A total of thirty-six indigenous peoples leaders coming from various mining provinces of region 9, 11, 12, and 13 along with fourteen representatives from NGOs and four from government came together in what was dubbed as the first Mindanao’s Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Extractive Industry last November 25-27, 2015 in Davao City.
Among the topics presented were on the PH-EITI 2012 Report; community-based agreements, negotiation skills and the customary law; conflict and conflict management; National Commission on Indigenous Peoples’ guidelines on indigenous peoples’ organizations and the proposed Community Royalty Development Plan.
The conference invited indigenous peoples coming from ancestral domains where there are existing memorandum of agreements (MOA), an on-going negotiation with mining companies, or have existing issues with mining companies or fellow indigenous peoples’ organizations (IPOs). It served as a platform for the participants to discuss their experiences and come up with concrete solutions.
Some of the issues raised were on non-compliance of mining companies to certain provisions in their signed MOAs and also lack of transparency and monitoring mechanisms pertaining to compliance. Participants also shared the great need for capacity-building among IPOs.
Tribal leaders during the last day of the conference arrived at consensus regarding the need to further organize themselves. They have all agreed to establish a Mindanao IP Coalition on extractive industries with two interim representatives namely Datu Augusto Blanco of the Mandaya tribe of Compostela Valley and Datu Alfredo “Tabonan” Ubo of the Manobo tribe of Trento, Agusan del Norte.
The conference ended with new partnership opportunities and more empowered tribal leaders ready to face the challenges that goes with managing their vast natural resources.