In the Name of Mining

In the Name of Mining

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John Ahni Schertow
November 24, 2007
 

The following video clip is from “Sa Ngalan ng Mina?” (In the Name of Mining) a film that shows how politicians in the Philippines have been selling the country’s natural resources to foreign mining companies, and how those companies are impacting the environment and the cultures and livelihoods of Indigenous People. This particular clip focuses on the exploits of Canadian mining firm Toronto Ventures, Inc (TVI) in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte.

TVI’s operations are said to be “one of the most shameful of the existing mining operations encroaching on IP lands;” and “one of the more well documented cases of a firm literally out-muscling local opposition to its practices. The area is likewise heavily militarized.”

In 1994, TVI occupied Mount Canatuan, a sacred site for the Subanen People. The occupation was approved by the government, however TVI did not have the consent (FPIC) of the Subanen. A few years ago they finally asked Tribal Chief Jose Anoy for permission to be on Mount Canatuan. “The company offered me money before, and shares from their profits,” he stated last year. “Accepting this could have been easy, but being a Timuay, I remained firm for the sake of the Subanen.” He refused the bribes, and so TVI forced him into exile and blockaded all entries to the Mountain.

Out of guilt and greed, earlier this year TVI organized an apology campaign “to win the hearts of the Subanen;” but it “was not effective as they expect it to be. The wound that the company inflected into the hearts and minds of the Subanen is too deep that it cannot be healed by a mere apology. How can TVIRD asks for an apology and still continues to violate the basic rights of the Subanen People? Onsino Mato told a staff of DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues (DCMI) that TVIRD is just deceiving them.” TVI currently continues to destroy Mount Canatuan.

Meanwhile, they have filed for several new mining exploration permits with the government in the regions of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay–comprising 150,000 hectares of land.

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