eastwind journals 67


The views in these articles are the author’s alone.


Mining agents inside MICC must resign


By Bernie Lopez
Xstrata-SMI’s 10,000-hectare Tampakan gold mine application, largest in Asia, is in limbo.


Irony of ironies, after years of effort and millions of dollars, Xstrata-SMI has rejected its approved ECC for the project, according to Mines and Geodetic Bureau (MGB) chief Leo Jasareno. Xstrata-SMI appealed to MGB to remove the ECC provision requiring the firm to maintain its tailings dam in perpetuity.


Jasareno, however, will not budge. He says this is non-negotiable. He adds, “How can I reverse (the provision). It’s a basic principle. This is by law. The Mining Act requires it, ‘complete rehabilitation.'” When SMI leaves, who will continue maintenance? Xstrata-SMI prefers to leave the 3.2 billion metric tons of toxic waste to be the government’s problem when it leaves 25 years from now, after it has extracted billions of dollars in gold. This is not acceptable to MGB. It is a duty of the miner that he cannot pass on to government. But Xstrata-SMI have many options to neutralize the MGB.




Ironically, the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), the all-powerful agency, is a venue for reversal. It is co-chaired by DENR Secretary Ramon Paje and Cesar Purisima. Unfortunately, it is an open secret that Purisima is an agent of mining firms, according to media and Internet reports.


Jasareno says only Paje and the President can reverse the ECC provision on maintenance in perpetuity. He adds that the MICC is not an enforcement but a policy formation agency. Still, Purisima has the clout to influence reversal. If it is true that he is an agent of the miners, he should resign from the MICC to make it unbiased, and he should inhibit himself from the deliberation on the perpetuity clause.


How powerful is the MICC in influencing mining decisions in favor of miners and against environmentalists. President Aquino’s EO 79 has centralized certain mining decisions to the MICC, under the Office of the President. The powerful and invisible mining lobby’s goal is total control of all mining decisions via the MICC. The graph below tells it all.
Click or CTL+click to view blow up or zoom in

Pinoy may not even be aware he is an unwitting instrument in the reversal of the ECC provision, which may result in the destruction of Mindanao’s bread basket on a massive scale if the dam bursts after Xstrata-SMI has left.


The chances that Tampakan tailings dam will not spill through time, with the many future storms and the fault lines crisscrossing Tampakan, is practically nil.


About 35 state-of-the-art tailings dam have collapsed worldwide, including that of Philex, the largest spill in Philippine mining history. This is why Xstrata-SMI rejected the maintenance-in-perpetuity provision. They know the dam will eventually burst to kill our agriculture, and they do not want to be around when that happens. For them, let it be a Filipino problem. Xstrata-SMI is confident it can reverse the provision via its agents or via Paje or even Pinoy directly.


Glencore, which has acquired Xstrata-SMI, has not made a move, waiting for the right time for management takeover. According to Internet articles, Glencore may prefer to dump the present ECC and re-apply for a new one from scratch, which has been its common practice abroad. It also sent feelers that now may not be the right time to go full blast in any type of mining, and may downsize or stop some of its global operations. This is however taken with a grain of salt by environmentalists.


Meanwhile, the killings of B’laans are escalating in the proposed mine site. Both the AFP and the NPA have made pawns of the B’laans, seducing them to their side, and arming them to kill each other. This situation is a Mindanao-wide trend. The ethnic extinction of Lumads in Mindanao is presently escalating rapidly.
The Kiblawan LGU admitted in a  congressional hearing that military elements in the area were being funded by SMI. Initially, SMI admitted and clarified this, but now Jasareno says they are denying it in a human rights conference at UP. Corporate funding of the military is dangerous, and communities have said this was totally unacceptable, resulting in increased human rights violations.
The peace zone’ concept, as explained in the article below, is a viable option that has worked before and may be applicable to the B’laans of Tampakan as a solution to their problems? eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com


The Lumads of Mindanao are dying


In the Amazon in Brazil, longest river and largest rainforest in the planet, the 350-odd ethnic tribes thriving since prehistory were reduced to 80 in a span of a decade, not by massacres, but by the common cold and other ailments brought in by outsiders. In Mindanao, the common cold is nothing. It is the massacre and land-grabbing that trigger ethnic extinction.
When a war within a tribal domain drives away the Lumads, outsiders come in, grab the land, manipulate land titles, and sell it to the likes of Quiboloy, the self-made messiah of Davao City, according to Lumad sources. Mr. Quiboloy, how many hectares of Lumad lands have you acquired, or maybe you do not even know?


The extinction of our ethnic communities have actually been in slow process in the last half century, but it has dramatically accelerated in the last decade, for simple reasons – rapid crowdedness, runaway population, and insurgency growth. The ancestral domains of Lumads have rapidly shrunk, and massacres are becoming a weekly affair. The Lumads are easily open to predators because they are scattered, unlike the Igorots of the Cordillera who are still relatively homogenous in warding off outside forces.


Both the AFP and the NPA seduce the Lumads to join them. Those who join the AFP as CAFGUs are massacred by the NPA, and those who join the NPA as cadres are massacred by the NPA. The Lumads have been unwitting pawns in an endless war.


The concept of a Peace Zone, a neutral ethnic domain where neither NPA nor AFP can enter, was a temporary success in the 90s, with pilot models in Sagada in the Cordillera and Arakan Valley in Mindanao. It reduced Lumad casualtives dramatically. But alas, it was undermined by the AFP and NPA themselves who accused each other of violating the zone.


The Peace Zone concept is the only known way to avert ethnic extinction. It must be revived and there must be a law mandating its implementation. The Church plays a key role in this. Calling on good-hearted solons to make this a law. We must compel the AFP and the NPA to keep their war out of ethnic domains. Otherwise, ethnic extinction will mimic Brazil’s tragedy within a decade.eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
Ministry Inspirationals
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from Phivolcs and the Third Secret of Fatima


the theology of pain


if you read the lives of saints
you will realize that
the closer they were to Jesus
the more pains they underwent


note that all the apostles
had violent deaths of persecution
only st paul the apostle was not crucified
because he was a roman


Jesus clearly said “come, take up
your cross daily and follow Me”
the essence of working for Jesus
is the surrender to inevitable pain


pain strengthens and sanctifies us
but only if we offer it to Him
as a form of prayer and atonement
for the sins of the world


pain is inevitable
we cannot escape it
no matter how we try
we have to live and endure it for Him


excerpt from the book ‘foodforthesoul’
available at most National Bookstore outlets nationawide
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especially from the terminally sick
send email to sr.raquel.rvm@gmail.com
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