Antimining activist dies after ComVal gun attack
TAGUM CITY—A community leader known for her campaign against the entry of a large-scale mining company in Pantukan, Compostela Valley province, died on Saturday, two days after being shot by two men wearing ski masks, according to a human rights group.
Teresita Navacilla, 60, was attacked inside her store in Purok Bardown in Barangay Kingking at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the Pantukan police earlier reported.
Navacilla died on Saturday morning while undergoing treatment in the hospital here, said Hanimay Suazo, Karapatan spokesperson in Southern Mindanao.
Suazo described the victim as a “purok” (community) leader who staunchly opposed the entry of Kingking Copper-Gold Project, a $2-billion venture between local mining firm Nationwide Development Corp. (Nadecor) and the Canadian company, St. Augustine, in Pantukan.
Kingking, an open-pit mining project, was estimated to extract 63 million kilograms of copper and more than 107,000 kg of gold throughout its 22-year operation. The project involves 1,548 hectares of land in Barangay Kingking and is covered by a mineral production sharing agreement.
Small-scale miners have been operating in the gold-rich municipality for more than 20 years.
Navacilla was one of the convenors of the Save Pantukan Movement, which has been against alleged mining-related land-grabbing activities in the town, Suazo said. She was also a critic of human rights violations supposedly committed by soldiers, she added.
The leader of the militant group cited a separate attack by unidentified gunmen in Pantukan on Thursday, which resulted in the wounding of Alex Josol, a leader of the farmers’ organization Indug Kautawan (People Stand Up).
“Navacilla and Josol were fighting for the rights of their fellow small-scale miners and their community against the encroachment of [mining companies] on their lands,” Suazo said in a statement.
Nadecor denied it was encroaching on private lands.
“For now, we do not have any activity in the area,” it said in a statement.
Maj. Gen. Rafael Valencia, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, which has operational control over the 46th Infantry Battalion, said he had yet to receive reports about the attacks. He promised to check with battalion officers about Karapatan’s allegations that their men were involved.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.