Banwaondatus: Mining interest leads to human rights violations

Press Release
February 2, 2015

Around 207 Banwaonhouseholdsbecame victims of human rights violations as recorded by Karapatan-Caraga due to the ceaseless military operations in four villages in San Luis, Agusan Del Sur, to pave way for the entry of mining companies in the area.

Two hundred families involving 969 individuals were forced to evacuate their community due to threats by paramilitary groups and elements of the 26th Infantry Battalion- 4th Infantry Division Philippine Army (26IB-4th ID PA) under Lt. Col. Rolando Dumawa. Three families were victims of divestment of properties.

Other than violations committed against families, 22 individuals were victims of harassment and intimidation, 10 innocent civilians were used as guide in military operations, seven were forced to surrender as members of the New People’s Army (NPA), and 11 victims of indiscriminate firing.

We refused

Datu“Bagal” MauroMansilyohan, a chief community adviser of the Banwaons in SitioTabon-Tabon, Barangay Mahagsay, San Luis Agusan del Sur, said the paramilitary groups in the area wants us to give up our ancestral domain to them through a unified Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT).

“Mario Napungahan, a tribal chieftain who used to be with the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU), wants us to transfer to their community so that the ancestral domain of the Banwaons will be consolidated under his supervision and leadership,” DatuMansilyohan said.

He added Napungahan wants to consolidate the CADT because he wants mining corporations to operate in the ancestral domains of the Banwaons in San Luis, Agusandel Sur.

Military involvement

Ricky Hogsalan, vice chairman of sitioTabon-Tabon, said they were invited by the members of the 26IB-4th ID PA in Barangay Mahagsay on November 23, 2014 to discuss about CADT.

“The military personnel talked to us one-by-one, they questioned our refusal to go against the consolidated CADT for our ancestral domain,” Hogsalan said.

Hogsalan said through the army’s Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD), they were constantly convincing indigenous peoples about the benefits of mining and the CADT under Mario Napungahan.

Also, around 20 Banwaondatus representing the tribal communities involved in the evacuation conducted a meeting on February 1, 2015. They all agreed that the corporate mining interest in the area is the reason behind the militarization and harassment towards them that also breed forcible evacuation.

Collusion

DatuJomoritoGoaynon, deputy secretary general of Kalumaran, said the forcible evacuation is the effect of the army and paramilitary group’s coercion to allow the entry of mining corporations in the ancestral domain of the Banwaons.

Goaynonis also the spokesperson of Manilakbayan ng Mindanao 2014 which brought the issues of the indigenous peoples in Mindanao to Manila. He is also a council member of Kalipunan ng mgaKatutubongMamamayansaPilipinas (KAMP).

“In this case, we can clearly see the collusion of the military and the lumadbandits in the hinterlands to pave the way of foreign mining corporations that will surely destroy our environment,” Goaynon said, adding that the AFP have been training these bandits through their Investment Defense Force (IDF) program.

These pattern of harassment and militarization is akin to what happened in SitiosBanwaon, Tambo and Kilometro 48 in Binicalan village, San Luis, Agusan Del Sur. The Banwaons in the said area agreed with the consolidated CADT which was supervised by DatuBenhurMansuonay.

“On our previous experience, after the approval of the consolidated CADT, the datus in Barangay Binicalan are now under threats and harassment for refusing to sign the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) that grants the entry of mining corporations in the area, following the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA),” Goaynon said.

He said that Tambuli Mining Company Inc. and Malampay Mining Inc. are planning to conduct an open-pit mining in the area for gold.

“We call to stop the COPD in the community and let the Banwaons decide for themselves without threats and intimidation. We also call for the pull out of military troops in the area that led to forcible evacuation and human rights violations. We also demand justice to the rights violations committed against our Banwaon brothers and sisters,” Goaynon said.


For reference:

JomoritoGoaynon
Deputy Secretary General
Kalumaran-Mindanao
C#: (+63) 936 334 7754

Eliza Rose Pangilinan
Secretary General
Karapatan – Caraga
C#: (+63) 907 434 7565 DatuBagal Mauro Mansilyohan Banwaon Community Adviser C#: (+63) 919 784 0077

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