Save Mankayan Movement:
BAMPIS (Benguet-Abra-Mountain Province-Ilocos Sur) Mine Watch
Cordillera Peoples Alliance:
Stop Lepanto Operations and Pull Out Goldfields in Tabeo!
Mankayan. To its residents, to the indigenous peoples who worked the land so that they too may live in harmony with nature, it is home. It is ili.
Yet, to Philippine government, to the large mining companies, it is but a resource base for plunder and profit. To these, the tragic Colalo sinking in 1999, the Poblacion sinking in 2008, the pollution of the Abra River ,the vast hectares of fertile agricultural lands devastated due to Lepanto’s mine waste, the depletion of water sources— are things they easily dismiss and take no accountability for. But, to the people of Mankayan, these are real, and are stark issues of life and death. It a struggle for rights and survival.
Twenty-three days from this day marks the 5 month of the people’s barricade in Tabeo. It has been a long and challenging struggle with many protests, lobbies, dialogues, petitions and resolutions made. Other provinces adjoined by the Abra River, like Mountain Province, Ilocos Sur and Abra, including other communities in Benguet, have shown unconditional support and solidarity to the people of Mankayan. And the people’s demands, articulated through the Save Mankayan Movement, are clear: to save the people, to save Mankayan, to save the Abra River, Lepanto’s operations must already stop. To truly uphold indigenous peoples right to self determination, right to ancestral land, Lepanto’s operations must simply stop. 76 years is enough. The drill rig of Goldfields must also be immediately pulled out from Madaymen, Tabeo.
Even outside of Mankayan, our Cordillera experience shows that where large mining is, are human rights violations. And where large mines exist and attempt to operate is militarization, that further results in various and numerous violation of indigenous peoples collective, political and civil rights. The rape and sexual abuse perpetrated by Cap. Danilo Lalin then with the 50th Infantry Battalion (iB) and now with the 86th IB to two daughters of Mankayan must not go unpunished, like the other human rights violations of the military to women and children in other indigenous communities in the region. The military must immediately be pulled out from Mankayan, and all indigenous communities in the Cordillera.
Our appeal is for the public to support us in this struggle. We only have one Mankayan, one Abra River. And we have only our unity and strength as people to defend and nurture the ili, the ancestral land. ***