Lately, there has been much discussion going back and forth between the Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC) and the Brookes’ Point Municipal Government on whether rally participants should be allowed to carry out their peaceful protest in front of the access gate to INC mining camp. In addition to a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) being addressed to INC by the Municipal Government of Brooke’s Point (Palawan), the same has also requested the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to the INC company. TRO is a type of short-term injunction issued to prevent a party from taking a certain action until the court is able to issue a more enduring order, such as a preliminary injunction. Interestingly enough, also INC had requested the issuance of a TOR against the peaceful anti-mining protesters. As a result, when the police reached the barricade area, it was faced with the daunting task of implementing two contrasting TORs. This, of course, would have proven impossible. So, at the end, what the Police did, was to take a stand in favor of the mining company, rather than protecting peaceful protesters.
In fact, legally, mining guards do not have the authority to disperse and apprehend rally’s participants. However, video evidences clearly show mining guards taking such actions, as well as police taking part in them. This latest video being circulated has been posted by the ‘pro-mining group’, as an indication of the alleged ‘protesters’ violence and aggression towards mining guards’.
Here is the link to the Video:
In reality, this video is a vivid testimony of what took place on April 14th when peaceful protesters were surrounded and harassed by a crowd of aggressive mining guards. The former also defended themselves by hand-holding stones (but not throwing them) and throwing – instead – home-made chilly spray at security guards. More importantly, it shows town’s chief of Police, P/Maj. Raffy Esperida informing protesters that they should stop their activity because they had encroached into a private area. In reality, INC has not a single document to prove that the area where the barricades are taking place is, indeed, a private area, nor the police itself can confirm this. As a result, the local government has now approached the municipal geodetic engineer to verify the actual status of the area that, as far as protesters are concerned, is not privately owned by INC but, instead, is likely to be part of the ‘national highway’
It is now about time that local National Police becomes accountable for not standing on the side of Brooke’s Point innocent citizens who are trying to defend their environment, livelihoods and one of the best preserved forests in the Philippines. This is why the Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal Council) of Brooke’s Point has now approved a resolution urging the Palawan Provincial Police chief, P/Col. Jeffrey Fernandez, to relieve the town’s chief of Police, P/Maj. Raffy Esperida, following their alleged inaction in the violent dispersal and arrest of anti-mining protesters in Brgy. Maasin last Friday, April 14.
This decision was taken on April 18, with 6 members of the Municipal Council voting in favor of this legislative measure.–
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/coalition-against-land-grabbing-calg-news-and-updates/89841c85-3d6e-42c0-b4a1-0cc43497b14dn%40googlegroups.com.