MAC: Mines and Communities

Philippines: yet more assassinations of anti-mining activists

Published by MAC on 2012-12-11
Source: Philippine Online Chronicles, Boston.com (2012-12-10)

The number of killings of mining opponents, in countries like India, Mexico, and Ecuador, has been rising at an horrendous rate.

But the Philippines must hold the unenviable record of suffering the highest rate of such atrocities. (See for instance: Philippines: Seeking the truth about killings of indigenous activists).

Three more such activists were allegedly murdered over the past week - just a few days before groups demonstrated about the killings associated with large-scale mining projects in the capital, Manila.

Farmer, 2 anti-mining activists killed ahead of Human Rights Day

The Philippine Online Chronicles

9 December 2012

A militant farmer and two anti-mining activists were killed in separate incidents just days before the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day, Bulatlat reported.

Demonstrators commemorate 2012 Human Rights Day in Philippines capital, Manila
Demonstrators commemorate 2012 Human Rights Day in
Philippines capital, Manila

Based on the report, Rolando Quijano, a farmer and active member of peasant organization in the southern province of Zamboanga del Sur, was shot dead Friday noon in Ocapan village, San Miguel, Zamboanga del Sur.

Quijano's relatives believe the attack is linked to his active opposition to large-scale mining and illegal logging in the province, according to militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

Later during the same day, anti-mining advocates Cheryl Ananayo and cousin-in-law Randy Nabayay were also killed at around 6 p.m. in the town of Didipio in Nueva Vizcaya.

Ananayo was a member of Didipio Earthsavers' Multipurpose Association (Desama), a people's organization opposed to the implementation of the 17,626-hectare Didipio gold-copper project in Kasibu, Nueva Vizacaya.

The murder of Ananayo and Nabaybay came as the Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered a manhunt for a militia leader who is suspected of killing anti-mining activist Datu Jimmy Liguyon in Bukidnon.

The directive was issued based on the  appeal to the DOJ of Liguyon's widow and several church people including five bishops of the United Church of Chirst in the Philippines, according to a Philippine Daily Inquirer report.

Fr. Oliver Castor, spokesperson of Task Force-Justice for Environment Defenders (TF-JED) raised an alarm over the rising death toll of environmental activists this year, currently at 15.

"Is this how Aquino wants to celebrate Human Rights Day, with more impunity towards our beleaguered environment defenders?" Fr. Castor said in a report.

Kalikasan People's Network national coordinator Clemente Bautista urged the government to stop the killings of environmental activists.

"We have seen how destructive large-scale logging and mining activities have resulted in the intensified disaster impacts of hazards such as the most recent Typhoon Pablo that hit Mindanao. If we allow this impunity towards the likes of Ananayo to continue, who will be left to ensure the integrity of the environment that nurtures and protects us?" Bautista asked.

Previously, human rights alliance Karapatan scored the Aquino administration for the continuing extrajudicial killings and illegal arrests of activists in the country as the state's counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan remains in place.


On International Human Rights Day, wars over natural resources must be addressed

By Priyanka Borpujari

Boston.com

10 December 2012

Over the last four days, three activists in the Philippines have been murdered in killings apparently linked to their opposition to mining projects.

Rolando Quijano, a farmer who had opposed mining and logging proposals, was shot on Friday; two anti-mining activists, Cheryl Ananayo and Randy Nabayay, were killed later the same day.

As the world observes International Human Rights Day on Monday, such stories are still distressingly common in the developing world, as the pursuit of natural resources fuels an ongoing campaign of violence against indigenous opponents.

The killings - in India, the Philippines, Ecuador, Mexico, and other countries - have been happening for years, often with little international outcry or response.

This year, however, there is something the Securities and Exchange Commission can do to reduce such atrocities: the agency can fight to preserve a new disclosure requirement aimed at forcing companies that manufacture goods with "conflict minerals" from Africa to disclose their use.

Approved in August, the rule covers gold and tin, as well as tantalum and tungsten, rare minerals that are used in jewelry and in many personal electronics like computers and cameras. Proceeds from the minerals have helped finance warlords in the Democratic Republic of Congo and nearby countries, prolonging the country's civil war.

The Dodd-Frank legislation of 2010 required the SEC to put such the disclosure rule in place, but it now faces intense opposition from business interests. The Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the rule.

The rule doesn't prohibit the use of conflict minerals from Congo, but by requiring greater disclosure could shame companies into switching to other sources.

It could also serve as a model for other natural resources, and in other parts of the world.

Without such pressure, too many companies will continue to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses linked to natural resources:  as it is, killings continue to be ignored in countries that are viewed as emerging markets. Countries around the world are being eyed for their vast deposits of natural resources - oil, minerals, forests, rivers.

The violence against any indigenous opponents who stand in the way of exploiting those resources has been fierce. Sister Valsa John, a Catholic nun working among indigenous peoples in India, was hacked to death last year for actively opposing an open-pit coal mine.

In the western state of Gujarat in India, which is being hailed by corporations for its business opportunities, Amit Jethwa was murdered by hired killers after he filed several court cases against a politician responsible for illegal mining in a protected forest area inhabited by lions.

Measures like the new SEC rule that require companies to disclosure where they get their resources would bring transparency to what is now a murky system, one that allows companies to avoid accountability for the materials they use. Defending and expanding those rules would be a good way to mark International
Human Rights Day.

Priyanka Borpujari is the IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow for 2012-2013.


Another mother, anti-mining activist killed days before Human Rights Day

Kalikasan PNE Press Release

8 December 2012

Days before the international celebration of Human Rights Day, green groups reported that two anti-mining advocates were killed this Friday night by unidientified assailants in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya. Cheryl Ananayo, a member of Didipio Earthsavers' Multipurpose Association (DESAMA), was shot dead along with her cousin-in-law Randy Nabayay as they were riding to Didipio at 6:00PM last December 7.

DESAMA is a people's organization opposed to the ongoing implementation of the 17,626-hectare Didipio gold-copper project in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya owned by Australian large-scale miner OceanaGold Corporation. Nabayay was a small-scale miner who had differences with OceanaGold over his property. Ananayo was with her 4 year-old child and carrying her 3 month-old baby, both unharmed.

"Ananayo, much like Juvy Capion from South Cotabato, is a mother who only wanted a safe future for her children, but in the end was senselessly killed. It seems that the mining regime perpetrated by the Aquino government is not content with the death toll of environmental activists this year, now pegged at 15 cases in 2012 alone. Is this how Aquino wants to celebrate Human Rights Day, with more impunity towards our beleaguered environment defenders?" said Fr. Oliver Castor, spokesperson of Task Force-Justice for Environment Defenders (TF-JED).

Fr. Castor referred to the Tampakan massacre earlier this year, where B'laan mother and anti-mining advocate Juvy Capion was murdered alongside her sons John and Pops. The two mothers and their family now cap the 27 cases of killings of environmentalists recorded under the Aquino government.

According to the Kalikasan-People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) of Oceana Gold in Didipio, which commenced only this November of 2012, has already caused ecological destruction and the violation of indigenous peoples' rights even before its full operations, making the company a possible suspect.

"Oceana Gold's crimes to the environment and the people started way before its commencement this last November, and it continues to grow. As early as during its mine development stage, it has already caused massive siltation that led to the disappearance of aquatic species in some affected rivers. Its campaign of attrition towards the indigenous people's communities included threats of bulldozing homes, actual demolition operations, and letting loose gunfire upon civilians. We can think of no other person or institution with a track record and motive," said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

"It angers us how not a single case of extrajudicial and politically motivated killing towards environmentalists has ever been resolved since 2001, and still the number has risen with the killing of Ananayo and Nabayay. We call for an immediate independent investigation into the killings, as already the police are initially looking at the angle of a hold-up incident. We cannot allow yet another case of white-washing in the making," Fr. Castor said.

"We cannot continue turning a blind eye on the killings of environmental advocates. We have seen how destructive large-scale logging and mining activities have resulted in the intensified disaster impacts of hazards such as the most recent Typhoon Pablo that hit Mindanao. If we allow this impunity towards the likes of Ananayo to continue, who will be left to ensure the integrity of the environment that nurtures and protects us?" ended Bautista.

--
CLEMENTE BAUTISTA
National Coordinator
Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE)
No.26 Matulungin St. Bgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines 1100
Tel. No. +63-2-9248756 Fax No. +63-2-9209099
Website: www.kalikasan.net

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