AMVI’s Mamanwa communities conduct traditional “Tinandogay” gift-giving to other IPs
Jabonga and Santiago, Agusan del Norte / March 2017 – Agata Mining Ventures Inc. (AMVI) provided its indigenous Mamanwa beneficiaries in Barangay Colorado, Jabonga Municipality and Barangays E. Morgado and La Paz, Santiago Municipality – all within Agusan del Norte Province – their rightful share of royalties. Since then, the IP beneficiaries have likewise shared these blessings to other neighboring IP communities outside the company’s 4,995-hectare Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) area.
The Agata Nickel Laterite project – a joint venture of TVI Resources Development Inc. (TVIRD) and MRL Nickel Inc. – stretches across the municipalities of Tubay, Santiago and Jabonga, and provides a source of employment, livelihood and continuous support for more than 600 Mamanwas.
Spirit of generosity
The Ayrag Mamanwa Tribal Management Organization (AMTMO) in Barangay E. Morgado gave gifts and goods to neighboring Mayoos, Badbad and Dakulang tribal sectors in Barangay Libas, Jabonga. Despite the heavy rains, they distributed gifts to children and packed canned goods and rice to more than 250 people from both tribal and non-tribal communities.
Datu Ayrag shares that “the kindness of Agata to its beneficiary communities is a great example of our tribal tradition, Tinandogay, which means to share one’s blessings with other Mamanwas. We extend this spirit of kindness that Agata shares with us by also giving a share of our blessings to others – lumads and non-lumads alike who have nothing during the wet season of the year.”
The organization also participates in basketball leagues and sponsors their fellow lumad players’ uniforms, giving them a huge boost in morale and making them proud to be part of the Agata community.
In Barangay Colorado, the Coro Mamanwa Tribal Organization (CMTO) headed by Datu Rogelio Bebe called his fellow lumads to a thanksgiving celebration, which also included their non-tribal neighbors. After a short program, the chieftain invited barangay officials and neighboring communities to a “boodle fight” – a communal banquet to share their bounty.
Datu Bebe reminded his fellow tribesmen to “embrace the blessings that our sector has received by sustaining it wisely and sharing with those who need it most. Agata’s support and values should also remind us that a better future is finally at hand.”
CMTO members prepared gifts and canned goods for their neighbors and held games and festivities the rest of the day.
In Barangay La Paz, the Mamanwa Mapaso Tribal Sectoral Organization (MMTSO) invested its royalty share in completing its two-storey multi-purpose tribal hall for their community, which is used for holding meetings, official gatherings – and even stock their harvest and conduct livelihood seminars and trainings.
Datu Mapaso is hopeful at the full potential of responsibly utilizing his tribe’s royalty share that has already brought them prospective ventures for the future.
“We are inspired (not only) by AMVI’s dedication to responsible mining and to the environmental effects but also to fully strengthen our poor lumad community. Agata has built not just opportunity but also greater sustainable ventures,” said Datu Mapaso
Agata’s extra mile
The company extends its effort to craft and recommend sustainable livelihood projects for its communities, especially for the lumads who needed guidance at the start. AMVI Community Relations and Development Vice President Edsel Abrasaldo helped manage the tribes’ finances and helped them address their external obligations, which were already paid in full in 2016.
“We have great respect for our IP communities, their leaders and most of all their traditions. We chose to provide them the capability to sustain themselves through their own,” explained the executive, citing the company’s thrust towards self-sustaining fishing and farming communities.
Agata’s Mamanwa community embarked on a sustainable source of income through the utilization of their royalty fund, which they receive from the company. Last year, the company conducted an educational tour to various farms, peoples’ cooperatives and IP organizations across CARAGA, Davao City and Davao del Sur. The tour hosted 32 IP leaders with the objective of providing them more viable investment and livelihood opportunities in the fields of sustainable organic agriculture, aquaculture and livestock.
And since receiving royalties from AMVI – in addition to employment for some of their fellow lumads – the Mamanwas have enhanced their way of life through sustainable livelihood programs, including sari-sari (general merchandise) community stores, transport vehicles for delivering goods, agroforestry and a four-hectare plantation with Falcata, Abaca, Mahogany and fruit-bearing trees.