3,000 Muslim miners
in Diwalwal tunnels
Mt. Diwata barangay chairman Franco Tito said about 3,000 of about 95,000 working the tunnels in the gold mines are Muslims.
Tito, village chief of the gold-rich barangay in Compostela Valley province, said he had met with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari to seek support for the smallscale miners facing displacement as the government bids out Mt. Diwata also known as Diwialwal to multinational mining companies.
Tito told a business forum in Davao City that he and the Muslim miners last week as the Philippine Mining Development Corporation (PMDC) and the National Resource Development Corporation (NRDC), the government agency supervising mining operations in Diwalwal, set the bidding for 729 hectares of areas intended for smallscale miners.
He said Misuari expressed full support to the small-scale miners as well as tribal leaders who vehemently object to the selling of Mt. Diwata. Misuari promised to bring the plight of the small miners to president-elect Senator Noynoy Aquino.
Vincent Barry Lagura, PMDC business development group manager, said the bidding is set but small-scale miners could organize and join the bidding if they have a minimum of P500 million. Tito said the miners does not have the amount.
Lagura told the forum there is no way for the small scale miners to legalize their operations except to join the bidding and have part of Diwalwal awarded to them.
He also said PMDC is bidding out areas under the 600 meters below sea level mark, which are intended for large-scale mining.