[Press Release] Groups condemn another violent attack against anti-mining advocate -ATM

Groups condemn another violent attack against anti-mining advocate
Call on P-Noy to clear bloodsheds on “tuwid na daan”

Alyansa Tigil Mina and other environmental groups are enraged over another ambush attack against an environmental advocate in Carmen, Surigao del Sur last October 29, 2012 and are now calling on the president to ensure that violence and bloodshed are steered clear from its “tuwid na daan”.

Recent ambush attack
Last October 29 at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, Dr. Isidro Olan, a staunch opponent of logging and mining in Surigao del Sur and president of Lovers of Nature Foundation, was on a trip with his wife, when they noticed that logs were blocking their way. Dr. Olan got down from his car to clear the road but was was suddenly rained with shots by gunmen. He received one bullet wound on his upper chest while his wife was unhurt, who stayed inside their vehicle during the encounter. t.

Social Action Center in Carmen reported that Dr. Olan and his group had been receiving threats on their lives following their campaigns to seize illegal loggers and mining in their town. The group believed that it was a premeditated attack.

Other brutal encounters
“We are deeply saddened and extremely enraged on the series of assaults against community leaders whose only intention is to protect our environment. Worse, these cases happened more frequently in the last two months,” recalled Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of ATM.

“The shooting incidence in Zamboanga del Sur that killed an 11 year-oldSubanen, the Tampakan massacre that happened just last Oct. 18, the harassment of an anti-mining leader in Cagayan Valley and this attempt to kill Dr. Olan, alarm us very much, and we demand concrete actions from the government,” Garganera added.

ATM called on to President Aquino to give justice to the victims of thes harassments and to clear the path of good governance, “Hindi dapat na madugo at marahas ang daan ng mabuting pamumuno,” Garganera said.

Meanwhile, Anabelle Plantilla, chief operating officer of Haribon Foundation said, “Protecting the environment should not lead to these rampant killings. The current state of our forest and marine biodiversity demonstrate the failure of the government to protect our environment. This incident shows that they cannot secure civilians who just want to protect our environment.”

Not to be deterred
“We are not scared!” declared Emma Hotchkiss of NNC (Nagpakabana na CarCanMadCarlanon), an alliance of environmental groups in Surigao del Sur “Civil society groups in Surigao del Sur, together with fisher folks and farmers have been in the forefront against mining and illegal logging and we will not stop just because of this, we will continue with our calls and struggles to protect our environment,” Hotchkiss added.

ATM claimed that they are bracing for more attacks against environmental leaders from their ranks, as they suspect that the mining industry has really felt the changing policy of this government on destructive mining. They said that they intend to set-up more security protocols among their leaders, especially at the community-level who are faing the threats. The alliance is also stepping up with international pressure, as they said that several international human rights groups are scheduled to visit Manila and Mindanao to look into these series of violence and killings against environmentalists.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of Executive Order 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and passage of the AMMB.
Contact details:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator – 09277617602
Edel S. Garingan – ATM media and communication officer, 09228918972

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