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Teresita Navacilla

Save Pantukan Movement

Teresita Navacilla was a member of Save Pantukan Movement, a network of indigenous peoples from the Pantukan region in the Compostela Valley province fighting for the right to their ancestral lands, advocating for more stringent environmental protection in the country and opposing large-scale open pit mining by foreign corporations in Southern Mindanao.

Recently, the human rights defender spoke out against the launching of the King-king mining project in Pantukan. Environmental groups have warned that the project will adversely effect the livelihood and health of communities in the region, and threaten its biodiversity and marine and coastal ecosystems.

The situation of human rights defenders has improved, to an extent, since the end of the Arroyo administration in 2010, but the current government has failed to address continuing violations against HRDs. HRDs still face extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, fabricated charges, arrest, denial of bail, threats and intimidation, and restrictions on their rights of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. Heavy militarisation in some areas, Mindanao in particular, significantly affects the work of HRDs. On 30 January 2016, three days after after being shot, human rights defender Ms Teresita Navacilla died in a hospital in Tagum City, in the Southern Mindanao region of the Philippines. Her assailants have not been identified yet.