Envi, IP groups want ex-colonel/SMI consultant probed for Capion massacre

November 21, 2012

Press Release

November 21, 2012ImageA network of environment and indigenous peoples’ rights advocates wants a probe on a retired Philippine Army colonel, who is also security consultant of the Sagittarius Mines-Xstrata, for his involvement in the massacre of the family of Blaan anti-mining leader Daguil Capion.

The Justice for Capion Family, Justice for All Movement said that prior to the Capion massacre, Ret. Col. Dan Balandra was with the Capions.

This was revealed during the network’s peace and solidarity mission to Kiblawan, Davao del Sur on November 17, where witnesses told mission delegates that Balandra went to the Capion farm for three consecutive days prior to the massacre.

Balandra was said to have approached Daguil in the family’s farm to convince him to surrender after his pangayaw (tribal war) against the intrusion of SMI-Xstrata into their ancestral lands.  Witnesses said Balandra brought alcoholic beverage for Daguil and provided cash worth 7,500 pesos to Juvy as part of SMI’s potato plant project.

The mission called for the relief and prosecution of the 13 soldiers involved in the killing of the Capions, their commanding officer Lt. Dante Jimenez and the 27th Infantry Battalion Commander Col. Alexis Bravo. It also holds SMI-Xstrata accountable for violations against the communities and collective rights of the indigenous peoples, among those are the murder of Blaan members of the communities, the formation of a ‘tribal council’ to approve the companies’ entry, and the exploration drills on sacred burial grounds.

Witnesses believed that Balandra’s motive was to confirm Daguil’s presence in his farm and provided such information to the 27th Infantry Battalion. On October 18, 13 soldiers sprayed the farm hut  of the Capions, killing a pregnant Juvy and his two sons Jordan, aged 13 and Jan-jan, aged 8.  Daguil was reportedly not in the hut.

Balandra has not been seen in the community since the massacre.

The presence of Balandra points to the “complicity between SMI and the AFP to go after Daguil for leading his tribe’s opposition to large-scale mining,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez of Karapatan who was one of the mission delegates.

The mission said that Balandra’s role was part of the campaign to hunt down Daguil.  Prior to this, the AFP declared a three-month deadline to capture the Blaan leader while Kiblawan Mayor Marivic Diamante offered a 300,000 peso-reward for the capture of Daguil whom she brands as a bandit.

The Blaan elders or fulongs  however defended Daguil saying he was leading the pangayaw which they had declared in 2010 as defense of their ancestral land from SMI-Xstrata.

The multinational mining company had applied in 2005 for the 50,000 hectare copper exploration project covering the quadri-boundary of South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur.

Blaan peoples in the provinces opposed the mining operations, but former president Gloria Arroyo instituted an Investment Defense Force in 2009  that resulted in more human rights violations by the military against the Blaans. ###

 

Reference:

Mr. Genasque Enriquez, KATRIBU Partylist

0942-557-8223

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PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org

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Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties.  It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign. 
Peace and Solidarity Mission Report .Initial doc
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