Indigenous Rights in the Philippines

Stand with the Igorot People of the Cordillera

Protest against the entry of energy projects and large-scale mining applications in the Cordillera, led by Indigenous women in Baguio City on the occasion of International Working Women's Month, March 9, 2020.

The Cordillera People's Alliance (CPA) has launched an international campaign to gather support for the almost 50-year battle of the Indigenous Igorot people to assert their Indigenous and hereditary rights. Canadian mining companies are amongst those accused of widespread abuse, of causing environmental degradation and supporting killings in order to continue their exploitation and theft of the mineral riches of the Philippines that belong to the Indigenous and working people.

The Philippines is the world's fifth most mineral-rich country with reserves estimated at more than U.S.$1 trillion in gold, silver, copper and zinc. Under the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, foreign mining monopolies are provided "incentives" such as paying less than five per cent royalties and no taxes, along with land ownership rights for more that 25 years with the possibility of extension. Armed Philippine military support their theft and plunder.

Canadian mining monopolies make up close to 20 per cent of all mining operations in the Philippines. They have a history of forcible displacement of the Igorot people of the Cordillera in Luzon, the Lumad of Mindanao in the south and of others from their hereditary lands.

Barrick Gold, OceanaGold, TVI Pacific Inc. and other Canadian mining monopolies are among those enabled to act with impunity against the Indigenous people of the Philippines. Since the Rodrigo Duterte government came to power in June 2016, the Philippine regime has undertaken an aggressive plan to exploit mineral resources. U.S. and other private financial interests, working in tandem with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, are the main forces behind "developing the mining sector" in the Philippines. Canadian, Chinese, U.S. and Japanese private mining interests have expropriated fabulous wealth from the Philippines under the Duterte regime. At the same time, since coming to power, the Duterte government has been responsible for the deaths of close to 200 Indigenous and other land defenders.

The Canadian government legitimizes the activities of Canadian mining monopolies declaring they are operating within the law in the Philippines, ignoring what these laws are and who they serve. The Trudeau government has asked the office of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) to investigate "claims of alleged human rights abuses arising from the operations of Canadian companies abroad in the mining, oil and gas, and garment sectors." Furthermore, CORE has no power to compel any Canadian monopoly to co-operate and has yet to undertake a single investigation since it became operational in 2019.

The Cordillera People's Alliance is a political alliance of more than 120 organizations. The Indigenous Igorot are located on the island of Luzon in the north of the Philippines. They are resisting escalating encroachment, occupation and plunder of the mineral resources of their lands by global mining monopolies.

TML Weekly stands with the Indigenous Igorot people and supports the Global Pact to defend them and the riches which belong to them on the Cordillera.

The appeal of the CPA can be found here.

(With files from Cordillera People's Alliance, Mining Watch. Photos: Cordillera People's Alliance)

This article was published in

Volume 50 Number 38 - October 10, 2020

Article Link:
Indigenous Rights in the Philippines: Stand with the Igorot People of the Cordillera - Steve Rutchinski


Website:   Email: