Ventura Timber Corporation’s logging operations on ancestral lands of Mamanwas and Manobos, Northern Mindanao, Philippines

“We are deprived by the resource management of our Ancestral domain, we will not let the development projects like mining and logging enter our territory.” Datu Ceasar Batao, leader of indigenous KATRIMMA organization.


Description

Ventura Timber Corporation (VTC) has an enduring history of “corporate irresponsibility” in Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Norte, related to mining and logging activities [2]; the latter the focus of this entry. During 1983 and 2008, the company held a Timber License Agreement (TLA), covering 2,762ha, which after expiry was applied to be converted into an Integrated Forestry Management Agreement (IFMA). VTC’s logging activities are located on ancestral lands of the Mamanwa-Minobo tribes, represented by the Kahugpongan sa Tribong Manobo Mamanwa (KATRIMMA) organization, who fears irreversible loss of livelihoods and negative impacts on their lives and culture [3]. Deforestation would further result in heavy floods during the rainy season, which in turn is a common cause of heavy soil erosion. Floods moreover would lead to siltation of the nearby coastal areas and the destruction of eight marine sanctuaries located in Cortes municipality [4].

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Basic Data
NameVentura Timber Corporation’s logging operations on ancestral lands of Mamanwas and Manobos, Northern Mindanao, Philippines
CountryPhilippines
ProvinceSurigao del Sur
SiteMunicipalities of Cortes, Lanuza, Madrid
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Deforestation
Land acquisition conflicts
Logging and non timber extraction
Specific CommoditiesLand
Timber
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsAccording to documents published by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Ventura Timber Corporation (VTC) holds an Integrated Forestry Management Agreement (IFMA) IFMA No.-02-2010. One part of the concessions is located in Surigao del Sur, in Madrid, Lanuza and Cortes Municipality, covering 4,591ha; the other part is located in Agusan del Norte, Jabonga municipality, covering 2,772ha. The total size of the IFMA hence amounts to 7,363ha. It was granted on February 10, 2010, and expires on December 31, 2035 [9].

According to the government’s Geoportal, VTC appears to have a tenured logging area of 34,301.41ha in the region [8]. This area might be related to the auxiliary logging rights associated to VTC’s mining concessions; however, the author is not well informed from where this large concession area comes from. The company has also been involved in mining ventures in the region; which later on formed the Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation [5].

Previous to the IFMA, the company held a Timber License Agreement (TLA), granted in March 1983, covering 2,762ha. The TLA expired in March 28, 2008 and the company applied for the conversion of the TLA to and IFMA. Between expiry of the TLA and granting of the (alleged illegal) IFMA, the company was reported to have continued log illegally in the area [5].

The IFMA overlaps with ancestral domain claims of the indigenous Mamanwas-Manobo tribes, represented through Kahugpongan sa Tribong Manobo Mamanwa (KATRIMMA). KATRIMMA claims a Certificate of Ancestral Domain (CADT) over 17,765 hectares of forest land [6].

No information on investment size could be found; neither on production data or number of affected people.
Project Area (in hectares)7,363
Level of Investment (in USD)unknown
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Populationunknown
Start Date2008
Company Names or State EnterprisesVentura Timber Corporation (VTC) from Philippines - logging, mining
Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation (MMDC) from Philippines - mining
Relevant government actorsLocal Governmental Units (LGUs) of Lanuza, Cortes and Madrid Municipality

National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)

Environment Management Bureau (EMB),

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)

City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersKahugpongan sa Tribong Manobo Mamanwa (KATRIMMA); Legal Rights Center Kalikasan (LRC-KsK); Green Mindanao Association, Inc.; LanuzaBantayanGayud (LABAG); Lanuza women’s organization; Parish church of Lanuza; Social Action of Tandag
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingEthnically/racially discriminated groups
Religious groups
Farmers
Local ejos
Fishermen
Local government/political parties
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local scientists/professionals
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Women
Pastoralists
Indigenous Mamanwas-Manobo tribes
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
OtherSiltation of coastal areas, due to floods caused by deforestation, occurring in rainy season
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Institutional changes
Repression
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
Moratoria
Project temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesKATRIMMA, respresentative organization of the local indigenous people, want the government to withdraw the forestry concession of Ventura Timber Corporation.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The nationwide moratorium on logging caused a stop of the IFMA concession, however, illegal logging has increased in the area, and moreover VTC has mining permits, through logging (though in other) areas may continue for exploration purposes.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA)
[click to view]

FAO Review of Forestry Policies in the Philippines
[click to view]

Executive Order (EO) Nr. 23: DECLARING A MORATORIUM ON THE CUTTING AND HARVESTING OF TIMBER IN THE NATURAL AND RESIDUAL FORESTS AND CREATING THE ANTI-ILLEGAL LOGGING TASK FORCE
[click to view]

Links

[4] Indymedia.org (accessed 18/05/2015)
[click to view]

[1] PIPLINKS online (18/08/2010): "NCIP Useless in Protecting Indigenous Rights" (accessed 18/05/2015)
[click to view]

[2] Bulatlat.com online (30/10/2012): "Anti-mining, anti-illegal logging activist survives ambush" (accessed 18/05/2015)
[click to view]

[3] PIPLINKS online (26/10/2010): "Manobos, Mamanwa ask ancestors’ spirits for help vs logging firm" (accessed 18/05/2015)
[click to view]

[5] MindaNews online (16/10/2010): "Logging firm's IFMA in Surigao Sur 'defective and erroneous'" (accessed 18/05/2015)
[click to view]

[6] PIPLINKS online (06/10/2010): "Mamanwa and Manobo tribes oppose logging inside their ancestral domain" (accessed 18/05/2015)
[click to view]

[7] Petition on causes.com (29/10/2010): "Save KATRIMMA Ancestral Domain against Ventura Logging Company in Cortes, Surigao del Sur" (accessed 18/05/2015)
[click to view]

[8] National Mapping and Resource Information Authority' Geoportal. (accessed 18/05/2015)
[click to view]

[10] Mindanews online (17/09/2012): "WHERE HAVE ALL THE FORESTS GONE? Illegal logging intensifies in Surigao Sur despite total log ban" (accessed 18/05/2015).
[click to view]

[11] Philippine Daily Inquirer (12/11/2011): "Environmentalists buck lifting of mining log ban" (accessed 18/05/2015)
[click to view]

Other Documents

[9] List of IFMA, as published by the DENR in March, 2010
[click to view]

Official Letter
[click to view]

Geoportal Screenshot
[click to view]

Logged trees Source: https://www.causes.com/causes/559469-save-katrimma-ancestral-domain-against-ventura-logging-company-in-cortes-surigao-del-sur
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorA. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB) / arnim "dot" scheidel "at" gmail "dot" com
Last update05/06/2015
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