Anti-mining activist dies in hospital after assassination attempt

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 Jan) — An anti-mining activist in Compostela Valley province was rushed to a hospital in Tagum City Wednesday night after an assassination attempt but expired early Saturday morning, the human rights group, Karapatan Southern Mindanao said.

Karapatan identified the victim as Teresita Navacilla, 60, a small-scale miner and purok chair of Gumayan, Barangay Kingking, Compostela Valley and convenor of the Save Pantukan Movement, an anti-large scale mining network and a critic of the government’s Oplan Bayanihan.

Navacilla, Karapatan said, was tending her store when a gunman shot her twice at around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Karapatan said the attempt on Navacilla’s life was an attempt to silence her for opposing the entry of the Nationwide Development Corporation (Nadecor) and St. Augustine Gold and Copper Limited, “both large-scale and foreign mining companies that will scale-up its operations this March covering 1,656 hectares in Pantukan town.

Hanimay Suazo, Karapatan-SMR, secretary-general said the killers could have come from the 46th IB, who she said, “have been on a rampage in Pantukan lately, arresting innocent civilians and portraying them as members of the NPA, and assaulting human rights of progressive leaders in the area as well.”

She said the suspects are “targeting those small-scale miners, farmers and Lumads of Mansaka tribe who are opposing the entry and full operation of NADECOR and St. Augustine Mining Companies.”

Lt. Col. Seigfred Tubalado, commander of the 46th IB denied allegations that they were behind the killing of Navacilla. “Wala kaming participation dyan,” he told MindaNews. (MindaNews)