Protecting Big Mining Corporations, Oplan Bayanihan's Style of Development

Jigs Clamor, Karapatan’s Deputy Secretary General said that, “The recent move by the military and the big mining companies to finance military-trained units of SCAA (Special Civilian Active Auxilliary) shows the AFP’s connivance with corporations that plunder the country’s mineral resources.”

“The government claims that Oplan Bayanihan, its new counter-insurgency program, focuses on peace and development. Yet, this kind of development obviously puts primacy on the protection of the interests of mining corporations despite the environmental destruction and economic dislocation and displacement of the people in the mining areas,” added Clamor.  

With the massive deployment of AFP and paramilitary and private armed groups in communities where there is mining operation, Karapatan warns of the resulting escalation of human rights violations in the communities. The people’s opposition to mining will surely be met with force and repression.  

In the past, SCAA served as security force for the DMCI Mining Corporation (DMCIMC) in Zambales, in TVI Mining in Zamboanga del Sur, and even in the sugar plantations in Negros. They were instrumental for a string of human rights violations against those who oppose the mining operations in the communities. On June 30, 2011, SCAA members were implicated in the killing of 40-year old Lumad leader Arpe “Datu Lapugotan” Belayong and Sulte San-ogan, 21, both residents of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur. The mountain area of Esperanza is marked for mining operations. 

Clamor added that, “The use of the AFP and its paramilitary forces to protect mining companies contradicts Oplan Bayanihan’s claim that it is “people-centered.” 

Former Pres. Cory Aquino created the CAFGU (Citizens Armed Force Geographical Unit) and SCAA and were maintained by the AFP as “force multipliers” and as an “embedded security system in all economic endeavors” by the past and the current governments. Pres. Noynoy Aquino reneged on his campaign promise that he will dismantle paramilitary forces and private armed groups. 

“This government should stop hiding from catch-phrases like “peace and development”, “people-centered”, “human rights” when obviously it is doing the opposite. If it wants to be true to these slogans, Pres. Aquino should immediately stop the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan. It should scrap the Mining Act of 1995 that plunders the country’s mineral resources, destroys our environment and further drives the people to poverty,” said Clamor. ###