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Filipino women demand an end to corporate mining on IWD

Today, on International Women’s Day, a group of women held a flash-mob in front of the office of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. in Makati (a city in Metro Manila) in the Philippines. The Swiss-owned Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) has copper and gold mining projects in Tampakan, South Cotabato, Colombio in Sultan Kudarat, and in parts of Davao del Sur. At the end of their dance, they held up a sign stating “Women Say No to Corporate Mining.”

The Filipino women’s coalition also issued a statement saying, “Mining poisons our food and waters – mine tailings seeping through the water system, backhoes excavating our rice fields, coastal areas and mountains. Women toil more than twelve hours a day to produce and secure food for their families, to bring water to their homes, to gather medicines from their forests. Women regard the land and water as source of life; but yes, mining corporations easily disregard the value of life.”

Opponents of SMI have been killed. In October 2012, the family of B’laan anti-mining community leader Daguil Capion was killed, allegedly by soldiers. His wife and their 13-year old and 8-year old children were killed. In January 2013, the brother of Daguil, Kitari, was also killed allegedly by soldiers in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur. And in March 2009, anti-SMI activist Boy Billanes was killed in Koronadal City. He was the chairperson of the Alliance for Genuine Development in Mindanao and had been campaigning against SMI.

And this violence like mining-related violence in other parts of the world, has gendered consequences. As the statement issued by the Filipino women’s movement declares: With all its dominance and violence, corporate mining perpetuates patriarchy. It has deprived women’s voice to be heard in the communities. It has justified militarization in the country side.”

News Desk Asia reports, “In 2010, the Provincial Government of South Cotabato issued a ban on open-pit mining. Last year, President Aquino issued Executive Order 79 that empowers mining companies to contest local legislations. …Juland Suazo, spokesperson of the environmental group Panalipdan-Southern Mindanao, said that the issuance is a negative blow to the other 10 mining moratoriums declared by the provincial governments of Capiz, Guimaras, Romblon, Negros Occidental, Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Marinduque, Western Samar, Northern Samar, and Batangas.”

Their full statement can be read at