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Illegal gold mining and killing of anti-mining indigenous leaders, Mindanao, Philippines

Life for gold: Several members of CSO KASILO, including Jimmy Liguyon, indigenous leader of the lumad Matigsalog tribe and vocal opponent of large-scale gold mining, were killed for refusing 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
Name of conflict:Illegal gold mining and killing of anti-mining indigenous leaders, Mindanao, Philippines
State or province:Bukidnon, Northern Mindano
Location of conflict:Barangay 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 commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The 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:52,000
Level of Investment for the conflictive projectunknown
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:unknown
Start of the conflict:05/03/2012
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Kaugalingong 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, United Church of Christ, Balsa Mindanao, Karapatan
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Artisanal miners
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Religious groups
Matigsalog tribe, lumad indigenous
Forms of mobilization:Involvement 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-economical 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
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Violent targeting of activists
Killing of indigenous leader Jimmy Liguyon
Proposal and development of alternatives:The 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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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 & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

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]

[7] Davao Today. Another Lumad farmer gunned down in Bukidnon province (2019)
[click to view]

[8] Karapatan. Karapatan condemns recent killing of two Lumad farmers in Bukidnon (2019)
[click to view]

[9] Davao Today. Lumad leader, mother of seven, killed in Bukidnon (2019)
[click to view]

[10] Sun Star. Another Lumad leader murdered in Bukidnon (2019)
[click to view]

[11] Mindanews. Bukidnon bakwits return home (Balane 2012)
[click to view]

[12] Gold Star Daily News. Son of slain Bukidnon village chief persues case against suspects (2012)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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

Meta information
Contributor:A. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB) / arnim.scheidel "at"; updated by D. Tran (ICTA-UAB) / tran.dalena "at"
Last update10/04/2015
Conflict ID:1919
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