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Katribu came out with a statement criticizing the Aquino administration for being to close to mining corporations:
“It’s a rub in the back, it’s a green light.”
This is the view indigenous people’s group KATRIBU Partylist to the Palace’s recent rebuke to the Department of Natural Resources about its withholding of Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) to mining giant SMI-Xstrata. Yesterday, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr, handed over an order to grant the mining corporation an ECC, as it has fulfilled its requirements.
“Aquino compels the DENR to hand over an ECC to the mining company. The recent decision of Malacanang lifts DENR constrained in handing over an ECC due to the hurdle of a mining moratorium of the local government, and the courageous resistance of the indigenous peoples,” Kakay Tolentino, a Dumagat and KATRIBU Partylist Secretary General said. “Aquino places himself squarely behind a human rights violator of a mining company.”
The partylist group cites the killing of a Blaan family October last year, dubbed as the Capion Massacre. Juvy Capion, 27, and her two young sons were killed by strafing by military operatives. Last January 29, 2013, another member of the family was slain. Kitari Capion, 24, died due to loss of blood after members of the 39th Infantry Battalion of the AFP sprayed his hut with bullets.
“Aquino definitely has SMI-Xstata’s back on this project. This multi-billion peso project is causing a stir in the country’s highest office, a testament that Aquino is very interested that this destructive and plunderous mining pushes through,” Tolentino claimed. “He takes no regard that this project has no support from the people. In contrast, the Blaan people are resisting this project even if it is costing lives.”
The group fears the escalation of violence in the area.“The Blaan people is resolute in defending their lands against the large-scale mine. They are waging a pangayaw, a tribal war, against mining. With the Aquino government pushing back, we could expect a more brutal attack of State forces against the resisting community,” Tolentino said.
A pangayaw, the partylist group said, is rooted from a precolonial practice when tribes are constrained to war when other tribes impinge on their territories or harm a member of their tribe. “The pangayaw are brought alive by the modern-day threats. In this case, the Blaan are constrained to wage war by an encroaching mining TNC, defended by a well-greased AFP,” Tolentino said.