Sensational kidnapping in Rody Duterte’s Turf PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 26 September 2015 14:31

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

 

 

 

Presidential people’s nominee known as the country’s crime-buster, Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte, is being challenged by kidnappers by abducting foreigners and a Filipina in one of the tourist resorts in Samal Island, also the site of a former Japanese pearl farm with Japanese nationals as pearl cultivators, But there were never any kidnapping before. A Japanese couple escaped abduction by jumping into the sea from  the pumpboat of kidnappers. The point is, they are now challenging “Mr. Crime-buster” after many years of combating crime in Davao and allegedly many of these criminals went missing. This is a final test case for Mayor Rod Duterte before he decides to run for President of the Republic. The rescue might reach Zamboanga Peninsula, because information reveals that those kidnap victims were turned over to the Abu Sayyaf (ASG) group for their “board and lodging” while in captivity.

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One of the kidnap victims, a Canadian national John Ridsdel, president of TVI mining company in the peninsula, whose main and original camp is in Canatuan, Siocon, Zamboanga Del Norte mining for gold and silver, was an acquaintance of Table Talk, when I was a National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Commissioner IV ( rank of Undersecretary) and oversight commissioner for IP ancestral domains in the country. The Canadian TVI happens to be in the ancestral domains of  Zamboanga Del Norte  Subanens (IP) and before they can fully operate as a mining company after over five years of exploration permit, the process of Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) must be given by the IP Subanen population in the affected mining areas. This process is done by the NCIP Ancestral Domain Office (ADO) and the NCIP regional office and is a compulsory requirement before the Department of Environment and Natural resources (DENR) issues a mining permit. The FPIC is actually a mutual agreement between the IP’s and the mining company and the compliance on this agreement is closely monitored by the government through the NCIP.

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TVI president president Ridsdel, upon learning I was in Zamboanga City, flew from Manila to Zamboanga City, because he wanted me to see the compliance of those FPIC agreement in Canatuan, Siocon, Zamboanga Del Norte. We had breakfast at the Garden Orchid Hotel  and after our meal we flew via helicopter to the mining site in Canatuan. We talked of so many things, even TVI plan to operate their mining claims in Peninsula in the three provinces of Sibuguey, Del Norte and Del Sur. Not only gold and silver but other minerals. I reminded John Ridsdel that he will be dealing with many IP Ancestral Domains and he has to get an FPIC among all those IP ancestral domain holders and TVI was willing to undergo the process. Before Table Talk retired from NCIP, we approved the FPIC in the Bayog areas and part of Dalman, Zamboanga Del Norte and TVI has still more FPIC applications after my retirement.

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We reached the mining area in Canatuan shortly after 10 in the morning and immediately inspected their compliance of health centers, primary schools with Subanen teachers, road construction to inland Subanen communities, livelihood centers and potable water systems. All of these was part of the agreement and to be maintained by the TVI  taken from the share of the income to IP’s from the TVI. John Ridsdel said we will have lunch in their mining recreational hall. I requested for an audience with the Subanen leaders of Canatuan and he gladly obliged and will have lunch with us. Over 30 Canatuan Subanen tribal leaders joined us for lunch. We had a short meeting as part of a Commissioner’s visitorial powers on approved mining permits.

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There and there, with TVI president John Ridsdel granted the IP Subanen request. They complained that a road guarded by armed security guards was closed preventing them to entry and exit to and from the market. Immediately John Ridsdel ordered the mining officials to open the road and look for other remedial measures to safeguard their mining. I told TVI President John Ridsdel, this is a violation of the IP “human Rights” as guaranteed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) of the United Nations. They also complained that their old toxic waste impounding dam is noted to spill toxic waste to the river below Canatuan, TVI constructed a bigger and new toxic waste impounding dam in Canatuan. These were the two important matters that TVI president John Ridsdel granted the IP Subanens in Canatuan.

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That was the last time we saw each other until my retirement two years ago and now TVI president John Ridsdel is in the hands of kidnappers and we hope he will be freed soonest possible time so as not to sour our Philippines-Canadian relationship and partnership. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte must not leave any stone unturned” in the investigation for the freedom of all those foreign nationals kidnapped while vacationing and relieving their stress in Samal Island. It’s more fun in the Philippines but fun and safety must always go together in the Philippines to erase our shameful label of “the most corrupt country” in Asia.

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Scoop: Why is it every time election is coming, kidnapping will also come? A  fateful coincidence? Is this also a diversionary tactic to confuse the citizens on the many embarrassing election issues? Agree or disagree.