December 14, 2005
SUBANON PEOPLE PROTEST TVI OPERATION
This is how Timuay Anoy, leader of the Subanon group described the operation of Toronto Ventures Inc., a Canadian-owned mining firm in today’s inquiry conducted by the House Committee on National Cultural Communities.
Anoy is one of the resource speakers of the group that came from Mt. Canatuan, Siocon, Za mboanga del Norte. Along with him are Subanen tribesmen Nanding Mundai and Onsino Mato, Rev. Beltran Pacatang and Godofredo Galos of Save Siocon Paradise Movement.
The investigation was initiated by Bayan Muna Representative Joel Virador based on House Resolution 426 directing the committee to probe the plight of the indigenous Subanen people in relation to the alleged encroachment and illegal operation of TVI in the area.
Rampant rights violation and alleged unscrupulous operation of the TVI prompt the militant solon to probe the Canadian mining firm.
“The Subanen people of Siocon stiffly oppose the mining operation of TVI since day 1 mainly because the mining company will only cause dislocation and division among them. The TVI mining operation likewise caused immense environmental destruction thereby destroying their sources of livelihood,” Virador said.
He added: “The subanon people’s economy is mainly agricultural. Their source of livelihood came from the seeds they plant. They don’t need gold because they cannot plant and harvest gold. So there’s no real sustainable development in mining in Siocon,” Virador said.
During the inquiry, Galos claimed that TVI’s mining operation caused more harm in the lives of the Subanen people because the mine already polluted the river Zamboanga.
“Since the operation started naging brown na ang tubig sa ilog. Napuno na ito ng putik. At isa sa mga pinagkukunan ng kabuhayan ng mga Subanen ay ang pangingisda. This is also their source of water,” Galos said.
Galos likewise accused the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of being negligent in monitoring the mining activities of the TVI.
“We fear that TVI would cause more destruction than development in Siocon. We don’t feel safe because the DENR has lot of lapses. We really cannot feel if they are doing their best in monitoring the activities of TVI,” Galos said.
Anoy on the other hand bared that TVI forbids him from entering his home in Siocon. He said that he is often barred by TVI’s Special Civilian Armed Auxilliary (SCAA) members every time he went home to see his family.
“2004 pa ako hindi nakakauwi. Hindi ako pwedeng pumasok sa sarili kong lupa dahil
ayaw ng TVI,” Anoy said.#