5,000 people barricade Compostela Valley highway-A A +A
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
ABOUT 5,000 residents from different areas affected by Typhoon “Pablo” barricaded the intersection of Montevista and Monkayo towns in Compostela Valley to stop mining and illegal logging.
The group also demanded an end to substantial release of food aid, instead of the piece-meal distribution of the government during calamities.
The human barricade forced traffic to stop. The group also asks the government to respond immediately to their needs like food and speedy rehabilitation efforts.
Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman was among those who barricaded from a scheduled trip to New Bataan.
Soliman, who was with Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy, left the group and released 1,500 food packs with 10 kilograms (kg) of rice, few cans of sardines, and noodles.
The group of protesters came from the Barug Katawhan chapters, Bayan Southern Mindanao, and Balsa Mindanao, said Mae Fe Templa, representative of the Balsa team.
In its earlier report, Bayan Southern Mindanao said: "Forty-two days after Typhoon Pablo hit, millions affected by Typhoon Pablo are hungry, homeless and without any means of livelihood. Amidst the government's failure to deliver quick and sustained humanitarian response, the people's rage could no longer be contained."
Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) kept a tight watch on the protesters Tuesday, although no untoward incident happened as government officials tried to talk it out with the residents.
The barricaders, who came from Montevista, Monkayo, New Bataan, Pantukan, Maco, Mabini, New Corella, Mawab, Banaybanay, Mati, and Lupon in the provinces of Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, and Davao Oriental, blame the massive mining and logging operations in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental which worsened the situation.
Compostela Valley is the center of gold mining, while Davao Oriental's mountains are being mined for gold and chromite, among many other minerals.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 16, 2013.