Residents of Zambales and Lumads from Sultan Kudarat Demand the Closure of DMCI

Center for Environmental Concerns News Release

29 July 2016

MAKATI CITY — Five hundred (500) residents of mining-affected
communities in Zambales and Sultan Kudarat trooped to the office of DM
Consunji Inc. (DMCI) following the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of
President Duterte, to protest alleged environmental and human rights
violations of the company. They demanded among others, the the stoppage
of the mining operations of the company. The protest was held in front
of the DMCI main office in Makati on July 26, 2016 and was joined by
peasants and indigenous people from Movement for the Protection of the
Environment (Move Now), Diocese of Iba Advocacy Desk (DIAD) and Samahan
ng Kabataan para sa Kalikasan (SKPK) from Zambales and Kahugpungan sa
mga Lumad pa Halayong Habagatang Mindanao (Kaluhhamin), a Lumad
organization from mining-affected communities in Sultan Kudarat.

“As if the environmental problems brought by ZDMC were not enough, this
plundering mining company shot at us, threatening our lives even if we
were justly standing up for our rights,” said Cristeta Sison from Move
Now. Ms Sison was referring to the incident on July 5, 2016, when armed
security guards of ZDMC shot at the residents in the barricade.

The residents from Sitio Acoje, Barangay Lucapon South have formed a
barricade on May 14, 2016 to stop the operations of Zambales Diversified
Minerals Corporation (ZDMC), a subsidiary of DMCI, in their barangay.
This was the third time since 2015 that residents from different
communities formed a barricade against large scale corporate mining
operating in the province. The others were in in Barangay Uacon in
Candelaria and in Barangay Bayto in Sta. Cruz.

The mining operations worsened the effects of natural hazards like that
of Typhoon Lando when it hit in October 2015. The impacts brought
health problems to the community and destroyed their livelihood because
of the contamination in the farmlands, rivers and even the sea. On top
of this, the mining operations have reached watershed areas, threatening
the source of water of neighboring barangays , for domestic and
agricultural purposes.

KALUHHAMIN said that they have also experienced effects of mining and
human rights violations from DMCI in Sultan Kudarat and said that DMCI
was one of the most destructive mining companies that are plaguing
Mindanao. They expressed their solidarity with all indigenous peoples
and communities in the country that are victims of the injustices of
these large scale corporate mining companies.

Aside from the closure of DMCI, the peasants and indigenous people were
also demanding for the scrapping of the Mining Act of 1995 and Executive
Order (EO) 79. “We are one with the communities affected by the mining
operations. Anti-people mining was further institutionalized by the
Mining Act of 1995 and EO 79 and provided mining companies with military
and police support through the Investment Defense Force (IDF),” said
Meggie Nolasco, the Zambales field office coordinator of the Center for
Environmental Concerns (CEC). Their organization has been implementing
livelihood and disaster risk reduction management projects in the province.

“We welcome the suspension of the Department of Environmental and
Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez of the mining companies in
the province including Benguet Corporation Nickel Mines Inc., LNL
Archipelago Minerals Inc. and Eramen Minerals Inc. which are the bane in
the people’s lives. We are in solidarity with the fight against mining.
We are calling on the DENR and on President Rodrigo Duterte to fulfill
their mandate of bringing social justice by suspending and closing all
mining operations until a program for national industrialization has
been laid down and compelling them to give just reparation to affected
communities. And most of all, we vow to continue to stand for the
protection of the environment and against plunderers and human rights
violators,” added Sison.

Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines
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