Green group condemns harassment case against environment defender


ATM leader receive harassment case from mining company

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) strongly condemned the harassment tactics of a mining company in Zambales against its Chairperson, Dr. Benito E. Molino.

Employees of a mining company in Zambales charged the Concerned Citizens of Sta. Cruz, Zambales (CCOS) chairperson, Dr. Benito Molino, along with agents from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), with multiple cases.

Molino said that it was the fourth harassment case that was filed against him since 2015.

He received the subpoena last August 11, 2017 with cases lodged against him and the NBI agenda included Arbitrary Detention, Grave Threats, Grave Coercion, and Trespassing after the NBI raid of the illegal operation of the Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation (ZMDC) last year.

In April 6, 2017 a team composed of personnel from National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine Army, Philippine Coast Guard, and the DENR's National Anti-Environmental Crime Task Force raided the illegal hauling activities of nickel ores by four mining companies, including the ZMDC due to their continues operation despite of the closure and suspension orders of DENR.

The arrested drivers of the mining company filed the cases against Molino and the NBI agents.

“The drivers of the confiscated dump trucks were legally detained because there are filed charges against them,” said Dr. Molino adding that the drivers were out because they posted paid the bail.

ATM Campaign Officer Val Vibal, said that the cases filed by the mining company employees were forms of harassment.

According to Vibal, “The cases are just another form of harassment to cover-up the issue of their blatant disregard with their closure and suspension orders and their continued plunder of our natural resources and massive loss of livelihoods of farmers and fishers in Sta. Cruz, Zambales.”

Molino claimed that they are ready to reply these century-old harassment techniques of mining companies to silence those who are against their business.

However, Molino lamented that the mining company is simply using its drivers and security guards to harass their environmental organization. He said that they will expose these as efforts of the mining company to undermine their credibility as environmental defenders. His lawyers have that also said that they will urge the local court to declare these cases as SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) suits.

“Let not the rewards from the mining companies satisfy you, but the better home and future of our generations,” he said pertaining to the drivers who filed the recent case.

Also, Molino is calling for the people of Sta. Cruz and Candelaria in Zambales, Infanta and Pangasinan to continue on protecting their environment from mining companies for the next generation.

“[My] Call to people of towns of Sta. Cruz and Candelaria in Zambales and Infanta and Pangasinan [is] to love their environment and the future of their children by not allowing themselves as pawns of mining companies that destroys the lives and basic livelihood of the people and the source of drinking and irrigation water that sustains life and food production. Aspire for a better future, resist the joy of a full stomach by destroying our only home and the good future of our next generations,” He concluded.

Meanwhile, CCOS is currently urging the Court of Appeals to grant Zambales province the Permanent Environmental Protection Order and to hold mining companies accountable for the devastation of their environment and lives, including compensation and rehabilitation of damages properties and farms.

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Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill.

For more information:

Dr. Benito Molino, ATM Chairman – 09338784860, ben696molino@yahoo.com

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator 09175498218 – nc@alyansatigilmina.net

Karl Isaac Santos, ATM Media and Communications Officer 09171491717 – media.comms@alyansatigilmina.net

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