Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reposted: What I think of the NPA's raid on Taganito Mining

I've been planning on writing something along these lines, but she beat me to it. :D Read up and judge for yourself.

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

 What I think of the NPA's raid on Taganito Mining

by Kei Valmoria-Bughaw on Saturday, October 15, 2011 at 11:27pm

My uncle was one of the so-called "hostages" during the recent raid of the New People’s Army in a Surigao mine. Of course, being known as left-leaning, I am moved by family and friends to post my stand on the issue. So here it is.


On October 3, 2011, the New People’s Army attacked three mining sites in Claver, Surigao del Sur. These were owned by the following companies: Taganito-Sumitomo, Taganito Mining Corp., and Platinum Gold Metal Corp. These are sister companies, owned by Nickel Asia’s Manny Zamora, and co-funded by Japanese investors.

The CPP-NPA-NDF* stated in their websites that this was a punitive action. For several years now, local residents as well as lumads (indigenous people) have complained of environmental degradation, shockingly low wages, and, for the lumads, refusal to pay royalties for mining on their ancestral lands. Note that in the statements of the group, there were no references to increasing revolutionary tax, which the AFP and Aquino government stated was the reason for the attack.

According to NDF Mindanao spokesperson Jorge Madlos, the residents have written numerous letters to Taganito and the Japanese bosses to heed summons to a discussion but these have been ignored. Furthermore, the Tribal Coalition of Mindanao has already filed a petition in the Supreme Court last May 30, 2011 to hold these 3 companies accountable for violations of environmental laws and ancestral domain.

The NPA disarmed guards, herded key personnel for debriefing, and set fire to mining equipment. All the detained employees (not hostages), including my uncle, were released after the punitive action was completed.


As expected, Noynoy Aquino and his mouthpieces in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) crowed about NPA greed, citing the demands for bigger revolutionary tax to be paid by TMC-Sumitomo. Of course, that’s about the only thing they can say to defend themselves.

As NDF’s Luis Jalandoni pointed out, Noynoy chose to ignore these:

  1. Large-scale mining and export of non-renewable minerals via cheap labor and operations that destroy hope of Philippine industrialization;
  2. Dislocation of the Mamanwa, indigenous people of the Surigao provinces, and dispossession of their ancestral lands; and
  3. Widespread environmental impact of the mining operations.

Pollution of the nearby coastlines has long been a complaint of local residents. And Noynoy and his people knew this. Long before the raid, a documentary of the Taganito mining operations was shown to the Presidential Adviser on Environmental Protection Neric Acosta. He can be seen saying on the GMA 7 documentary in a shocked voice: “My God, ano yan (what's that)?”

Well, who wouldn’t be shocked with 160 square miles of exposed earth and unbridled violations of environmental laws? In the petition submitted to the Supreme Court, it is revealed that the UP- Natural Science Research Institute conducted tests on water and soil samples taken from the site and found that nickel levels were way, way higher than acceptable levels. In fact, the samples contained 190mg/liter—a far cry from the 0.02 mg/liter acceptable level.


If you’d listen to the statements from the AFP and the Aquino administration, you’d think that this is a mere extortion case. Some even chose to distort the statement by Maria Malaya, NDF national spokesperson where she said that the company owes the local government 400 million pesos in taxes but gets away with just 40 million by bribing local officials in Surigao. My relatives actually bought the military’s line: the NPA is asking for 400 million! Hahaha. My, my. Read the NDF statement from the links below.

And here's more that the military and Noynoy failed to mention:
  1. Just last September, the Office of the Ombudsman suspended two officials of the NCIP (National Commission on Indigenous Peoples) after they were found guilty of graft and abuse of authority. This includes pocketing millions of pesos worth of royalties to the Mamanwa people, payment for turning their ancestral lands into 160 square kilometers of exposed earth.
  2. Outstanding royalties to the Mamanwas amount to over 200 million pesos. But that’s a pittance compared to the profits Taganito and its foreign investors have accumulated for exporting millions of tons of nickel in 30 years.
  3. Three decades of large scale mining operations have resulted in total denudation of a huge area of the Surigao mountains. Take a look below at the picture generated by Google Earth.
  4. Sumitomo’s coal-fired Acid Leaching Plant, which refines the nickel, spews out toxic fumes daily, resulting from its usage of sulfuric acid in the refining process.
  5. Taganito employees are paid very low wages in comparison to the millions of dollars they get for stealing our natural wealth.
YES! It is OUR natural wealth. The Philippines IS wealthy in natural resources. However, our TRAITORS in government SELL our gold and minerals to IMPERIALISTS like Japan and the USA. And what do we get in return?


I have always been against mining, specifically, large-scale mining. There's little harm in panning or individual mining. Unaided by large machines that carve out the earth, there is less environmental destruction. But once the huge machinery come in, there is no way you can return the earth back to its original state nor can you avoid pollution as an end-result.

The mining officials say, “Oh! We did reforestation efforts!” or “No way, we always clean up our act. See this treatment plant?” I'd say, “Can you really replace full-grown trees, 40-50 years old? Can you stop all the tailings from exposed mines once the torrential rains come?” It’s BS, I say. Total BS.

I will not comment on the revolutionary tax supposedly paid by Sumitomo/TMC to the NDF. I guess they must’ve paid one time or another; most companies operating in NPA-controlled areas do. But I am not going to discuss the political reasons of the NDF for doing so. I can’t speak for them and what’s more, that’s not the real issue here.

For me, the real issue, which breaks my heart, is the dislocation and the corruption of the Mamanwa culture by 3 decades of mining issues. I am disheartened that ancestral lands are given a specific VALUE to be paid out in pesos. No, let me revise that—I am OUTRAGED!

Long before the arrival of the colonialists, the proud Mamanwas lived in this land. And now, they are reduced to the indignity of asking for royalties from foreigners. This is not a Filipino value, its clearly Western. Our forefathers knew that LAND cannot be owned. It is owned only by God, whoever and whatever he was, according to their beliefs. Land is revered for its ability to give life, to provide food, fresh water, and wood for shelter. Now some foreigners and their local counterparts can rape our sovereign land, they just have to pay 200 million pesos for stealing it from the Mamanwas? 200 million for the land of our fathers? FTS.

In July 2010, Mamanwa warriors trooped to TMC and burned some mining equipment in protest of the unreleased royalties. The AFP went after them as if they were terrorist fugitives. The mines were more important than some puny, black-skinned, kinky-haired taga-bukid (mountain-dwellers). Isn’t that tragic?

In an interview, Nickel Asia president Gerard Brimo laughed off as “populist rhetoric” the NDF statements. “TMC stands by its exemplary social and environmental record for the past 24 years, which have earned the company various awards in these fields,” he said.

Oh, Mr. Brimo, we watched GMA’s documentary and clearly, you are caught in a big fat lie. As for Noynoy and his mouthpieces, they are either deaf-blind OR they are big fat liars too.

And as for my Uncle being detained by the NPA, I have never doubted for a second that he would be safely returned to his family. I am sorry he had to go through the ordeal, after all he’s just my second most favorite uncle in Surigao, but I’d worry more if it was the AFP who abducted him.

The NPA doesn’t have a reputation for abducting, raping and torturing, and murdering unarmed civilians. But guess who does?

*For international readers: CPP-NDF-NPA means Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People's Army. The New People's Army is the armed component of the party and carries out military actions.

  1. http://www.piplinks.org/House+Committee+on+National+Cultural+Communities
  2. http://www.piplinks.org/Zenaida+Brigida+Pawid+
  3. http://www.piplinks.org/Ruben+de+los+Santos
  4. http://www.interaksyon.com/article/14529/taganito-mining-resumes-operations-after-attack
  5. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/10/04/11/reds-justify-attacks-surigao-mines
  6. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/-depth/10/03/11/patroller-sends-photos-surigao-mine-attack-aftermath
  7. http://www.ndfp.net/joom15/index.php/media-releases-mainmenu-53/statements-mainmenu-71/1211-npa-punishes-sumitomo-mining-corporation-taganito-mining-corpoporation-and-platinum-gold-metal-corporation.html
  8. http://www.bomboradyo.com/news/regional-news/cebuano-news/79325-taganito-mining-co-ug-platinum-metals-group-co-sunod-sunod-nga-giatake-sa-200-ka-npa
  9. http://natoreyes.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/tv-docu-shows-aquino-government-knew-of-mining-issues-in-claver-surigao-even-before-npa-raid/
  10. http://www.philippinerevolution.net/statements/aquino-regime-misses-the-essential-points-at-issue#.ToxWuHtzhrI.facebook
  11. http://www.philippinerevolution.net/statements/cpp-congratulates-npa-in-northeast-mindanao-for-punishing-big-foreign-mining-company#.ToxWN__TKKI.facebook
  12. http://arnoldpadilla.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/mining-and-climate-change-aquino%E2%80%99s-policy-incoherence/

Read more about this by clicking the Read More Link below. Like this post? Click the button and let the whole world know! You can also subscribe to my feeds and follow my blog so you'll never miss a thing. Smiles!

1 comment:

  1. Halos lahat kasi ng mga punitive actions ng CPP-NPA-NDF sa mga malalaking kumpanya (mining or otherwise)ikinakabit sa hindi pagbabayad ng rev tax na sinasabi, hindi na pinapalalim kung ano ba talaga ang isyung nasa likod ng mga aksyong ito.
    At sa mga kababayan nating masisipag mag-update ng kanilang mga facebook accounts pero tinatamad magpalalim sa mga nasasagap nilang mga balita, nilululon na lang nang buong-buo ang linya ng mga awtoridad.
    napadaan lang...sana magkita tayo kasi andito lang ako, hehe


Your 2cents worth please? :DD


Related Posts with Thumbnails