April 7, 2010
Farmers launch "Piso-piso"[i] for the bail-out of Anti-Mining Activist
Close to a hundred farmers from the small village of Anislagan, Surigao, Mindanao, Philippines visited the Surigao provincial jail in Surigao City where Rico T. Amarille has been detained since March 24 for two counts of attempted homicide and handed the 1,000 pesos they raised over the weekend.
Anislagan is an agricultural village on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao with two thousand residents has vowed to keep their land protected from one of the world's largest mining conglomerates, Anglo American Plc., and free of mining projects. In March 2007, Kalayaan Copper Gold Resources (KCGR), a joint venture between Britain's Anglo American and the Manila Mining Company (a subsidiary of Lepanto) was awarded an exploration permit covering an area the approximate size of three hundred hectares.
In this community, men and women have an important role to till, plant, and harvest the fields where corn, rice, a diversity of vegetables, coconuts, and other cash crops are grown. Significantly, Anislagan is also the site of large spring water aquifers from which water is drawn and distributed to surrounding communities. Knowing that the development of a gold mine would mean an end to their agricultural livelihoods, and to their locally accessible clean water sources, residents have been determined to keep mining companies off of the green fields they consider gold.
Almost 9 years, the farmers led by the Anislagan Bantay kalikasan Task Force (ABAKATAF)successfully prevented the entry of Philippine Biggest and World's 2nd biggest mining companies in their village.
Their resiliency brought 23 slapp (strategic law suits against public participation) suits at the same time in 2002 were filed because of their strong staunch against mining, but all were dismissed in 2007. Cases range from violation of the mining act, coercion, robbery, qualified trespass to dwelling, light coercion, robbery, frustrated homicide, arson, frustrated murder to grave abuse of authority. Most of the defendants are women who are in the forefront of the struggle.
In January 11, 2010 forming a human barricade, almost the entire populace of Anislagan prevented the entry of the 6–vehicle convoy of the Philex Mining. Also in January 6, 2009, the farmers led by the women blocked the mining workers of Anglo American from conducting exploration activity in Anislagan.
Last March 24, 2010, Rico Amarille upon returning home as assigned farmer-for-the-day at the community check point made of bamboo thatch, while passing through an area of the newly bought Philex property for a livelihood center, one the workers laughed at him. Enraged, he got his bolo and went inside the camp and threatened the workers who then ran away. Then he went home, a few minutes later, the police took him to the police station of Placer, the town center. After few hours, he was transferred to the provincial jail, allegedly for lack of better security from the municipal jail.
The Anislagan farmers association is planning to lend their P 24,000 savings from the last cropping season for Rico Amerille's his bail-out, just in time for him to join the rest of the Anislagan farmers in next planting season.
Your 1 peso is Rico's temporary freedom.
For your support, please Contact:
Carl Cesar C. Rebuta
Project Development Officer
LRC-KsK, Door 2 Espinueva Apt, 8th-a7th Sts, Nazareth,
Cagayan de Oro City
Legal Counsel of ABAKATAF, Inc.
[i] Piso-piso, is a local term for 1 peso or 0.023 dollar