BUNAWAN, Agusan del Sur— Major tribal groups of this town have declared an Australian mining firm and its trading arm as persona non grata for failing to pay proceeds of the payment of gold and silver dore bars shipped to Hongkong that were produced and processed by its Philippine partner Philsaga Mining Corp (PMC).
Rolito Peñaloga, chieftain of Bunawan Ancestral Domain Management Council, Inc. (BMADMCI), said this is the first time that the Australian firm Ten Sixty Four Limited (ASX: X64) which they allowed to partner with PMC to betray the trust and confidence of the tribal groups.
X64 used to be named Medusa Mining Limited (ASX: MML).
“What they did is economic sabotage and must be held criminally liable,” Peñaloga said after he learned that the foreign mining partner and its trading arm Komo Diti owe PMC at least US $4,837,221 intended to pay the royalties of indigenous peoples groups as well as the company’s operations cost
Engr. Ferdinand A. Cortes, PMC Vice President for Operations, said the company had shipped gold and silver dore bars last February 3 to Hongkong. Under the Sales and Purchase Agreement, Komo Diti should pay the proceeds within three working days from receipt or until February 15.
But Cortes disclosed the intended payment was not remitted and later discovered X64 and KomoDiti deliberately did not pay. Despite the demand, he added, neither X64 nor its trading arm has not made any payment.
Peñaloga recalled directors of X64 were accorded customary welcome and hospitality during their meetings with different tribal groups.
Other tribal groups leaders who signed a resolution declaring full support to the management and employees of PMC and consequently declaring the two foreign firms persona non grata included Jerry D. Cabriadas a.k.a. Hawodon Makapoo II, chairman of Consuelo Tribal Agroforestry Muti-Purpose Cooperative (COTAMPCO), Leonardo A. Barrios Sr. a.k.a. Hawodon Mamakaw, chairman of Bunawan Tribal Council of Baes and Datus, Inc. (BTCDBI) and Michael G. Oliver, Hawodon Hagnaya II, Barangay Tribal Chieftain of Consuelo Katibuan Tribal Council Org. (COKATRICO).
In their resolution, the Manobo tribal leaders declared they will rally behind PMC management who have been instrumental in improving production and improving the lives and livelihood not only of the indigenous peoples but also residents of the host communities where PMC has been operating.
By declaring the Australian firm and its trading arm persona non grata will authorize their tribal groups, with the help of local government units, to prevent directors, executives, officers, and staff to enter the province and if they have entered, they will be removed from the site.
Copies of the resolution were sent to CAMMPACCAM and other major tribal groups in neighboring Rosario town, the local government units of Bunawan and Rosario, and the provincial government of Agusan del Sur.