#StopLumadKillings | Groups protest ‘butcher mining companies’ confab

Igorots from Nueva Vizcaya and Lumads from Mindanao joined green groups to condemn the impunity of mining companies implicated in plunder, pollution and militarization (Photo by Kalikasan PNE/Bulatlat.com)
Igorots from Nueva Vizcaya and Lumads from Mindanao joined green groups to condemn the impunity of mining companies implicated in plunder, pollution and militarization (Photo by Kalikasan PNE/Bulatlat.com)

MANILA – Environmentalist and indigenous groups protested outside the annual gathering of the Chamber of Mines in the Philippines (CoMP) at the posh Solaire Casino and Resort in Paranaque City on Sept. 15, calling it “a conference of militarists and polluters.”

The groups linked the Sept. 1 killing rampage of a paramilitary group in Diatagon village, Lianga, Surigao del Sur to mining interests in the Andap Valley complex in the province, which has one of the biggest coal reserves in the country.

Protesters push back metal barriers (Photo by Kalikasan PNE/Bulatlat.com)
Protesters push back metal barriers (Photo by Kalikasan PNE/Bulatlat.com)

The leading sponsors of the conference were large-scale mining companies such as Philex Mining, Nickel Asia, Red 5 Limited, and Sagittarius Mines Inc.
(Photo by Kalikasan PNE/Bulatlat.com)
(Photo by Kalikasan PNE/Bulatlat.com)

“This mining conference’s top sponsors are also the leading sponsors of paramilitary groups that have sown terror across the mine-affected communities especially in Mindanao. These sponsors also have extensive track records of pollution and plunder over the past recent years,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).
(Photo by Kalikasan PNE/Bulatlat.com)
(Photo by Kalikasan PNE/Bulatlat.com)

Among the protesters were survivors of the attack by the Magahat-Bagani Force in Han-ayan, Diatagon, who killed Alcadev school director Emerito Samarca, and Lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Juvello Sinzo. They were joined by indigenous peoples from the mining-affected communities in Nueva Vizcaya.
(Photo by Kalikasan PNE/Bulatlat.com)
(Photo by Kalikasan PNE/Bulatlat.com)

Philip Romualdez, president of Benguet Corporation, which is one of the nine coal operating contract holders in Surigao del Sur, is also president of the CoMP, the main organizer of the conference.

“These big miners are responsible, not only for the pollution they have caused, but also for the AFP and their paramilitary attack dogs who have transformed mine-affected villages into killing fields,” Bautista said. He added that local government officials who have allowed the plunder and killings had also appeared at the conference.

Lumad leader Josephine Pagalan, (3rd from right, in blue) who survived the Magahat-Bagani attack in Lianga, marches with Igorots from Nueva Vizcaya  (Photo by Kalikasan PNE/Bulatlat.com)
Lumad leader Josephine Pagalan, (3rd from right, in blue) who survived the Magahat-Bagani attack in Lianga, marches with Igorots from Nueva Vizcaya (Photo by Kalikasan PNE/Bulatlat.com)
“We are resolute in demanding accountability and justice for the ongoing pollution, plunder and even genocide that these large-scale miners are perpetrating against the people and the environment. We demand immediate justice for our Lumad brothers and sisters and the pull-out of the butcher mining companies that militarized their communities,”said Bautista.

Text by Dee Ayroso
Photos by Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment

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  1. Exploiting the Lumads to the benefit of big mining companies is indeed a sad spectacle to see. Lumads against lumads and there is no neutral side, if you are not with us you are against us. Thus we see the magahat-baganis, a creation of the military purportedly to counter insurgency but used by mining companies to weed out progressive environmentalists, whose aim is the preservation of natural habitats and conservation of natural resources. As I said if you are not with us you are against us. Therefore this group of conservationists are labeled communists or communist leaning, no ifs nor buts. It is only hoped that these investigations will lead to a solution to this problem, because you see when cameras start to unwind investigations start to dwindle. The UN is supposed to be involved let us hope that its investigation prospers.

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