The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) condemned the killing of Santos “Ricky” Manrique, president of Federation of Miners’ Association in Pantukan (FEDMAP) Compostela Valley saying that the incident is characteristic of how huge mining corporations are also murdering local and small-scale mining groups.
“Whilst the murder of Manrique Santos is deplorable in itself, this incident is also reflective of the state of mining industry in the country where multinational companies are displacing small-scale local mining groups and communities of national minorities to allow MNCs to extract mineral resources in the country’s mountain ranges. With Aquino’s public private partnership, this trend will surely intensify,” says Daisy Arago, CTUHR executive director.
“It must also be mentioned that special units of the Armed Forces are usually assigned in mining sites to ‘render security guarding services, maintain peace and order, guarding and protecting installations and properties’ of mining companies. These are made possible through MOAs between local government units, the AFP and the mining companies like in Kitako Mining and Sagittarius Mines also in Southern Mindanao. Thus, it becomes almost a given that where there are mining operations, there are also military operations,” Arago noted.
According to reports, Manrique is one of the leaders who strongly oppose the entry of foreign mining corporations in a 1, 663 hectare gold-mining area in Kingking village in Pantukan. He is also a village councilor of Napnapan village.
Small scale miners in Pantukan have been opposing the joint operation of the Nationwide Development Corporation (NADECOR) and Russell Mining and Minerals Inc, a US-owned mining corporation.
Other than the Pantukan mining project, Manrique also opposed the entry of Napnapan Mineral Resources, Inc. (NMRI) that was allowed by the government to operate on a 4,912-hectare of land affecting small-scale miners in villages of Boringot, Biasong and Diat.
In April 12 at around 6:30 pm, two unidentified men barged in Manrique’s residence in Mendoza subdivision and shot the miner several times while he was having dinner. The gunmen immediately fled the crime scene riding a motorcycle that headed towards Tagum City. Santos sustained three gunshot wounds causing his death.
“The perpetrators couldn’t be any bolder by killing the victim in his very home. We condemn this grave human rights violation and we demand President Aquino to live his promise. When he won the presidency even before he first took office last year, Aquino promised to bring closure to human rights killings. Almost a year has passed yet killings of labor leaders and activists continue to rise with no one still being prosecuted,” Arago added.
Manrique is the fifth labor leader murdered under Aquino. He is the forty-fourth victim of extrajudicial killings since Aquino took office in June 2010.#
(With reports from Nonoy Librado Development Foundation (NLDF) and sunstar.com.ph)