Envi protesters against mining arrested during barricade, 2 face raps
Environmentalists from Sta. Cruz, Zambales including one minor who have been barricading the highway to prevent hauling trucks of a mining company to pass since two weeks ago were arrested by policemen February 6 and 7, Saturday and Sunday.
The hauling truck prevented passage by the citizens is owned by Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation (ZDMC) and were loaded by nickel ore from a mining site in Barangay Lucapon South.
Three (3) environmentalists arrested were Luisa Serrano, Christopher Marzan and one other who has been identified as a minor.
One of the arrested protesters who was proven to be a minor through a school certificate was released last Sunday, while the other two (2) Serrano and Marzan were brought to Fiscal Olivia Non-Finiones for inquest, Monday, February 8.
On February 9, Serrano and Marzan were brought to the Provincial Capital of Zambales and were formally filed a case in violation of Section 107 of Mining Act of 1995.
“Our fight against the mining companies who destroyed our homes, our properties and our livelihood intensifies as the local government continue to take the side of the perpetrators who abused our human rights and degraded our environment.” said Dr. Benito Molino, Chairman of Concerned Citizens of Sta. Cruz, Zambales (CCOS).
“This action by the government earned the distrust of the people of Sta. Cruz, Zambales and has prompted the citizens to take the matters into their own hands, and protect their lives and lands, the best way they know how.” Molino added.
Molino also said that the citizens’ peaceful barricade will continue despite the setback of having the LGU supporting the mining company.
“We will only become bigger and stronger until we get the justice we deserve. The mining companies and the government can continue to intimidate us,
“but we will never leave our grounds, and we will continue fighting against these environmental destroyers.” asserted the CCOS chairman.
Meanwhile, national environmental coalition, Ayansa Tigil Mina (ATM) expressed their support to CCOS and lambasted the police support the local government units provided to ZDMC.
“We are very disgusted with the actions taken by the local government units of Zambales regarding the incident where the arrest of three protesters and an alleged manhandling of one other took place last February 7.” said ATM National Coordinator Jaybee Garganera.
“The people of Zambales are only protecting their right to a healthy and sustainable environment and the aggression they received as response from the very government unit which was supposed to help uphold it, betrayed them through this action” Garganera added.
Garganera also said that the government should sort out their priorities and be one with people, and not take the side of the mining companies which has caused the environmental catastrophe that took the lives of seven (7) citizens during the Typhoon Lando.
He also demanded quick action from the national government, particularly the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Dept. of Environment Natural Resources (DENR), stating that ultimately, the responsibility to regulate these mining operations is their responsibility.
“We at ATM, along with CCOS demand justice for the destruction the mining companies have brought Zambales and its people” Garganera concluded.
The people’s barricade started last January 19, 2016 and has been kept standing by the peoples of Bgy. Bayto and other barangays of Sta. Cruz, Zambales.
Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of POs and and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB.
For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0917) 549.82.18 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dr. Benito Molino, CCOS Chairperson, (0916) 372.71.84, <email@example.com>
Jonal Javier, ATM Luzon Site of Struggle Officer, (0917)591.54.72 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Check Zabala, ATM Media and Communications Officer (0927) 623.50.66 <email@example.com>
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