|photos from Jacob Images|
The Tampakan Mining Project is one of the biggest Mining investments in the Philippines. Both pro and anti mining groups are busy debating themselves whether this project will be good for everyone. But do they really think about the inhabitant living in the mining area, which is the Indigenous People (IP). Do they listen to their real sentiments?
The mining site is inhabited with six tribal communities; these are the Blaan, Kalagan, Ubo, Manobo, Tasaday, and Tboli. The current mining site is situated in the tribal ancestral territory of the B'laans. The proposed mine site covers an area of approximately 10,000 hectares and is located between the towns of Tampakan, South Cotabato, and Kiblawan, Davao del Sur in Southern Mindanao. These tribes will directly benefit (if it is for good), or affect (if not) if the Tampakan Mining project will have their full operation.
The National Mining Law is not in line with the Local Government (Mining) Law. That is why the Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) cannot fully operate because of the strict local laws imposed by the Local Government of South Cotabato.
If you look at the brighter side of it, mining has some beneficial effects on the economy of the Philippines. It could attract new investments, it will create more jobs and it can reduce poverty. The new mining law, which is the Mining Act of 1995 (R.A. 7942), has strict guidance regarding the environmental protection and economic benefits.
On the other side, the people who are in doubt about mining companies such as SMI are not convince about it. They said, if SMI’s mining project will be materialize, it may create chaos to the affected communities. First, it may pose risks to the stability of the mine because the mining operation is in the fault line of Tampakan. Second, it may be a threat to food security. Third, this project may just a false promise of employment and income opportunities. Fourth, rampant Militarization and Human Rights Violations may possibly happen. And lastly, it may cause displacement of IP communities in the area.
If we take a closer look at this issue, do we listen to the sentiments of the IP living in the mining site? Before this issue came, we tend to forget or even neglect them about their concerns in their communities. And now that this big investment came to our country, some people use them for their own agenda. I hope this issue will serve as an eye opener to the real situation experience by our fellow IPs.
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