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Philippines: Ms Nenita Lacasa and Ms Carolyn Borja in hiding after gunshots are fired at their house
Human rights defenders Ms Nenita Lacasa and Ms Carolyn Borja recently fled into hiding after gunshots were fired at their house, in a context of ongoing threats and surveillance since April 2012.
Nenita Lacasa and Carolyn Borja are anti-mining advocates and are respectively Programme Officer and President of the Carapdapan Movement for Development Association (CAMADA). The association has been active in monitoring and campaigning against illegal mining operations in the municipality of Salcedo, Province of Eastern Samar.
On 23 May 2012, at around 11pm, it is reported that two gunshots were fired from outside their house in Baragay Carapdapan when both defenders were inside. Carolyn Borja went out and saw men wearing helmets sitting on two blue and red motorcycles. The men fired two more gunshots at the house and fled.
On 11 May 2012, at around 4am, Nenita Lacasa saw a man behind a banana tree near their house. She also noticed a man wearing a helmet standing at the Barangay outpost adjacent to their house, as well as a black and red motorcycle parked within the vicinity of the house.
On 6 May 2012, at around 3pm, a green pick-up with a license plate numbered WRJ442 arrived and parked in front of the house of Nenita Lacasa and Carolyn Borja. Nenita Lacasa reportedly saw Mr Terso Lopido, the Field Operation Trustee of Terrestrial Mining Corporation, alighting from the vehicle. Terso Lopido fired a shot at the high portion of the house before leaving a few minutes later. Out of fear, Nenita Lacasa's mother passed away after the gunfire. The same pick-up truck was spotted outside their house many times at the end of April 2012.
On 17 March 2012, along with Barangay Councillor Mr Antonio M. Norte and Mr Francisco Canayong - the late anti-mining activist and President of the Barangay Integrated Uplan Farmers Association of Salcedo (BIUFAS) and a member of CAMADA, who was found dead with multiple stab wounds on 1 May 2012 - Carolyn Borja filed an affidavit after overhearing what Terso Lopido was saying to his associates in Barangay Carapdapan. Terso Lopido reportedly mentioned the defenders' names and said that if the mining operation was stopped, they would have to leave their homes and never show up because they would kill the defenders, and that if the defenders continued to interfere with the shipment related to the mining operation, he would enter each of their houses and kill them.
Front Line Defenders believes that the attacks, threats and intimidation faced by Nenita Lacasa and Carolyn Borja are directly related to their work in the defence of human rights, in particular to their campaign against illegal mining activities in the municipality of Salcedo, Province of Eastern Samar. Front Line Defenders is gravely concerned about the physical and psychological integrity of Nenita Lacasa and Carolyn Borja, especially after the recent killing of Mr Francisco Canayong on 1 May 2012.