17 May 2012
Ilagan: 9 of 13 environmental activists killed under Aquino were from Mindanao
Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Luz Ilagan expressed her alarm and condemnation at the spate of killings targeting environmental and anti-mining activists, mostly from Mindanao.
“Mindanao’s resources as well as those who work to preserve it are under attack and Mindanoans hold President Aquino and his Oplan Bayanihan responsible,” Ilagan pointed out.
Ilagan noted that the increased military presence in mining and lumad communities and the deaths of activists coincide with the Aquino government’s pronouncements supporting large-scale mining activities, the exemption of mining companies from log bans and the President’s outright consent to deploy military units and recruit militias for mining companies.
Last May 9, unidentified gunmen shot and killed Margarito Cabal, 47, a known leader of the Save Pulangi River, a group campaigning against the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Pulangi River. Meanwhile, Fred Trangia, an environmental activist and a member of the barangay council in Barangay Mainit, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley was shot dead by unidentified gunmen last May 6.
Other environmental activists recently gunned down by unidentified gunmen suspected to be members of paramilitary groups and state forces in Mindanao include anti-mining advocates Father Fausto Tentorio who was shot while inside the Church in Arakan town in North Cotabato last October 17, 2011 and Datu Jimmy Liguyon, Vice chair of the indigenous peoples’ group Kasilo Lumad, belonging to the Matigsalog tribe and Barangay chair of Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon last March 5, 2012.
Karapatan-Southern Mindanao reported that on May 7, 2012, at least 80 families from Sitio 33, Barangay New Visayas, Trento, Agusan del Sur evacuated as the 25th IBPA conducted heavy military operations and bombed the community. In the first quarter of this year alone, at least 125 families from various Mamanwa communities in the adjacent barangays of Ombong, Alegria in Surigao del Norte and Bangayan, Kitcharao in Agusan del Norte were forced to evacuate. Among the evacuees are 53 children, six 6 years old and below, and 52 women, nine of whom are pregnant. Families have been prevented from returning to their farms, losing crops, farm animals and their livelihood in the process.
“We call for an end to Oplan Bayanihan and strongly condemn the Aquino government’s bloody tact in its firm support of multinational mining interests,” Ilagan concluded.
FOR REFERENCE: REP. LUZ ILAGAN 0920-9213221
Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 0917-4049119