Groups vow more actions against Atienza; declare to take anti-mining battle to Manila

The Mindorenos, already feeling hungry and weak on their 10th day of protest, vow to continue with their hunger strike to press the Arroyo administration to cancel an 'illegally issued' mining clearance to Intex Resources. Photo by Raymond Panaligan

PRESS RELEASE

An alliance backed by more than 80 organizations vowed more actions against Atienza today, accusing him of callousness in resolving the demands of hunger strikes camped at the DENR central office. “We will mobilize people here in front of DENR and deliver to Atienza a clear message – he should clean up this mess he created in Mindoro or else face consequences in his candidacy in Manila”, said Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of the group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM).

ATM is backing the hunger strike of Mindorenos who are demanding the cancellation of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) of Intex Resources, Philippines, a Norwegian mining company set to operate in the provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro. The group entered its 11th day of their hunger strike.
“While the hunger strikers go weaker everyday, we will lend our strength to them by coming out here in front of DENR in numbers” declared Garganera. He also said that they are preparing several support groups to join the hunger strikers in holding solidarity fasting, in the camp itself and in strategic locations in Manila City, to put more pressure on Atienza to act decisively on this issue.

The group also threatened to bring their struggle to Manila, as they are sure that Atienza is set to resign as DENR secretary and file his certificate of candidacy to run for Mayor of Manila by Saturday. “If Mr. Atienza feels that this nightmare will disappear after he leaves DENR, he is sadly mistaken. We will take this opportunity to tell students, workers, teachers, urban poor, drivers and even vendors in Manila, what a callous, heartless and dishonest person he is”, continued Garganera. He rebuked Atienza for raising the bogey that the hunger strike is a political ploy against him, saying that the legitimacy of the Mindorenos’ protest is completely documented.

The threat comes in the heel of swelling support to the hunger strikers, the latest coming from Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the Archdiocese of Manila. Bp. Pabillo issued a strongly-worded open letter last Nov. 24, 2009, appealing that Atienza revoke the ECC because of the flawed process it underwent. Yesterday, more than fifty indigenous peoples from the tribes of Aetas, Ifugaos, Dumagats, Remontados and Agtas visited the hunger strikers and expressed their solidarity. The IPs came from provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Zambales, and Quezon.

Supporters of the hunger strike admit that they are getting more worried every day with the worsening physical condition of the hunger strikers, who all come from the local group, Alyansa Laban sa Mina ng Mindoro (ALAMIN). The group was established in 1999 to consolidate opposition to the Mindoro Nickel Project. The alliance has conducted numerous local and national mobilizations and International campaigns were also done in Europe.

The group in hunger strike, together with the local government officials of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Catholic Church leaders, civil society organizations and individuals from the communities affected by the project, reiterated their call for the immediate revocation of the ECC of INTEX and demanding the DENR to respect the LGUs’ mining moratorium in their respective provinces.

The Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), an advocacy group and a people’s movement that upholds the rights of the present and future Filipinos against the persisting injustices related to mining. ATM is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations convened by HARIBON, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC/FOEI) and PhilDHRRA. —(30)

For more information:

Jaybee Garganera, ATM Coordinator, (0915) 315.37.19
Roslyn Arayata, ATM Policy Officer (0917) 521.7937

ON LINE Petition in support of the Mindoro Hunger Strike is on the web. Please manifest your support by signing up to the link below:

http://petitions.contact.ie/content/support-hunger-strike-against-intex-resources-mining-project

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