Monday, February 7, 2011

In averting calamities, the NDFP-Mindanao challenges the Aquino government to stop large-scale mining, logging and agri-business operations

In averting calamities, the NDFP-Mindanao challenges the Aquino government to stop large-scale mining, logging and agri-business operations*

Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos
February 4, 2011

Hundreds of thousands in Mindanao, and millions nationwide, have, in the last month, become victims of calamities wrought by inclement weather. Human casualties and damage to property are seen to rise in the entire stretch of the coming "wet" summer season. This no less calls for immediate as well as long term measures that the current reactionary government under Noynoy Aquino should imperatively act on.

(At the immediate:) The Aquino government must tap all its available resources to channel more funds for all calamity victims, and provide for food, shelter, clothing, medicines, and rescue equipment, instead of draining public coffers by increasing the AFP's budget and maintaining a huge allocation for foreign debt payments. Given the extent of damage caused by massive landslides and flooding to human lives and property, now is not the time for Mr. Aquino to satisfy his caprice for luxury cars.

(On long term:) In averting more natural calamities, the NDFP -- Mindanao challenges Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to make good of his declaration to implement a logging ban by terminating all existing license agreements of big logging companies, such as the SUDECOR of the Puyat Family.

We further challenge the Aquino government to immediately stop the operations of big multinational mining corporations such as the Sumitomo and its subsidiary Nickel Asia Mining Inc. and other big mining firms in Caraga; Xstrata -- Sagittarius Mines Incorporated (SMI) in the quadri-boundary of four provinces in Far South Mindanao; and the South East Mining Corporation in the Compostela Valley Province, and other mineral areas in Mindanao.

Other companies which greatly pollute and destroy the environment and deprived peasants of their lands to till such as big multinational agri-business plantations, namely DOLE Phil. and Del Monte and their subsidiaries, must immediately be barred from expanding because they outrightly wipe out remaining forest lands, destroy agricultural plains, siphon off watershed areas, and deny genuine agrarian reform from being ever put in place over vast tracts of arable lands, especially in Mindanao.

While it may be true that these logging, mining and large agri-business companies have employed workers and they may have contributed funds, meager at best, to the reactionary government, however, overall, these are greatly outweighed by their adverse impact against livelihood of millions of Filipinos and against the preservation of our already-depleted environment. Logging, for instance, has had, after decades of almost uninterrupted operations, devastated to nearly irreversible proportions vast portions of our once diverse natural environment. And, much worse, it has had exploited wood-based workers and left them poorer than ever, enriching, in turn, only the bourgeoisie and foreign monopoly capitalists.

The country needs a fair measure of mining activity at small-scale levels only to cater to the country's mineral requirement. However, presently, multinational mining companies and their local subsidiaries have been given free rein to wantonly plunder non-renewable mineral resources, which have resulted in the destruction of our mountains, coastal lines and water ways. These have had deprived workers, peasants and the Lumad, on one end, while enriching bureaucrat capitalist, big comprador bourgeois and imperialists, at the other.

As for large agri-business plantations, expansive land-use conversions which have been done to put them up, have resulted in rendering the soil toxic and infertile and deprive the people of basic food production. These plantations, the vastest of which can be found in Mindanao, have driven away Lumads and peasants; they have exploited our workers, driving them to slave-labor -- all to the benefit of big landlords, big comprador bourgeois and imperialist.

Now more than ever, the NDFP-Mindanao calls on the Filipino people to unite and help push the Aquino government to take immediate and long term steps that would help avert current and future calamities by decisively barring the continued destructive operations of big mining, logging, and agri-business companies.

Big commercial logging companies must go! Stop the plunder of big multinational mining corporations! End the rape of our land by large agri-business plantations!

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