"I will call him my beloved uncle again," reaffirms Rosemarie Guilingan as tears flowed down her cheeks. Rosemarie is the daughter of Datu1 Dalepusan Isis Guilingan and the niece of Barangay Captain2 Luciano Tanglanan, the two main actors in a conflict that once divided Pikumpungan Subanen Lupa Pusaka3 (PSLP), the Indigenous Peoples' Organization (IPO) of the Ancestral Domain Council of Sindangan-Godod in Zamboanga del Norte Province on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines.
The conflict between Datu Isis Guilingan and Barangay Captain Tanglanan emerged out of the difference the two indigenous leaders had as to how they wanted to relate to mining concessions in their communities. The divisions among the Subanen people of Sindangan was a prime example of how extractive industries, such as mining, which often operate with little consideration for the environment, can destroy not only the natural surroundings and ecosystem of the community, but also can shatter human relationships, regardless of blood ties. Mining investors and politicians who chose to shortcut and circumvent the legal processes to expedite their mining operations were those primarily responsible for the confrontation between Datu Isis and Barangay Captain Tanglanan.
Because he remained steadfast in his constant demands for a legal and culturally-bound process, tribal elder Datu Isis was identified as responsible for the slow and uncertain progress of the mining operation in Sindangan. To further their interests, the mining investors sought ways to "unseat" Datu Isis and enter into negotiations with a "new" PSLP that would accelerate the approval process for operating mines in the area.
Eventually, when the mining company failed to keep its commitment to Tanglanan and his associates, Tanglanan realized his mistake, regretted his action and sought forgiveness from Datu Isis. For his part, Datu Isis and his council made every effort to deal with this resource-based conflict through a conflict transformation process, integrating traditional indigenous practices with newly acquired skills in conflict transformation.