This is Fr. Edu Gariguez signing off indefinitely from keeping this blog going.

We are now on the 7th day of our Hunger Strike, and the grueling experience of not taking solid food is taking its toll on me personally, and I am starting to feel weakening of my body functions. Hence, I will not be able to update this site.

Many hunger strikers have crossed the threshold of pain that they can endure, and many have given up.

But there are four of us who are determined to continue until the illegal ECC is cancelled. And we will settle for no less!

Please keep praying for us.



One of the twenty-six Mindorenos who went on a hunger strike last week in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) central office in Quezon City had been rushed to the East Avenue Medical Center, at around 8 p.m. Saturday, after suffering locked jaws and cold sweats.

Edgardo Cruzado, 38, community leader from Kapulungan Para sa Lupaing NInuno – KPLN (Organization of Seven Tribes), was brought to East Avenue Medical Center at 9 p.m., Saturday where he was examined, given dextrose and was placed under observation. He was discharged at 4:30 a.m. Sunday and joined the camp again. He remains with the group, despite the medical order to stop his hunger strike. KPLN is organization of Mangyan communities from Oriental Mindoro

Cruzado is a widower with five children. His main livelihood is farming in Oriental Mindoro, and is a member of the Tadyawan tribe that holds an ancestral domain land certificate (CADC-086) in the mining-affected area.

The Mindorenos decided to go continue their hunger strike after DENR Sec. Atienza merely issued a letter to mining company Intex Resources Philippines, informing them that their ECC Is suspended for 90 days, pending submission of additional documents.
Atienza issued the suspension letter canceling the ECC after a dialogue last Nov. 18 with local government officials and civil society organizations from the two Mindoro provinces. The delegation was led by two governors, two bishops and a host of community leaders representing indigenous peoples, farmers and women from Mindoro
“We decided to rush him to the hospital after he complained of dizziness”, said Jonjon Sarmiento of Alyansa Laban sa Mina (ALAMIN), the broad alliance anti-mining groups in Mindoro. He added that they got worried after Cruzado’s face felt very cold.

“We will hold Secretary Atienza personally responsible for whatever happens to the hunger strikers. He is using the sham suspension letter as an excuse not to cancel the ECC. He is again raising the issue of local autonomy, and the responsibility of local officials and communities to oppose the mining in their localities. He has missed the fact that all legal and extra-legal measures have been exhausted by the Mindorenos to oppose the entry of Intex, and yet he still signed the ECC, even under questionable circumstances. The real issue here now is whether or not Atienza wants to uphold the law,” said Mangyan Mission Coordinator Fr. Edu Gariguez.

He said that the ECC was signed by Atienza despite the absence of consultations among communities, and the lack of permission of LGUs as stated under the Mining Act and the Local Government Code.

“The local governments and the people have withdrawn their consent and launched mobilizations against Intex, but these have been disregarded, both the mining company and the DENR”, Gariguez added.

Alyansa TIgil Mina (ATM) condemned the continuing callousness of Atienza and DENR officials on their inaction on the demand of the hungers strikers, saying that there seems to be a lack of genuine leadership and commitment to resolve the matter, as the election mode grips the department.

ATM National Coordinator Jaybee Garganera also denounced Atienza’s insensitivity, saying the DENR secretary continues to ignore the Mindorenos despite their hunger strike.

“He had only met the group once, and only after being pressured with the presence of high-level personalities such as the governors, congressional representatives and bishops from Mindoro. He had never tried to face the group but had all the time and energy to host Manny Pacquiao in his triumphant return,” said Garganera.

“We, in ATM, strongly support the fight of the Mindoreños against Intex Resources and we intend to continue providing all forms of assistance to these communities and groups that have strongly aired their resistance and decisions to stop the entry of mining operations that continuously threatens environmental sustainability and most especially lives of Filipino people," concluded Garganera.

Father Robert Reyes, known as the “running priest,” continued his solidarity fasting for the group and gave out rosaries to the hunger strikers yesterday. He called on Atienza to heed the hunger strikers’ just demand. During the reflection session with the hunger strikers, he said “If anything happens to these people, the mining companies and DENR Secretary Atienza will have blood in their hands. This is not simply about land anymore, but about justice and sharing what God had given to us. Sustainable development and genuine local autonomy, if it will succeed in this case of resistance of local people against mining, will mean peace, justice and no more lying without end. Respect the decision of these indigenous peoples and the LGUs of MIndoro, Mr. Atienza.”

The group in hunger strike, together with the local government officials of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Catholic Church leaders, civil society organizations and individuals from the communities affected the project calls for the immediate revocation of INTEX ECC and demand the DENR to respect the LGUs’ mining moratorium in their respective provinces.

The Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), an advocacy group and a people’s movement that upholds the rights of the present and future Filipinos against the persisting injustices related to mining. ATM is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations convened by HARIBON, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC/FOEI) and PhilDHRRA. —(30)



Hunger strikers from Mindoro expressed their anxiety over their physical conditions as they enter the sixth day of their hunger strike in front of the DENR here in Quezon City. This developed as one of them, Edgardo Cruzado, 38, was rushed to the hospital last night, and after medical attention, was ordered by doctors to take a light meal of bread.

Librada Isidro, community facilitator from Mangyan Mission and one of the leaders of the hunger strike, echoed the sentiments of the hunger strikers. “Nag-aalala kami at nalulungkot sa nangyari sa aming kasamahan. Nahilo siya at nanghina at umabot siya sa ganitong sitwasyon dahil patuloy na di kami pinapakinggan ni Sec. Atienza.” (We are worried and sad with what happened to one of us. He felt dizzy and weak, since we have reached this point, because Sec. Atienza still refuses to listen to us.)

She confirmed that growing anxiety of the hunger strikers, saying that “kami po ay lubhang nangangamba sa maaaring mangyari sa Pilipinas, lalo na sa isla ng Mindoro, dahil sa kagustuhan niyang magpatuloy ang pag-mimina. Hindi man lang naiisip ni Sec. Atienza ang mga sakripisyo at paghihirap ng mga tao dito sa hunger strike.” (We are fearful of what may happen to the Philippines and to the island of MIndoro, because of his consent for mining to continue. It didn’t occur to Sec. Atienza what our sacrifices and hardships mean with this hunger strike.)

Isidro echoed their call for Atienza, saying “sana po, ang gagawin sa kalikasan ay pangalagaan at proteksyonan, at alagaan ang mga Mangyang nakatira sa Mindoro. Pero bilang namumuno sa DENR, ay hindi naaangkop ang kanyang pananaw at gawain sa pagpapaunlad ng kalikasan” (We hope that he will protect and conserve the environment, and also look over the welfare of the Mangyans. But as DENR head, he has displayed inappropriate views and behavior for environmental management.)

In a radio interview Saturday afternoon, Atienza said that he can’t do anything about the hunger strike, and called on the group to break their camp, so that discussions can move forward including an investigation of the case so that accountabilities can be determined. He also hinted that legal actions against the appropriate people or agencies could be possible.

Segundo Kalignayan, 46, another hunger striker, admitted that they were hurting both physically and emotionally with the hisptalization of their colleague. “Masakit sa amin na ang isa naming kasamahan ay naospital, dahil kailangan naming ipagpatuloy ang aming hunger strike” (It pains me that one of us ws hospitalized, because we are forced to continue with our hunger strike.) Kalignayan is President of Samahang Nagkakaisang Mangyang Alangan (SANAMA, Inc.). He appealed to Atienza to take a closer look at their plight saying “Maawa namam po kayo sa mga katutubo, pato na rin sa lahat ng mga taga-Mindoro. Naniniwala kami na hindi akma ang pagmimina sa inyong mga lupain” (Please have mercy on our indigenous friends, and all the people of Mindoro. We all believe that mining is not good for us and for our lands).

Meanwhile, farmer-leader Nick Tumaca, 49, expressed mixed feelings with their situation. “Hindi lang lungkot pati awa sa laki ng sakripisyo na ginagawa ng mga strikers. Talagang natatakot din ako dahil lumalapit kami sa punto na baka may mamatay sa amin.” (Not only distressed, I also feel pitiful for all of us hunger strikers. I am also starting to be afraid as we are nearing that point where someone from us might die), he added. He is concerned that it is possible that their numbers may dwindle in the coming days, and that their strength physically and emotionally will continue to decline. He demanded from Atienza to sincerely talk with them and listen to their demands, and to stop punishing the hunger-strikers by delaying the cancellation of the ECC of Intex. Tumaca is a rice-farmer in Oriental Oriental Mindoro. He is the Chairman of Samahang Lakas ng mga Mangignisda at Magsasak sa Lalawigan ng Silangan Mindoro (SALAKMMA).

Supporters of the hunger strike challenged Atienza to leave up to his claims of being a “pro-life” leader. Jonjon Sarmiento from ALAMIN said that the treat of death faces each and everyone of the hunger strikers, and that Atienza must act decisively on the ECC cancellation as soon as possible. Alyansa Laban sa Mina (ALAMIN) was established in 1999 to consolidate opposition to the Mindoro Nickel Project. The alliance has conducted numerous local and national mobilizations and International campaigns were also done in Europe.

The group in hunger strike, together with the local government officials of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Catholic Church leaders, civil society organizations and individuals from the communities affected the project calls for the immediate revocation of INTEX ECC and demand the DENR to respect the LGUs’ mining moratorium in their respective provinces.

The Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), an advocacy group and a people’s movement that upholds the rights of the present and future Filipinos against the persisting injustices related to mining. ATM is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations convened by HARIBON, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC/FOEI) and PhilDHRRA. —(30)

For more information:
Fr. Edwin A. Gariguez, ALAMIN, (0919) 8005595,,
Jeff Rafa, ALAMIN (0918) 9443561 / Jaybee Garganera, ATM Coordinator, (0915) 315.37.19
Jonjon Sarmiento, ALAMIN (0926) 230.32.05
Roslyn Arayata, ATM Policy Officer (0917) 521.7937



by Alcuin Papa and Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 20 2009 page A2

SOME 25 HUNGER STRIKERS, most of them members of the Mangyan tribe, vowed yesterday to continue their protest in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) central office in Quezon City to press for the cancellation of a big mining project on Mindoro island.

Fr. Edu Gariguez of Mangyan Mission, one of the strikers, said the participants, 16 of them Mangyans, decided on Wednesday evening to continue with their hunger strike even after Environment Secretary Lito Atienza suspended earlier that aternoon the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) that was issued to Norwegian mining firm Intex Resources on October 14.

Jubilation fades

Gariguez said their jubilation over the suspension faded after they studied Atienza's order.

“The suspension only covers 90 days. We want the project cancelled. It also gives Intex the opportunity to submit the documents needed. It left the decision for the continuation of the project in the hands of the DENR. It might still decide in favor of Intex. So this is not yet finished,” Gariguez told reporters.

Atienza had ordered the suspension of Intex's ECC for 90 days during which time the mining firm was directed to submit documentation that it conducted public consultations on the project.

Gariguez said “no meaningful public consultations” on the project occurred.

“We want a cancellation of the project. It is clear Mindoro residents are opposed to the project. It did not go through the proper process,” said Nick Tumaca, a farmer leader.

Lives at stake

Mangyan leader Badang Isidro said members of her tribe “would die if the ECC is given. We will lose our lives, our livelihood. As Mangyans, we value nature and the environment.”

Gariguez showed reporters the results of a recent study conducted by a seven-man Environmental Impact Assessment Review Committee (EIARC) of the Mindoro Nickel Project.

Intex said it was still keen on continuing with the project even after its ECC was suspended.

“First of all, we're not yet mining the site. We're studying it. There might be a misconception that we are already mining,” said Jake foronda, Intex's Mindoro nickel project manager.

Foronda said Intex still aimed to complete its feasibility study on the project. “We expect the feasibility studyt to be finished around February,” he added.

He told the Inquirer that Intex went through the process of consultations and getting the necessary permits to study the potential mine site.

Contrary to the claim of local residents, he said the site did not sit on a critical watershed.


First Posted 20:52:00 11/18/2009

MANILA, Philippines—The 25 hunger strikers from Mindoro are not going home just yet.
This despite the order made by Environment Secretary Lito Atienza Wednesday suspending the environmental clearance he issued to Intex Resources to mine 11,216.6 hectares of land in Mindoro, the Alyansa Laban sa Mina (ALAMIN, Alliance Against Mining) said.

Some critical agreements made during the dialogue with Atienza were not contained in the order the former Manila mayor issued after meeting with protesters, the alliance told in a text message.

For this reason, the hunger strike of 25 Mindoreños, mostly Mangyans, will continue, the alliance said.

Oriental Mindoro Vice Governor Estela Aceron said the local governments of Mindoro were stressing their opposition to large scale mining on the island.

“We are reiterating our position that mining is not welcome in Mindoro. We expect Secretary Atienza to respect this,” Aceron said.

Oriental Mindoro has passed a 25-year mining moratorium ordinance in 2002 prohibiting the entry of all large-scale mining in the province. In Occidental Mindoro, similar mining moratorium ordinances were passed by the municipal governments of Sablayan, Abra de Ilog, Paluan, Looc and Lubang. Eight out of 11 municipalities in Occidental Mindoro passed a resolution against the mining project.

Aceron, who was with the group that met with Atienza Wednesday afternoon, said the environment chief was in effect admitting he issued the environmental compliance certificate to Intex although the Norwegian firm has yet to comply with all the requirements needed before the mining clearance could be issued.

“I’m disappointed that Secretary Atienza issued the ECC on October 14 even without the required documents at hand,” she said.

She said that during the dialogue Atienza expressed his dismay on learning that there was no prior consultation made with the local governments and the affected communities.

Aceron said that Atienza even agreed that a committee be formed—composed of environment officials and local government executives—to look into the issues raised during the dialogue.

But this is never contained in the order Atienza released later, she said.
“We are really disappointed with his order of suspension. We understand that he is resigning before filing his certificate of candidacy so we want an answer before he leaves the office,” she said.

Atienza has hinted at his comeback bid in Manila politics where he served as mayor from 1998 to 2007.

Local officials on the island of Mindoro had opposed the project saying their sentiments had been disregarded and the issuance of the ECC was “irregular” and violated a moratorium on mining on the island.

They also said it would displace around 20,000 members of indigenous tribes, affect the agricultural output and food security of the island and threaten conservation areas of the Philippine Tamaraw and tourist spots like the popular Puerto Galera beach.

Twenty-five members of indigenous tribes, priests and residents of the island started a hunger strike Tuesday to dramatize their opposition to the project. With Alcuin Papa, Philippine Daily Inquirer


SAVE MINDORO Campaign Schedule


Schedule of Activities for the First 4 Days of Hunger Strike

• 3:00 PM – Assembly at Capitol Square, Calapan City, send off rally for the Hunger Strikers
• 4:00 PM – Prayer Rally and Protest March from Capitol to Sto. Nino Cathedral
• 5:00 PM – Holy Mass and Prayers for the DENR Campaign

• 5:00 AM – Mindoro delegation’s departure from Calapan to Batangas
• 6:00 AM – Arrival in Batangas, travel to Manila
• 9:00 AM – Fr. Robert Reyes to pitch the Kubol ng Pag-asa at the DENR
• 9:30 AM – Arrival at Malcolm Hall, College of Law, UP Diliman
• 10:30 AM – Courtesy Call: QC Mayor Belmonte
• 11:00 AM – Setting up of Camp in front of DENR Office/Press Con
• 12:00 Noon – Start of the Hunger Strike

• 1:00 PM – Celebration of the Holy Eucharist (Mindoro Clergy)
• 2:00 PM – Reading of Pastoral Letter of Bishop Cajandig, Holy Rosary
• 3:00 PM – Delegation to proceed to Congress
• 4:00 PM – Privileged Speech of Cong. Osabel on Mindoro Mining

• Continuation of the Hunger Strike
• Arrival of main contingent from the Local Government Units (Oriental and Occidental Mindoro)
• 10:00 AM – Press Conference in front of the DENR (Mindoro LGUs and Bishops)
• 11:00 AM – Start of Program, Reading Solidarity Statements, Seminarians’ Presentations
• 2:00 PM – Holy Mass (Bishop Palang, Bishop Cajandig, Bishop Utleg and Bishop Pabillo)

• Continuation of the Hunger Strike
• UCCP and other Protestant Churches’ Delegation

Nota Bene:
Activities that follow are still to be finalized with the support groups from Manila: Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) and Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC-KsK), PMP and other networks.

For details and inquiries, please contact:

Fr. Edu A. Gariguez
Mobile Phone: 09198005595



By Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:04:00 11/13/2009

MANILA, Philippines—Mangyans and priests, supported by bishops, are taking their protest to Metro Manila and will go on an indefinite hunger strike beginning next week to protest mining operations that they fear will destroy a contiguous watershed area in Oriental Mindoro.

Twenty-five hunger strikers, including 16 Mangyans and two priests, will stage their protest on November 17 in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources central office on Visayas Avenue in Quezon City.

Bishop Warlito I. Cajandig of the apostolic vicariate of Calapan has issued a statement condemning the large-scale mining of Norwegian company Intex Resources and repeatedly calling it “irresponsible.”

Cajandig has also issued a call, through the Diocesan Commission on Service, asking for the support of priests, religious, seminarians, students, lay and all people of goodwill “to pray and join in the campaign against mining in Mindoro.”

Three bishops will join Cajandig at a Mass at the protest site on November 18. They are Bishop Antonio Palang of the vicariate of San Jose, Mindoro, Laoag Bishop Sergio Utleg, head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) Commission on Indigenous Peoples and Manila auxiliary bishop Broderick Pabillo.

The Norwegian mining project, which will cover 11,218 hectares, is said to be within the ancestral domain claim of the Alangan and Tadyawan indigenous Mangyan communities.

According to the Ateneo-based Simbayang Lingkod Bayan, “the large scale mining operations of Intex Resources may bring about the destruction of a contiguous watershed and that can lead to the displacement of several indigenous Mangyan communities in Oriental Mindoro.”

The mining project will span four towns—Victoria, Pola and Socorro in Oriental Mindoro and Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro. It is expected to produce 100 million-120 million tons of ore over a period of 15-20 years. Mindoro’s nickel laterite deposit is believed to be one of the biggest in the world.

SLB said the people of Mindoro are furious with the DENR’s approval of Environmental Compliance Certificate for the operation of the nickel project by Intex Resources. The ECC was issued last October 14 by Environment Secretary Lito Atienza despite strong and valid opposition from the community, the local government and the church.

The national anti-mining network Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM, Alliance to Stop Mining) had earlier called for Atienza’s ouster, saying the former Manila mayor committed “dreadful acts” when he approved the project. Intex, on the other hand, had said the protesters had failed to present their arguments during the public hearings.

Oriental Mindoro has ordered a 25-year moratorium against large-scale mining while the municipal council of Sablayan and the town’s 22 villages separately issued resolutions opposing the “environmentally destructive mining project.”


Furious about Environmental Authorisation on Mindoro


Intex Resources has received environmental authorisation for its nickel project on Mindoro. The central authorities on the Philippines have thereby run over the local authorities, which are strongly opposed to the mining project. A large-scale hunger strike is now planned to be staged in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

By Pia A. Gaarder

Published in English 4 november 2009

On 14 October the Secretary of the Environment and Mining, Jose L. Atienza, signed the environmental authorisation – Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) – for Intex Resources’ nickel project on the Philippines.

– We are very pleased that this long and thorough process has finally led to the issuance of the ECC for Mindoro Nickel by Secretary Atienza. One of the most important milestones for this project has now been achieved, Erlend Grimstad, CEO of the Norwegian company Intex Resources wrote in a press release.

But not everyone is as happy as Intex’s leader. On the contrary. The whole project has met with strong opposition from the provincial governors of Mindoro, great part of the local population, the church, and NGOs. There are strong indications that this resistance will now be escalated.

The organisation Alamin has given notice of an extensive hunger strike starting on 17November. The demonstration will take place in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the former capital, Quezon City, where several government buildings are located. The goal is to force the government to withdraw the environmental authorisation. In practice, the environmental authorisation constitutes the starting point for the interventions in the area.

OECD Complaint
The environmental authorisation for the nickel project was issued before final hearing of the complaint against Intex Resources which The Future in Our Hands has sent to the national contact point for the OECD’s guidelines for multinational companies. The authorisation has thus been issued before the new evaluation of the case, which, from what Norwatch has learned, Norway’s new ambassador in Manila, Knut Solem, will carry out as a part of the appeal.

In October of 2007 Norway’s ambassador to the Philippines at that time, Torstein Ståle Risa, visited the island of Mindoro. Intex Resources, which was then called Crew Minerals, was already in the process of carrying out test drills. The goal of Risa’s visit was, among other things, to examine how the local population felt about Norway’s gigantic plans. The trip came about after the Norwegian Broadcasting System’s TV News, in collaboration with Norwatch, raised the issue on 23 September that year. It was of special concern that the local population’s leaders had signed the contract with their fingerprints and that the indigenous population had been tricked with a little rice. Risa was able to confirm, among other things, the great local opposition to the project.

Moratorium Overturned
In 2002 the province of Mindoro instituted a 25-year moratorium against any form of mining operation on the island, and Intex’s test drills for nickel were thus at variance with the local legislation. But the central authorities did not endorse the province’s resolution.

Food security and possible great environmental damage are the main reasons for the local authorities’ opposition to the open-cut nickel mine. The concession area for the mining operations is located in an environmentally vulnerable area, with a watershed that is important for four large rivers. These supply water for 70% of the provinces’ rice fields and fruit plantations. Pollution of these rivers would affect farmers in the lowlands. Local politicians are therefore extremely concerned about the long-term effects on agricultural areas and food production on Mindoro. The possible mining area overlaps in addition the area of the Mangyan indigenous population, where the Alangan and Tadyawan tribes are most strongly affected.

– Mining operations in watersheds is prohibited according to Philippine legislation. If we get large-scale mining operations in this area, it will intensify the flooding problem in our province. It will create great problems for our population and for the important agricultural areas here, Governor Arnan Panaligan told us when Norwatch visited the area in the summer of 2007.

Mindoro is known as “Manila’s food supplier”, and large floods have previously destroyed entire crops on the island.

Intex Resources believes that everything in the process up until the environmental authorisation has proceeded correctly:

– This process has taken over a year, and has consisted of baseline studies identifying all background values for flora, fauna, water and air. A series of public hearings and consultations have also been held to give all stakeholders an opportunity to discuss and air concerns and opinions. All of these inputs have been evaluated, Intex wrote in its press release.

But the opponents are furious and believe that short-term financial interests have now endangered the environment and food security. And Governor Arnan Panaligan is still just as greatly opposed as earlier:

“The environmental authorisation was granted in gross disregard to the strong and categorical opposition of the leaders and people of Mindoro to the nickel project. The Department of the Environment and Mining, in granting the ECC, placed the long term safety of the fragile environment of Mindoro Island in serious danger. Apparently the DENR has not learned from previous environmental catastrophes,” Governor Panaligan said, according to a press release from the organisation Alamin (Alyansa Tigil Mina).

Intex Resources was previously been called Crew Minerals, Aglubang Mining Corporation, and Mindex. The last name change occurred in December of 2007. Norwatch has followed up the company ever since it was named Mindex.