Floods and landslides are consequences
of socio-economic and environmental ruin*
CPP Information Bureau
January 21, 2011
The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas said today that the floods and landslides afflicting Eastern Visayas happened because of socio-economic policies that caused hardship to the people and also led to environmental destruction. "Eastern Visayas has been suffering regularly from floods and landslides since the 1990s,"said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas. "The region is prone to such calamities because of decades of anti-people and anti-environment socio-economic policies. The regional economy is tied to the extraction and export of raw materials from logging, mining, and plantation cultivation especially of coconut, that all contribute to massive deforestation and destruction of watersheds. The imperialists, big business and landlords benefit, while the vast majority of the people remain impoverished. What little possessions the people have, what little government infrastructure there is, are also often destroyed by calamities caused by environmental damage."
The NDF-EV spokesperson also said the New People's Army was deeply involved in assisting the people with the onset of calamities. "The NPA is assisting the afflicted communities in Samar and Leyte. This involves not only the facilitation of rescue and relief efforts which are good for the short term, but also enlightening the people on the cause of their hardships and to encourage them to struggle for fundamental changes. The people are being menaced by large-scale foreign mining, as well as continuing logging and landlordism. The people's struggle for socio-economic reforms is also a struggle for them to assert the protection of the national patrimony and the environment."
In this light, Fr. Salas thus welcomed the resumption of peace talks between the Philippine government and the NDFP that will tackle socio-economic reforms. "We hope that the peace talks will lead to basic changes for the people's socio-economic well-being as well as the protection of the environment and national patrimony. The ordeal suffered by so many communities in Samar and Leyte undergoing calamities attest the urgency for such fundamental reforms. Meanwhile, the people must continue to struggle against unsound socio-economic policies that not only impoverish them but pose perpetual danger to their lives and meager possessions. They must stand up against the maneuverings to sneak through large-scale foreign mining in the region. They must also oppose large-scale commercial logging. They must struggle for genuine agrarian reform against the landlords who monopolize the land and destroy the soil and the environment with plantation-type cultivation."