MAC: Mines and Communities

The following articles link the November 16th massacre at Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, Luzon, Philipp

Published by MAC on 2004-11-20

The following articles link the November 16th massacre at Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, Luzon, Philippines - where a strike by sugar cane workers was 'dispersed' by the army and national police leaving 14 dead, over 35 wounded and over 100 arrested - to potential flash points over mining. It is seen as a very bad omen for government oppression of legitimate protest in the Philippines.

Further details of the Hacienda Luisita massacre, together with a letter demanding a full investigation and justice for the workers, can be viewed at http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/solidarityforever/show_campaign.cgi?c=39.

Another massacre in the offing in Manicani Island, Eastern Samar

Press Release Kalikasan-PNE

November 20, 2004

"If the government will not positively act on the on-going conflict regarding the illegal operation of Hinatuan Mining Co. (HMC) in our island, there could be another massacre like what happened in Hacienda Luisita," echoed by Fred Macabasag Jr., spokesperson of MAMARO, a Samareños organization opposing the mining operation of HMC.

Manicani is one of the islands of Guiuan, Eastern Samar with a total land area of 1,166 hectares and a total population of 1,750. HMC, owned by the San Juan Congressman Ronaldo Zamora and his brother Salvador Zamora, acquired mining rights covering the whole island in January 1991. In May 1, 2001, the DENR issued a suspension of HMC's operation including the Ore Transport Permit (OPT) due to the protest of the residents. During the protest actions in 2001 one local protester was killed and 3 seriously wounded by the security forces of HMC.

"We the people of Manicani will put our lives to protect our community, livelihood and environment against the transgression and destructive operation of Hinatuan Mining," Mr. Macabasag said. Since November 18, more than 300 people formed a human barricade in Manicani Island to block the entry of HMC personnel who will transport stockpile of nickel out of the island. The people fear that this will lead again to the re-opening of the HMC's operation.

"The operation of HMC in Manicani island is another classic case of how economically disastrous and environmentally unsound are the mining projects that the government is promoting. Manicani as a fragile small-island ecosystem and a fisherfolk community with a significant population should not be made as a mining area," said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan-People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE).

Based on DENR website, HMC's $4 million Manicani Nickel Project is one of the priority project under the mining revitalization program of the Arroyo administration.

"Worst, the DENR allowed HMC to use the open-pit mining method to extract nickel in the island. If not for the people action in 2001, HMC could have rendered the island completely devastated," Mr. Bautista added. Local residents have reported that the mining operation of HMC aggravated the heavy siltation of their coastal areas, destruction of coral reefs and decline of fish catch.

"If the new DENR Secretary Mike Defensor will allow HMC to enter and operate again in Manicani, he will be faced by the outrage of people who are more than ready to defend the island which is to them, is not only their source of livelihood, but their life," Mr Bautista added.

Fr. Alejandro Galo Jr. of Save Manicani Movement (SaMaMo) the local people's organization, said that "Long before we have made it loud and clear that our stand is not to allow HMC to destroy the people of Manicani and our beautiful island. We, as one people, oppose the mining operation in Samr and is calling for the permanent closure of HMC in the island."

Aside from HMC, Heritage Mining Resources, Panapino Mining Inc., Alumina Mining Philippine and Bauxite Mineral Inc. has acquired mining concession in Samar Island totaling to 18,316 hectares. The provincial governments of Western and Northern Samar have passed resolutions on moratorium of mining in their provinces.

Reference: Clemente Bautista 09185539682
26 Matulungin St. Central District Quezon City

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