Subanen leader decries govt inaction vs 'rampant' illegal mining in Zamboanga del Sur

Philippine News Agency -
Date of publication: 
7 May, 2015

PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur — A chieftain of the Subanen tribe expressed alarm over what he called the rampant intrusion of illegal miners within their ancestral domain in Pagadian City and the nearby towns of Sominot and Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur as he accused government agencies of inaction.

Timuay Langhap Rio Olipio Lingating said there has been no response to a resolution they had passed addressed to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and other concerned agencies into their territory, which is covered by a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title.

The ancestral domain of the Pikumpungan Gataw Tebed Inc., which Lingating represents, encompasses Barangays Lourdes, La Suerte, Dampalan, Deborok and Lower Sibatang in Pagadian; Barangays Datagan, Bag-ong Baroy, Lumangoy, Picturan, and Sawa in Sominot; and Barangays Noboran, Cogonan, Binayan, and Langapod in Labangan.

Lingating said illegal mining is particularly rampant in Barangay Lourdes while a processing plant has been constructed in Barangay Deborok.

“Miners come and go but the Subanens will remain and stay forever in these areas because this is what we call our home, our ancestral domain handed to us by our forebears. We have to protect it at all cost. If they will not heed our call to stop, we will find ways to make them stop,” Lingating said.

He voiced suspicion that “powerful personalities” may be backing the illegal miners.