Foe of big miners? Duterte is wedding ninong of mining heiress
"They are destroying the land. They are destroying Mindanao," President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said at his thanksgiving party in Davao City on June 6.
He told big mining firms: "All the big firms that have destroyed our land here, they will have to stop. They have to leave."
Mining stocks dropped after Duterte issued his warning against abusive firms and named Gina Lopez, an anti-mining advocate, as environment secretary. Are mining executives concerned about their future?
Cebu-based Fernando "Ding" Borja, president of Adnama Mining Resources, Incorporated (AMRI), may not be.
Duterte, who Borja supported in Cebu during the presidential election, attended the wedding of the mining executive's daughter, Beatriz Amanda Borja, at the Shangri-La Mactan on June 25. He was one of her wedding ninongs (sponsors).
This was his first stop in the city before appearing at the Sugbo Grounds at the South Road Properties, the venue of a thanksgiving party for him.
AMRI is a company registered in Mandaue City, Cebu. The company's portfolio includes several mainly nickel mining projects in northern Mindanao, including a 1,000-hectare mine in Claver, Surigao Del Norte.
In his speech at the Davao City thanksgiving event, Duterte had cited Surigao Del Norte as one of the provinces that have been "destroyed" by mining.
While AMRI is just one of the mining companies operating in the province, MindaNews had reported that the company faced some controversy. According to MindaNews, in 2013, the Mamanwa tribe barricaded its nickel mine for non-payment of royalty fees. The barricade was removed after AMRI reportedly paid the tribe P10 million.
Beatriz Borja clarified to Rappler that the Manobos from Agusan and Surigao del Sur were the ones who put up the barricade "to force out the Mamanwas, who are the legitimate indigenous peoples of the area so they can collect the 1% share of gross revenue."
"Mamanwas, the natives of the area, have signed a contract with our company Adnama, and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. We did not pay the Manobos; as a matter of fact, we have filed cases against them," she said, adding that the Manobos "gave up" on the barricade as they knew they would not get paid.
Ding Borja played host to Duterte during his June 8 Cebu visit when Duterte met with newly-elected leaders of BOPK, the local alliance of Cebu City mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña. They met at the building of Borja's mining headquarters in Mandaue City.
Borja also sponsored a conference in Cebu last year when Duterte traveled the country campaigning for federalism, before he decided to run.
Duterte often boasts that he has rejected funding from several big businessman so he won't owe them any favors, and that he would not tolerate abusive mining companies. Would these same rules apply to his friends in the industry like Borja? – Rappler.com
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