Philippine journalists allege they were not allowed to leave a mining site by local militia. The group of journalists from the city of Pagadia claimed that they were held against their will. Mining officials deny the charges.
The story of harassment by the Special Cafgu Active Auxiliary of TVI Resource Development (Phils.) Inc. in Sitio Balabag, Baragay Depore in Bayog town, Zamboanga del Sur surfaced on Monday. However the mining company said that it was a fabricated story of imagined scenarios. TVIRD is a subsidiary of TVI Pacific, Inc., a publicly listed Canadian which into production and exploration of precious and base metals.
The National union of Journalists of the Philippines, or NUJP said that there were cases of harassment in the area of the Balabag Project Mineral Production Sharing Agreement between TVIRD and the government. The journalists were trying to substantiate claims that houses owned by small-scale miners were to be demolished in the area.
The journalists were accompanied by members of a human rights organization. However they were not allowed to leave the mining site and were detained overnight by members of the SCAA who refused to identify their unit or superiors but said they were acting on orders of the TVIRD.
The official statement from TVIRD claimed that the reporters didn’t reach the project site because of a landslide that had occurred due to illegal scale mining activities. It added that they had not witnessed any demolition of houses as there were none. The group safely left Balabag on Monday afternoon.