With murder of Surigao indigenous leader, environment defenders killed
under Duterte gov’t now at 10

Kalikasan PNE Press Release

23 January 2017

Environment defenders decried the killing of Veronico “Nico” Lapsay
Delamente, a 27 year-old indigenous Mamanwa leader in the province of
Claver, Surigao del Norte who was a known leader of the people’s
opposition to the plethora of large-scale mining operations across the
province, saying his death was the tenth case of environment-related
killings monitored under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Nico Delamente was an outspoken critic of the various large-scale mines
owned by Nickel Asia-Sumitomo and other companies that continue to
encroach into their ancestral lands. We condemn the Duterte government’s
perpetuation of bloody impunity against environment defenders, as
Delamente is already the 10th victim of environment-related killings
under the Duterte administration,” said Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator
of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) and
spokesperson of the Task Force – Justice for Environment Defenders (TF-JED).

The TF-JED, a network of families and supporters of environmental
martyrs, has now recorded at least 108 cases of political killings
involving environment defenders since 2001. Delamente is the third case
recorded this month alone, including environment broadcaster Mario
Contaoi in Ilocos Sur, and Datu Vennie Diamante, an indigenous leader in
South Cotabato who opposed the entry of palm oil plantations in their areas.

“At least 48 percent of the recorded killings involved suspected
military and other state armed forces. The widespread militarization by
the Armed Forces of the Philippines especially in
environmentally-affected areas continued to inflict fear and violence
among communities across provinces where environmental struggles are
active,” said Dulce.

Delamente was an active member of the Kahugpungan sa Lumadnong mga
Organisasyon (KASALO) – Caraga, a regional indigenous Lumad organization
that is part of Kalikasan PNE’s Mindanao network. He was also a council
member of AMPANTRENTO, a Lumad people’s organization in Claver under
Datu Renante Baklas recognized by the National Commission on Indigenous
People (NCIP).

KASALO Caraga said in a statement that Delamente publicly raised issues
of corruption involving the 1% royalty awarded by mining companies to
the Lumad and the NCIP. They also noted that Delamente and the rest of
AMPANTRENTO filed charges at the Office of the Ombudsman against
Congressman Prospero Pichay, an owner of one of the operating
large-scale mines in Claver, for forcibly evicting Lumad-Mamanwas from
his mining concession.

“Environment Secretary Gina Lopez promised last year to help probe
recent environment-related killings. It is becoming apparent that the
Duterte government heeds no concern as there is still no investigation,
no arrest of suspected perpetrators, and no prosecution pursued. We
demand Pres. Duterte and Sec. Lopez to take immediate action in
investigating the recent cases and the corporations that stood to gain
from the killing of environment defenders,” said Dulce.

“Despite Duterte’s pronouncements against destructive mining, these
killings are a result of a still unabated government policy to
prioritize interests of big mining corporations over the welfare and
security of our communities and environment. If Duterte’s rhetoric on
mining turns out to be yet another broken promise and large-scale mining
continues more-business-as-usual, expect mine-affected communities to
continue to be killing fields,” ended Dulce.#

National Secretariat
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: 02 920 90 99 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site:
www.kalikasan.net