Cordillera Administrative Region
Baguio City — Members of the Guinaang tribe of Pasil town in Kalinga and the group Indigenous Farmers of Guinaang, Pasil Inc.
SMALL-SCALE miners in the village of Ga-ang in Kalinga are now 95 percent operating without the use of mercury. This translates to the non-release of at least two tons of toxic mercury during the mining process.
This was disclosed by the environment group Ban Toxics (BT) as part of its three-year intervention from 2011 to 2014 in Kalinga, a province of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), to use Mercury-free methods in processing gold.
The activity is part of BT’s Elimination of Mercury in Artisanal Small-Scale Mining (ASGM) Program.
Two recent incidents involving large-scale mines reminded us once again of the impunity of destructive big mining projects in the Philippines.
The first is instructive of why large-scale miners are a long-standing bane to the Philippine environment.
Who would speak for the mountains, trees and rivers when these are threatened and even bulldozed, cut down and polluted in the name of ‘development’?
In Sabangan, Mt. Province, concerned community members are out to speak and be heard. The once pristine environment in Sabangan where pine trees color the mountains with green and creeks converging down to the Chico is now under threat.
This landscape changed when Hedcor, a subsidiary of Aboitiz, started to construct a 13, 200-kilowatt run-of-river hydroelectric plant in Sabangan.
Not everyone is applauding Philex Mining Corporation’s payout of the P 188.6-M fine imposed by the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) for violating the Clean Water Act of 2004. The recent fine is in addition to the P 1.034 billion fine imposed by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau to Philex for violating its Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC). These fines were imposed after a leak in Philex’s waste storage facility, Tailings Pond 3 (TP3), released 20 million metric tons of mine wastes in tributaries of the Agno River in Northern Luzon in August 2012.
On April 24, 1984, soldiers of the Marcos regime killed Macli-ing Dulag, the leader of the Cordillera communities’ resistance against the construction of dams in the Chico River. Thirty years later, attacks on indigenous peoples (IPs) have become more and more blatant amid heightened conflict over resources.
On one side are corporations grabbing land and taking control of resources that are not only economically important to ethnic communities but also sustain the very core of who they are and how they have lived.
Lilibeth Bugatti observed her birthday on April 8, 2014, the first without William, her husband of more than 20 years. Lilibeth lost William on March 25, 2014 when William was shot aboard his motorcycle along the Ifugao highway in Bolog, Kiangan, on his way home from his office in Lagawe. He spent that day attending to the hearing of political prisoners in the provincial jail. With William gone, Lilibeth will have to continue raising their three sons, their oldest 22 year old may help raise his younger siblings.
Because it is not a land of the free! Widows are created.
H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III President of the Republic Malacañang Palace, Manila Philippines
Dear Mr. President,
Greetings from Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and the Indigenous Human Rights Defenders Network (IPHRD Network) in Asia.
We express our deep concern, alarm and condemnation on the unabated killings of indigenous peoples in the Philippines. We also express our disappointment and frustration with the Philippine government’s slow and almost non-action towards the killings of indigenous peoples human rights defenders.
[PIPLinks offers a huge congratulations to our board member Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, who has been selected as the new UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.