Indigenous people in ComVal declare war vs large-scale mining

September 20, 2013

Various indigenous tribes in Compostela Valley declare their unity in engaging war against large-scale mining in their ancestral lands. (Contributed Photo)

Various indigenous tribes in Compostela Valley declare their unity in engaging war against large-scale mining in their ancestral lands. (John Paul Bueno)

Various tribes of indigenous people in Compostela Valley signed a unity pact, called tampura, to fight a large-scale mining corporation affiliated with San Miguel Corp. that is set to operate in the area.

Heads of Mangguangans, Mandayas and Matigsalug condemned the SMC-affiliated and Cojuangco-owned Agusan Petroleum and Minerals Corp. (AgPet) for “renewed encroachment to their land, while they still have to recover from the ravages caused by Typhoon Pablo.”

The unity pact involved lumad prayers and a slaying of a red rooster led by Datu Matunao, a Matigsalug leader. The indigenous leader led the throwing of the rooster’s head in the direction of the Compostela town Hall signifying their condemnation of large-scale mining.

AgPet had acquired an exploration permit for mining of more than 12,000 hectares in Compostela Valley.

The indigenous tribes launch a “pangayao”, or a traditional war waged by tribes which have a warrior or bagani system.

The leaders said it is the first time that the various tribes united, along with other sectors, in opposing a foreign company enroaching upon their ancestral lands.

Karlos Trangia, one of many Typhoon Pablo survivors, said the unity pact, or “tampura”, shows how the indigenous tribes are now being pushed to united against large-scale mining and the operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that has been securing these operations.

“We will continue to stand our ground until our last breathe to defend our land and life. We have yet to see our crops yield new fruits, to see that trees will bloom again in the forests of ComVal and now, AgPet –  SMC in cahoots with the Aquino government will destroy our lands, our life for good. But this we shall not allow to happen,” said Trangia.