6 September 2012
H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
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Dear Mr. President,
Greetings from the Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders Network in Asia!
We express our deep concern and condemnation on the recent attempt to the life on Timuay Locenio M. Manda and the extrajudicial killing of his son Jordan Manda in Barangay, Conacon, Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur. We received reports that Timuay Locenio M. Manda, a Subanen leader and head claimant of the Bayog Ancestral Domain, was ambushed by unknown assailants while on his way to send his eldest son to school at around 7:20 AM of September 4, 2012. Timuay Manda’s 11 year old son, Jordan Manda, suffered a fatal wound on the back instantly killing him. Timuay Manda suffered minor wounds and is now safe.
We believe that the attack on Timuay Manda was meant to silence him and his community’s opposition to the entry of logging and mining in their ancestral domain. At present, the ancestral domain of the Subanen’s in Bayog has 8 mining permit applications, three approved Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA), one approved Exploration Permit and numerous illegal small-scale mining operations. Timuay Manda has been leading his tribe in claiming and protecting their ancestral domain in the last 10 years after his cousin Timuay Giovanni Umbang was assassinated in 2002. Both Timuay Giovanni and Timuay Manda questioned the entry of logging and mining in their ancestral domain without their Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as required under national and international laws. Timuay Manda has been receiving threats to his life in the last three years.
Jordan Manda, Timuay Manda’s eldest son was being groomed as the next Timuay (Chieftain) of his community. Jordan was a Grade IV student who belonged to the top-5 of his class in Bubuan Elementary School. Being trained as a future Timuay, Jordan was often the youngest participant attending weekend meetings of the community leaders intently listening to discussions and asking questions after the meeting.
The attempt to the life of Timuay Manda and the killing of his son, Jordan, bring about deep concern and alarm for the safety and security of Timuay Manda, and other indigenous leaders who are struggling to defend their ancestral lands and asserting their rights. This brazen act and the violation on the rights of indigenous peoples need urgent attention and action from the government. With this, we call upon the President of the Philippines and concerned government agencies and institutions to:
- Immediately conduct an investigation on the incident and prosecute all those involved in the attack on Timuay Manda and the murder of his son, Jordan.
- Provide immediate relief and sanctuary to protect Timuay Manda and his family.
- Order a a moratorium on all mining activities in Zamboanga Peninsula to prevent the escalation of human rights violations in the area and review all mining permits in the area with the view of cancelling applications that did not comply with the FPIC requirement.
- Order the DILG to ensure the implementation of the Municipal Executive Order No. 11-018 calling for the removal of all security agencies in the area.
- Establish an interagency Task Force on IP Killings to be led by NCIP and allocate funds thereof for the investigation of cases of extrajudicial killings of indigenous leaders, the filing of appropriate charges for those responsible and establish the trends on the killings and provide recommendations for policy reforms in relation to the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples.
- Order a moratorium on all mining activities in conflict areas affecting indigenous communities.
- Ensure the passage of the New Mining Bill.
Hon. Severo Catura
Presidential Human Rights Committee
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
FAX: +63- 2 734 6761
Hon. Teddy Baguilat,
National Cultural Communities Committee of the 15th Congress
House of Representatives
Batasan Complex, Quezon City
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Hon. Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
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Hon. Zenaida Brigida Hamada Pawid
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
West Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines