By JORGE MADLOS
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Mindanao calls upon the entire people, the religious, defenders of the environment, nationalist politicians and local government units, and all other groups that oppose mining, patriotic organizations and revolutionary forces in the Far Southern Mindanao Region to be in a united effort in seeking justice for Daguil Capeon’s family who were massacred by fascist armed forces of the reactionary state. Daguil is staunchly opposed to the destructive mining of multinational giant Xstrata-Sagittarius Mining Incorporated.
On the occasion of Lumad month, the family of Daguil Capeon, his wife and two kids, were ruthlessly shot to death on 18 October 2012 by members of the Bravo Company of the 27th Infantry Battalion, under the command of 1Lt. Dante Jimenez in Sitio Datal Alyong, Barangay (village) Kimlawis, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur. Daguil is a known B’laan leader in the region who has long been opposed to and helped his people launch a revolutionary pangayaw against the Xstrata-SMI, which is forcibly grabbing the Lumad ancestral lands for many years now.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines and other local lackeys of Xstrata-SMI, such as certain politicians in the local government like those in Kiblawan, have branded the B’laans who stood their ground against large-scale mining as “bandits”. This is meant to outrightly deny the legitimacy of the B’laan people’s struggle to defend their ancestral domain, and to conceal the truth on the AFP’s and the mining company’s hand in the bloody massacre.
Because the crime was committed by mercenaries hired by the Xstrata-SMI, Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division, and Brig. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, also of the 10th ID, have lied barefaced before the media and the people that there occurred a “legitimate encounter” between elements of the 27th IB and Daguil Capeon’s group. However, Fact-Finding Missions led by respected church leaders, environmentalists and progressive groups have established the contrary, saying that “there was no exchange of fire” or “skirmish” because, at the time, there were no other armed groups present except for the AFP troops.
This latest brutal crime against the Lumads, resulting from the collusion of the AFP, the Xstrata-SMI and the US-Aquino regime, has reaped the condemnation of the people, the religious, the academe, the mass media, environmentalists and even that of some members of Congress. The long-time anti-mining local government of the South Cotabato province and the Diocese of Koronadal also expressed strong statements of reproach against the massacre as well as against Xstrata-SMI’s open-pit mining.
Now, gold and other minerals are tainted with blood because of the US-Aquino regime’s imperialist mining projects in the entire country. Particularly in Mindanao this year, the killings and strafing committed by state security forces against activist leaders of organizations opposed to large-scale and destructive mining have become more frequent. Some of these cases are as follows:
5 March. The killing of Jimmy Liguyon, Barrio Captain of Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon. Jimmy fiercely resisted against the planned entry of a foreign mining company in the area.
16 April. The killing of Dapore barrio captain Francisco Arado and his secretary, Edith Navarro, in Sitio Balabag, Brgy. Dapore, Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur. They were both opposed to the expansion of Toronto Ventures, Inc. in Bayog, which will adversely affect small-scale miners and the farms of the Lumads and peasants.
9 May. The murder of Margarito Cabal in Kibawi, Bukidnon. Cabal is a known leader opposed to the entry of large-scale mining and the construction of additional mega-dams in the Pulangi river in Bukidnon.
13 September. The killing of Genesis Ambason, an Lumad anti-mining leader from San Luis, Agusan del Sur.
4 October. The killing of Gilbert Paborada, leader of the anti-large-scale mining movement in San Nicolas, Puntod, Cagayan de Oro City.
29 October. Dr. Isidro Olan, executive director of the Lovers of Nature Foundation, was wounded after being shot in Brgy. Puyat, Carmen, Surigao del Sur. Dr. Olan is strongly opposed to large-scale mining in Surigao del Sur.
Apart from these, the Lumads also face tremendous militarization in the countryside to evict them from their lands and make way for large-scale mining. Aside from Xstrata-SMI, which is the largest gold-mining project in the country, there are also the military personnel-laden mining company of the TVI in the Zamboanga Peninsula; the Taganito-Sumitomo THPAL, Greenstone, SRMI and others in the Caraga Region; Russel Mining and Southeast Mining in the Compostela Valley Province.
Mining ventures owned by Danding Cojuangco and Lucio Tan in collaboration with imperialist mining firms are also proliferating and expanding in Mindanao.
Furthermore, the remaining Lumad ancestral lands are in danger of being grabbed because of the entry and expansion of large agri-buisness companies such as Del Monte, DoleFil, Sumifru and others, which are in cahoots with corrupt government agencies like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriarian Reform (DAR), and National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). Rich and arable Lumad lands in Mindanao will be used to grow pineapples, bananas, oil palm and other cash crops. Cases of actual grabbing of Lumad ancestral lands have already occurred in Marilog, Davao City; in Tulunan, Magpet, Antipas and Arakan, in North Cotabato; in Opol, Misamis Oriental; in Bukidnon, in the Caraga region, in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, and in many others.
In the first half of 2012, more than a thousand Lumad and peasant families, or over 5,000 individuals, from Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Bukidnon and North Cotabato fled their communities and farms because of the fascist AFP’s “clearing” operations, which are directly related to the entry and operations of mines and plantations owned by the big comprador bourgeoisie and imperialists.
The NDFP-Mindanao calls on the people of Mindanao to further expand and strengthen the united movement in seeking justice for the Capeon massacre victims and all victims of extra-judicial killings and human rights violations perpetrated by the armed forces of the US-Aquino regime in the name of the mine and plantation (big business) of the big bourgeoisie and imperialists.
It is not enough that AFP soldiers directly involved in the massacre are simply removed from the area and placed under Court Martial as punishment for the massacre and for attacking the Lumad communities, because they are only mercenaries of the real “brains” of such a heinous crime.
It is therefore imperative that revolutionary resistance must be further intensified in order to eventually efface from the country these imperialist corporations colluding with the big comprador bourgeois and the big landlords that forcibly seized the ancestral lands of the Lumads, destroy the environment, trample on the nation’s sovereignty, and sell our patrimony.
(Sgd) Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos