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The Philippines: Death threats against Mr. Benito E. Molino URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY

November 4, 2014 · 

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The Philippines: Death threats against Mr. Benito E. Molino

URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY

PHL 005 / 1019 / OBS 084

Death threat / Harassment

Philippines

October 29, 2014

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in The Philippines.

Description of the situation

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources, including the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), of the death threats against Mr. Benito E. Molino, a human rights defender who campaigned for an end to mining operations in Zambales Province due to concerns over environmental degradation and the negative impact on the community members’ health and livelihood. Mr. Molino has lately been at the receiving end of criticism from supporters of mining companies in the province. Some mine workers blamed him for the suspension of mining activities that cost them their jobs.

According to the information received, on October 28, 2014, Mr. Molino received a death threat via a private message to his Facebook account, which was posted by a certain Dexter Movilla, also known as Mark Minimo, on October 15, 2014 at 10:35 a.m. The message which was in Tagalog dialect read as follows: “You’re a meddler. People lose their jobs because of you. Keep in mind that one bullet can kill you. Beware, one day you’re dead.”

Another message was sent on October 12, 2014 at 8:08 p.m. It was also in Tagalog and it said: “People lose their jobs because you coerced the mining company to stop. Do you know, because of what you did, many are angry with you, you will not have peace because of what you did, you stopped all mining operations.”

The Observatory strongly condemns these acts of harassment against Mr. Molino, and calls upon the competent authorities to carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent, and impartial investigation into the death threats against Mr. Molinois harassment case, and ensure that adequate, effective and prompt action protection is given to Mr. Molino.

Background information:

Mr. Molino and his group, the Concerned Citizens of Sta. Cruz, Zambales (CCOS), has been actively campaigning for an end to mining operations in Zambales Province to concerns over environmental degradation and the negative impact on the community members’ health and livelihoodthe vast amount of destruction in the environment that would eventually affect the health and livelihood of the people. According to Mr. Molino, nickel laterite (soil layer rich in nickel compound) has clogged the natural flow of water from rivers, creeks, fishponds, shorelines, and farmlands. Apparently, more than 300 hectares of farmlands have already been destroyed which has caused farmers of Sta. Cruz and Candelaria great income losses.

On July 15, 2014, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) regional office in Central Luzon suspended the operations of four mining companies that extract nickel laterite in Zambales Province, citing their “unsystematic mining or stripping method.” And from what I understand, the suspension order is only an initial victory for Sta. Cruz residents since they have been struggling to revive their sources of livelihood, which are mostly farming and fishing.

In addition to his activities in the anti-mining movement, Mr. Molino is currently working with the Medical Action Group (MAG), in partnership with the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) for the protection of human rights defenders in the country. Mr. Molino is an expert in medical investigation and documentation of torture cases, and is also involved in the investigation and documentation of alleged cases of enforced disappearances, particularly in exhumations.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Philippines’ authorities urging them to:

1. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Benito E. Molino, as well as all human rights defenders in The Philippines;2. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Benito E. Molino, as well as against all human rights defenders in the Philippines, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their work without hindrances;

3. Comply with all the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular:

a) its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,

b) its Article 6.a, which states that “everyone has the right individually and in association with others to know, seek, obtain, receive and hold information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including having access to information as to how those rights and freedoms are given effect in domestic legislative, judicial or administrative systems”,

c) Article 12.1, which foresees that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms”,

and its Article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”

4.Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments ratified by the Philippines.

Addresses:

H.E. Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, New Executive Building, Malacañang Palace, JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila 1005, Philippines. Fax: +63 2 736 1010, Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80; Email: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph;

Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Visayas Avenue, Diliman, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines, Fax: +63 2 920 4301 , Tel: +63 2 920 4352; +63 2 926 2688; +632 926 2535; +63 2 925 8275, Email: osec@denr.gov.ph

Hon. Loretta Ann P. Rosales, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights, SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. Fax: +632 929 0102. Email: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com / mtm_rodulfo@yahoo.com;

Hon. Vicente “Tito” Castelo Sotto III, Senate President, Office of the Senate, Office of the Senate Secretary, Hon. Emma L. Reyes, 6th flr. Senate of the Philippines, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City, Tel: +63 2 552-6601 loc. 6129/23 & 24 / +63 2 552-6676, Email: osec@senate.gov.ph;

Hon. Leila de Lima, Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ), DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura, Ermita, Manila 1000, Fax: +632 523 9548, Email: lmdelima@doj.gov.ph / lmdelima.doj@gmail.com

Hon. Jose Midas Marquez, Court Administrator, Supreme Court of the Philippines, 3rd Flr., New Supreme Court Bldg., Annex, Padre Faura St., Ermita 1000, Manila, Tel: +63 2 522 590 to 94, Fax: +63 2 526 8129, Email: pio@supremecourt.gov.ph / sc.judiciary@gov.ph;

Police Director General Alan LA Madrid Purisima, Chief, Philippine National Police, Camp General Rafael Crame

https://www.fidh.org/en/asia/philippines/16357-the-philippines-death-threats-against-mr-benito-e-molino


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