Firm says illegal mining behind Zamboanga del Sur conflictBy Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Philippine affiliate of one of the biggest mining companies in the world on Monday said it has filed cases for libel and falsification of documents against those behind fake e-mails that the firm said was part of a larger conspiracy involving illegal mining syndicates.
In a statement Tuesday, TVI Resource Development (Phils) Inc. (TVIRD) also reacted to police claims that the conflict in the firm’s mining site in Balabag, Zamboanga del Sur, was a product of conflicting mining claims.
Supt. William Mansan, Zamboanga del Sur police chief, had been quoted as saying that the conflict in Balabag was the result of groups of miners fighting over mineral rich areas.
The TVIRD statement quoted Eugene T. Mateo, TVIRD president, as saying the firm has exclusive mining rights in the town as holder of a mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) covering 4,779 hectares issued by the national government in 1997.
In a press conference on Monday, TVIRD officials said the firm filed the libel case against Edgar Baling, spokesperson of a group of small-scale miners; Joel Cayabyab, former TVIRD employee, and Julieto Monding, councilor of Buug, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Gene Gregorio, TVIRD public affairs chief, said in the press conference that investigation showed those charged to be behind the fake e-mails.
In the press conference, TVIRD officials said the fake
e-mails, which purportedly expose the firm’s dirty tricks plans, was part of a bigger conspiracy that could derail the Philippine government’s program to attract foreign investors.
Gregorio said the continued cyber attacks against the firm send a chilling message to foreign investors—they are not safe in the Philippines.
TVIRD said it sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation, which submitted a report concluding that the e-mails were spurious.
Pacific Strategies and Assessments, an international private risk assessment and security agency which TVIRD commissioned to investigate, also concluded that the e-mails were “spurious.”