Mindanao IP mining victims and environmental groups
hold picket rallies at mining offices in Metro Manila


December 4, 2012





Indigenous people from Mindanao and environmental groups trooped to offices of mining companies in Makati and Ortigas to demand justice for human rights violations and plunder in Mindanao.

— Manilakbayan vs. large-scale mining, killings


Photos courtesy of Center for Environmental Concerns Philippines



Dec. 3, 2012

Minda IP mining victims slam mining offices

“We have been displaced from our ancestral lands by these plunderers. As Lumads (Mindanao’s indigenous peoples), our collective identity is very much entwined with our ancestral lands. Large-scale mining has pushed us to the point that we have nowhere else to go,” said Erita Capion, a B’laan leader from Southern Mindanao.

Capion is one of the 74 delegates of the Manilakbayan, a 10-day mobilization of Mindanao’s indigenous peoples, church leaders and environmentalists in the nation’s capital to demand foreclosure of companies with bloody human rights abuses records, among which is the Australian copper mining company X-Strata-SMI in Davao del Sur.

Capion is also the sister-in-law of Juvy Capion, a B’laan woman leader whose family including her two children and herself were massacred by elements of the 27th IB under Lt. Alexis Bravo on October 18, 2012 in Kibwalan, Davao del Sur. The said infantry battalion is known as a protector of Xstrata-SMI.

For the past two years, there have been 35 cases of environmental defenders killed in Mindanao, 24 of these are indigenous peoples.

“As indigenous peoples live in areas with rich mineral deposits, the increasing trend of rights abuses committed against them is a product of the fervent push for mining investments in the island,” said Sr. Stella Matutina, O.S.B., secretary-general of the of environment group Panalipdan! Mindanao.

Matutina noted that more than half of the country’s mineral wealth is found in Mindanao, which has an estimated value of $312.6 Billion. The island has the country’s largest reserves of copper (5 billion tons), gold (3.4 billion tons), aluminum (292 million tons) and Iron (411 million tons). It also hosts 60% of the country’s natural gas deposits which reportedly yields eight million barrels.

Sr. Matutina also said that since the facilities that exploit the island’s mineral wealth are found atop high mountains, low-lying areas find themselves on the receiving end of environmental disasters. “The immense devastation brought by last year’s Sendong was a wake-up call. Mining activities in the up-hill areas of Cagayan de Oro city contributed to the heavy siltation in the river causing its waters to swell a hundred meters on each side” said Matutina.

A series of activities which include round table discussion with congressmen from Mindanao, pickets at the offices of the mining companies Xstrata Mining, and Toronto Ventures Mining (TVI), Russel Mines, and the Chamber of Mines, and the Australian and Canadian embassies will be done.

The Manilakbayan took off from Mindanao last November 30.

The Manilakbayan delegation will join protesters from the National Capital Region and Southern Tagalog for a mobilization during the December 10 human rights day commemoration.

For reference:
Sr. Stella Matutina, OSB (0912-687-4502) Dulphing Ogan (0912-484-9965)
Secretary-General, PANALIPDAN! Mindanao Secretary-General, KALUMARAN

Picket at XMI-Strata, Makati
Picket at TVI Resources, Inc., Makati



December 4, 2012

In the light of Typhoon Pablo large-scale mining and foreign agribusiness operations must be stopped to avert disasters

We, Mindanao environment advocates and indigenous leaders and families and relatives of victims of mining instigated killings who are now in Manila for Manilakbayan, are concerned over typhoon Pablo hitting our respective municipalities and cities in Mindanao.

While we, comprising more than 70 people from Mindanao, are in the country’s capital city for a 10-day mobilization called Manilakbayan to call for the Aquino administration to stop large-scale mining and related killings, we are also very much alarmed over the imminent effects of typhoon Pablo due to the plunder of its natural resources by large-scale mining and other multinational ventures.

The fears of Mindanao people over the potential disaster of this storm are rooted by the memories of the Sendong tragedy that struck the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan and of the flashfloods and landslides in Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, and Caraga region.

We have long called to stop large-scale mining, logging, agribusiness expansion and power projects that leave adverse impact to the environment and agricultural lands in Mindanao. But our calls have fallen to deaf ears until recent disasters have shown how these industries aggravate the disasters resulting to deaths and destruction..

It is sad that while we face the consequence of greed from multinationals for our lands and resources, we have also become victims of the fatal effects of these companies’ operations as well as the military’s brutal attacks for defending our lands and very lives.

We strongly demand that the the Aquino administration must stop the liberalization and sell out of our lands and the ancestral lands of the Lumad (Mindanao’s indigenous peoples) for large-scale mining and other big multinational companies to avert further disasters. It must hold accountable the companies that plunder our lands and bring deaths to our people in Mindanao.

convener, Panalipdan Mindanao. 0920-497-2204

Secretary General. Kalumaran (Alliance of Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao). 0946-703-7490


Picket at the Canadian Embassy


December 6, 2012

Mindanao indigenous peoples, environment groups to PNoy: Scrap mining policy to avert another Pablo apocalypse!

A group of Mindanao-based indigenous peoples and environment organizations leading a ten-day lakbayan to Metro Manila called on President Aquino to scrap the government’s standing mining policy allowing large-scale mining operations in the light of the latest disasters in Mindanao where super typhoon Pablo claimed more than two hundred lives in the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental which have not experienced typhoons in recent years.

Environment group Panalipdan! Mindanao secretary-general Sr. Stella Matutina, OSB said that hundreds of communities in Mindanao have been rendered vulnerable to natural disasters due to the proliferation of large-scale extractive industries being promoted by the Aquino administration through existing government policies and programs such as Executive Order 79 and the Mining Act of 1995.

“Do we need typhoon Pablo to get the attention of the central government and concerned people about our issues like political killings and environmental destructions caused by big extractive industries and other agribusiness ventures?” Matutina said, adding that “we are now right smack in Manila to air out our issues.”

“What we are seeing now is an environmental apocalypse not simply caused by nature's wrath but by the Aquino’s continuing puppetry to foreign mining interests and the government’s greed and corruption in general. The heartbreaking disasters in the New Bataan and Cateel towns and elsewhere illustrate how Mindanao's environment has reached its maximum limit, and unless this government adopts a mining policy which puts people’s safety over the insatiable thirst for profits of large-scale mining companies, we can only expect greater destruction in communities where there are big mining activities," Matutina also said.

Prominent Mindanawon environmentalist Francis Morales also pointed out the presence of the 2,139.44-hectare gold and copper mining project of the Canadian-owned Philco Mining which operates in the hinterland barangay of Camanlangan in New Bataan town. To date, typhoon Pablo has left more than 70 people dead in this sleepy town which used to boast of being typhoon-free.

Morales has long sounded the alarm about the unabated mining explorations and operations in New Bataan, fearing that it will affect the integrity of various ecosystems in the area such as Mt. Kampalili-Tagub Range Complex, a known Key Biodiversity Area (KBA), and Andap and Caragan watershed areas that supply ample amount of the water for residential and agricultural uses in Compostela Valley province.



He also said that despite these serious threats to the lives of the local residents, the people have not been able to voice out their opposition due to widespread military operations which, he said, ostensibly protect big extractive industries.

“The ultimate objective of massive military deployments in New Bataan is to wipe out all types of people’s resistance against mining under the Investment Defense Force (IDF) and mining liberalization policy of the Aquino regime. Despite the community’s resistance, militarization has only resulted to displacement, intimidation and other string of human rights abuses in New Bataan,” Morales said.

Meanwhile Higaonon leader Datu Jomorito Guaynon of Bukidnon chided Noynoy for dodging the real issues and not “learning from the lessons of the past.”

Guaynon, chairperson of the indigenous people group KALUMBAY, headed an environmental mission after the Sendong tragedy almost a year ago, which left 1,257 people dead and 13,337 houses damaged.

The mission yielded a conclusion that the primary reasons for the massive devastation caused by Tropical Storm Sendong were the extensive forest denudation and destruction of the Mt. Kitanglad and Mt. Kalatungan watershed areas, and the encroachment of vast agribusiness plantations and unabated mining and quarrying operations in Bukidnon, located above the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.

Sr. Matutina, Morales and Guaynon are part of more than 70 indigenous peoples’ leaders, environment advocates, and victims and relatives of mining-related human rights violations, which compose the delegation of Manilakbayan, a Mindanao peoples’ mobilization in Metro Manila. The mobilization calls for the stop of large-scale mining and the killing of large-scale mining oppositionists including indigenous peoples.

Thirty five persons in Mindanao, most of whom are leaders of indigenous communities, have been killed due to their resistance to large-scale mining operations.

The Manilakbayan will culminate on December 10 to mark the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day. #

For reference:

Sr. Stella Matutina, OSB (0912-687-4502)
Secretary-General, PANALIPDAN! Mindanao

Dulphing Ogan (0912-484-9965)
Secretary-General, KALUMARAN

Francis Morales (0919-991-4117)
Spokesperson, PANALIPDAN! Southern Mindanao Region


Picket at NADECOR offices, Ortigas


3 December 2012

In light of coming storm and recent Philex mine disaster
Inspect, shut down large-scale mines in typhoon Pablo’s path—Kalikasan

As the Philippines braces itself against the upcoming tropical storm Bopha (Pablo), Kalikasan Party-list today warned government agencies to be on red alert for the storm’s impacts on vulnerable communities where large-scale mining operations are ongoing.

“The DENR should be ready to inspect and shut down operations of all large-scale mining sites lying in typhoon Pablo’s path,” Kalikasan Party-list National President Clemente Bautista, Jr. said in a statement. The typhoon is currently expected to hit the Mindanao and Visayas regions in the coming days.

Many mining disasters in the past occurred during periods of heavy rains, which typhoon Pablo is expected to bring. Among the incidents that happened before was the 2005 Rapu-Rapu mine spill in Albay and this year’s Philex mine spill in Benguet province, which is the worst mine disaster to hit the Philippines so far, Bautista noted.

The group also warned communities to prepare for the threats posed by the tropical storm. “The Philippines is visited by around 19 typhoons each year, which have triggered heavy flooding in large areas in the country. We urge the public to remember three major steps to prepare for the coming storm. First, be aware of the risks and hazards in your local area. Second, inform your communities of these risks while there is still a window of time to do so. Preparedness of local government units to handle disaster situations and emergencies must also be checked and augmented immediately,” Kalikasan said.

The group also said that the release of water in areas with dams should also be done carefully and with the knowledge of affected communities and local government units. Preparation of communities along the river downstream from the dam should be ready when dam managers release excess water from heavy rains.

Mr. Clemente Bautista, Jr. National President, Kalikasan Party-list

Kalikasan Party-list is a progressive political party formed to protect the environment and defend the people's welfare. It is comprised of individuals and various sectors, which support pro-people, pro-Filipino and pro-environment policies, reforms and programs. It is one of the first green political parties in the Philippines.

Address: # 26 Matulungin Street, Barangay Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100
Website: www.kalikasanpartylist.org

Email: kalikasanpartylist.pid@gmail.com
Facebook: Kalikasan Partylist
Twitter: @KalikasanParty
Telephone: +632.434.3173


Picket at the Chamber of Mines, Ortigas


Siltation dams in the Citinickel Corporation's Pulot Mining Project in Sofronio Espanola, Palawan are mere holes dug out of the soil and estimated to run only four feet deep. Heavy rains could easily cause the overflow of siltation and the break down of these dams. November 24, 2012.Photo Credit: Kalikasan PNE