Strong IP support key to gov’t nod
Buoyed by the full support of its host indigenous people (IP) community, TVI Resource Development Phils., Inc. (TVIRD) has secured the approval of its second 5-year Social Development Management Program (SDMP) from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), thus marking the company’s full compliance with the regulatory requirements for the community aspect of TVIRD’s Sulphide Project. The approval came after an intensive 6-hour technical conference and deliberation at the MGB Region IX office in Zamboanga City, which was attended by leaders of the Subanon ancestral domain title holders of Canatuan in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, and by officials and staff of TVIRD.
Feliece Yeban, TVIRD vice president for Social Commitments (facing camera), clarifies salient details of the SDMP with Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Environment and Development Office action officer Marcelino Gargar (in green): “We thank all the leaders and residents who warmly welcomed us in their communities; who listened to what we had to say; and who provided invaluable inputs to the SDMP document.”
“After evaluating the draft of the company’s new five-year SDMP, the evaluators found it to have complied with all the requirements as mandated in DENR-MGB Department Administrative Order 2004-54, Section 136,” MGB Region IX Director Jessica Lucero said. “We do not approve SDMPs without having them go though a stringent validation process by the Technical Working Group that includes Subanon leaders.”
“The deciding factor for the approval of the SDMP was the involvement and strong support of the Subanons during the drafting and technical conference,” Jack Soriano, MGB Division chief for Environment and Safety, commented. The evaluation and validation of SDMPs fall under his unit and, having witnessed the drafting of TVIRD’s SDMP himself, Soriano is convinced that the company followed the correct process every step of the way.
Thess Limpin, TVIRD CReDO manager, fields questions from Subanon leaders. A total of 50 sitios in one host and 10 impact barangays composed of Subanons, Moslems, Christians, and mixed-culture peoples are listed as beneficiaries of the company’s second 5-year SDMP.
The TVIRD team – headed by Feliece Yeban, vice president for Social Commitments; and by Thess Limpin, manager for Community Relations and Development Office (CReDO) – presented the details of the SMDP during the deliberations amid extensive inquiries and points of clarification from MGB senior geologist and SDMP evaluator Ceferino dela Cruz and from officers of the Subanon Siocon Association, Inc. (SSAI) and the tribal Council of Elders.
“We needed to clarify some issues so we could also explain to our Subanon brothers and sisters if they have questions about the new SDMP,” SSAI president Bonifacio Patoh explained. “We salute the officials of TVIRD for their patience in walking us through the details of the Program.” SSAI, composed of some 2,000 IP members, is the legal representative of the Canatuan Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) owners.The new SDMP was drawn up with the participation of residents from TVIRD’s host and impact communities – those who will be affected by the Sulphide Project, the second phase of the company’s operations in Canatuan – during a thorough Information-Education-Communication campaign and consultations earlier this year
(please see related story “A message of development – for Muslim and Christian communities alike” here) The draft SDMP was presented to leaders of these communities in Consolidation and Validation conferences held separately for the Canatuan CADT holders who constitute the company’s direct impact community, and for secondary impact communities
(Please see related story “Towards a sustainable symbiosis” here