Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Gunmen kill tribal leader's son
Father may have been targeted for anti-mining stance
- ucanews.com reporter, Manila
- September 5, 2012
Subanen tribal leader Lucenio Manda of Bayog town was driving his son Jordan to school when they were attacked by five armed men at the border of Matin-ao and Datagan villages. Manda is in stable condition. Jordan died on the spot.
Soldiers in the area are searching for the five suspects, military sources said.
Manda has been leading the Subanen tribe in the Zamboanga peninsula since his cousin, Timuay Giovanni Umbang, was assassinated in 2002.
The Subanen have been opposing mining and logging companies moving into the area, especially in the province of Zamboanga del Sur where several large-scale mining corporations have signified their interest to operate there.
The shooting prompted Amnesty International to call for a government investigation.
"Indigenous peoplesâ€™ rights have been left behind," said Dr. Aurora Parong, director of Amnesty International Philippines. She said the killing "is a painful reminder that indigenous peoples are not protected."
The Subanens particularly oppose the entry of Canadian company Toronto Ventures Inc. Resource Development which claims to have exclusive mining rights to 4,779 hectares of land in one town alone. The company also has a large-scale mining operation in Siocon town in Zamboanga del Norte province.
Parong said Mandaâ€™s stand for a moratorium on mining concessions in the town of Bayog might have led to the attack on him and his son.
"The killings in Bayog, and other parts affected by mining conflicts, must stop now. An immediate impartial investigation is urgently needed," she said.
The rights group Task Force-Justice for Environment Defenders said in a statement that the attack on Manda shows that anti-mining leaders and activists are facing "a clear and present danger" in the area.
The group said 18 environmentalists, 13 of whom were anti-mining activists, have been killed since President Benigno Aquino came to power in 2010. Most of the suspects in the killings are members of the military, paramilitary or security forces of mining companies, it said.
"President Aquinoâ€™s failure to stop the persecution and killings of environmental activists in the country shows its inutility if not its tolerance of human rights violations perpetuated against indigenous people and ant-mining activists," said Leon Dulce, a task force spokesperson.
Anti-mining activist fears for her life
Environmental activist killed in Mindanao