Warring Tribes Unite to Allow Large-Scale Mining


"Tribe leaders negotiated rights over the Diwalwal Mineral Reservation in the Philippines."

PhilStar, Jun Pasaylo

Tribes that scrambled for their respective rights over the Diwalwal Mineral Reservation (DMR) in Mindanao have united and announced today their support for the large-scale mining project of a private firm in the 950-hectare tribal mining area (TRIMA).

In a unity declaration at EDSA Shangri-La today, ethnic leaders of the Mandaya, Manobo, Mangguangan and Dibabawon tribes from Compostela Valley in Mindanao said indigenous people in the area have finally ended their conflicts and they are now allowing a private mining firm to conduct operations in TRIMA, which is operated by locals through small-scale mining.

Agton, chairman of the National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP), said that the concerted decision came after a process of consultation with the tribesmen and their leaders.

The Monkayo ethnic leaders were represented by Rajah Carlito Buntas (Dibabawons), Datu Victoriano Tulik Tunggay (Manobos), Datu Rozalino Andresan (Mandayas), and Datu Carlito Maligamon Alejo (Mangguangan).

In March last year, a joint agreement between the four tribes and the Philippine Mining Development Corporation (PMDC) for mining rights over mining areas in Diwalwal. The agreement, however, failed because of the dispute among the tribes.

The PMDC reiterated that it could not allow any large-scale mining firm to operate on TRIMA without unity among the tribes and their full agreement to the mining operation.

The Diwalwal gold rush started in 1983 when people in the area discovered gold along its creeks.

Diwalwal is known worldwide for its rich natural resources. Sales records from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show that at least P2 billion worth of gold are extracted in the area annually.

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