Leader of small-scale miners killed in Compostela Valley
On April 12, 2011, at around 6 PM, Santos V. Manrique, also known as Ricky, was at the lawn in front of his house in Brgy. Kingking, Pantukan responding to a call in his two-way radio. His wife, Amelia, 46, said she was just a meter away from him, while their six-year-old grandson was also near when a man arrived and shot Ricky three times at the back with a .45 caliber pistol, from a three-and-a-half meter distance.
Amelia said that as soon as Ricky fell, the gunman pointed his gun at her and other members of the family as he stepped backward. The assassin then headed towards the road where three other men were waiting on two TMX motorcycles. Amelia described the gunman to be between 25 and 30 years old with fair complexion, and was in a white t-shirt and white shorts.
With the help of their neighbours and family members, Amelia brought Ricky to the Community Hospital of Pantukan where he was declared dead on arrival. Ricky sustained two gunshot wounds at the back which exited to the right and left side of his chest, and one in the head which hit him on the right side and went through to the left side.
As leader of two groups of small-scale miners, Chair of the municipal chapter of Panalipdan, as well as village councilman, Ricky had been active in the campaign against the entry of big-scale mining.
Panalipdan is a broad alliance of environmentalists and other people’s groups which advocate the defense of the environment, land rights and food sovereignty.
In 2008, Ricky was at the forefront of the campaign against the entry of the Philippine Mining Corporation (PMC).
In 2010, he was the spokesperson of the campaign that initiated the petition-signing against the entry of the Napnapan Minerals Resource Incorporation (NMRI) in Boringot area. The petition was submitted to the municipal council of Pantukan, with a copy furnished to the office of the Pantukan mayor, and forwarded to the office of the Compostela Valley provincial governor.
This year, Ricky was visibly active in lobbying with the local government against the entry of big mining companies.
On January 25, 2011, the Small-Scale Miners’ Cooperative of Boringot led by Ricky filed a petition against the Nationwide Development Corporation (NADECOR) and the Russel Mining Corporation which planned to enter into mining in Boringot. The petition was submitted to the municipal council of Pantukan, with a copy furnished to the Pantukan mayor, and forwarded to the provincial governor. The entry of the two mining companies was approved by the Pantukan municipal council in a resolution in 2009, and was supported by Pantukan Mayor Celso Sarenas.
On March 2, 2011, Ricky and the small-scale miners held a dialogue with Provincial Governor Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy and members of the Provincial Board and discussed the petition submitted in January. The petitioners were joined by Francis Morales, Secretary General of Panalipdan-Southern Mindanao Region, representatives of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Peasant Movement of the Philippines), Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) party-list, Katribu party-list and other advocates. The local government officials gave their commitment to support the petition.
On March 9, 2011, elements of the 1001st Infantry Brigade harassed Ricky and his companion in barangay Mipangi, Nabunturan municipality, as they negotiated with the soldiers regarding the claims and relocation of mining in the area.
On March 25, Ricky did not attend the public scoping at the office of the Russel Mining Corporation in Pantukan, where the company presented its mining plans. Ricky had said that he avoided the activity because he knew that he had earned the ire of the authorities in Pantukan because of his involvement in the protest against the entry of big mining in the area.
Ricky’s family suspects that his stand and active involvement in the protest against big mining was the main reason for his killing.