Peasant leader and anti-mining activist killed in Compostela

Dear Friends,

Jimmy Saypan, Secretary General of the Compostela Farmers Association (CFA), was shot by unnamed men, allegedly form the 66th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army (IBPA) on October 10, 2016. He died the next day, October 11, at the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City. Saypan is the 17th victim of reported political killing under the Duterte administration, all of whom are peasants.

Please join us in condemning the continuing attacks against farmers and national minorities challenging and confronting landgrabbing and imperialist plunder of our environment. Let us stand together to demand for the discontinuation of mining operations and exploration activities of Agusan Petroleum and Minerals Corporation (AGPET) in communities in Compostela Valley, and condemn their collaboration with the military, particularly the 66th IBPA, to perpetrate human rights violations against activists and residents opposing large-scale mining to threaten and displace people across communities.

We remain resolute in our call to pull-out military troops in communities and demand their accountability for the numerous violations against peasants and indigenous peoples. Ultimately, we continue to demand for a nationalist and progressive economic policy that puts the primacy of the people over profits.

 

ACCOUNT OF THE INCIDENT

On October 8, 2016, Jimmy Saypan, 48 years old, a Mandaya, and the Secretary General of Compostela Farmers Association (CFA) left his residence in Brgy. Ngan, Compostela to go to Montevista for the salubungan and send-off of participants to the Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya, a campaign caravan of national minorities to Metro Manila. Saypan and the rest of the members of the CFA gathered for the program.

On the early morning of October 10, 2016, around 5 to 6 in the morning, Saypan was on his way home to Brgy. Ngan on board his motorcycle. While he was still in Brgy. New Visayas, Montevista town however, he was chased and shot at by a motorcycle-riding man. Saypan was shot three times but still attempted to go after his assailant. After this proved futile, he drove back home. He was already near his house when he collapsed, but not before he was able to call his family and a neighbour for help.

Saypan was initially brought to the Montevista District Hospital but was later transferred to the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City.  After he was x-rayed, Saypan was immediately booked for an operation. By evening, he was already out of the operating room. According to his wife, it seemed as if her husband was going to recover well, except that his pulse started to gradually weaken on the afternoon of October 11. Despite efforts to revive him, Saypan was declared dead at 2:20pm.

Members of the CFA, a member-organization of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), and community members of Brgy. Ngan, believe that the killing of Saypan was orchestrated by both the 66th Infantry Battalion – Philippine Army (IBPA) and the Agusan Petroleum and Minerals Corporation (AGPET). The presence of the 66th IBPA in communities in Compostela, Compostela province is largely to secure the mining area of AGPET; this has resulted in a series of human rights violations including the killing of CFA leader Danny Qualvar in 2008 and the strafing of a cluster of houses in Brgy. Ngan, including the house of CFA chairperson Sabello Tindasan in 2015

Weeks before the incident, Saypan led a series of lobby meetings and actions to call for the immediate pull-out of the 66th IBPA in communities in Compostela. Saypan even attended a dialogue with the 66th IBPA a week before the incident. The farmers expressed that military presence has merely resulted in a string of human rights violations and have caused fear in the community. The CFA also demanded that the military comply with its own unilateral ceasefire declaration and immediately leave the community. The 66th IBPA rejected the demands of the farmers.

Saypan was a known, vocal anti-mining advocate who exposed and rallied support for the discontinuation of mining explorations by AGPET since 2012. AGPET is a subsidiary of Eduardo Danding Cojuangco Jr.’s San Miguel Corporation. In 2012, the mining firm was granted exploration permits in villages in Compostela covering an area of 9,999 hectares, and another area in the boundary of Compostela and New Bataan towns spanning a total of 2,400 hectares. AGPET’s permit has expired in 2013 yet the firm continues its mining explorations within the said communities, supported by the military.

 

Recommended actions:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:

1.       The immediate investigation of the incident to be conducted by an independent body;

2.       The immediate pullout of the 66th IBPA and all military troops from Brgy. Ngan and all communities in Compostela Valley;

3.       The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to effectively and immediately stop the mining exploration activities done by the Agusan Petroleum and Minerals Corporation (AGPET);

4.       The Philippine Government to withdraw its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, which victimizes innocent and unarmed civilians, and which secures interests of private and mining corporations vis-à-vis people’s rights; and

5.       The Philippine Government to adhere and respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all major Human Rights instruments that is a party and signatory

 

You may send your communications to:

 

You may send your communications to:

 

H.E. Rodrigo Duterte

President of the Republic

Malacañang Palace,

JP Laurel St., San Miguel

Manila Philippines

Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80

Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968

E-mail: op@president.gov.ph or send message through http://president.gov.ph/contact-us/

 

Hon. Jesus Dureza

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)

7th Floor Agustin Building I

Emerald Avenue

Pasig City 1605

Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066

Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216

Email: stqd.papp@opapp.gov.ph, feedback@opapp.net

 

Ret. Maj. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana

Secretary, Department of National Defense

Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,

E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City

Voice:+63(2) 911-6193 / 911-0488 / 982-5600

Fax:+63(2) 982-5600

Email: info@dnd.gov.phwebmaster@dnd.gov.ph

 

Hon. Vitaliano Aguirre

Secretary, Department of Justice

Padre Faura St., Manila

Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721

Trunkline:  523-84-81 loc.214

Fax: (+632) 521-1614

Email: communications@doj.gov.ph

 

Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon

Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights

SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue

Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188

Fax: (+632) 929 0102

Email: chairgascon.chr@gmail.com

 

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below:

 

 

URGENT ACTION Prepared by:

KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights

National Office

2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., Brgy. Central,

Diliman, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES

Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146

Email: urgentaction@karapatan.orgkarapatan@karapatan.org

Website: www.karapatan.org

 

 

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