More than five months after 32 families in Bgy. Bolitoc, Sta. Cruz, Zambales were forced by the Shangfil Mining and Trading Corporation to dismantle their houses and relocate to a nearby area, most of the promises of the mining company remained unfulfilled, yet the operations of the mining company continues.
On May 20, volunteers of the Concerned Citizens of Sta. Cruz (CCOS) and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) met with the displaced families to look into their situation five months after they were forcibly removed from their community. According to the representatives of the families, the mining company is yet to provide them a contract or a written assurance that the 90 square meter lot where they built or will build their houses will be theirs. Other unfulfilled promises are: (a) concrete fencing of the relocation site; (b) one truckload of gravel and sand per family; and (c) to elevate the relocation site.
Because of the absence of a written assurance from the mining company that the lot will be theirs, most of the families are undecided what type of house to build. Thus, they will bring this matter to the local officials and the mining company.
The families are also in fear that with the absence of the concrete fence, when the rainy season comes, their community will be flooded with contaminated water from the stockpiles that might affect their health, especially since their lots are much lower than the areas of the stockpiles.
At present, due to their concerted effort in pressuring the village officials, a water pump at least 50 meters away from the nearest house was built and they already have electricity.
In November 2012, after the mining company surrounded their houses with a concrete fence, the families were threatened by the security guards of the mining company that their houses will be bulldozed if they will not leave within 15 days. This was done when the men and other responsible family members were out of the community. Prior to this, series of meeting with the local executive and the representative of the mining company were held. The local executive who is perceived by the families to have close ties with the mining company told them that he could not do much because the land is owned by the mining company. He told them “You were already given a lot to build your house, what else do you want?”
The families who are tired of the mining company’s unfulfilled promises are ready to conduct activities that will pressure the local officials and the mining company to fulfill their promises.