"Dapat maghalin na sila sa amon lugar karon kag dapat hindi na sila liwat hatagan sang kontraata kay nagapakita lang nga hindi sila sarangan magmina (They should leave our place now and they should not be awarded with the same contract because it shows that they are not capable in engaging into mining)," Zata said.
SEPC was awarded COC No. 134 for coal production and development of about 7,000 hectares on February 23, 2009. Under Section 12.7, DoE has the power to cancel the contract should the company fail to secure an ECC within one year from the awarding of the said contract.
"Kon hindi mag–aksyon ang DoE, nagapakita lang nga nagadapig sila sa mga kapitalista kag indi sa katawhan kag kinaiyahan (If DoE will not act, it only shows that they side with the capitalist than the people and the environment)," Zata said.
HUKOM has been opposing coal mining in their areas for environmental and health reasons. The group asserts that Ned is part of a protected watershed area. HUKOM added that coal mining will displace the people of Ned economically and physically.
"Nag–file na kami sang petition for cancellation sang mga kontrata sa DoE pero wala pa sila sing gihimo asta karon (We have already filed a petition for cancellation of contracts before DoE but until now they have done nothing)," Zata added.
Aside from SEPC, two other contracts are also operating in the area namely Coal Operating Contract No. 126 signed with the Daguma Agro-Minerals, Inc. (DAMI) on November 19, 2002 and Coal Operating Contract No. 138 signed with the Bonanza Energy Resources Inc. (BERI), sister company of DAMI on May 2005. The two contracts cover 10 blocks or about 10,000 hectares.
The Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center–Kasama sa Kalikasan?Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC–KsK?FoE–Phils) on the other hand calls for the immediate stop of SEPC’s test pitting.
"SEPC should not be allowed to further conduct test production because its permit is deemed canceled" said Jean Marie Ferraris of LRC–KsK?FoE–Phils Davao Regional Office, a policy and legal research and advocacy institution working for the empowerment of the marginalized indigenous peoples and rural communities.
Source: Indigenous People Issues & Resources