Environmental groups have strongly condemned the alleged harassment, arrest, and detention of six residents of Brooke’s Point, Palawan, during a demonstration on Friday, April 15.
The residents were protesting the demolition by security personnel of Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC) of makeshift structures used by the people as a barricade to prevent the operation of the mining company.
Jaybee Garganera, coordinator of the anti-mining alliance Alyansa Tigil Mina, said “the harassment, arrest and detention of the residents and the demolition of the barricades” came even after the mayor of Brooke’s Point issued a Cease and Desist Order against the mining company.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the abusive acts of the security forces of Ipilan Nickel,” said Garganera in a statement.
“This is a blatant disrespect of the law and the mayor’s orders as well as a grave insult to the people of Brooke’s Point,” said Marlon Tamsi of the Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC).
Rudy Cataluna, president of the Samahan ng Magsasaka Ayaw sa Pagmimina, said they were “peacefully barricading against the illegal and destructive operations of INC.”
“Why did they destroy our barricades and arrest our colleagues when they are the ones violating the law?” said Cataluna.
At about six o’clock in the morning of April 14, about 200 security guards and 100 personnel of the mining company dismantled the barricades put up by demonstrators in February to stop the operations of the mining company.