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Davao del Norte Service Center for Women (DNSCW)

Tagum City Philippines
October 2011

Grant Description

The islands of the Philippines are known for their mineral resources, including deposits of gold, silver, copper and manganese; and small and medium-scale mining sites provide for the livelihoods of many living in the area. However, the government has eased restrictions on foreign-owned, larger-scale mining corporations to encourage operations in the country; and in 2010 one such corporation made claim to the ancestral lands of the Mansaka tribe. Davao del Norte Service Center for Women (DNSCW) joined together with other activists in the region to form the “Save Pantukan Alliance” to campaign against the entry and operation of the corporations on the Mansaka peoples’ lands. As a result, in April 2011 residents of Pantukan came under attack. A resident was murdered and the military detained several others, labeling them “rebel leaders.” Around this time, a women human right’s defender who played a key role in forming the alliance became a target in March when an unidentified man held her at gunpoint in her home; and residents received anonymous text messages in September that she would soon be killed. In response, previous grantee DNSCW requested funds to increase the security of the activist and her son so that she can continue her valuable work in the campaign.

The mission of DNSCW is to reduce the marginalization of women and children in the province and to raise the economic, social and political status of women through the development of women leaders and promote increased women’s participation in decision-making at all levels.

Impact Report

Funds were used to evacuate and relocate a women's human rights activist who had experienced threats as a result of her key role in advocating against a large scale corporate mining takeover in southeastern Mindanao. She now lives in a new location which is more secure, and the grant was able to provide for her basic living expenses and her son's schooling during the relocation process. She has since been safe enough to continue her work defending human rights and advocating for women and environmental issues in the community. She recently spoke out at the funeral of a local priest, strongly condemning the murder of the man who, like her, had also been a vocal opponent of large-scale foreign mining. She also recently organized farmers, indigenous tribes, women, and small-scale miners in Pantukan who are to be displaced by the “No Habitation Policy” in “highly geo-critical areas.” The government continues to displace indigenous inhabitants of the lands by allowing large-scale mining, thereby making her work advocating for the communities as important as ever.