Anti-mining protesters question presence of police in barricades
Press Release | January 31, 2023
Sibuyan residents questioned the presence of police personnel at the barricades they put up to oppose the illegal operations of Altai Philippines Mining Company.
A number of policemen bearing batons and protective equipment arrived Tuesday evening at the barricades of anti-mining protestors. Kagawad Donato Royo of Barangay España confronted the police, asking them for a written order in order to find out who ordered the policemen to go to the barricades.
“The police could not even produce a written order, despite claiming that they were ordered to go to the barricades supposedly to maintain peace and order. But, there is no need for them to come as the residents are protesting peacefully. Besides, why were they in full protective gear? They even brought batons, seemingly wanting to provoke some sort of trouble,” Kagawad Royo said.
Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina, said “the police’s mere presence is meant to intimidate the Sibuyan residents, who are simply making their voices heard as they fight for the preservation of their island’s natural resources and ecosystems.”
“We are wary of any form of harassment by the police. They should be reminded that their duty is to respect and protect the right of the people of Sibuyan to peaceful assembly, especially in this case where the mining company is in violation of the law,” he added.
Sibuyan residents have been protesting at the barricades for nearly a week already, as they demanded the suspension of the operations of Altai Mining Company.
The protesters contend that the activities of the mining firm are “illegal”. They are demanding that the mining company produce the following documents: barangay clearance, municipal business permit, DENR foreshore lease contract, and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) permit to construct a private port. So far, the mining company has failed to show them any of these documents.
Elizabeth Ibañez, Coordinator of Sibuyanons Against Mining (SAM) earlier said that the illegal activities of the Altai Mining must be immediately investigated. “We demand swift action from the local governments of the province and municipalities, and the pertinent government agencies such as the DENR and BFAR to stop the mining operations of the company and hold them accountable for their illegal activities,” she said.