Commending the Local Government of Tampakan for taking a bold step for the general welfare of Tampakan communities and ecology
The Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI), a network of 250 Peoples’ Organizations, Non Government Organizations, and Social Action Centers across the Philippines working for the protection of the rights of the environment, peace and human rights, climate change, and sustainable agriculture, commends the Municipal Government of Tampakan for taking a bold stand against the Sagittarius Mining Incorporated (SMI), a conglomeration of big businesses in the Philippine headed by the IndoPhil Group and SouthCot Mining Corporation.
This effort by the Municipal Government of Tampakan in the passage of Resolution No. 435 “Terminating the 2009 Municipal Principal Agreement” is a sign of hope not only for the livelihood and welfare of the local peoples of South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur, not only for the Blaans protecting the integrity of their ancestral domains, but also importantly for the region’s biodiversity, forests, agricultural lands, fisheries, and watersheds where all life emanate and where the survival of all living beings depended on.
PMPI believes that the passage of Resolution 435 sheds truth on the much debated, often maligned power of LGUs in asserting their autonomy and deciding on their development goals ensuring the general welfare of its people.
This action by the Municipal Government of Tampakan gives courage and hope to LGU’s in similar situations, such as the Province of Marinduque that is currently confronted with legal protest from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for its local legislation against mining.
It is also a victory and vindication for other LGUs standing up for their land and life for so long, such as the Provincial Government of Nueva Viscaya against OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. and the Mines and Geoscience Bureau, and the City of Zamboanga for demanding accountability from Atro Mining Vitali, Inc.
We are hoping that this bold action by the Municipality of Tampakan will serve as a catalyst towards the legislation of an ordinance that shall not only uphold and protect the rights of its people, but also the protection and recognition of nature’s rights.
In a time where health pandemic becomes very much a product of our disregard and violation of the spaces and life support of other creatures in our forest and wilds, local government plays a big role in ensuring ultimately that the health of its people and the environment are safe, secured and sustained.
We expect strong disagreement and backlash from the mining company as well as its allies in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources towards this action. But we shall continue to support local environmental defenders towards the end. We will stand in solidarity with them.