ICCs/IPs to be determined in accordance with their respective customary laws and practices, free from external manipulation, interference and coercion, and obtained after fully disclosing the intent and scope of the activity, in a language and process understandable to the community.”
On 16 February 2015, the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel, wrote the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Region XI (NCIP XI) endorsing another resolution from the Alyong Community requesting for the conduct of a Community Consultative Assembly (CCA) in Bongmal Territory. But this request was not granted. Reason? Sitio Alyong was unsafe, according to NCIP!
Participants in the CCC in Sitio Datal Bido did not represent the entire Bongmal community. Residents in Bongmal Community have the right to participate in decision-making as stated in Chapter IV, Section 16 of the IPRA Laws.
Finally on 06-08 March 2015, a consensus building took place in General Santos City. This was held without formal invitation to Bongmal Community!
- The Waste Rock Storage Facilities and Fresh Water Dam (500 has. each) of the proposed SMI – Glencore/Xstrata’s copper and gold project will occupy most of the Bongmal Territory.
- Reason dictates and the IPRA Law mandates that the residents of Bongmal Territory should be consulted.
- Hence the Community Consultative Assembly and other related process should be conducted in Bongmal Territory.
- But such consensus building activities were not held in Bongmal Territory but in GeneralSantos City where majority of the Bongmal People did not participate for lack of prior communication.
- Hence, whatever decision was made in General Santos City did not reflect the will of people in Bongmal.
- THEREFORE, WE CALL ON THE NCIP to conduct the CCA and future processes in Bongmal Territory and trust in God and the people’s good will.