Collective rights top 2010 headlines
By NORTHERN DISPATCH WEEKLY STAFF
BAGUIO CITY—As calendar year 2010 sheds these last few pages a look at the stories reveal that three people’s collective issues made the banner most often than any other on the Northern Dispatch this year.
These were stories about: 1) the strong opposition of Cordillera communities to the entry and operation of large scale mines. NDW carried the stories about the various protest actions and lobby work of community folks of Bakun and Kibungan of Benguet and some villages of Mountain Province and Abra to block the entry of destructive mines in their territories.
Also, NDW featured people’s criticism against the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for questionable conduct of the free prior and informed consent process (FPIC) and issuance of FPIC certifications.
The strong opposition from these communities prompted government officials to take legislative actions to address issues on the conduct of the FPIC. Some even filed resolutions for a mining moratorium. Others issued pronouncements against the operation or entry of large scale mining in their areas.
Following in the rank of anti-mining, are stories about 2) the continuing struggle of Northern Luzon communities for the recognition and respect of Human Rights. The sorry state of human rights in the region continues as interior communities here remain heavily militarized. The reports also revealed that the communities covered by mining applications are the same communities where army troopers are encamped.
Cases of arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearance, torture, illegal detention, harassment, abduction and killings continue unabated, the clamor for justice is more resounding as the culture of impunity continues in the regions covered by the NDW.
And lastly, c) the Lepanto Employees Union’s (LEU) fight for just compensation and fair labor practices, the story of the continuing saga of Lepanto mine workers ingrained in the seventy four year history of the LCMC. As early as January this year the Lepanto workers have registered their demand for the company to pay their wages, SSS and Pag-ibig benefits, in full and on time. Many of them had unpaid wages and benefits since 2008. Even after the recent settlement made by the company some social benefits were not yet remitted and 140 union officers and members retrenched.#nordis.net