Illegal gold mining and killing of anti-mining indigenous leader Jimmy Liguyon, Mindano, Philippines

Life for gold: Jimmy Liguyon, indigenous leader of the lumad Matigsalog tribe and vocal opponent of large-scale gold mining, was killed because he refused to support mining interests on indigenous lands


On March 5th, 2012, Jimmy Liguyon, indigenous leader of the lumad Matigsalog tribe and vehement opponent of large-scale gold mining, was shot dead by the paramilitary group New Indigenous People’s Army Reform (NIPAR) [1]. As publicly stated by the murder, Mr. Salusad: “I killed the captain [village chief] because he wouldn’t [join] the SANMATRIDA and refused to give certification to SANMATRIDA” [1]. SANMATRIDA (San Fernando Tribal Datus Association) is a group of indigenous lumads who had applied for a 52,000ha ancestral land certificate and who enticed mining investors to establish large-scale operations within the ancestral land domain. The certificate, however, could not be obtained as Liguyon was opposed to large-scale mining and refused to provide consent to certify SANMATRIDA as the leading representative indigenous organization [1].

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Basic Data
NameIllegal gold mining and killing of anti-mining indigenous leader Jimmy Liguyon, Mindano, Philippines
ProvinceBukidnon, Northern Mindano
SiteBarangay Dao, San Fernando,
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe conflict centred on the attempts of the SANMATRIDA organization, supported by paramilitary groups, to achieve representative status of the local indigenous groups in order to obtain a 52,000ha ancestral land domain [1].

The aim to achieve the ancestral land certificate was to gain control over the area and to invite mining investors to establish large-scale gold mining operations in the region [1].

There is further evidence of a network of illegal mining activities in the area; but due to its illegal nature, no information on production data, investment size and the like are available.
Project Area (in hectares)52,000
Level of Investment (in USD)unknown
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Populationunknown
Start Date05/03/2012
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersKaugalingong Sistema sa Igpasasindog to Lumadnong Ogpaan (KASILO) Lumad; Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization; Rural Missionaries of the Philippines – Northern Mindanao Sub-Region (RMP-NMR); Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP); Barog Bukidnon
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingArtisanal miners
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Religious groups
Matigsalog tribe, lumad indigenous
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnknown
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Killing of indigenous leader Jimmy Liguyon
Development of AlternativesThe KALISO organization, in favour of artisanal indigenous miners, opposes large-scale mining and demands investigation of the killing of Jimmy Liguyon[1;6].
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The indigenous leader, opposing large-scale mining and related destruction of artisanal livelihoods and the environment, was killed and illegal large scale mining not stopped.
Sources and Materials

The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA)
[click to view]

Philippine Mining Act of 1995
[click to view]


[1] FIDH online (02/04/2012): "Killing of Mr. Jimmy Liguyon" (accessed 09/04/2015)
[click to view]

[2] Mindanews online (1/09/2012): "Lumads camp out anew at Bukidnon capitol" (accessed 09/04/2015)
[click to view]

[3] MindaNews online (07/09/2012): "Bukidnon tribal leaders file human rights complaints vs. Cafgus" (accessed 09/04/2015)
[click to view]

[4] MindaNews online (14/09/2013): "Group discovers large-scale mining operation in Bukidnon town" (accessed 09/04/2015)
[click to view]

[5] PIPLINKS online (20/03/2012): "Anti-mining advocate in Bukidnon killed inside his own home" (accessed 09/04/2015)
[click to view]

[6] Petition on, directed to the Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ): "Investigate the killing of Datu Jimmy Liguyon; End summary killings and fear tactics against indigenous leaders and communities" (accessed 09/04/2015)
[click to view]

Media Links

Video: Kampuhan for Justice for the Killing of Jimmy Liguyon
[click to view]

Other Documents

Widow of Jimmy Liguyon demands justice Source:
[click to view]

Protest march Source:
[click to view]

Protesters demand investigation of murder of Jimmy Liguyon Source:
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorA. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB) / arnim.scheidel "at"
Last update10/04/2015