By EARL O. CONDEZA
Davao City — The pursuit of a “no-mining zone” in the city is closing in.
On Tuesday, the City Council passed on second reading the resolution to ban local mining operations—a prelude to a local ordinance opposing all mining projects, including the exploration permits of Alberto Mining Corp. and Pensons Mining Corp.
The two firms, according to Juland Suazo of Panalipdan Southern Mindanao, are said to be in a Memorandum of Agreement with MRC Allied, Inc., owned by taipan Lucio Tan.
These companies have secured an approval from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Central Office – Manila in 2011 without a genuine consultation and real consent from the residents, said Suazo. The agreement covers the areas of Brgy Lumiad, Mapula, Salapawan and Tapak of Paquibato District, said to have 95,000 hectares of deposits of gold, copper and silver.
During Tuesday’s regular session, councilors invited MGB XI Mine Management Division chief Atty. Wilfredo Moncano to answer how the two companies were able to avail permits.
Moncano explained that the bureau only made endorsement for exploration for the two firms but did not approve any applications yet.
But two barangay captains from Paquibato told councilors that the MGB tricked them to sign a memorandum of agreement to allow mining operations in their areas. They also said they were given 10,000 to 15,000 pesos each from mining firms.
They further announced they were withdrawing their signatures from the agreement.
Roli Lantawan, Barangay Captain of Tapak said he was told the agreement was intended for exploration and not for mining. “Ang istorya, explore lang. Dili mining. (They told us that they will only explore, not mine our place.)”
He later found out that exploration activities served as prerequisite for the application for mining operations.
Panalipdan claimed that they have received reports that barangay captains Jaime Manyawron of Mapula and Doming Bocayla of Salapawan–who were identified with paramilitary vigilantes Alamara–
received P250,000 each in exchange for their consent.
Suazo, Panalipdan spokesperson who spoke as a resource person at the City Council, pointed out the negative impact of mining on food and water security, environment and rights of the indigenous communities.
He pointed out the entry of mining will further decrease the city’s food production which is now at 46%, due to displacement and land conversion of farms brought by mining activities.
Suazo also said areas targeted for mining are militarized under the Peace and Development Program or Oplan Bayanhian, leading to human rights violations.
He urged the council to push for the no-mining ordinance citing the
powers of local government provided in the Local Government Code of 1991 that any project, especially those endangers the environment and people’s welfare, cannot by-pass the LGU. (Earl O. Condeza, davaotoday.com)