Campaign against large-scale mining
Green heroes remembered Candles and prayers for environment martyrs
On Mining
Thursday, 10 November 2011 12:12
Green heroes remembered
Candles and prayers for environment martyrs

321741_10150355039892730_521937729_8148141_2100007064_oManila – Groups in several key cities in the country offered candles and prayers yesterday to honor local environmental heroes as the International Day of Commemoration of the Heroes, Heroines and Martyrs of the Resistance against the Mining, Oil and Gas was celebrated worldwide.  More than 1,000 religious, students, human rights and environmental activists gathered in Manila, Puerto Princesa, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro and offered prayers and flowers as relatives and friends of environmental heroes recalled lives and struggles of the heroes.  Around 200 supporters from Manila gathered at the Pope Pius Center in UN Avenue, Manila, and set up portraits of fallen comrades as they chanted prayers and songs.  

Italian priest Fr. Fausto Tentorio was the latest in the string of environmentalist that were killed this year alone, when he was gunned down in Cotabato last month.  Early this year, Dr. Gerry Ortega from Palawan was shot and killed in Puerto Princesa. Another outspoken anti-mining activist, Datu Roy Gallego, was also killed in Surigao del Sur last Oct 17, 2011. Other documented killings that are related to mining include Councilor Armin Rios Marin from Sibuyan Island who was killed by a mining security guard last 2007 right in front of a rally against mining; Gensun Agustin from Cagayan Valley, gunned down in a highway last 2009, on his way from a an anti-mining forum he organized; and Rudy Segovia, shot and killed at a barricade set-up in Zamboanga del Norte to prevent the entry of mining equipment in their ancestral domains.

Violence in mining-affected areas have escalated recently, as attacks from communist rebels triggered military actions to defend mining interests were sanctioned by the national government.  

“We seek justice for these martyrs.  People and the governmnet must bring their assailants to justice, for true peace to be achieved”, said Judy Pasimio from Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Kasama sa Kalikasa (LRC-KsK).  She added that “the Philippine government must not put the interests of the mining companies over the welfare of the community and the whole nation, by serving the greed of these large mining transnational corporations”.
Meanwhile, human rights groups also urged President Aquino to recall its policy of deploying more paramilitary  groups to protect large-scale mining operations against rebel attacks.  In early October this year, the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) assaulted three mining firms in Claver, Surigao del Norte.
“There will be more environmental martyrs if this situation will continue because paramilitary groups in the Philippines have a long history of human rights violations against the civilian population,” Max de Mesa, chairperson of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) said in an interview. According to PAHRA, local human rights defenders documented in Surigao region, where the October attacks happened, numerous rights abuses such as harassment, torture, destruction of properties and land grabbing mostly committed by the military and civilian defense groups in connivance with mining and logging firms.

In Cebu, the City Council adopted a Special Resolution declaring Nov. 10 as a Day of Remembrance of Environmental Heroes and Martyrs.  A briefing was held at the Cabrido Law Office, where the environmental martyrs were remembered and recognition to environmental groups was also held.  A Paghandum or candle-lighting liturgy was held in the evening at Sto. Rosario Parish, Cebu City.  The events were organized by the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), SANLAKAS, Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralita ng Lungsod-Cebu (KPML-Cebu), Kilusan Para sa Pambansang Demokrasya-Cebu (KPD-Cebu), FDC-Cebu, CASE, TFDP-Visayas in coordination with the Cebu City's Barangay Environmental Officers (BEO) association.  

In Cagayan de Oro, a similar prayer-gathering was organized by alternative legal groups and human rights groups led by Amnesty International- Cagayan de Oro (AI-CDO), Legal rights and natural resources center (LRC) Balay alternative legal advocates for development in mindanaw (BALAOD), Ateneo de cagayan university (Xavier); Balay mindanao faoundation incorporated (BMFI), and Kaisahan tungo sa kaunlaran (KAISAHAN).

The events were part of the global solidarity actions for environmental heroes, where similar events were organized in Nigeria, Indonesia, Guatemala and Australia.  Nov. 10 marks the anniversary of the murder of Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa who, together with eight other Ogoni leaders were executed on 10 November 1995 for speaking out against the impact of Shell and other oil companies in the Niger Delta. The day also saw the release of a new report by Friends of the Earth International as they renew their commitment to the struggle for justice for the communities who suffer the consequences of extractive industries.  The new report is entitled 'Memory, Truth and Justice for Heroes in the Resistance against Mining Oil and Gas' and exposes the murders of many human rights and environmental activists all over the world for defending their rights and natural resources.

Romel de Vera, coordinator of the Resisting Mining, Oil and Gas program of Friends of the Earth International, said “We condemn the fact that many governments favor and protect the interests of extractive industry corporations instead of the right of communities to land and resources. The list of community rights defenders, environmentalists and social activists killed in the course of their struggle against mining, oil and gas continues to grow even longer. On November 10, remembrance actions are held all over the world to commemorate their heroism and celebrate their lives and struggles, as well as to condemn the culture and cycle of death forced upon us by the extractives industry.”


For details:

Romel de Vera, coordinator of the Resisting Mining, Oil and Gas program of Friends of the Earth International, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or Tel (            +63 917 801 7097      )
Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , (+63 927 761.76.02)
Bernie Larin, PhilRights, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , (+63 927 424.15.51)
Gerry Arances, LRC-KsK, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , (+63 917 536.84.08)
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 November 2011 12:17
Nueva Vizcaya faces a mining dilemma
On Mining
Thursday, 24 March 2011 15:08

This article was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) lastMarch 22, 2011 and is also available on line at

Philippine Daily Inquirer First Posted 22:30:00 03/22/2011 Filed Under: Mining and quarrying, Metals & Minerals, Environmental Issues, Philippines – Regions, Conflicts (general), Churches (organisations)

By Melvin Gascon

IF ANYONE wants to have a glimpse of how rich Nueva Vizcaya is in mineral resources, consider this: It is host to two of the only six large-scale mining projects in the country that have been given the green light by the government to start mineral extraction.

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 March 2011 15:15
Solons, Church and groups push for the scrapping of the Mining Act of 1995 and the enactment of a new mining law
On Mining
Friday, 04 March 2011 11:42
“For more than a decade and a half, contrary to the promises of development and prosperity that comes with the enactment of the Mining Act of 1995, the Filipino people have only witnessed and become victims of the havoc that the foreign-dominated mining industry has brought to our country. Human rights violations amongst indigenous peoples and communities, mining-related extrajudicial killings, division amongst communities, environmental destructions, cases of bribery amongst government institutions, non-payment of taxes, and undermining of local governance have all been main-stay features under the 16th year history of the mining law.”

This is what Judy Pasimio, Executive Director of Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC-KsK/FOE-Phils.), and one of the convenors of the Minerals Management Bill Now Network (MMB Now! Network) asserted on the 16thanniversary of the Mining Act of 1995 (Republic Act 7942) as mining-affected communities, Catholic Church, Congressional representatives, peoples organizations, environmental and human rights groups call for the scrapping of the highly contested mining law and push for the immediate enactment of a new mining law.
Last Updated on Friday, 04 March 2011 11:46
IPs call ‘Dagami ket biag mi’ (Our land, our life) ‘Respect indigenous peoples rights!’
On Mining
Friday, 04 March 2011 10:50


Bishop Ramon B. Villena, D.D., Dioecese of Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya and officers and members of SALAKNIB in a thanks giving mass in St. Dominic de Guzman Cathedral, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya. Photos by Jonal Javier

Photo_Jonal_Javier_92_smallBayombong Nueva Vizcaya—Indigenous Peoples of Nueva Vizcaya continue to call for respect for their lands and indigenous rights during the press conference on celebration of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Resolution urging the withdrawal of Oceanagold mining permit in Barangay Didipio, in Kasibu town of this province in February 28, 2011.  

“Dagami ket biag mi!  (our land, our life) Respect the indigenous people’s rights. And our call: NO TO LARGE-SCALE MINING. Mining will not feed us, it will take our land; ravage our forests and leave us with nothing.” said the representative of Kasibu Inter-tribal Response for Ecological Development (KIRED). Lucas Buay of  peoples’ organization KIRED always recall the effects of mining in the ancestral lands of IPs in Benguet and Ifugao.

“Salaknib will gather signatures all over Vizcaya to petition our local government to investigate the human rights situation in other mining sites here. We also urge them to declare a moratorium on large-scale mining while conducting these investigations,” Said Raymundo Bolhayon, the Chairperson of SALAKNIB – Salakniban ti Lubong, Aglawlaw ken Karbengan dagiti Umili ti Nueva Vizcaya [Protect our environment because this is the right of the people of Nueva Vizcaya] from Malabing Valley Kasibu.

The press conference was held after the mass celebration led by Rev. Bishop Ramon B. Villena in St. Dominic de Guzman Cathedral, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya.

“We are are one with the CHR headed by Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales in the commission’s resolve to recommend to the government under the new administration to consider the probable withdrawal of the FTAA granted to a foreign company in view of the gross violations of human rights it has committed,” said Bp. Villena.

Last Updated on Friday, 04 March 2011 11:42
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