By JORGE MADLOS (Ka Oris)
On Earth Day’s 45th year celebration, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Mindanao, together with the entire revolutionary forces and the masses, reaffirms its commitment to defend the Earth by advancing the people’s democratic revolution, which seeks to attain national liberation and democracy and, in particular, to establish genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization.
Scientific evidence shows that the earth’s destruction will come much sooner if global warming is not abated. The earth naturally has undergone very gradual climatic changes in the last thousands of years. However, in the last three decades, studies have shown that the earth’s temperature has risen by 1-2 degrees due to a 70% spike in the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere compared to levels at the beginning of the 20th century.
Was the sudden rise in temperatures induced naturally or by human factors? Climate scientists found out that it was chiefly manmade. It was observed that the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases rapidly accumulated in the atmosphere, the intensity of the trapped heat dangerously impacted the earth. This made the Arctic’s ice cover melt at a relatively faster rate, which is feared to cause a rise in sea levels that could lead to widespread catastrophe. As ice melts into Dark Ocean, more and more CO2 get absorbed into the water, raising the level of temperature and underwater current. This in turn causes acidification, a phenomenon extremely harmful to marine life.
As the earth gets warmer, atmospheric pressure intensifies, setting off turbulent weather conditions, such as that in the onslaught of super typhoons Pablo and Yolanda that triggered floods, landslides, and a host of other environmental backlashes, including droughts, that cause massive deaths and destruction. In fact, over the last half century, the frenzied and anarchic mode of imperialist production in the US and China, the foremost CO2 polluters in the world, is the single most compelling factor that causes and aggravates global warming.
In the Philippines, the wanton denudation of our forests contributes to the exacerbation of global warming. At the start of the century, the country’s forest cover stood at 70% (21 million has.). However, in 1999, it was alarmingly estimated at 18% (800,000 has.), a far cry from the ideal 54% and, from then on, continued to shrink at an average of 2% yearly. After World War II ended, imperialist US granted their ex-servicemen logging concessions; and, after raking in super profit, they then turned over these to the local ruling classes and to Japanese investors. The reactionary government terminated the licenses of large scale logging when it was clear that our forest cover reached a critical level. However, instead of rehabilitating our degraded forest, the complete denudation of what remained of our forest continued under the behest of a collusion between some businessmen and unscrupulous men in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), local government units (LGUs), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).
Multinational agribusiness plantations — which rob peasants of land to till, deny the chance for reforestation, cause so much soil erosion and landslide, and poison our atmosphere, land and rivers — are owned and operated by imperialist foreign monopolies in connivance with the big comprador bourgeoisie and landlord classes, and facilitated by bureaucrat capitalists who enact laws and policies that favor its operation. It can be recalled that the flash flood that caused the demise of thousands in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan when super typhoon Sendong struck was the result of the effacement of watershed areas at the foothills of Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon due to the aggressive expansion of both Dole and Del Monte plantations.
When the country’s forests were nearly depleted, the local bourgeoisie and their imperialist masters took keen interest in the mining industry to rake in even bigger super profit, hence the upsurge in the plunder of mineral resources in the entire country, especially in the Caraga and Davao provinces. Today, under the US-Aquino III regime, large-scale mining has indubitably become one of the chief causes of environmental degradation and ruin –- vast areas deforested, siltation, mountains literally destroyed, rivers poisoned and virtually killed, just to name a few of its dire effects. To name a few, large mining operations in Mindanao include the Platinum Group Metals Corporation (PGMC), Tag-anito Mining Corp. and San Roque Metals Inc (SRMI) in Caraga, Russel Mines in Compostela Valley, Xstrata Inc. in the tri-boundary of South Cotabato, Davao del Sur and North Cotabato, and Toronto Ventures Inc. in Zamboanga. These companies enjoy the mercenary services of the AFP, PNP, Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and other paramilitary forces whose brutal combat operations inflict grave human rights abuses, and force communities to flee from their homes and farms.
These imperialist industries obdurately plunder the country’s non-renewable resources, regardless of what the future generations of Filipinos will inherit as long as they can profit from it. They continue to exploit workers, peasants, Lumad and Moro peoples, throwing them only a morsel from the billions in profit they rake in from our very own resources. They ravage the country’s ecology, and leave us hapless to face calamities that result from climate change. They, in cahoots with the reactionary government, use devious schemes such as “carbon sequestration” to deceive peasants and the Lumad people into forfeiting and selling their ancestral lands to big business.
Under this context, the Filipino people must unite to expose and oppose the world’s No. 1 culprit of global warming and environmental ruin — imperialist US who connive with big landlords and big comprador bourgeois as well as with bureaucrat capitalists who facilitate the imposition of such anti-people, anti-ecology laws as the Mining Act of 1995 and Aquino III’s EO 79; and, order the military to launch investment security operations against both the legal and armed resistance of the people.
We call on the New People’s Army to do what the situation can permit to either deter or completely terminate the continued operations of illegal logging, large-scale agribusiness plantations and imperialist mining. Defend the remaining forest cover against the collusion of big businessmen, the DENR, the military and police. Initiate punitive military actions to fully stop or, if not, thwart the continuing expansion of large-scale agribusiness plantations. Launch punitive actions against large-scale mining companies that extensively ravage the environment.
In carrying out the national-democratic revolution, we in the NDFP-Mindanao and the revolutionary movement work and aspire for genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization, which uphold a planned economy that seeks to utilize the country’s natural resources that is based only on what the people actually needs, and to tap and develop naturally-available and alternative energy sources (such as solar, wind, and water). It is only through the victory of the national-democratic revolution with a socialist perspective can we truly defend our country’s environment and the earth.