NPA holds Xstrata and TF Kitao responsible for Billianes death
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the brutal slaying of Eliezer ‘Boy’ Billianes, an anti-mining activist of Koronadal City, who was shot to death on March 9, 2009 at about four in the afternoon, in broad daylight, just a hundred meters away from the city hall. As has been the case with more than a thousand extra-judicial killings of the Arroyo regime, the murderers killed Boy Billianes with characteristic impunity. They wanted to show the entire world that the life of anyone who stands in their way can be snuffed out at the flick of a finger, and get away with it.
Task Force Kitaco, the 27th Infantry Battallion (IB), and the multinational company Xstrata-SMI must be held accountable for the premeditated murder of Boy Billianes. Prior to the killing, Boy tried to get an audience with the Barangay council and the 27th IB under Col Florentino for a “dialogue.” It must be recalled that the 27th IB under TF Kitaco had been conducting a massive military operation in the mining areas of Xstrata SMI, and that includes the outlying barrios of Koronadal City where Boy was a permanent resident. This Reengineered Special Operations Team (RSOT) of the 27th IB and TF Kitaco ostensibly was meant to flush out NPA rebels in the area but in actual fact had been harassing and threatening the residents on the suspicion that they were against the mining company. It has also started to recruit the three companies of paramilitary Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAA) whose training has been funded by the company to the tune of 1,725,000 pesos. All for the purpose of ensuring the unhampered operations of the mining company.
Earlier, Boy Billianes had been receiving death threats for his anti-mining and environmental activism but this did not deter him from fully exposing and opposing the activities of Xstrata-SMI and its negative effects on our land and waters. He was an articulate educator on many issues, and was a dynamic figure in the open mass movement. Since the early 80s, when the Western Mining Corpotation tried to encroach on our land, Boy Billianes staunchly stood for the people and the environment. He had worked unstintingly on this, touching many lives and teaching so many people, especially the lumads who looked up to him for guidance and clarity. For this he earned the ire of the mining company and its protector, the AFP, particularly the 27th IB.
Boy Billianes is dead but the cause to which he dedicated his entire life is very much alive and pulsing with life. His untimely death inspires us to transform our grief to fervor and to be forever steadfast to our commitments to protect the people, and to fight for our patrimony, no matter what it takes.
On our part, the New People’s Army under the Valentin Palamine Command will not rest until justice is served and those who are guilty are made to account for their blood debts. We shall continue to resist and fight the wanton destruction of our lands and waters by the multinational mining company Xstrata-SMI and its cohorts in government.
For the Valentin Palamine Regional Operations Command,
(Sgd) Dencio Madrigal
New People’s Army
FarSouth Mindanao Region