Caraga Watch strongly condemns the shooting of environmental

Stop the Killings!
Respect the rights of the Filipinos to protect their land and people!

CARAGAWATCH STRONGLY CONDEMNS THE SHOOTING OF

STAUNCH ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST DR. ISIDRO OLAN!

 

On October 29, 2012 at around 3:30 in the afternoon, Dr. Isidro Olan, founding president and executive director of Lovers of Nature Foundation was shot by identified men while he and his wife were on their way home in Brgy. Puyat, Carmen, Surigao del Sur. Dr. Olan is one of the most vocal and known anti-logging and anti-mining activist in the Carrascal, Cantilan, Madrid, Carmen and Lanuza (CarCanMadCarLan) area of Surigao del Sur. Dr. Olan along with the local environmental groups and the Catholic Church are actively campaigning to stop mining in the area, have been exposing the rising illegal logging of CarCanMadCarLan forests and are calling for the election of pro-environment candidates.

 

In September of this year, local environmental groups and organizations exposed the increasing illegal logging in the area by those allegedly close to the higher ups in government despite the implementation of Pres. Aquino’s Executive Order 23 declaring a nationwide total log ban and increased military presence. They are also strongly calling for the termination of mining operations in the area. There are 2 nickel and gold mining companies in the agricultural town of Cantilan (Marcventures Mining and Development Corp.; Carac-an Development Corp.) covering almost 10,000 hectares of land, while close to 12,000 hectares are being mined by 2 companies in neighboring Carrascal town (C.T.P Construction and Mining Corp., Carrascal Nickel Co.) with 1 mining exploration in Carmen.

 

The shooting of Dr. Isidro Olan is but one of the countless attempts to silence the growing clamor of the people of Caraga to put a stop to the increasing number of destructive large scale operations of mining, logging and plantations in the region. Sixteen (16) of the country’s mining operations are in Caraga and as of June 2012 there are 57 Mineral Production Sharing Agreements covering 134,994.9880 hectares or 7% of Caraga’s land area. There are 3 palm oil plantations and 3 banana plantations scattered in the region and a number of wood-based companies in operation. Leaders of people’s organizations, environmental groups, even local government officials that oppose mining, logging and plantations are being harassed, threatened and trumped up criminal cases have and are being filed against them in the different courts in the region. Communities opposed to mining and plantations are being militarized under Pres. Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan which has resulted to forced evacuations. There are 6 military battalions and 2 infantry brigades currently deployed as Investment Security Forces around the region implementing military operations within mining,logging and plantation communities. This year alone 297 lumad families with 1,106 individuals were forced to evacuate from their mountain communities in Kitcharao and Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte and Alegria and Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte because of military operations and indiscriminate bombings. These communities are within or are surrounding nickel and gold mining operations and have been vocal in their opposition against these.

 

The shooting of Dr. Olan is no different from the killing of anti-mining activist Dr. Gerry Ortega of Palawan; Italian priest Fr. Pops Tentorio of Cotabato who fought against mining operations in Mindanao; lumad leader Gilbert Paborada of Cagayan de Oro who fought against land grabbing by a palm oil plantation in his community; Brgy. Capt. Jimmy Liguyon of Bukidnon and Brgy. Capt. Ricardo Ganad of Oriental Mindoro who both opposed the entry of mining operations in their barangays; Dutch environmentalist Willem Geertman of Pampanga; known botanist Leonard Co and the very recent massacre of the wife and 2 sons of B’Laan leader Daguel Capion who declared war against Sagittarius Mines in Tampakan .

 

According to Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment there have been 25 instances of killings of environmental advocates under Pres. Aquino’s administration. Despite the increasing killings and human rights violations happening under his watch, Pres. Aquino has not been taking significant steps to stop the atrocities. He has even reached the point of denying such human rights violations calling these mere “propaganda of the left” in an interview in New Zealand. Pres. Aquino has recently been to New Zealand and Australia to encourage foreign mining investments to the Philippines.

 

All these are happening under the “Daang Matuwid” government of Pres. Aqunio. Like his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Pres. Noynoy Aquino has maintained and improved upon government policies and programs that ensure the continued plunder of the country’s natural resources. Arroyo’s Investment Defense Forces (IDF), whose sole purpose is to ensure the continued mining, logging and plantation operations of large foreign and domestic companies has been renamed as the Investment Security Forces (ISF) by the Aquino administration. These increased military presence to secure large investments and ensure continued despoiling of our natural resources has given the plunderers of the land the license to use violence against the people and communities that oppose the destruction of the environment.

 

We strongly condemn the shooting of Dr. Isidro Olan as we condemn all violent attempts to silence the resistance of the people in Caraga and the country against the plunder of our natural resources and our national patrimony! Environmental activists will continue to make their protests against the destruction of the environment be heard. Our advocacy for the protection of the environment and the appropriate utilization of mineral resources for Filipinos will not rest. We will continue to expose environmental destruction by foreign and local resource extraction operations. Our protests against Pres.Aqunio’s pro-foreign, anti-Filipino people mining programs and policies will persist.
Stop the plunder of our natural resources!

Scrap the Philippine Mining Act of 1995!

Scrap Pres. Aquino’s Executive Order 79!

Stop the persecution of environmental activists and advocates!

Respect our rights to protect our land and our people!

 

For reference:

Fr. Raymond Ambray
Spokesperson, CaragaWatch
CP No: +639399023699

 

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/statements/2012/10/31/caraga-watch-strongly-condemns-the-shooting-of-environmental/

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