COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
08 JULY 2008
CHR INITIATES INVESTIGATIVE MONITORING ON HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN QUIRINO and NUEVA VIZCAYA PROVINCES
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Leila M. De Lima today issued a Memorandum directing the CHR Regional ll Office to validate reports concerning the alleged human rights violations contained in the Fact Finding Report of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) committed against the indigenous peoples in the province of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya particularly that in Barangay Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya. The said community is the site of the mining operations by Oceana Gold Philippines Inc. that recently hugged the news headlines resulting from a conflict with the provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya which stemmed from the taxes due to the local government.
During a dialogue with the representatives of various Non-government organizations (NGOs) this morning that include the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth- Philippines (LRC-KsK/FoE-Phils.), Task Force Detainees (TDF) , Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocate (PAHRA), the concerned groups requested the CHR to immediately act on the issue of illegal demolition wherein houses of the indigenous peoples were demolished without court order and without relocation. As of the date of the Fact-Finding Mission of PAHRA-ATM, 187 houses have been demolished. The groups also requested the CHR to look into human rights abuses involving killings, forced negotiations and harassments which are connected to the demolition and the Indigenous peoples rights.
The CHR Chairperson added that she will likewise ask for a follow-up investigation from CHR Region ll since there is already an initial Report coming from the said Office. It is also important, the CHR head added, to preliminarily verify report that a Philippine National Police (PNP) contingent is inside the property of the mining company which is a human rights violation per se.
According to Chairperson De Lima, the primary issue of `development aggression’ must be fully analyzed and that the CHR will further look into the case and find out how these mining companies affect the human rights of the communities not only in Barangay Didipio but also in other parts of the country.
Based on its findings and recommendations, the independent constitutional body will likewise issue an appropriate Resolution recommending safeguards on the protection of peoples living within the areas where mining is prevalent. xxx