Human Rights Monitoring and Documentation  in Mining-Affected Communities


The policy of the Philippine government to liberalize the mining industry as a major vehicle in achieving economic growth and alleviating poverty has opened a Pandora’s box that unleashed serious threats and obstacles to the respect, protection and fulfillment of the peoples’ human rights. With the passage of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942), which revitalized the mining industry and created a conducive investment climate for multinational mining companies, the formulation of the 2004 National Mineral Policy Agenda (E.O. 270), and implementation of the Mineral Action Plan (MAP), the economic and political landscapes for the exploitation and destruction of the country’s timber and mineral resources have been laid down.

Given the preferential treatment extended by the national government to multinational mining companies and their local partners, and the persistence of a climate of impunity in the country, human rights, i.e., civil and political, economic, social and cultural, have been seriously jeopardized and violated. This reality is glaring and rampant, particularly in indigenous peoples’ communities considering their long history of marginalization and powerlessness, and the vastness and richness of their ancestral lands.

In the midst of the government’s collusion with big mining firms, the bastardization of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), the use of coercive and divisive strategies in dealing with indigenous peoples’ communities and organizations, the latter have no choice but to defend their rights in the name of survival as humans and as a people.

It is in this context why the Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights) saw it appropriate and timely to embark on this research endeavor, not only to raise people’s awareness on the mining issue, but also to popularize and emphasize the role of human rights monitoring and documentation in communities threatened and/or affected by large-scale mining operations. The institution hopes to contribute to highlighting the importance of human rights monitoring and documentation work as a tool in capacitating impoverished and marginalized sections of the population claim and defend their rights.

Book One of a two-book series consists of two major sections. The first section covers topics such as the significance of human rights monitoring and documentation; basic concepts, principles, approaches and strategies in human rights monitoring and documentation; international standards in monitoring human rights violations; and Philippine experiences in HR monitoring and documentation work.

Section Two of Book One discusses human rights monitoring and documentation in mining communities, including efforts on the part of big business to conduct their operations in accordance with human rights standards and norms; national mining situation; history of the anti-mining struggle and the peoples’ experiences in monitoring and documentation human rights violations, specifically in Nueva Vizcaya and Oriental Mindoro.

Nymia Pimentel Simbulan, Dr PH
Executive Director


Section 1

Introduction – Why Monitor and Document Human Rights?

A.    Monitoring

  • Scope of Monitoring
  • Kinds of Monitoring
  • Monitoring Frameworks
  • Monitoring Laws and Government Plans
  • Monitoring Methods
  • Products of Monitoring
  • Expected Results
  • Who Monitors Human Rights?

B.    Documentation

  • Methods
  • Organizing Data
  • Issues and Challenges in Documentation
  • Existing Systems and Practices

C.    Guides and Ethical Principles

Section 2

  • Existing Universal Standards in Monitoring HR Violations
  • Core Universal HR Instruments
  • UN Monitoring System
  • Charter-Based Monitoring
  • Treaty-Based Monitoring
  • Monitoring by Specialized Agencies
  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Section 3:

Human Rights Monitoring and Documentation Experiences
in the Philippines: Three Case Studies

  • Case Study 1: The Commission on Human Rights
  • Case Study 2: The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
  • Case Study 3: Balay Rehabilitation Center


Special Section: A Rights-Based Approach to HR Monitoring and Documentation

BOOK 2 :

Section 1: Large-Scale Mining and Human Rights

Section 2: The Philippine Mining Situation

  • Legal and Policy Environment for Mining
  • The Mining Sector: Ready for Take Off
  • The Myth of Mining as a Development Tool
  • Civil Society and People’s Response to Large Scale Mining
  • Large-Scale Mining is a Human Rights Issue

Section 3: Monitoring and Documentation of Human Rights Violations in Communities Affected by Large-Scale Mining Activities: Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya and Victoria, Mindoro Oriental

A.    Municipality of Kasibu

  • Kasibu and Mining
  • The Struggle Against Large-Scale Mining in Kasibu
  • Flashpoints of Tension: Barangays Didipio and Pao
    • The Didipio Experience with CAMC/APMI
    • The Pao Experience with Oxiana Philippines
  • Issues and Violations Related to Large-Scale Mining In Pao and Didipio
    • Bribes and Threats to Anti-Mining Leaders and Benefits to Pro-Mining Residents
    • Non-disclosure of Information Important to Making Community Decisions
    • Community Division and Effects on Social Relationships
    • Violative Actions of Government Agencies
    • Token and Deceptive Consultations
    • Questionable Process of Acquiring FPIC and Endorsements
    • Possible Effects on Sustainable Livelihood and the  Environment
    • Sincerity of CAMC
  • People’s Struggles Against Mining
  • Organizations in the Community
  • Networks and Supports
  • Monitoring and Documentation Activities
  • Conclusions

B.    The Province of Oriental Mindoro

  • Profile of the Municipality of Victoria and Brgy. Villa Cerveza
  • The Mindoro Nickel Project
  • Human Rights Issues and Violations Related to Large-Scale Mining in Oriental Mindoro
    • Non-recognition of Indigenous People’s/Indigenous Communities’ Right to their Ancestral Domain
    • Questionable and Illegally Obtained FPIC and LGU Endorsement
    • Misinformation and Non-disclosure of Important Information Critical to Community Decision-Making
    • Making False Promises of Benefits
    • Bribery of Community Leaders
    • Community Division and Strained Relationships among Community Members
    • Disregard of Potential negative Impact
    • Non-Recognition of the Provincial 25-year Mining Moratorium in Oriental Mindoro
    • Threats and Harassment of Anti-Mining Advocates
  • The Struggle Against the Mindoro Nickel Project
  • Monitoring and Documentation Practices in Oriental Mindoro

Section 4: Conclusions and Recommendations