eastwind journals 37 – BREAKING NEWS blood flows in Tampakan

eastwind journals 37


eastwind journals are the personal journalistic writings of Bernie Lopez, and are not part of the healing ministry. Any views or comments are his own and does not reflect those of the ministry.


Prelude to the predicted full-scale war


Two were killed and five wounded due to a mining-related activity of conducting an Xstrata-SMI relocation survey. First, an Xstrata-SMI security guard and a policeman were reportedly killed when they entered without permission the house of a B’laan to conduct the relocation survey.


After three days, an encounter between B’laans and elements of the 27th Infantry Battalion left two CAFGUs and three soldiers wounded. The 27th Infantry Battalion is under Col. Alexis Bravo, who has blamed the incident on a renegade B’laan, Daguil Capion, who is in hiding. Col. Bravo has vowed to get Capion in an intensive manhunt (Sun Star, Davao, June 22, 2012). The Church and the B’laans have expressed fears that the ongoing military operation will result in forced evacuation and loss of innocent lives.


On June 21, a dialog was conducted in Marbel, facilitated by Bishop Dinualdo Guttierez, among Church, military and B’laans. After the dialogue, the B’laans said they will not attend further planned dialogues until the military operations were stopped, which were endangering innocent lives, and pre-empting dialogues. They added that one cannot have dialogues and military operations at the same time.


The Illegal Xstrata-SMI Relocation Survey


The Xstrata-SMI relocation survey is a violation of a DENR memorandum ordering that, due to the denial of the ECC of Xstrata-SMI, further development activities in the mining site are banned. Xstrata-SMI continues to disregard and defy this ban, thus being the ultimate cause of all this emerging violence. Xstrata-SMI has suspended activities, including the illegal relocation survey, in the mine site


The ‘survey’ aims to make an inventory of properties to be compensated for upon relocation. Xstrata-SMI has threatened that no compensation will be given to those who do not sign the inventory based on a prescribed deadline. B’laans report that this threat is one way of subtly forcing consent. They say that they do not have details about the relocation, and are not properly informed, yet it is being forced upon them. Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) is required by law, rendering the relocation moves illegal. No government action has been taken yet against this illegal moves of Xstrata-SMI.


B’laans of Bong Mal have reported to Xstrata-SMI relocation teams that they would rather die than be relocated to Atmurok, where they have had a long-standing feud with B’laans there. That relocation is virtually suicide, inducing a tribal war. B’laans say that Xstrata-SMI consistently ignores this questionable relocation plan, and insists in continuing the relocation survey.


There are some gnawing questions. First, why were there meetings between the military and Xstrata-SMI personnel, as admitted in talks with Church officials? Does Xstrata-SMI participate in military planning in order to suppress and neutralize protest? Is Xstrata-SMI intentionally inducing war through the illegal survey prior to forced relocation to sterilize the mining site of protests? Why is the military protecting not the B’laans but Xstrata-SMI, rich foreigners rather than poor Filipinos? Finally, why has the British Embassy expressed support for Xstrata, which is listed in the British stock exchange, and has remained silent about Xstrata’s questionable activities?


[This article is being emailed to Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa, DBM Secretary Butch Abad, DENR Secretary Paje, Mining Study Group Secretariat Atty. Grip Bueta, MGB Director Jasareno, NCIP Zenaida Pawid, CHR Chair Rosales, South Cotabato SP Member Ernie Catedral, British Ambassador Stephen Lillie, SMI Environment Manager Ian Callow, ECJP-NASSA Chair Broderick Pabillo, Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Guttierez, NASSA Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez, AMRSP Archie Casey, Ateneo de Davao University President Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, SAC Marbel Fr. Joy Pelino and Rene Pamplona, Christian Monsod, Philippine Misereor Partnership Atty. Mario Maderazo, Alyansa Tigil Mina National Coordinator Jaybee Garganera, ABS-CBN Foundation President Gina Lopez, orking Group on Mining in the Philippines Clive Wicks and Robert Goodland, Philippine Daily Inquirer Editor in Chief Letty Magsanoc, Mindanews Editor in Chief Carolyn Arguillas, and about 7,000 thousand mine watchers nationwide and abroad.]


Bernie Lopez
advance copy, eastwind journals column
Opinyon Magazine, July 2, 2012
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