gentle treasures

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This compilation gives honor to all women who continue to campaign for human dignity, biodiversity conservation and sustainable communities. To them who do not allow mining projects destroy their rich land and the beautiful future they are preparing for the next generation.

editors:

Judith Palmos Pasimio Edel garingan Farah sevillalayout & design:

Ryan g. Palacol rgpalacol@yahoo.com

Published by:

AlyAnsA Tigil MinA c/o Haribon Foundation 2/F santos and sons Building #973 Aurora Blvd. corner Dapdap st., Cubao, Quezon City Tel: +63 (02) 434-46-42 Tele Fax: +63 (02) 434-46-92 www.alyansatigilmina.net

Printed in the Philippines 2012

Table of conTenTs

introductionby Judy

4 6 8 11 14 17 20 23 25 27 30 33 36 39 42 45

a. Pasimio

The lawyer. The Activist. The Congresswoman.by

Kristine mendoza edel s. garingan lalaine trono edel s. garingan a. Pasimio

Whats serving in Pearls Caf?by

Beyond the Pillars of Educationby

A Mayors Plightby

Ka Badang: Hungry for Justiceby Judy

Fulfilling a Mission in a Distant Landby

edel s. garingan edel s. garingan edel s. garingan edel s. garingan sherryll r. mindo-Fetalvero Pasimio

sweet Ordinary gesture of supportby

Resistance of Women in samlangby

What it Takes to Protect life...by

A Beautiful Dreamby

Tussle with no Muscleby Judy

Protecting Mamanwas sacred groundby

minerva tabar abelinde

leading the Way in nature Conservationby Joel

green Voicesby

edel s. garingan Kristine mendoza

Advocate Risaby

Lake Mainit Jabonga, agusan del norte

acknowledgmenT

A

lyansa Tigil Mina wishes to thank all the organizations and individuals who contributed in the telling of these stories.

To all the women who shared their wonderful stories, the challenges they have to face and the inspirations that kept them going. ...and to all the people who share our advocacy.

Photo by Henri Ismael/ Poros PhotoGentle treasures: stories of Women aGainst mininG in the PhiliPPines

InTroducTIonWomens stories: solidarity in the struggle for land, struggle for lifeby

J udy A. P Asimio

There is life in mining. This is the propaganda slogan of a Filipino national mining company.

T

his is the life in mining economic displacement, forced relocation, a collective memory slowly being erased as communities are disintegrated, violence in the family, harassment and death threats; food growers and producers are turned into temporary labor workers in mines, and this is mostly for men, as mining offers very little for women; children growing in a surrounding of inverted mountains, pits huge enough to contain a community, stream of rocks and silted mud, water running dry. Is this the life we want? Women with different backgrounds, from different standpoints are saying no. And the women say a resounding NO! in different ways organizing hundreds of other people to protest against the mining project in their town, through offering her time and skills in cooking for people in her community who are in the forefront of the campaign against mining; educating women in mine-affected areas about their rights; going on hunger strike; using her position as a congresswoman and proposing a new mining law; facilitating the coming together of other people in their community into an organization against mining; opening up her own space to be the meeting place for groups campaigning against mining. These are just but some of the ways that women are saying no to mining, and these are all in this collection of women stories.

alyansa tiGil mina

These stories that we share with you come from women of different languages, ethnicity, age bracket, economic status, but they are all sisters in the struggle against the encroachment of mining in the lands they live in, and survive on; and a struggle for better future for their families, their communities, and for themselves. This initial collection of Gentle Treasures is offered by the Alyansa Tigil Mina as a contribution to the celebration of the International Womens Month this year. With this, we celebrate the womens voices and articulation of their individual experiences of awakening to the harsh realities of mining; of their distinct contribution to the collective action against the mining projects in their areas; and their own definition of what a better life should be. There are more stories to be told. This initial collection of womens stories on the struggle against mining is also an invitation for you to share your own, or that of your sister, your wife, your friend, colleague, neighbor, leader. Let us collect as many as we can, because more and more women are speaking up, and the task is for us to listen, and to hear. From her story, there are nuggets of golden wisdom we can mine, and there are tons of inspirations that flow out. There is life in mining. This is the life of struggle, of sisterhood, of solidarity. And this is what her story is all about.

Gentle treasures: stories of Women aGainst mininG in the PhiliPPines

THe lawYer. THe acTIVIsT. THe congresswoman.by

K ristine m endozA

K

aka is a daughter of Dinagat Island. She used to bathe in its rivers. Her late mother used to wash clothes using its waters. She would dive in its seas to catch a glimpse of the corals and hike its mountains to stroll in the rich bonsai forest on top. Home to thousands of species, a real biodiversity paradise, this pristine little island, which used to be a district of Surigao del Norte but became a separate province last year, was ridiculously declared a mineral reservation. When her family moved to Manila, Kaka recalled visiting Dinagat and noticing its muddyred rivers which used to irrigate farm lands, and her kaubans who have not tasted the promise of development made by mining companies when they came, dug, and destroyed. It is by no wonder that Dinagat Island and its struggles would beget a lawyer-activist Kaka. She was still a student when she began joining actions involving environmental issues. When she finished law school, she joined BALAOD Mindanaw and SALIGAN. These are non-government organizations, which provide legal services to the basic sectors. Both are members of the Alternative Law Group (ALG). She became an alternative lawyer, handled environmental cases and campaigned against the adverse

alyansa tiGil mina

effects of mining to the environment, agriculture, fisheries, and rights of Indigenous Peoples. She is currently involved in a case against mining in Cantilan, Surigao Sur, where the mining claim was issued in a watershed area, which runs through four rivers, sustaining life in Surigao. She also campaigned against mining in Calatagan, where farmers with emancipation patents were displaced in order for mining companies to extract lime.

the progress of this country lies in the improvement of the lives of its basic sectors who manages and protects our mineral resources.

But Kaka is not just the lawyer on the ground. After resting her weary feet from walking 1700 km with Sumilao farmers as their lawyer and advocate, in the celebrated Walk for Land, Walk for Justice, she was nominated and later on elected as representative of Akbayan Partylist in the 15th Congress. With her new platform, Congresswoman Kaka became one of the champions of the Minerals Management Bill or HB 3763, a proposed mining policy which would uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples to their ancestral domain, farmers to prime agricultural lands, fisherfolks to clean seas, communities to their share of profit, and our children to trees, waters, mountains, and other resources mining would destroy if we would allow the current law to stay. Cong. Kaka now celebrates the current public discussions on mining and the continuing deliberations in the House of Representatives on the new bill. She sees hope in the ordinances and resolutions banning mining in the localities. She is inspired by growing movement against mining such as the Save Palawan Movement and the SOS-Yamang Bayan network. As a lawyer, she is encouraged by the environmental cases filed by the communities and the protection orders granted in favor of them. According to Cong. Kaka, there are still a lot of things to be done and she would continue to work towards the vision of a Philippines with a mining industry that is responsive to a nationalist sustainable development plan, which has the interest of the Filipino people, and the protection of the environment.

Cong. kaka with other environmental groups in one of the campaign calling for the scrapping of Philippine Mining act of 1995.

Gentle treasures: stories of Women aGainst mininG in the PhiliPPines

wHaTs serVIng In Pearls caf?Ate Pearl discovered new great things to offer other than brewed coffee and pastaby

e del s. G ArinGAn

J

anuary 2011 at Pearls Caf in Adiongan, Tablas Island, Romblon. Ate Pearl Harder was serving coffee to a couple of people when a familiar man sauntered in inside her restaurant. In the converging lights of the afternoon and the gentle breeze of postChristmas air, Ate Pearl gleamed and gave her special friend Fred a warm welcome. They sat down and exchange updates on each other lives. They talked about many things, their friends, the coffee and the other menus in the restaurant. Then Fred suddenly gave an earnest expression and opened the discussion on the exploration permit of Ivanhoe Philippines, Inc. Freds story Fred, who had been working in New Jersey, USA decided to go back in Romblon in 2010 and stay there for a year to develop their farm and the family business. While he was checking the progress of the farm he observed there were group of me