Barangay Chairpersons anticipate eventual progress ushered by mining in Bayog Town
They are hoping for the onset of progress once mining comes on-stream. But it seems that the waiting has taken longer than expected for these hopeful Bayog Villages that their leaders once again voiced their support for the mining company.
Three village chairpersons said that they want progress as soon as possible while the chieftains of indigenous peoples living in the area reiterated their support to TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD) – the mining company that is primed to operate the Balabag Gold and Silver Project in Bayog Municipality, Zamboanga del Sur.
Voices in the community
To this day, Sampoli B Chairman Teddy Mangubat remains hopeful that his community will soon prosper when large-scale mining begins in neighboring Barangay Depore where the Balabag Project is located.
“Dire man gud na sila mag-agian na dire sa amoa, so pwede pud mi mag-patigayon ug negosyo gawas nga matagaan ug trabaho ang among mga lumulupyo (They will pass by here when they go to the place – we can put-up livelihood in addition to employment opportunities for our residents),” said Mangubat. The barangay is situated midway between Diplahan and Bayog with much of the road already cemented for the convenience of traders and commuters.
Meanwhile, Depore Chairperson Herminia Casipe said that being the host barangay of the operations of the company, she expects a lot of changes for the better in her barangay.
“Kanus-a pa man magsugod kay gusto nako molambo among barangay, (When will the company start? I already want my barangay to experience progress),” said Casipe. When asked what kind of help her barangay would like to have, she answered, “Bisa’g unsa (anything).”
Felisa Antonio, chairperson of Pulang Bato is more specific. She wants the company to help her establish a water system for her barangay, which has gone without a steady source of potable water ever since.
Half of her constituents are Subanens – the indigenous cultural community that granted TVIRD the social license to operate its project. 25 tribal chieftains of the Subanens of Bayog and in the surrounding areas have reiterated their support to the company.
A resolution issued in June 2017 reiterates their support to the company, adding that the entire Subanen tribe believes that “the operations of TVIRD will bring enormous advantages not only from royalty fees but also employment, health and livelihood programs, infrastructure projects, educational support and scholarship programs for the IP communities.”
Moreover, they said that the company’s environmental protection and social development program is in line with the sustainable development and protection plan for their ancestral domain.
The collective Subanen tribe is comprised of some 6,000 IPs in Bayog and who live in the ancestral domain surrounding the mining area. The tribe previously issued their Free, Prior and Informed Consent for the company to mine the area.
Mining as a catalyst
Meanwhile, TVIRD Community Relations Manager Lope Dizon said that jobs will be available when the company operates.
“We give priority to the residents surrounding the area of our operations,” Dizon said, adding that aside from job opportunities, the company can also support barangays in Bayog through its corporate social commitment to uplift the community as well as the common development roadmap that it shares with the Subanen tribe.
“Through its Social Development and Management Program (SDMP), TVIRD is able to support the town’s development, which redounds to benefits for the barangays and its constituents,” he concluded.