Statement of Tampakan Forum on Glencore’s Copper Project Pull-out
Recently, Anglo-Swiss Glencore Plc completed the sale of all its shares in the Tampakan mining project in South Cotabato to Filipino-owned Alsons Prime Investment Corporation. We consider this significant foreign divestment as a clear indicator that the Tampakan Copper and Gold Project is losing its glitter. And this is a victory for the Bla’an indigenous peoples, whose lands and domains are at the heart of the planned mining tenement, and who have consistently and persistently resisted the project.
This resistance has been met with series of human rights violations, and killings of Bla’an leaders and elders. But the directly and indirectly affected communities of the Tampakan Copper and Gold Project (TGCP) stood firm on their stance because they know that the $5.9 billion project will bring nothing to their people but divisiveness, destruction of resources, different forms of violence, rendering them more vulnerable and marginalized.
The lack of consent to the mining project from the Bla’ans continues to be one of the strongest stumbling blocks to the commencement of mining operations in the areas. The Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) conducted by the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) remains problematic and questionable. The local government of South Cotabato, one of the 4 provinces covered by the project, provides yet another strong obstacle. The Provincial Board of South Cotabato recently reaffirmed the Provincial Environment Code (Resolution 84 Series of 2010: A Resolution Enacting the Environment Code of the Province of South Cotabato) including its ban on open-pit mining amidst the pressure from the national government to give up their exercise of local autonomy.
The project has been facing all forms of resistance – from petitions, direct actions, national and international campaign; and from different sectors of the affected provinces – indigenous peoples, farmers, irrigators, environmentalists, Church and religious. This unified stance has forced a giant global player such as Glencore Plc. out of the Tampakan project. We believe that with the unwavering peoples’ fight against this destruction, the entire Tampakan project will be out of the Bla’ans’ ancestral domains, with no investors, and with its permits revoked.
We, indigenous people’s rights and human rights advocates, activists and environmentalists, join the peoples of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur and Sarangani in their continued assertion of their rights to their ancestral domain, to food, a balanced ecology, and life.
Tampakan Forum is a campaign network of support groups to the struggle of the Bla’an community and the campaign of Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel against the Tampakan Mining project. Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) serves as the secretariat of the network. The list of members include Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights (LILAK), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID), Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC-KSK/FOE), Philippine Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLINKS), and the London Working Group on Mining in the Philippines.
For more information, please contact:
Fr. Gillarme Joy Pelino, Director – Social Action Center Diocese of Marbel, 09106338181
Rene Pamplona – Social Action Center Diocese of Marbel, 09183809923
Primo Morillo – PMPI Advocacy Officer, 09228501874