By JORGE MADLOS (Ka Oris)
As the Filipino nation and the peoples of the world celebrate Earth Month, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Mindanao holds the imperialist companies in collusion with the US-Aquino regime accountable for the continuing plunder and destruction of our environment in Mindanao and in the whole country.
Mindanao is very rich. It has been endowed with fertile agricultural lands, great rivers, rich fishing grounds and one of the biggest mineral deposits in the world. Yet the people suffer from abject misery and poverty and the island remains as one of the poorest, most backward and most ecologically degraded areas of our country.
Calamity after calamity has occurred in Mindanao and it is the masses who have suffered greatly.
The unregulated and wanton exploitation of our natural resources by the imperialist companies, and the comprador big bourgeoisie and big landlords whose only regard is the extraction of the biggest profit, are liable for these. The Aquino regime has offered Mindanao’s resources to these companies on a silver platter without a single concern for the people’s welfare and the environment.
For instance, in Typhoon Sendong, scientists and experts have pointed to the vast agribusiness plantations of Del Monte, Dole and Sumifru in Bukidnon (which is overlooking Cagayan de Oro) as mainly accountable for the flashflood and mudslide which killed thousands of people in Cagayan de Oro. And as a result of wanton logging in Lanao Sur, thousands of logs and timber were released into the raging rivers causing the devastation of several communities in Iligan.
After decades of commercial logging, the forests are so denuded and the watersheds so degraded resulting to constant flooding in the food-producing plains of Cotabato, Agusan and Davao provinces. This has resulted to the frequent destruction of agricultural crops, the constant threat to food security and greater hardship for our farmers whose only source of livelihood is the land. And yet, Noynoy Aquino, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and other so-called agencies for the environment has not done anything decisive about this for the simple reason that corruption, which is inherent in this regime, perpetuates indiscriminate logging.
Even more condemnable is the mining industry where the US-Aquino regime has sponsored the encroachment of foreign large-scale mining companies to extract our gold, copper, coal, nickel and other resources in practically all the mineral rich areas of Mindanao.
The mining calamities of Marcopper Mines in Marinduque, of Lafayette in Bicol, of Philex Mines in Northern Luzon, and Apex Mines in Compostela Valley should have served enough notice for the administration to heed the appeal of our environmentalists to stop this wanton destruction of our natural resources. And yet, the US-Aquino regime has continued to welcome foreign companies like Xstrata-SMI, Taganito-HPAL-Sumitomo, SRMI, Toronto Ventures, Russell Mining, and BHP Billiton which will surely, and irreversibly, destroy our mountains, our rivers, our farms and the lives of millions of people.
The National Democratic Revolution mandates the NDFP and the whole revolutionary forces to preserve and protect our patrimony. The people’s war is also a war for the preservation and protection of our natural resources so the people will have a patrimony which will be rationally and sustainably used for their benefit and that of future generations.
In line with this, the New People’s Army reserves the right to conduct punitive measures against recalcitrant imperialist and big comprador-landlords’ companies which do not heed the revolutionary movement’s policies on the protection of the environment and natural wealth and against the further exploitation and oppression of the peasants, lumads and workers.
For as long as these companies plunder our resources, exploit and oppress our people and destroy our ecology, the NDFP together with the people, shall continue to wage a relentless battle against them. It is a battle to save Mindanao and the entire country, a humble contribution to save the earth.