KAIROS hosted a five-person delegation from the Philippines, March 20 to April 5, 2017. The delegates visited several Canadian cities to speak about human rights violations in the context of mining projects, including Canadian-owned operations. The tour included stops in Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal.
The delegation included the following political, faith and Indigenous leaders:
- Bishop Antonio Ablon, Anglican Church/IFI, Zamboanga del Sur
- Carlos Zarate, Member of Philippine Congress/Bayan Muna PartyList
- Anie Bautista, National Coordinator, Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines (EcuVoice)
- Nenita Condez, Indigenous woman leader from Mindanao
- Eufemia Campos Cullamat, Indigenous youth leader from Mindanao
The goals of the delegation were:
To raise awareness and understanding of how human rights violations and violence in Bayog and other communities in the Philippines are linked to resources extraction, including by Canadian companies, and contribute to conflict between government forces and liberation groups.
National security policies implemented by the Philippine government to protect foreign (including Canadian) investments and large scale development projects are contributing to increased poverty and conflict, and having a negative impact on the social, cultural, economic and political rights of the Filipino people.
To generate and mobilize public and Canadian diplomatic support for the ongoing peace talks in the Philippines, which include addressing the root causes of conflict and poverty.
As one of Canada’s most important trade partners in Asia, the Government of Canada should play an important role in securing justice and lasting peace in the Philippines by supporting the formal peace talks between the Government of the Philippines, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), and Moro liberation groups.
To advocate for the KAIROS/Canadian Network of Corporate Accountability Open for Justice campaign which is calling on the Government of Canada to appoint an extractive-sector Ombudsperson to monitor Canadian mining operations overseas, and to facilitate access to the Canadian courts for non-nationals who have been harmed by the international operation of Canadian companie
Due to the connection between human rights violations, conflict, and resource extraction activities, including by Canadian-owned companies, mining-affected communities in the Philippines will benefit from an extractive-sector Ombudsperson and access to justice in Canada.
In 2014, KAIROS Canada’s Philippine Learning Tour (PLT) visited communities in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur impacted by the mining operations of TVI Resource Development Inc. (TVIRD), the Philippine subsidiary of Calgary based TVI Pacific, Inc.
After gathering information on TVIRD’s operations from community members, TVIRD representatives and government officials, the PLT called on the Philippine government to investigate all claims of human rights abuses and to cease all mining operations until the safety of the local people was assured. It also called on the Government of Canada to appoint an extractive-sector Ombudsperson and to provide legislated access to Canadian courts for those harmed by the international operations of Canadian resource extraction companies.
For more information, please contact:
Connie Sorio, Asia-Pacific Partnerships Coordinator, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
Email: email@example.com | Tel: 416-463-5312, ext.
Dr. Anie Bautista is the National Coordinator of the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines (EcuVoice). A medical doctor by training, she is a committed and passionate human rights defender who serves the poor and marginalized members of Philippine society.
EcuVoice is a national ecumenical network of church leaders, human rights defenders, civil libertarians, survivors, and victims of human rights violations who are committed to collaboratively defending and promoting human rights and advocating for a just and lasting peace.
Eufemenia Campos Cullama
Eufemenia Campos Cullamat is a Lumad woman leader from Tandag, Surigao del Sur, Mindanao. She is a council member and one of the founders of Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU), and a community development worker with the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS). She comes from a family of leaders. Her father was the ‘datu’ (Tribal Chief), her brother the founding chair of MAPASU, and her other siblings are also community leaders and organizers.
Femia, as is she is fondly called by her family and friends, is a mother five who makes sure there is balance between her political work and her family responsibilities. Her work is focused on ensuring that women are active participants in discussions and decisions on key issues. According to Femia, “We motivate them (the women) not to be confined in the four walls of their homes because women have a key role in raising awareness of other women and the community. I believe that whatever unity is achieved would be incomplete without women’s voice and participation. We should not be content with just raising our own families. Rather, it should be in the context of the development of the entire community. We should use our time to reach out to other families, to other women in the community.”
On September 1, 2015 a paramilitary group rounded up all the people in her village and killed MAPASU Chair Dionel Campos, Tribal Chief Datu Juvello, and Emerito Sarca, Executive Director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV). Femia and her siblings were among the first Lumad leaders to travel to Manila to give evidence about the massacre. Femia continues to work on the frontlines, organizing women and ensuring that women have a place in the struggle for Indigenous people’s rights and justice.
Bishop Antonio Ablon
Antonio Ablon is a Bishop in the Philippine Independent Church, Diocese of Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur. The Philippine Independent Church is a member of the global communion of the Anglican Church.
Bishop Ablon’s outspoken criticism of corporate mining practices in Zamboanga del Sur and especially the increased number of killings in areas where mining companies operate has led to threats and acts of intimidation by the Philippine military and paramilitary units. In July 2013 members of the military allegedly broke into the Bishop’s House at Pagadian Cathedral following the Forum-Expose on the Political Persecution of Church People that brought together 70 church leaders and church workers.
Bishop Ablon was the lead co-convenor and host of the 2014 KAIROS Philippine Learning Tour, along with retired Roman Catholic Bishop Jose Manguiran from the Diocese of Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte. He is also the Chair of KARAPATAN, an alliance of human rights defenders and organizations in Western Mindanao, and Co-Convenor of PROTECT-Western Mindanao. PROTECT is a network of faith based organizations, human rights defenders and environmental activists promoting ecological justice in the region.
Rep. Carlos Zarate represents the Bayan Muna PartyList in the Philippine House of Representatives (Congress). He is Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources and Vice-Chair of the House Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity. As Vice-Chair, Mr. Zarate is very much involved in the ongoing peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. He was part of the Philippine government delegation to Oslo in October and Rome in January during the second and third rounds of negotiations.
As a lawyer, Mr. Zarate is Vice-President of the Mindanao National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), and Secretary General of the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM). He is also Coordinator of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) in Davao City, and an active Voluntary Arbitrator accredited by the National Mediation and Conciliation Board of the Department of Labour and Employment. Mr. Zarate assisted and facilitated the fact-finding missions investigating attacks on Filipino lawyers and judges.
Bayan Muna PartyList is a people’s organization that works for change and social transformation by giving voice to workers, Indigenous people, women, and youth. Bayan Muna addresses the basic problems that have plagued the Philippines – foreign domination, feudal bondage, and government corruption.
Nenita Condez is from Zamboanga del Norte. She is the Deputy Secretary General of the Salabukan nok G’taw Subanen (SGS), a federation of Subanen groups. Nenita is a passionate spokesperson who values the importance of collective work. Since 1996 the Subanen have been dealing with the giant Canadian resource extraction firm, TVI Pacific, Inc., which began mining on Mt. Canatuan in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, a sacred place for the Subanen. Nenita helped organize community resistance against plans to extract copper from ancestral land that was forcibly taken from the Subanens. At one point Mt. Canatuan was barricaded to keep Indigenous peoples out while the copper was being mined .
Nenita advocates for women’s rights and against the idea that a woman’s place is in the home. She encourages women to bring their energy, hearts and minds to the struggle to protect Subanen ancestral lands.
Nenita’s life is under constant threat from soldiers in her village. She finds safety in the support of Indigenous communities. Her initiative and passion for collective action and the involvement of women is effective and inspiring.