Manilakbayan protesters demand Aquino gov’t to close mines linked to
paramilitaries—not their protest camp—in time for APEC

Kalikasan PNE press release

11 November 2015

Quezon City, Metro Manila—Over 200 indigenous Lumad protesters were
joined by environmental activists under the Kalikasan People’s Network
for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) in a picket action held today at the
Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) central office, demanding the
administration of President Noynoy Aquino to close mining operations
with track records of environmental destruction and militarization of
Lumad ancestral lands.

“Instead of trying to close the protest camp of the 700 indigenous Lumad
who travelled more than 1,500 kilometers to Metro Manila to assert their
marginalized voices, the Aquino administration should instead focus on
issuing closure orders to various mining operations in Mindanao that
have perpetuated militarization, plunder, and environmental
destruction,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

With immense pressure coming from Malacanang, the Manila city government
has cut short the allowed stay of the Manilakbayan, the protest caravan
of Lumad from Mindanao to Metro Manila, from the end of the APEC Summit
on November 19 down to just November 12.

“It should stop this clear attempt of green-washing over the realities
of paramilitary troops burning down agricultural cooperatives and
killing leaders of the Lumad to further the ‘APEC brand’ of mining
liberalization the Philippine government has promoted over the past two
decades,” Bautista furthered.

Yesterday, the groups led a protest caravan hopping around various
mining companies with known links to paramilitary groups and military
‘investment defense forces,’ including Canadian-owned TVI-Resources and
Development, and local middle-men companies ALSONS and DMCI.

Various other mining companies are known sponsors of paramilitary groups
that terrorize peasant communities and indigenous ancestral lands,
including the Tampakan mining project owned by ALSONS and previously
funded by Anglo-Swiss mining giant Glencore, and the nickel mining
operations of Nickel Asia, a local partner of Japanese miner Sumitomo.

These projects also have previously assessed major environmental threats
and actual adverse impacts to water, agricultural lands, fisheries, and
forests. Ironically, the mining companies that have interests in these
mine projects are all members of the Chamber of Mines, the so-called
‘responsible mining’ lobby group of the mining industry.

“Aquino spent P10 billion for the rose-stained veneer of the 2015 APEC
summit, not only by hiding street dwellers and urban poor sprawls away
from the view, but by displacing the already dislocated and silencing
the already voiceless Lumad. The MGB will play its role in this
callousness by further ignoring the impunity of large-scale miners in
Mindanao and elsewhere in the Philippines to perpetuate the lie of peace
and economic development in the mining industry,” lamented Bautista.

The groups demanded a statement from officials of the MGB to
categorically demand the pull-out of military and paramilitary troops
from mine-affected areas in Mindanao.

“If the silence and inaction of the MGB will be the hallmark of mining
liberalization policies that will be promoted in the APEC, then the
people across all 21 member economies of APEC should reject these policy
dictates of imperialist globalization,” ended Bautista.#

Reference: Clemente Bautista – 0905 432 5211

Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: +63 (2) 433 0184 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site:
www.kalikasan.net

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An Open Letter to the Aussie PM attending APEC 2015

11 November 2015

Dear Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull,

Before you visit the Philippines, you should know that your country’s
large-scale gold and copper mining company, Oceana Gold, is destroying
the environment and the lives of the people in Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva
Vizcaya, a small community in the Northern Part of the Philippines.

After forcibly evicting the residents from their houses and bulldozed
their farmlands in 2009, Oceana Gold is now destroying the water sources
of communities adjacent to the mining site with their toxic mine tailings.

Last year, scientists under AGHAM (Advocates of Science and technology
for the people) conducted an environmental investigative mission to
check the levels of toxicity in the nearby rivers. The results revealed
that the heavy metal copper greatly exceeded the maximum tolerable
levels, and was even 6.5 to 7.4 times greater than the safety limits for
benthic (lowest level of a water body) organisms. According to the
scientists, copper poisoning can cause various diseases that can damage
a human’s circulatory, excretory and digestive systems.

This gravely impacts the health and livelihood of the communities near
the mining site and even the communities downstream whose source of
irrigation water connects with the streams intersecting the mine.

Before the mining operations, water for consumption in Didipio comes
from natural springs and water pumps which are free for everyone to use.
But now, they have to buy mineral drinking water from refilling stations
because the water in the area causes stomach aches and skin diseases to
residents especially the children.

We are familiar with your stand in defence of your mining companies
especially in coal mining; however, we only wish to inform you that the
progress of your country brought about by your mining industry is at the
expense of the lives of small indigenous peoples in a developing country
like ours.

We would appreciate it if you can find it in your heart to help the
people in Didipio that are mostly indigenous peoples and small farmers
who base their livelihood from the land. OceanaGold took not only their
lands away but also their chance of living a decent and healthy life.

We, Amianan Salakniban (Defend the North) the network for environment
and human rights advocates in North Luzon, joins the residents of
Didipio in their call to stop the destructive operations of Oceana Gold
in the Philippines , compensate the affected residents and rehabilitate
the areas they destroyed.

And if you wouldn’t mind, after your visit, please take OceanaGold home
with you.

Sincerely Yours,

Fernando (Ampi) Mangili
Amianan Salakniban Spokesperson
(+63) 0998 864 9167, 09291349449
amianansalakniban2011@gmail.com
amianan.salakniban.wordpress.com