Strengthening Partnerships and Studying the Impact of Canadian Mining Interests in the Philippines

The following report from the "Beaconsfield Initiative" that toured Cordillera region of the Philippines in early 2012 to look at the impact of Canadian mining is submitted to the CAP-CPC for sharing with our members by our good friend, Reverend Shaun Fryday. CAP-CPC spokesperson Tess Tesalona also participated in the exposure tour.

River running in you and me,
Spirit of life, deep mystery.
Dancing down to the holy seas,
river run deep, river run free. *

From Province to Province: The Beaconsfield INITIATIVE January 1-12, 2012;
Strengthening Partnerships and Studying the Impact of Canadian Mining Interests in the Philippines

Connecting with the Local Filipino people

While in the Philippines for 13 days on the Beaconsfield Initiative Exposure tour, we visited many rural communities under threat from mining applications or who are directly impacted by mining activities, resulting in environmental degradation, human rights violations, militarization and other social and economic impacts in the communities.

To that end, in terms of our information gathering, we met with municipal mayors and councilors, provincial government representatives, 2 provincial governors, representatives from women’s organizations, and clergy organizations, political prisoners, the Canadian ambassador and his staff, the Attorney General of the Philippines, Bishops and other church leaders, women and children, Elders, and representatives from people`s organizations, including, CHESTCOR, CHRA, CPA, UCCP, NCCP, RECCORD, ETS and their student body, family members of the disappeared, family members of victims of extrajudicial killings and protestors of mining activity. As Christians engaged in justice, we have a responsibility to know what is happening in these areas of injustice in the Philippines today.

Our focus became clear when we divided our group into two teams in Salapaddan and Tubo, where we lived for several days. It became clear, through our first conversations with people in all communities, that the river is the source of life. It is sacred, holy, embodied with the life of the people, a place of creation and goodness, where the children play, the people wash and bathe, the fish swim, a place of celebration and delight in the abundance of the earth. It is a place of life!
The river is also a place of death! An individual who had spoken out against mining companies in the community of Tubo was decapitated, his body was desecrated, divided and thrown into the river. With the explosion of mining activities in the nearby centres, the Abra River has been impacted, with the mine tailings which contain deadly cyanide, mercury and a host of other chemicals being deposited into the once healthy and vibrant Abra river.

We followed the course of the Abra River from its headwaters where it continues to be polluted from the Lepanto mine. It winds its way through several provinces, many communities and opens, eventually, into the sea. Fish that once swam abundantly now float to the surface, destroyed. Skin diseases plague the Filipino people and their animals. The water buffalo, the most valuable domestic animal, and other domestic animals help the people preserve their way of life in subsistence farming and municipal or small-scale fishing. The Abra river is now an ambiguous place, a place where the balance of life needs to be restored and whose very flow of life is in peril with the development of mining practices.

As we heard the first hand stories of people who were directly impacted, individually and communally, we were awakened to the realities of gross injustice, realities we had heard about only in theory.


CAP-CPC meeting samedi 21 avril: special guest from Philippines!

(English follows, pls note location)

Chers membres et ami-e-s du Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Montréal (CAP-CPC),

CAP-CPC aura sa prochaine réunion mensuelle le samedi 21 avril 2012 chez Tess Tesalona, 653 Allion (Central), Lasalle, H8P 1K6 (Métro Jolicoeur, autobus 112) de 10h à 12h midi. Nous discuterons entre autres de la suite de la tournée des defenseurs des droits humains.

Après la réunion de la CAP-CPC nous allons déjeuner chez Tess T avec un invité très spécial en provenance des Philippines: Francisca "France" Castro, National Secretary of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers

Écrire à Tess Tesalona (tess_iwc@yahoo.ca) pour d'autres suggestions pour l'ordre du jour de la réunion et pour signifier votre présence. RSVP. Rendez-vous tous! :-)

DERNIER MINUTE! "Cordillera Day", un événement annuel qui honore les populations autochtones de la région de la Cordillère des Philippines, sera célébrée dimanche prochain, le 22 avril 2012 de 15h à 17:30h à 6767 Côte des neiges (métro Côte des neiges). Nous soutenons l'évenement organisée par l'Association philippine Cordillère de Montréal. Dr. Chandu Claver de Bayan le Canada sera le conférencier d'honneur, et les six tribus de la région de la Cordillère sera représenté dans les performances de l'après-midi. Le groupe culturelle de PINAY sera également présent et un membre de l'Initiative de Beaconsfield exposera l'impact des compagnies minières canadiennes dans cette région riche en ressources. Tous sont les bienvenus, de la nourriture disponible, événement gratuit.


Dear members and friends of the Centre for Philippine Concerns - Montreal (CAP-CPC),

CAP-CPC will have the next regular monthly meeting on Saturday, April 21, 2012 @ Tess's Tesalona's house, 653 Allion (Central), Lasalle, H8P 1K6 (Métro Jolicoeur, autobus 112) from 10:00 am to 12noon. We will discuss follow up to the Human rights tour, and other upcoming events (see Last Minute news below)

After the CAP-CPC meeting we will lunch and share at Tess's place with a very special guest from the Philippines: Francisca "France" Castro, National Secretary of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers
Please email Tess Tesalona (tess_iwc@yahoo.ca) with points to include on the agenda and to confirm your attendance. RSVP. See you all there! :-)

LAST MINUTE NEWS! Cordillera Day, an annual event honouring the indigenous people of the Cordillera region of the Philippines, will be celebrated this coming Sunday, April 22, 2012 from 3pm-5:30pm at 6767 Côte des neiges (Metro Côte des neiges). We are supporting the event organized by the Philippine Cordillera Association of Montreal. Dr. Chandu Claver of Bayan Canada will be the keynote speaker, and the six tribes of the Cordillera region will be represented in the afternoon's performances. The PINAY cultural group will also perform and a member of the Beaconsfield Initiative will expose the impact of Canadian mining companies on this resource rich region. All welcome, food available, free event.


April 7 in Montreal - Our Voices will not be Silenced, forum on human rights in the Philippines

Torture and Abuse Survivors Urge Canada to Help Stop Human Rights Violations in the Philippines

Human rights defenders from the Philippines working in alliance with a cross-Canada network of churches, community groups and human rights and development organizations, including KAIROS:  Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives and the United Church of Canada Asia Pacific Partnerships

Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, Coordinator of Council on Health and Development, former political prisoner (2010)

Angelina Bisuña Ipong, Coordinator of the Association of Ex-Detainees Against Detention and Arrest and former political prisoner (2005-2011)

Bishop Reul Marigza, General Secretary of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and initiator of an ongoing legal suit to hold the former President of the Philippines and other top military officials legally accountable for extra-judicial killings, abduction, torture, arrest, enforced disappearances and attempted killings.    

Public events and consultations with civil society and government representatives.
• Public forums in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Victoria to raise awareness of cases of torture, imprisonment and extrajudicial killings committed with impunity in the Philippines
• Meetings with government officials to urge Canada to condemn these systemic  human rights violations

Locations, dates and times of the public events are as follows
• Toronto:  Saturday, March 31, 3:00-5:00PM, Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, Rm. 5-250, 252 Bloor St. W.
• Ottawa:  Sunday, April 1, 2:00-4:00PM, Assumption Church, 320 Olmstead St.
• Montreal:  Saturday, April 7, 2:00-4:00PM, Mont Royal United Church, 1800 Graham Blvd., Town of Mont Royal
• Winnipeg:  Wednesday April 11, 7:00–9:00 PM, Sam’s Place, 159 Henderson Hwy
• Victoria:   Friday, April 13, 5:00—7:00 PM, Philippine Bayanihan Community Centre, 1709 Blanshard St.
• Vancouver:  Saturday, April 14, 2:00–5:00 PM, Simon Fraser University – Harbour Centre, Rm. 2270, Sauder Industries Policy Room

WHEN:  March 27-April 16, 2012.  Delegates are available for interviews for the duration of the tour.

WHY:   Human rights defenders are coming to Canada to raise awareness about the grave realities of human rights violations occurring within a climate of impunity in the Philippines. Two former political detainees, Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor and Ms. Angelina Bisuña Ipong, who were subjected to torture, sexual harassment and physical abuse while in jail, will tell their first-hand stories. The tour will also feature the perspectives of ecumenical community activist Bishop Reul Marigza, who is seeking to hold the perpetrators of these crimes legally accountable.

The delegation will be urging the government of Canada to bring forward recommendations on ending human rights violations in the Philippines to the upcoming UN Universal Periodic Review sessions in May 2012. The delegates will emphasize that Canada has a responsibility to ensure that trade, investment, development aid and other bilateral programmes do not contribute to perpetuating these violations.

Across Canada, the delegation will be hosted by churches, human rights and development organizations, local KAIROS chapters and Filipino community groups.

Bios of delegates are available at www.kairoscanada.org

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Media contacts:
Malcolm Guy
Centre d’Appuix aux Philippines-Centre for Philippine Concerns
Montreal, Quebec
(514) 574-9906

Adiat Junaid
Communications Program Coordinator
KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
(416) 463 5312, ext. 223

7 avril à Montreal - Nos voix ne seront pas réduites au silence, un forum sur les droits humains aux Philippines

Des survivantes de tortures et de mauvais traitements exhortent le Canada à aider à mettre fin aux violations des droits de la personne aux Philippines

Des défenseurs des droits de la personne des Philippines, œuvrant en alliance avec un réseau pancanadien d'Églises, d'organisations communautaires, de défense des droits de la personne et de développement, parmi lesquelles KAIROS : initiatives canadiennes œcuméniques pour la justice, Église unie du Canada, partenariats de la région Asie-Pacifique :

• Dr Merry Mia-Clameur, coordinatrice du Conseil sur la santé et le développement, ex-prisonnière politique (2010);

• Angelina Bisuna Ipong, coordonnatrice de l'Association des ex-détenus contre la détention et l'arrestation et ex-prisonnières politique (2005-2011);

• Mgr Reul Marigza, secrétaire général de l'Eglise unie du Christ aux Philippines (UCCP), qui a intenté un procès judiciaire contre l'ex-présidente des Philippines et contre d'autres hauts gradés militaires pour leur responsabilité relativement à des exécutions extrajudiciaires, des enlèvements, des cas de torture, des arrestations, des disparitions et des tentatives d'assassinat.


Activités publiques et consultations avec la société civile et des représentants de gouvernements.
• Assemblées à Toronto, à Ottawa, à Montréal, à Winnipeg, à Vancouver et à Victoria pour informer le public sur les cas de torture, d'emprisonnement et d'exécutions extrajudiciaires qui sont commis en toute impunité aux Philippines;
• Rencontres avec des représentants des gouvernements pour exhorter le Canada à dénoncer la violation systématique des droits de la personne.


· Toronto : Samedi 31 mars, de 15h00 à 17h00, Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, salle 5-250 - Adresse : 252 Bloor Street West
· Ottawa : Dimanche le 1er avril, de 14h00 à 16h00, Assumption Church - Adresse : 320 Olmstead Street
· Montréal : Samedi 7 avril, de 14h00 à 16h00, Église Unie de Mont Royal / Mont Royal United Church - Adresse : 1800, boul. Graham, Ville Mont Royal
· Winnipeg : Mercredi 11 April, de 19h00 à 21h00, Sam’s Place, 159 Henderson Highway
· Victoria : Vendredi 13 april - de 17h00 à 19h00, Philippine Bayanihan Community Centre, 1709 Blanshard Street
· Vancouver : Samedi 14 avril, de 14h00 à 17h00, Simon Fraser University – Harbour Centre, Room  2270, Sauder Industries Policy Room

QUAND?  PÉRIODE DE LA TOURNÉE DES PERSONNES QUI TÉMOIGNERONT : Du 27 mars au 16 april 2012. Les déléguées/és pourront être interviewés pendant toute la durée de leur tournée.

POURQUOI?  OBJECTIF DE LA TOURNÉE : Des défenseurs des droits de la personne participeront à une tournée dans plusieurs villes du Canada pour sensibiliser le public à la grave situation de violations des droits de la personnes perpétrées en toute impunité aux Philippines.  Deux ex-prisonnières politiques, le Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor et Mme Angelina Bisuña Ipong, qui ont été victimes d'actes de torture, de harcèlement sexuel et de violence physique au cours de leur emprisonnement présenteront leur témoignage au public.  Au cours de la tournée, l'évêque et militant communautaire œcuménique Marigza Reul, qui a intenté un procès contre les auteurs de ces crimes pour qu'ils en soient tenus pour responsables, présentera les faits et ses perspectives.

La délégation exhortera le gouvernement du Canada à présenter au cours des prochaines sessions de la Révision périodique universelle de l'ONU, qui auront lieu en mai 2012, des recommandations visant à faire cesser les violations des droits de la personne qui ont cours aux Philippines.  Les délégués soulignent que le Canada a la responsabilité de s'assurer que le commerce, les investissement s, l'aide au développement et les autres programmes bilatéraux ne contribuent pas à perpétuer de telles violations.

Dans chacune de ces villes du Canada, la délégation sera accueillie par des Églises, des organismes de défense des droits de la personne, des organisations de développement, des sections locales de KAIROS et des groupes communautaires philippins.

Pour obtenir de plus amples informations, les médias peuvent contacter :
Malcolm Guy
Centre d’appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns
Montréal (Québec) Canada
+1 514 574-9906
Courriel : mguy(at)pmm.qc.ca
Adiat Junaid
Communications Program Coordinator
KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
Téléphone : (416) 463 5312 - Poste : 223
Site Internet : www.kairoscanada.org