An anti-mining activist died three days after she was attacked by gunmen in Pantukan town in Compostela Valley Province last week.
Teresita Navacilla, 60, who died in a hospital in Tagum City Sunday morning, was a leader of a small-scale miners in Barangay Kingking. She is the convenor of Save Pantukan Movement, a group of artisanal miners resisting the entry of large-scale mining corporations in Southern Mindanao.
The human rights group Karapatan believes that the murder of Navacilla was related to her work against the entry of large-scale mining companies in Pantukan.
Hanimay Suazo, secretary general of Karapatan SMR, said it was an “attempt to silence the person for her opposition against the pending entry” of a large-scale Nationwide Development Corporation (NADECOR) and St. Augustine Gold and Copper Limited.
The two companies are set out to scale-up its operations this March covering 1,656 hectares in Pantukan municipality, said Suazo.
She also blamed the death of the backyard miners to soldiers deployed across the province under the government’s anti-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan.
“The attack on Navacilla could happen to other organizations and individuals strongly against environmental plunder and destruction,” she said.
Last year, the leader of Compostela Farmers’ Association, Isabelo Tindasan, survived two shooting incidents allegedly perpetrated by soldiers.
Tindasan and his organization are opposed to the entry of Cojuangco-owned largescale mining, the Agusan Petroleum Mining Company in the area.