Dec. 3, 2012
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!
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.
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.,
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.
SR. STELLA MATUTINA
convener, Panalipdan Mindanao. 0920-497-2204
Secretary General. Kalumaran (Alliance of Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao).
December 6, 2012
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
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
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
The Manilakbayan will culminate on December 10 to mark the commemoration
of the International Human Rights Day. #
Sr. Stella Matutina, OSB (0912-687-4502)
Secretary-General, PANALIPDAN! Mindanao
Dulphing Ogan (0912-484-9965)
Francis Morales (0919-991-4117)
Spokesperson, PANALIPDAN! Southern Mindanao Region