NDFP-Mindanao condemns the recent massacre in the Xstrata-SMI mining area

Jorge 'Ka Oris' Madlos
October 23, 2012

The NDFP-Mindanao condemns in the strongest possible terms the latest incident of massacre against the family of anti-imperialist mining Lumad leader Daguil Cafeon in the country’s largest mining company, the Xstrata-SMI, on the morning of October 18, 2012 in Sitio D’tal Alyong, Brgy. Kimlawis, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur.  B’laan Lumads in the area are swatted down like flies by state security forces because they continue to hold their ground in defending their ancestral lands, which have long been the target of destructive multinational mining companies.

Killed in this latest vile crime perpetrated by the 27th IBPA of the AFP were Jovi Malid-Cafeon, 32 years old, and their children, Pop and John, ages 13 and 7 respectively. Daguil’s 5 year-old daughter was wounded in the incident. Last month, two Tiruray Lumads, Ronald and Alex Maley, were also shot dead by elements of the 27th IBPA in Brgy.Telafas, Columbio, Sultan Kudarat. These incidents took place within Xstrata-SMI’s mining area, which covers more than 90,000 hectares in four provinces in the Southern-most part of Mindanao. The area is confirmed to have high-grade deposits of gold believed to be the largest in Southeast Asia.

Representatives from Xstrata-SMI, in cahoots with the AFP, had had repeatedly attempted to bribe and deceive the B’laan Lumads through so called “peaceful means” with the objective to grab their ancestral lands.  But these efforts miserably failed because of the strong resistance waged by both the Lumads and the peasants in the area.

These recent spate of killings is designed by the Xstrata-SMI, Inc., in collusion with  the reactionary Aquino regime and its armed forces, to silence the Lumad people who continuously oppose the entry and operation of large-scale mining in their ancestral domain area. Since 2010, when the mining company started to forcibly ease them out from their homes and farms, thousands of Lumads have staged strong, sporadic barricades in the mountains of Kiblawan to put a stop to the extraction and processing of minerals from their mountain soil, which, when already in full operation, will cause unimaginable devastation to both their livelihood and the environment.

Exacerbating the situation, relentless military operations have been conducted by the combined forces of the 27th IB-AFP, the Task Force KITACO and hundreds of company goons and security guards right at the very heart of the B’laan people’s ancestral land. In effect, these combat operations have disrupted and destroyed Lumad communities and their way of life.

During the first half of the year, thousands of Lumads and peasants from different parts of the five regions in Mindanao have evacuated from their communities due to intense and sustained AFP operations. These military operations are often conducted in areas where giant mining firms operate. In Zamboanga del Sur, more than 500 families were expelled from their communities where the Toronto Ventures, Inc., a Canadian-mining firm locally operated mostly by top officials of the AFP, has a vast claim. Four hundred families also evacuated in Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Norte, while over 200 families fled their homes in Magpet, North Cotabato, and over 20 families in Bukidnon.

The NDFP in Mindanao calls on the Blaan people to strengthen and sustain their broad open mass struggle as well as their armed resistance through their revolutionary pangayaw against Xstrata-SMI’s continued anti-Lumad, anti-people operations of murdering innocent civilians and of grabbing ancestral lands for large-scale destructive mining. We also call upon the people in the Far Southern Mindanao Region and the entire Mindanao island to support the B’laan people’s struggle against rapacious imperialist mining in order to defend  their ancestral lands.#

(Sgd) Ka Oris