TAGUM CITY- Teresita Navacilla, anti-foreign large-scale mining activist, breathed her last in the early hours of January 30, after surviving the attack on her life last January 27.
Navacilla had returned that day from jail after visiting Giovanni Guitierez, a small-scale miner and her neighbor who was illegally arrested and branded as NPA by elements of the 46th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army.
By evening, a suspected military agent went to Navacilla’s store and fired two shots to her direction, which caught her in the nape and the back of her head. She was rushed to the hospital, after her attacker and his accomplices sped away in XRM motorcycles.
Navacilla was the purok chairman of Purok Bardown in Sitio Gumayan, Brgy. Kingking, Pantukan Compostela Valley.
The said area is set to be affected by the entry of largescale mining company Nationwide Development Corporation (NADECOR)-San Augustin Services, Inc. in Pantukan, reported to start its full operation on open-pit mining on March this year.
Karapatan-Southern Mindanao secretary-general Hanimay Suazo denounced the incident, saying that “the only persons set to benefit from Navacilla’s demise are the mining corporations deadly eager to plunder mineral wealth and displace entire civilian communities, along with the military units paid by these corporations to bulldoze the people’s resistance to these corporate landgrabbing”.
Suazo fears that the killings “may rise to become a weekly statistics, given the nearing end of Aquino’s term.”
“Corporations are desperate to pave the road for their unopposed operations, and the military feels the same, in their bid to neutralize people’s organizations that are condemning their unjust operations against civilian communities.” Suazo said.
According to Suazo, there have been four victims of extra-judicial killings in Southern Mindanao in the month of January alone, and 54 so far under the Aquino regime.
Navacilla was a strong critic of the planned large-scale mining in the area of the growing militarization in Pantukan, which was deployed with two battalions previously under the command of notorious human rights violator Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan.
The 71st IBPA was among the three battalions forming the 701st Infantry Brigade, which was deployed in Southern Mindanao in 2010.
The 71st IB’s efforts were augmented by the 46th IB, which was deployed in 2014. Both units have complemented efforts to quell people’s movements in Pantukan, as mining companies set their sights in the rich mineral reserves in the said municipality.
KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGION
CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO