Armed men fire at home of anti-mining activist in ComVal; no one hurt
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Armed men fired at the house of an anti-mining leader in Compostela town in Compostela Valley on Sunday afternoon.
Human rights group Karapatan said soldiers believed to be from the 66th Infantry Battalion fired at a group of houses, including that of Compostela Farmers Association (CFA) chair Bello Tindasan’s in Sitio Mambusao, Barangay Ngan at around 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
“The bullets, according to residents, came from the 66th IB soldiers from a nearby military detachment, about 80 meters away from the community,” Karapatan-Southern Mindanao regional spokesperson Hanimay Suazo said in a statement.
Suazo said Tindasan was not in his house during the attack because he was in a meeting to discuss the ongoing protest against the mining exploration of the Agusan Petroleum and Mineral Corporation (AgPet) in the area.
Tindasan’s 14-year-old son was in the house but survived unharmed.
Many of the family’s personal belongings were damaged, Suazo said.
The group recently ended a barricade on a major road in the town to prevent the entry of the mining company’s vehicles and equipment.
The mining exploration, Tindasan said, would affect a huge portion of the ancestral land of the Mandaya and Mangwanon tribes in the village of Ngan.
“Barangay Ngan of Compostela, Compostela Valley, has a mountainous area consisting of Purok 20 to Purok 28, all of which is covered by Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) No. R11-NEW-0204-019 and covers some 15,000 plus hectares of land owned by the Mandaya and Mangwanon tribes,” Tindasan said.
The farmers mounted a human barricade to stop the transport of machinery and equipment of the corporation in a major road in Barangay Ngan.
Tindasan said that the village council has already issued a resolution entitled “Resolution Petitioning the Agusan Petroleum and Mineral Corporation to Pull-out from Barangay Ngan, Compostela, Compostela Valley Province” on March 20, which was followed by a resolution to cancel the exploration permit issued by the town council and approved by Mayor Lema Bolo.
“The said resolution, which was signed by Compostela Mayor Bolo declared AgPet to get out from the ancestral lands,” Tindasan said.
But despite the resolution, the company allegedly continued its plans to explore the mineral resources in the area.
Tindasan explained that the villagers feared another Typhoon Pablo-like disaster if any extractive activity were allowed in their community.
“ Being survivors of Typhoon Pablo, the CFA believes that AgPet will destroy their forests and mountains, which will eventually result in massive floods,” Tindasan said.
Tindasan added that mining activities would displace at least 1,200 families within the area covered by the mining exploration permit.
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