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Mining and murders on indigenous land in San Teodoro, Mindoro Oriental, Philippines

Mining in Mindoro Oriental is heavily intertwined with the military, leading to military violence against indigenous peoples and environmental defenders. Expedito, Manuela, and Arman Albarillo were red-tagged and murdered for campaigning.


Mindoro Island is one of the Philippines´ priority biodiversity conservation areas as home to critical endemic animals such as the Mindoro Dwarf Buffalo (Bubalus mindorensis), or “tamaraw” [3]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Mining and murders on indigenous land in San Teodoro, Mindoro Oriental, Philippines
State or province:Mindoro Oriental
Location of conflict:San Teodoro
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Rare metals
Iron ore
Chromite, nickel [5]
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The mining sites also contaminated the Mag-Asawang Tubig watershed, which irrigated 40,000ha of rice fields and consequently endangered the whole province´s food security and fish stocks [9].

Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1994
End of the conflict:05/10/2020
Company names or state enterprises:Pitkin Petroleum
Aglubang Mining
Mindex Mining Corporation from Canada
Relevant government actors:Provincial board, San Teodoro Police, Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:BirdLife International, Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. (MBCFI), Plan, Bayan Muna Southern Tagalog, KARAPATAN, Gabriela
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Artisanal miners
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Sticking posters of Arman Albarillo in the streets [10], musical tribute to Arman Albarillo [12]
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Project cancelled
Project temporarily suspended
Proposal and development of alternatives:Local indigenous communities and civil society organizations, with support even from the European Commission, have been protesting and pursuing litigation to ban mining and for formal ownership of the land.[6]
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Although large and small-scale mining have now been banned, illegal small-scale mining has become a dangerous and rampant problem.
Sources & Materials

[1] Human Rights Now. Report on Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances in the Philippines (2008)
[click to view]

[2] Anakbayan. “Stop the killings in the Philippines!” (2012)
[click to view]

[3] MBCFI. Spatial Analyses of the Mining Situation in Mindoro Island, Philippines (Alban 2015)
[click to view]

[4] The Manila Times. Mindoro Oriental bans mining (Laurente 2020)
[click to view]

[5] Cultural Survival. Mining developments suspended in Mindoro region (last accessed 26.11.2021)
[click to view]

[6] DW. Mining expansion threatens indigenous tribes in Philippines (Mock 2008)
[click to view]

[7] Bulatlat. Mindoro’s Army Commander Owned Crime, Bayan Muna Says (2002)
[click to view]

[click to view]

[9] GMA News. House probe on Mindoro mining activities sought (Lazaro 2009)
[click to view]

[11]Bulatlat. Arman Albarillo in the eyes of his Katherine (July 6, 2012)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[12] The Axel Pinpin Propaganda Machine rehearsing their latest piece which tells the true story of slain NPA guerilla fighter, "Arman Albarillo." Nov. 16, 2012 -(date accessed: 7/12/2021)

Source: Rojo Malaya
[click to view]

Bayan Tribute: Arman Albarillo will live on in the hearts of the people

Source: kodao phils, 11 jul 2012 (date accessed: 7/12/2021)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Dalena Tran, ICTA-UAB, [email protected] ; Teresa Sanz, ICTA-UAB, [email protected]
Last update12/12/2021
Conflict ID:5745
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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