Govt urged to act swiftly on anti-mining advocate’s ambush

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MANILA, July 5, 2013—A Church official urged government and concerned agencies to immediately take action on the recent ambush of an anti-mining advocate in Tampakan.

CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (NASSA) executive secretary Fr. Edu Gariguez called on concerned agencies of the Aquino government specifically the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Justice Department to act immediately so justice may be served to crime victims.

“We likewise urge the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to implement measures that will protect the indigenous peoples’ right to life and security,” he added.

The priest stressed that this kind of incident demands immediate action from the State that should protect and uphold the rights of Filipino peoples.

“Such impunity done towards our indigenous brothers and sisters in Tampakan is unacceptable. Gathering that this is mining-related, if not solely due to mining investments, then, the more that mining should not be allowed in that area,” he furthered.

The ambush of the anti-mining advocate took place last June 28 between 8 and 9 a.m.

B’laans Eking Freay and his brother-in-law Sonny Boy Planda were on their way home after selling their crops in Brgy. Kimlawis when they were fired at by alleged members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) under Task Force KITACO (Kiblawan, Tampakan, Columbio).

Planda was fatally wounded and later died on his way to Davao City for medical treatment. Freay, a community leader of T’boli of the Bong Mal B’laan Territory was hit in the right thigh and the back but was able to flee toward Bong Mal.

Freay is one of the sons of Bong Fulong Anting Freay of the Freay-Capion Clan who publicly expressed his strong opposition in the presence of SMI/Xstrata and of military detachments in Bong Mal.

Several anti-mining groups condemned the attack and demanded an immediate investigation of government offices concerned.

Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) national coordinator stressed their group condemns the killings and attacks to indigenous communities who have opposed mining in the area.

“There is more than enough evidence to show that the presence of paramilitary groups there is detrimental to the communities, especially when we know that the Task Force KITACO is paid for by the mining company opposed by the people,” he added.

“This is not a random event and most importantly, this is not the first time that an anti-mining indigenous peoples are killed in Bong Mal where there is strong opposition to the Tampakan mining project,” Garganera furthered. (Jandel Posion)

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