February 20, 2013
ECC to SMI-XStrata a green light to more HRVs –Karapatan
Karapatan welcomes the Congressional on-site hearing on the case of the Capion massacre especially at this time that the Aquino government has awarded the Environmental Clearance Cetificate (ECC) to the SMI-Xstrata mining company. “The President’s move sends the clear signal to the foreign mining corporation to continue the violations of human rights in the B’laan community which are the cause of the conflict in the once peaceful village,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan chairperson in a media conference in General Santos today.
Hilao-Enriquez added that, “it is unfortunate that the move also shows the President’s leaning towards the big foreign mining corporation rather than the lives of the indigenous peoples living in the mountain communities rich in natural resources that billions of money cannot buy nor create.”
Karapatan takes note of the “impunity by which these violations are committed jointly by the Aquino government, the mining company, through the Armed Forces of the Philippines, in this instance the Task Force KITACOM. Civilians, specifically members of the Blaan tribe who defend their rights to their land and resources, are the common victims.”
“We stress the need to immediately pull out military units in the community, as well as the paramilitary groups that are under the AFP’s command,” said Hilao-Enriquez.
The latest evacuation of Blaan families and the killing of another Capion kin, Kitari, are proof of this impunity. Kitari Capion is the brother of Daguil Capion, a known oppositionist to the operation of the SMI-Xstrata corporation.
Four months after the massacre of the two-month pregnant Juvy Capion and her two sons last October, 2012, military operations in the community go on; except for a few days when the AFP announced that the members of the 27th IBPA were contained in their headquarters and were replaced by the 39th IBPA, “for show, that is.”
The 39th IBPA’s hands are equally bloodied as this unit was involved in the killing of father and son Rudy and Rudyric Dejos in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur in 2011. The Capions are among the 137 killed under the Aquino government, and the evacuation of the Blaan due to military operations are among the more than 30,000 documented individuals who were displaced for the same reason.
As the House of Representatives hears the testimonies of victims, their kins and other witnesses, Karapatan emphasized that, “there will be no end to these transgressions on people’s rights for as long as the Aquino government implements Oplan Bayanihan; as it pursues and finishes off the State’s perceived enemies, activists and ordinary folks alike.”
“We call on the House of Representatives to take concrete measures to review and rescind this counter-insurgency plan, Oplan Bayanihan, stop the killings and military operations in the communities, specifically of peasants and indigenous peoples,” ended Hilao-Enriquez. ###
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