For Immediate Release
Reference: Amelia Vergel de Dios, ABSV Chairperson
AMIDST TYPHOON PABLO, BAY AREA FILIPINOS PROTEST AGAINST XSTRATA FOR ITS POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN MINDANAO
(San Jose, CA) On December 5th, Filipino American youth members of Anakbayan Silicon Valley (ABSV), with its allied members from BAYAN-NorCal, gathered in front of Xstrata Recycling in San Jose, the only branch in the US of Xstrata, a multinational mining company with proposed operations in the Philippines. They were saddened by the hundreds of deaths caused by the recent Typhoon Pablo that devastated the southern region of the Philippines. This region has become more vulnerable to damage from natural disasters because of environmental degradation caused by large-scale mining of the type Xstrata is proposing. The youth present demanded a stop to the destruction caused by multinational mining companies, and called on Xstrata specifically to terminate its pending project in Tampakan, an area which, while not severely damaged by the typhoon, could become more vulnerable if operations were to continue.
Xstrata, through its local operator Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI), is the largest mining investor in the Philippines with a $5.9 billion investment in Tampakan. The site contains the largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits in Southeast Asia, and the mining project is estimated to displace 4,000 locals.
“This project makes Tampakan more prone to landslides and flash floods when typhoons like Typhoon Pablo hit the region,” states ABSV Chairperson Amelia Vergel de Dios.
The youth also protested against the Capion family massacre and the worsening human rights situation in Mindanao, specifically within the mining regions.
Through the collaboration of its private security forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Xstrata-SMI has been linked to committing human rights violations and killings among anti-mining activists and indigenous people fighting for the protection of their ancestral lands. On October 18th, the AFP killed the two boys and the pregnant wife of Daguil Capion, a B’laan tribe leader in Tampakan and key anti-mining organizer in the campaign against Xstrata-SMI.
“With the Tampakan Project, Xstrata not only risks severe environmental damage, but also violates human rights for the sake of profit. The sacrifice of the Capion family exhibits Xstrata and the AFP’s disregard for life in order to instill fear in anti-mining activists and stop the people’s movement for environmental protection of their lands,” declares Vergel de Dios.
The youth group and its allies call for the banning of Xstrata in the Philippines and holding the mining company and the AFP accountable for the murders and the human rights violations they have committed in Tampakan.