Human rights violations ‘rampant’ in Salcedo mining areas-A A +A
Saturday, October 20, 2012
PALO, Leye -- Government authorities have failed to enforce laws to protect human rights of the mining-affected communities in Salcedo town in Eastern Samar, according to a fact-finding report of the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI).
Lawyer Mario Maderazo, PMPI legal and advocacy officer, said the lack of law enforcement has led to “pervasive lawlessness” and “environment of fear” in Barangay Carapdapan in Salcedo.
“Salcedo has been hit by several mining-related human rights violations in recent months,” Maderazo said during the executive summary presentation of the report on “Mining rush in Salcedo, Eastern Samar rakes up violence and social conflicts.”
“Based on the fact-finding mission result, the perceived propensity of some government authorities to favor mining companies only exacerbated the tension within the community,” Maderazo added.
Extraction of chromite ore by subsistence miners and buying/trading of said ores has been observed in Salcedo, particularly in the barangays of Carapdapan, Cantomoja, Kamanga, Palanas and Cagaut.
Maderazo said there are laws and regulations on mining to protect mining affected communities from harm and violence, but their enforcement has essentially collapsed.
He cited the incident last May 1 this year when a known anti-mining advocate in the town, Francisco Canayong, was killed.
“Statements from witnesses and complainants, and documentary evidences gathered by the mission have shown the lack of effective response by authorities to the killing of Mr. Canayong and alleged threats and harassment to human rights defenders of Barangay Carapdapan has resulted in the prevailing environment of fear among the population in the said mining affected community,” said Farah Gamalo of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP).
Gamalo said one of the mission’s findings revealed that the killing was directly related to Canayong’s work in the campaign against mining in Carapdapan and other parts of Salcedo.
Initial report conducted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Eastern Visayas, however, revealed that the killing of Cayanong could have been mining-related.
The mission, meanwhile, recommended to immediately conduct a reinvestigation using normative framework of human rights by the CHR central office into the killing of Canayong and the continuing threats and harassment to human rights defenders of Carapdapan.
The mission also urged concerned agencies to implement the cease and desist order to stop mining operations of mining companies in the affected communities issued by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)