'Philippine Mining Act cannot be saved by executive order'Published by MAC on 2012-03-27
Source: Butlatat, AFP, Mindanao Examiner, Manila Times
The "will he won't he" political pantomime continues as President Aquino's promised executive order (EO) on mining in the Philippines is further postponed. The vacuum created by inaction is being more than filled with speculation; the most recent being on whether there will be an executive order at all.
While the industry lobby blasts away, many mining opponents note that even a favourable EO is unlikely to get at the root of the problems in the original 1995 Mining Act.
There have been a number of recent events that prove this point. Once again the human rights violations at Xstrata's Tampakan mine have been highlighted. Renewed allegations of similar violations have been made against TVI, this time over its expansion into the Balabag area of Bayog.
Indigenous peoples have joined the complaints filed against San Roque Metals. The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) has ordered Gold Fields & Lepanto to stop drilling operations in Mankayan, Benguet Province.
Another tribal anti-mining advocate murdered
This time it is Jimmy Liguyon, a leader in Bukidnon who consistently refused to sign agreements with mining companies.
How many more will die defending their lands while waiting for Presidential protection - a protection which anyway may never come...?
‘Philippine Mining Act cannot be saved by executive order' - environmentalists
By Marya Salamat
9 March 2012
Even if Aquino manages to get a bigger share in the mining firms' declared profits, it would be nothing compared to the mining firms' profits and worth of ‘plundered' wealth.
|Murdered indigenous leader and advocate
Jimmy Liguyon. Source: FrontlineDefenders.org
MANILA - A growing number of local ordinances are coming out in the Philippines declaring their specific areas of jurisdiction as mining-free zones, and specifically banning open pit mining. "It can only mean that at the local level, people are rejecting mining," said Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat from the lone district of Ifugao in a forum at the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in Intramuros, Manila early this week.
Indeed, from Cordillera in the North down to Palawan, Bicol and Negros in the Visayas and Caraga in Mindanao, communities and indigenous peoples have been banding together into anti-mining alliances, with some supported by the Church, and successfully convincing or pressuring their mayors, councilors, governors and representatives to ban the operation of destructive mining in their areas.
This, on top of the natural wealth and beauty of the Philippines, is a great piece of good news, said Sr. Stella Matutina of Panalipdan from Mindanao at the recent 3rd Peoples' Mining Conference late last week.
The bad news, she hastily added in Filipino, is that "massive destruction of our beautiful environment is happening because of greed for profits by a few." That greed, based on reports of anti-mining activists in the same conference and elsewhere, is being nurtured and advanced by the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
The Philippine Mining Act of 1995 is widely blamed for having opened wide the country's mineral and non-mineral wealth to as much as 100-percent foreign exploitation. "This law has opened the floodgates to widespread plunder of our natural wealth, unprecedented environmental degradation and worsening human rights violations," said Renato Reyes Jr., secretary-general of multi-sectoral alliance Bayan.
As such, many groups greeted the 17th year of Philippine Mining Act with protests and calls for its repeal. Even an impending executive order from Malacañang promising to address complaints about mining, but still hinged on the Mining Act of 1995, did not escape the fury of the protesters.
Last Saturday, on the 17th anniversary of the derided Mining Act, some 600 protesters from various regions, indigenous groups and various sectors criticized President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino's policy on mining as "subservient to foreign interests." In Mendiola near Malacañang they burned an effigy of a foreign puppeteer controlling a marionette, which happens to be the Philippine president astride a backhoe.
Aquino merely interested in revenue-sharing
Lip service, barefaced lies, or "greenwashing," is how the leaders of local communities dislocated and disadvantaged by mining frequently describe the claims made by mining industry bigwigs and the Aquino government.
Bayan suspects that "From all indications, the Aquino government has acceded to the demands of the big foreign mining firms and is now merely concerned about making this acceptable to the opposition groups.
The Mining Act today faces unprecedented opposition from a broad cross-section of society, including inside and outside parliament, indigenous communities, schools, church groups, environmental groups and armed rebels in the countryside. There is a growing clamor to stop destructive large-scale foreign mining in so many provinces and regions nationwide, noted Bayan.
To counter these clamors, the government and the mining firms use billions of peso worth of "greenwashing or PR gimmicky" or multimedia lies, and "state-sponsored terrorism of military forces" in areas covered by mining, according to the Kalikasan-PNE.
Bautista of Kalikasan-PNE said that "at least 40 human rights violations since 2001, of which 37 are politically-motivated killings, two are frustrated murders and one is a case of enforced disappearance," have been attributed to struggles against mining.
"The promise of ‘economic and social development' by mining companies is just lip service. The lopsided mining policies have significantly contributed to the degradation of ‘host communities,' which companies see only as repositories of minerals-not as homes to families and individuals," said Kakai Tolentino, Dumagat Spokesperson of KATRIBU Partylist.
"When they destroy what's underneath, where would they relocate those who live above it?" asked Sr. Stella Matutina. She shared how in some places in the Caraga region, for example, the people have to evacuate every six months due to the simultaneous entry of mining firms and the military. More than 42-percent of Caraga's lands are covered by mining permits and applications, excluding areas approved for coal mining, said Sr. Stella.
In Rapu-rapu in Bicol, almost the entire island is targeted for mining, with some villages already leveled down by mining. As much as 70-percent of Cagayan Valley coastlines are being dredged or up for dredging for magnetite mining, said Santos Mero, member of the Ibaloi tribe and Cordillera Peoples' Alliance. He said that almost the entire area of the Cordillera region is covered by mining permits or applications.
Yet, mining has contributed only slightly to the national economy. Based on a study on transparency issues in Philippine mining, it contributed only 0.91-percent to GDP from 2001-2009, and a mere 0.376-percent average share of total employment from 1990-2004.
Seventeen years of Mining Act have given a total of more than a million hectares of Philippine lands to foreign mining corporations' control. The law gives each of them as vast as 81,000 hectares for a period of 25 to 50 years, with little in return except for a 2-percent excise tax. But critics said this is offset by other tax exemptions such as the eight to 10 years tax holidays.
Worse, the Bureau of Internal Revenue is probably collecting less excise tax than the actual collectible, observed Maita Gomez who researched on Philippine Mining Industry's transparency issues. Gomez said the Philippines exported more minerals than the mining companies have reportedly produced, suggesting that they may have under-declared their production. "No wonder the mining firms are very happy operating here," she said.
It is this glaring inequity in sharing that the Aquino government is reportedly seeking to address in a new mining Executive Order, only the Chamber of Mines is opposed to it. But even if Aquino was to have his way in carving out a slightly bigger share from the mining firms' declared profits, that is just "a drop in the bucket compared to the billions of profits and worth of mined wealth carted out of the country each year," said Gabriela Women's Partylist Luzviminda Ilagan.
As it stands, mining is an extractive industry that does not develop the economy, said Bayan. They charged that the foreign mining firms and their local counterparts are apparently merely interested in exporting the country's resources, which has grown at a rate of 27.96 percent from 2005-2010.
The Philippine Mining Act of 1995 is beyond saving or revision, according to the environment defenders. What is needed is mining moratorium, they said, and "this must stand until we are able to put in place a pro-people, pro-environment mining law," said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of an environmentalists' coalition called Kalikasan PNE.
In Congress the progressive partylist bloc has a pending proposed bill seeking to allow mining only when an industrialization program calls for it, and if the affected community truly gave their consent.
Aquino says miners will have to pay
21 March 2012
MANILA, Philippines-The Philippine government intends to impose far heavier taxes and tougher environmental restrictions on the mining industry, President Benigno Aquino said Tuesday
Aquino told AFP in an interview a review of the country's mining policies was close to being finished, and the government would likely require all mining companies to start paying the government a "hefty" percentage of revenues.
Aquino said the government currently only received a two-percent excise tax.
"We are now reviewing what is fair... we get two percent of the profit and 100 percent of the risks. That doesn't seem fair," he said.
Aquino said the government was looking at efforts by the Australian government to generate more money from the mining sector, where a 30-percent tax on extraordinary profits of coal and ore producers will start in July.
He said a 50-50 revenue sharing agreement was even being considered, although he emphasized the policy had not been finalized and refused to signal what percentage the government was hoping for other than a "fair share."
The Philippines is believed to have some of the biggest mineral reserves in the world - the government estimates the country has at least $840 billion in gold, copper, nickel, chromite, manganese, silver and iron.
However, the minerals have been largely untapped, partly because of a strong anti-mining movement led by the influential Catholic Church, while poor infrastructure and security concerns have also kept investors away.
Aquino said the new mining policy would aim to regulate the industry much more closely and give certainty to investors.
But he signalled the government was not desperate to cash in on the global commodities boom, pointing out the mining sector played only a small role in the nation's economy and created many environmental risks.
"They (miners) claim they contribute quite a big amount to the national economy but at the end of the day it's really just two percent," he said.
Aquino also indicated tourism was a much higher economic priority for the government than mining, which he said generally created only short-term economic benefits.
He said the government was aiming to attract 10 million tourists annually by 2016, up from four million currently, and that each visitor generated one job domestically.
"If we get 10 million tourists, we get 10 million new jobs... this is sustainable. We can count on that year in, year out," he said.
"(But) once all of those minerals are extracted, that's it. So if we go into gaining these resources on a temporary basis, we might be sacrificing the long-term opportunities for our future."
Aquino said, under the new policy, mining would be banned completely from 78 sites deemed important to tourism, while other environmental restrictions would be imposed.
Rights violation in Tampakan hit
16 March 2012
MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 16, 2012) - A German study group on mining in the Philippines and members of the Tampakan Forum have raised concern over alleged human rights abuses in mining impacted communities in South Cotabato's Tampakan town in the southern Philippines, environmentalists told the Mindanao Examiner.
"It is sad to see the vast violation of human rights regarding the Tampakan mining project of SMI/Xstrata. Compared to my last visit in the Tampakan mining area in 2010, the situation got even worse."
"The extra-judicial killing of Eliezer Billanes for example remains unsolved. The whole conflict turns more and more violent. We support the call of the Indigenous Communities for an independent investigation of the conflict by the Commission on Human Rights," said Michael Reckordt, executive director of Philippinenbuero, whose group also visited mining communities in Cordillera in Luzon Island and Mindanao Island.
The military has strongly denied the allegations.
The Philippinenbuero is an independent, socio-economic and political information center affiliated with the Asienhaus based in Germany which functions as documentation center and serves as contact point between civil society groups in Germany and those in the Philippines.
Daniel Arias, Sites of Struggle Officer, of Alyansa Tigil Mina, also shared his reports from the community, saying the continued presence of military groups in their area is harassing villagers and pushes them to leave their ancestral domains.
"In spite of the fact that they are against the entry of SMI-Xstrata, we found that the mining company is still in the area-continuing exploration and even commit offensive acts against communities," Arias said.
Last January 12, the application for Environmental Compliance Certificate of SMI-Xstrata was denied on the grounds of the provincial ban on open pit mining.
"What's happening in Tampakan is not an isolated case. Almost all mining-affected communities, particularly indigenous communities, face the issues of militarization and human rights violations," said lawyer Grace Villanueva, of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Friends of Earth Philippines.
The House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights recently held a hearing to deliberate the different human rights issues in the country.
"A Human Rights Impact Assessment should be done in Tampakan and not only the Total Economic Valuation as reportedly provided in the new mining policy to be issued by President Benigno Aquno. This is to refute the economic argument that has been so far articulated by the Chamber of Mines. People are more important than anything else," said lawyer Mario Maderazo, Project Officer of the Philippine Misereor Partnership Anti-Mining Campaign and lead convener of the Tampakan Forum.
"In light of the current move of the administration to craft a new mining executive order, it should be anchored on the principle of protecting, promoting and respecting the human rights of communities, which is a primordial duty of the state," Maderazo added.
Tampakan Forum is a technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue convened by the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. Anti-Mining Campaign in collaboration with Social Action Marbel, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Philippine Association for Intercultural Development, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Friends of Earth Philippines, Philippine Indigenous Peoples Links and the London Working Group on Mining in the Philippines and IUCN CESP-SEAPRISE.
Agusan tribes hit mining mogul for violations
6 March 2012
THE Municipal Tribal Council of Tubay, Agusan del Norte through their counsel Rose Beatrix Cruz-Angeles filed a complaint with the DENR against SR Metals, Inc., a large- scale mining firm owned by Caloocan Vice Mayor Edgar Erice, for violation of the Mining Act of 1995 and other environmental laws.
In a complaint addressed to DENR Secretary Ramon Paje, the tribal council sought the immediate issuance of an order suspending mining and quarrying operations in the firm's mining site in La Fraternidad village, Tubay, Agusan del Norte because of the "imminent danger it poses and continues to pose to residents."
They complained of the health hazards to residents and for the firm's closure of the Tubay National Secondary Coastal Road for the firm's own use. The council complained that SR Metals Inc. illegally appropriated the public road and has not allowed anyone to use it to the extent of setting up check-points and denying access to anyone, including local executives from Tubay town.
The council also complained of the firm's violation of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued by the DENR on February 27, 2007 particularly its failure to strictly implement commitments, mitigating measures, and monitoring requirements to minimize any adverse impact of the project.
Atty. Angeles, counsel for the complainant said SRMI's blatant disregard to the laws shows that the mining company has someone close to those who are in power which could protect them in case they get in trouble.
"Since 2005 marami nang reklamo against SRMI, pero tuloy tuloy pa rin ang kanilang operation continues so feeling ko talagang malakas sila to whoever (there have been numerous complaints against SRMI, but it still manages to continue its operation, I believe that the company has some strong connections)," Angeles said in an interview.
The municipal tribal council of Tubay, through its lawyer wants the DENR to stop the operation of SRMI because of the obvious violations committed by the company particularly in taking over government-owned road and used it exclusively for the company and denied residents access to it.
"This is just the first case, we are also preparing other cases that will be filed against the SRMI, particularly in relation to the destructive effects of the its operation to the environment," she added.
SR Metals Inc. has been the subject of numerous complaints from local government executives, community leaders, and residents for the destructive effects of their mining activities in the Agusan del Norte, particularly on the marine life and the surrounding mountains, which is a bird sanctuary and protected area.
Tubay Mayor Sadeka Garcia Tomaneng earlier cried harassment against the Caloocan City vice mayor when Erice filed a complaint against her before the Office of the Ombudsman over her relentless campaign against mining operations in her hometown.
Previously, Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Jasareno conducted an aerial survey of the area and found indications that SRMI may have committed several violations that could endanger the eco system there.
Environmentalist have expressed doubts that the MGB would investigate and sanction SRMI including three other large-scale mining firms in Surigao del Norte namely Taganito Mining Corp. (TMC), Platinum Group Metals Corp. (PGMC) and Claver Mining Corp.
SRMI, according to them is being backed by Erice, a partymate of President Aquino and a member of the national executive council of the Liberal Party.
Erice and Miguel Alberto Gutierrez are listed as the principal owners of SR Metals Inc. Erice was chairman and president of the company and is currently the first member of the company's board.
Legislator calls for probe of alleged abuses of Canadian mining firm in Zamboanga del Sur
15 March 2012
ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio is calling for a Congressional investigation into human rights abuses allegedly committed by a Canadian mining firm against small-scale miners and indigenous Subanen in Zamboanga del Sur.
Tinio filed House Resolution 2246, calling on the House Committee on National Cultural Communities to look into the activities of TVI Resource Development (Phils.), Inc. (TVIRD), as it seeks to establish and operate an open-pit gold mine on Balabag Hill in Sitio Balabag, Barangay Depore, Bayog municipality in Zamboanga del Sur.
TVIRD is a subsidiary of TVI Pacific, Inc., a publicly-traded Canadian mining company based in Calgary, Alberta. TVIRD currently operates a copper-zinc mine in Canatuan, Zamboanga del Norte.
According to Tinio, TVIRD's effort to set up gold mining operations in Balabag, beginning with the deployment of its Balabag Pioneer Team in April 2011, has brought it into conflict with small-scale miners and the indigenous Subanen population. "Currently, there are around 600 homes and establishments on Balabag Hill, where over 3,000 small-scale miners and their dependents live and work, together with the local Subanen. TVIRD needs to evict them from the area before it can start mining for gold."
The party-list solon said that TVIRD has been conducting "clearing operations" in Sitio Balabag since November 2011, making use of paramilitaries supplied by the Philippine Army. "According to internal documents of TVIRD that have been brought to our attention, the mining firm has been implementing a security plan known as OPLAN Bongkag (Operation Plan "Dismantle") since the last quarter of 2011," said Tinio.
"The objectives are to secure the area for mining operations in the face of strong resistance from the small-scale miners, many of whom have been working in the area since the 1980s. " He added that the plan, approved by TVIRD's Vice-President for Philippine Operations and Chief Operating Officer Yulo E. Perez, called for the deployment of regular troops, along with at least 220 paramilitaries from the 1st Infantry Divison of the Philippine Army, all of them acting under the direction of TVIRD's Security Manager, retired Army Colonel Valentino V. Edang.
Tinio explained that such an arrangement was made by possible when, in October 2011, President Benigno S. Aquino III authorized the deployment of paramilitaries, known as Special Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit Active Auxiliaries (SCAA). These SCAA are recruited, armed and trained by the Armed Forces of the Philippines but assigned to private mining companies to provide them with additional security. Under this arrangement, the mining companies pay for the compensation of SCAA. "Reports of abuses committed by paramilitaries acting in behalf of TVIRD against ordinary citizens highlight the perils of allowing the State's armed forces, funded by taxpayers, to protect and defend the private interests of foreign mining companies."
Tinio cited reports that TVIRD, with the aid of paramilitaries, committed numerous human rights violations against small-scale miners and the local Subanen in the course of implementing OPLAN Bongkag. These include the demolition of Subanen homes, bulldozing of subsistence plots, destruction of small-scale mining equipment, illegal searches and arrests, setting up of checkpoints, and imposition of a blockade to prevent supplies from reaching the community on Balabag Hill.
TVIRD also reportedly fenced off the mountain spring that serves as the main source of water for the community. It also used heavy equipment to excavate two sections of the Diplahan-Guinoman-Balabag road, a public road that serves as the main access route to Sitio Balabag, rendering it virtually impassable. As a result of the restrictions on access and the militarization of the area imposed by TVRID, enrolment in the Balabag Primary School, the only one serving the remote community, dropped from 105 to 50. "We are particularly concerned about reports that the activities of TVIRD in the past few months have kept many children in the community from going to school," said Tinio.
Tinio also noted that TVIRD "special intelligence units" have been conducting "close monitoring" activities on local personalities, leading the resistance to the entry TVIRD in Sitio Balabag, including officials of the local small-scale miners' association, journalists, and a municipal councilor.
"According to one of their security officers, the ‘full combat status' of their ‘forces' is ‘on standby mode until further order [sic].' That's alarming and dangerous rhetoric coming from a senior TVIRD official, given the nature of the security forces at their disposal," said Tinio.
"We're calling for a congressional investigation to look into the reported abuses of TVIRD. Recognizing the widespread opposition to the entry of foreign mining firms in the country, it's our duty to make sure that those already in operation are doing so in accordance with our laws and with utmost respect for the rights of our citizens," he concluded.
Reference: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (+639209220817)
Indigenous peoples commission stops Mankayan drilling
By Ma. Elena Catajan
Sun Sta Baguio
15 March 2012
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet - Far Southeast Gold Resources Inc. (FSGRI), a subsidiary of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMC), was ordered by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to stop its drilling operations at Barangay Tabio, Madaymen, Mankayan, Benguet.
The NCIP released its decision Tuesday, granting a 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) to members of "Teeng Di Mankayan," the group which filed the request at the IP body.
NCIP hearing officer Brain Masweng, in a three-page decision, ordered the 20-day TRO to stop all drilling under the ancestral land domain of the plaintiffs.
The NCIP noted only the Teeng Di Mankayan filed its position paper in court while nothing was given by the company.
A summary hearing is set on March 27 to decide on the application for an injunction by the group of landowners.
In 2011, Gold Fields infused $66 million to LCMC to acquire 40-percent Far Southeast Gold Resources Inc. (FSGRI) project, representing the second tranche of payment following the previous US$10 million paid in 2010 for the mining project.
Goldfields Philippines Inc. is conducting its due diligence phase of operations at the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation Far Southeast site, aiming to decide by the end of the month if the project is feasible.
At the end of March, if Gold Fields decides to proceed with the acquisition of the 60-percent interest in Far South East, the final payment of US$220 million is expected to be paid during the first half of 2012.
However, protests by IP groups in the area have remained to be the sole hurdle in the otherwise positive project aiming to expand the LCMC reach.
Allegedly, Madaymen residents are affected in the present drilling and are up in arms in protest. A SAVE Mankayan movement has likewise gained ground with more people joining the advocacy to halt expansion of LCMC and its newest investor, Gold Fields Philippines for the Far Southeast Project under their subsidiary FSGRI.
Public Information Officer for the FSGRI Joann Gatchalian chose not to comment on the matter, saying the company has yet to receive a copy of the TRO.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 16, 2012.
Anti-mining advocate in Bukidnon killed inside his own home
Ina Alleco R. Silverio
16 March 2012
As village chief, Jimmy Liguyon had consistently rebuffed agreements with mining firms, blocking their operation on ancestral lands of indigenous peoples and making him a target of paramilitary groups and the Philippine Army's 8th Infantry Battalion.
ILIGAN CITY-Human rights organizations and advocacy groups promoting the rights of indigenous peoples have condemned the March 5, 2012 killing of indigenous leader and human rights advocate Jimmy Liguyon in Purok 2, Barangay Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon. Liguyon was shot dead inside his house allegedly by a leader of a paramilitary group. He was 36.
According to reports posted on the website of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), Liguyon was the vice chairman of Kaugalingong Sistema sa Igpasasindog to Lumadnong Ogpaan (KASILO), an organization of indigenous peoples from the southern municipalities of Bukidon. Kasilo advocates for the defense of land rights, and the sustainable use of environmental resources. Liguyon was also the Dao barangay captain and a staunch opponent of mining companies as he campaigned against their operations in the region.
Around 6:00 p.m. last March 5, Liguyon was reportedly inside his house when he was approached and then shot at by a certain Aldy "Butsoy" Salusad. Witnesses said the killer's father, Ben Salusad, is head of a paramilitary group connected to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the San Fernando Matigsalug Tribal Datus or SANMATRIDA. The paramilitary group is said to hold a certificate of ancestral domain and has been actively campaigning for the entry of mining companies in the region since 2009.
Based on accounts of witnesses, as reported to human rights groups, the killer arrived at Liguyon's house with 15 other individuals. Liguyon was sitting on a bench with his two brothers when Salusad ordered him to move to another bench. When Liguyon got up, Salusad shot and killed him three times. Witnesses also said that Salusad then justified what he did by shouting that Liguyon had refused to sign an agreement with Sanmatrida. He also reportedly issued a threat that anyone else who went against Sanmatrida would also be killed.
Salusad is also reportedly a leader of the New Indigenous People's Army for Reform (NIPAR), a paramilitary group directly under the AFP's 8th Infantry Battalion. Salusad's father had reportedly confiscated the taxes levied by the barangay government on small-scale mining operations in the area.
Resisted offers of mining corporations
In a report by the group FrontlineDefenders, it was said that Liguyon, in his capacity as barangay captain, consistently refused to sign agreements with mining companies, which would have allowed them access to operate on the ancestral lands of indigenous peoples. He also refused to recognize the ancestral domain claims made by Sanmatrida.
The human rights advocacy group also said Liguyon had been subjected to threats since he became a barangay official.
Last October 28, 2011, when he and his wife were going home from a human rights rally in Cagayan de Oro City, they were stopped by armed men. They were taken to a vacant house where the human rights defender was allegedly ordered by the leader of another local paramilitary group Angge Dal-anay to stop joining rallies and to allow mining in Baran, also in Bukidnon.
Earler, on October 16, 2011, , Sanmatrida members went to his house, but he was fortunately not there when they arrived. Following the visit, Liguyon and his family left Dao. Three days before, Ben Salusad, the killer's father, reportedly called Liguyon and told him that he would be killed if returned to Dao.
"Front Line Defenders expresses grave concern at the killing of the human rights defender and believes that his killing is directly related to his human right activities and in particular his work in the defense of the rights of indigenous peoples in Brgy.Dao," said the group.
In the meantime, witness also said the barangay chief was killed upon the directives of the AFP's 8th Infantry Battalion. The 8th IB and its paramilitary groups are said to be behind a series of harassment attacks against anti-mining advocates in the area.
In the days following Liguyon's brutal killing, reports revealed that farmers from surrounding barrios who wanted to attend his wake were harassed by Salusad's men. One group was intercepted by Sanmatrida members and their driver was ordered to get out of the vehicle. When the farmers refused to stop the vehicle, they were chased by motorcycles all the way to where the wake and vigil was being held.
In the meantime, there have also been reports that other Kasilo members are receiving death threats for exposing the crime.
As of 14 March, the local police had made no arrest nor charged any individual for the killing. (http://bulatlat.com)