It started out as a normal morning for Jordan Manda, but it turned out to be his last. The 11-year-old son of anti-mining activist Timuay Lucenio Manda perished when gunmen ambushed the car as the Subanen tribal chieftain drove the child to school. Lucenio Manda was wounded in the attack in the southern Philippines, Amnesty International Philippines said in a statement.
“The killing of Jordan Manda, groomed to be a next Timuay, is a painful reminder that Indigenous Peoples are not protected,” said Aurora Parong, director of Amnesty International Philippines, in the statement. “Timuay Manda’s care for the Subanen’s ancestral domain and his position for a moratorium on mining concessions in Bayog might have led to the attack on him and his son. The killing of Jordan Manda and wounding of Timuay Lucenio Manda must be rigorously investigated so that the perpetrators of the crime will be brought to justice.”
Several environmentalists have been targeted of late, the human rights organization said. Human Rights Watch in New York has made similar statements, alleging in July that it had documented three cases in the past year in which people who criticized mining and energy projects had been killed, “allegedly by paramilitary forces under military control,” the New York–based group said in a statement on July 18. “The activists had been vocal in opposing mining and energy operations which they said threatened the environment and would displace tribal communities from their land,” the group said.
Parong called upon the government of President Benigno Aquino III’s government to investigate the shooting and hold the perpetrators accountable.
“Amnesty International supports Timuay Manda in calling for justice for his son and his people,” said Parong in Amnesty’s statement, detailing Lucenio Manda’s activism. “He is highly involved in efforts against the destruction of their ancestral lands by logging and mining and has been working for the cooperation among Subanens in the Central Zamboanga Peninsula to protect their remaining contiguous ancestral domain. Together with other concerned groups, he joined the filing of a petition for the Writ of Kalikasan to protect the Pinukis Range Forest, among the last untouched forest region in the Zamboanga Peninsula which is unfortunately included in the mining claims of several companies. Mt. Pinukis is considered by the Subanen people of Zamboanga Peninsula as among their Sacred Mountains.”