Environmental advocates condemns murder attempt on anti-mining activist

SOME 200 environmental advocates from Bukluran para sa Inang Kalikasan (BUKAL), the widest environmental group in Batangas, and supporters from the Southern Tagalog Region trooped the DENR office today to demand the revocation of mining permits to large-scale mining companies in the province and condemn the murder attempt on Daisy Ayo, an anti-mining activist in Calatagan.

The group presented the 20,000 signatures that they gathered from the people of Batangas who are against mining in their province.

“Large-scale mining projects covering almost 35,000 has. of land in the municipalities of Rosario, Taysan, San Juan, Lobo, Batangas City, and Calatagan are threatening to destroy the environment of Batangas, deplete our mineral resources, and displace our people,” said BUKAL Chairperson Fr. Oliver Castor.

“The said mining projects are owned by Canadian mining corporations, the Mindoro Resources Limited (MRL) and Crazyhorse and their subsidiaries, while the Asturias Mining Corp. is owned by San Miguel Corp. The heavy metal mining projects, if pushed through, will employ open-pit mining technology, which is the most destructive and pollutive method of mining,” said BUKAL President Sr. Odilla Bulayungan.

“Historically, there has never been responsible mining practice in our country. Foreign mining practice, like the Marcopper Mining Corp. in Marinduque and Philex Mining in Benguet, leave our ecology devastated and our citizens robbed of their rights to genuine and total human development. We are not going to let the same thing happen to Batangas,” said Fr. Castor.

In a dialog with the DENR, the group demanded the revocation of FTAA and exploration permits of MRL, Crazyhorse, and Asturias Mining Corp.

Meanwhile, the group also condemned the murder attempt on Daisy Ayo, an anti-mining advocate in Calatagan. She was attacked yesterday by two men while in a market in Brgy. Lucsuhin. She suffered gunshot wounds in her thigh.

“We are convinced that the mining companies and the military are behind this because they want to stop the people from fighting against their projects,” added Sr. Bulayungan.

In support, KATRIBU Partylist Southern Tagalog Regional Coordinator Roshell Allaga said, “The Aquino administration has proved itself to be pro-mining companies. With the enactment of EO 79, he made sure that these mining companies will get what they want. We challenge him to scrap the Mining Act of 1995 and EO 79. That is the only way to show that we really are his boss.”

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