Home » , , » Mamanwas continue barricade; mining firm vows to pay P51.5 million

Mamanwas continue barricade; mining firm vows to pay P51.5 million

TAGANITO, Claver, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews/19 February) – Representatives of the Mamanwa tribe here have vowed to continue the barricade they set up since January 29 until the Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC) pays the royalty/share due them.

TMC officials said they are willing and ready to pay the P51.5 million royalty from July 2006 to December 2007 but are awaiting guidance from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) on whose bank account the amount would be deposited.

The amount represents 1% of the audited shipment report of TMC from July 2006 to December 2006 when the gross value of the beneficiated nickel silicate ore shipped to Japan and limonite shipped to Australia was P905,396,957.33 and in 2007when the gross value of the shipments of the same to Japan and Australia plus a shipment of low grade soft ore to China totaled P4,248,232,289.08.

The record was forwarded to NCIP acting regional director Jose Dumagan by Alilo Ensomo, Jr., OIC Regional Director of the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau in a letter dated December 17, 2008.

The share from the 2008 output, has yet to be computed. Ensomo said TMC has committed to submit the final audited shipment report for 2008 by “the first quarter of 2009.”

TMC resident mine manager Armando Pereda told MindaNews Tuesday afternoon that they are ready to pay “anytime once we receive the instruction from NCIP.”

Datu Reynante Buklas and Datu Alfredo Olorico in a January 19 letter to TMC requested that the P51.5 million be deposited to their joint account at the Philippine Veterans Bank branch in Butuan City.

On January 26, however, Vicente Baldoza, acting provincial director of the NCIP based in Surigao City, wrote TMC requesting that the amount be deposited to the account of the Asosasyon sa Madazaw na Panagkaisa nan mga Tribong Mamanwa sa Taganito ug Urbiztondo (Amapantrimtu) with the Land Bank of the Philippines branch in Surigao City.

Amapantrimtu is the organization of Mamanwas that forged a Memorandum of Agreement with TMC and the NCIP on July 18, 2006, when TMC was applying for a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) for the “exploration, development and commercial utilization of nickel ores/deposits located at Barangays Urbiztondo and Hayanggabon,” covering 4,975.03 hectares.

Under the law, no MPSA can be granted without the free and prior informed consent of the tribe.

The Mamanwa tribe holds a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) over 48,870,026.3 hectares in the towns of Alegria, Bacuag, Claver, Guigakuit and Tubod in Surigao del Norte. The CADT was issued on September 22, 2006. The TMC’s MPSA was approved July 28, 2008.

The July 2006 MOA, signed by Datu Olorico, Datu Rizal Buklas (father of Datu Reynante) – leaders of the area where TMC is operating -- and Datu Emiliano Gedi, the CADT head claimant, stipulated only an annual “financial assistance amounting to P500,000” released in two equal tranches every last week of June and second week of December, until 2031.

Pereda said TMC has released a total of P1.5 million in “financial assistance” in accordance with the July 2006 MOA, for years 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Pereda said that prior to the approval of their MPSA in 2006, their operations were governed by an operating agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources from 1989 to 2014. The Mining Act was passed in 1995 and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) in 1997.

Datu Olorico and Datu Reynante Buklas confirmed having received a total of P1.5 million from the firm which they divided among themselves. But the leaders said they did not know they were entitled to a 1% royalty/share from the gross output.

The Datus said the NCIP did not tell them they were entitled to royalty and that it took a Butuan-based contractor, Engr. Sergio Pascual, a former contractor of TMC, to tell them last year that they were entitled to so much more under the law.

Pascual told MindaNews at the barricade site last Saturday that he represents the tribe and has a special power of attorney from and a Memorandum of Agreement with the Datus.

He lambasted the NCIP and TMC for allegedly exploiting the Mamanwas. He said the NCIP, “the very government agency that should protect the Mamanwas” is not protecting them.

Pascual has set up the Indigenous Peoples Management and Development Corporation (IPMDC), to help the Mamanwas. He said they have “lawyers, accountants, doctors, nurses, etc..”

Asked if the firm has Mamanwa representatives, IPMDC operations manager Romeo Valentino Catalan replied in the negative. “We are representing them (the Mamanwas,” he told MindaNews.

Asked how much they would be getting, Catalan said the tribe will give them 30% share.

Pascual said he summoned the officials of TMC and two other mining firms operating in the area-- Oriental Synergy Mining Corporation and Platinum Group Metals Corporation – on October 28 and that TMC did not show up.

Two weeks later, on November 13, the NCIP passed Resolution 325 en banc, declaring that the special power of attorney that designated Pascual as Attrney-in Fact of the Mamanwas and the MOA resulting therefrom “violates the provisions of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act and NCIP Administrative Order NO. 1, Series of 2006” and also declared that it is “contrary to the customs, tradition and practices of the Mamanwa tribe.”

On the same day, the NCIP passed Resolution 324 authorizing the acting regional director of the NCIP to “renegotiate, execute, and/or enter into favorable terms and conditions for and in behalf of the Mamnwa tribe of Surigao del Norte and the NCIP

The resolution acknowledged that “some of the terms and conditions” of the July 2006 MOA are “not in consonance with the provisions of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 as well as with Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (RA 8371) which provides for the protection and promotion of the interest of the ICCs/IP,” particularly citing the P500,000 annual financial assistance when it should be 1% of the gross production/output as IP royalty/share.

Following Resolution 324, the TMC and NCIP signed a Joint Undertaking on December 8, 2008, acknowledging that the P500,000 annual financial assistance “does not accurately represent the amount due to the Mamanwa Tribe (Ampantrimtu) as their IP loyalty/share” and that “it is the desire” of TMC to “faithfully comply with its legal obligations to the Mamanawa Tribe based on the provisions of both the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997.”

The Joint Undertaking was signed by TMC president Gerardo Brimo and NCIP’s Dumagan, in the presence of CADT Head Claimant Datu Emiliano Gedi and MGB’s Ensomo.

Dumagan told MindaNews in a telephone interview that the NCIP in an en banc resolution number 009 dated January 30, 2009 had resolved that the royalty due the Mamanwas be deposited to the Surigao City account of the Mamanwa association.

Dumagan said he received a copy of the en banc resolution this morning.

Datu Olorico and Datu Reynante on Tuesday afternoon said they would only leave the barricade when the firm pays them the royalty. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)


Anonymous said...

since my early childhood, i have been in constant brush with the mamanwa tribes especially during town fiesta and other public occassions. constantly begging for money and food. sometimes, to a point that they become annoyance to the public.

it is not until today that i learned about this monetary share that they are entitled to. such a shame for those people who hide this fact from them.

imagine, if they have been given these amount a long while ago, they would have produced scholars becuase they would have built themselves schools. they would have stayed in one village instead of being a nomad since they can have the money to build their own houses. they would have access medical services and a host of other services for the upliftment of their living conditions.

it breaks my heart that while we enjoyed the benefits of the natural resources from their ancestral domains, they are on our city streets, begging for something to eat...

witholding information is tantamount to lying... and i just wonder how these businessmen can sleep peacefully at night knowing that they have deprived an entire race of people their right to light a decent life. it is descrimination at its focal point.

is it because that they are not good looking like the rest of us? is it because that they lack the necessary education? or is it because that if we give them what is due to them, we would be surpassed by them because of their resiliency in dire times and their fervor in pursuing descent living.

if we will stop listening to our own concience, then we stop being human.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for in lighting me to your experience on these tribes, coming from Siargao Island I am so ignorant these tribes have been existed. The tribes often get cheated of their rights just because they have no knowledge what are they entitled for, the truth is they are entitled to any government benefits school, hospital and any help, but of course they have no idea. There are governments agencies which are assigning to this kind of people called (social welfares) but the question, are they doing their job? Or do they know what the procedure of their job is.

There’s a lot of factors why Miners kind of quite when it come of not paying the dues to the tribes. No question miner’s owners made a mistake for not fulfilling the agreement they went into. I won’t dwell from the fast instead thanking for the mining’s for doing the right things. My constructive criticism is to the Law Firm what taking them so long to represent this case. They have solid evidence and the law is in their side. Even an intern could win this case. Take it from my knowledge; in college I took Mining Land Laws, I remember my instructor was a lawyer it was detail explanations on tribes who have an ancestral certificate would entitle on percent of the mining income. Law firms should constant monitor on these tribes. And beside huge money to be earn. Lawyer often get paid by percentage of what the judgment is. Of course more money awarded to their client the more money they get.

I started to believe that our government system has failed the tribes, our local politician should start take a look on our policies on how this kind of people to be handled and the employee on the agencies do their job? My advice to the public; is to communicate to them and point them to the right direction where to get help. If we the people can help them we are making a different.

The Government Agency should;
1. Make a trip to their tribes and talk to the leader, explain what free benefits available to them.
2. Now that they have money, encourage them to send the kids in a public school
3. Often because they are far from civilization they have a conscious of not going to the town or cities; but try to treat them like they are one of us; remember they are a human being.
4. Fired those government agency employee who are not doing there job!!!!!!!!!

By the way who ever think they are better and prettier than the tribes it show that they are arrogant and Idiots, themselves need to seek mental help. Thank you, Tata G.

Anonymous said...

very well put tata G.

I admire your point of view regarding this matter.

It is nice to know that there are still people who think for the welfare of less fortunate members of our society.

May your tribe increase sir...

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