Community Victory: Mining Drillers Backed-off because of Community Human Barricade

BARANGAY ANISLAGAN, PLACER, SURIGAO DEL NORTE—Today marks the second monthof the human barricade installed by the residents of barangay Anislagan preventing the mining drillers to pass through their barangay access road.
Equipment and employees of United Philippine Drillers (UPD), the subcontractor of the drilling operation of the exploration activity of Kalayaan Copper Gold Resources, Inc. (KCGR), on their way to their mining drilling sites were prevented by the barricaders to pass though the barangay road of Anislagan. KCGR has abandoned its stock room and partly a rest house in Anislagan, as a result.
KCGR is a joint venture of Manila Mining Company (MMC) and Anglo-American, a British-owned mining corporation.
September 2002 or almost six years ago, the community organized themselves as ABAKATAF (Anislagan Bantay Kalikasan Task Force) during the height of their first human barricade which prompted the DENR Secretary to issue an open-ended moratorium of mining activities of Manila Mining Company in Anislagan. ABAKATAF is primarily organized to protect the community's land, livelihood, and life which are threatened by the entry of mining companies.
We (my family and the whole community of Anislagan) do not want mining in our community because majority of us are farmers and we are dependent on our land and our water for survival…. Later on, our land will be mined and our water will be disturbed; subsequently our livelihood will be lost and we will all die," lamented Daniel Gonzales, president of Anislagan Irrigators Association.
Because of their strong staunch against any mining activities in their community, ABAKATAF members were barraged with 23 cases filed before the regular courts from murder, frustrated homicide, to arson. But these did not weaken the community; instead these unite them. Only last year, they celebrated another victory after learning that all the cases filed against ABAKATAF members were dismissed.
Anislagan is an agricultural community of about 400 household with about 2,000 population. Most of the community is dependent on their land and their water. Anislagan is the supplier of potable water to the whole town of Placer as well as the irrigation of the rice fields in nearby barangays.
"We have a common stand of protecting our land, our water, and our mountain …. In July 2007, the Barangay Council of Anislagan issued a resolution opposing the operation of Kalayaan Copper Gold Resources," narrated Mario Tejada, barangay captain of Anislagan.
The entry of the mining company disturbed the once peaceful community of Anislagan.
"We cannot keep the fact that the mining issue created division in our own family—once a closely knit community," openly shared inside the makeshift
shelter for the barricaders by Tansing Dapar, who voluntarily manned the shelter.
"We will not stop our human barricade until the mining company will get out in our place," Gigi Dapar said.
"We know that gold lies underneath our farm lots and our water source which value millions of pesos but we value more the lives of the people here in our small community, the lives around our community and their children's children—these are unquantifiable by money,"  Neneng Gamos said.

Carl Cesar C.  Rebuta
Team Leader
Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center
Cagayan de Oro Regional Office