By CPP Information Bureau
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Eastern Visayas today expressed disgust and outrage at the Aquino government's announcement of the rise of mining activities in the region. "We condemn the Aquino government's rush to exploit Eastern Visayas as anti-people, anti-development, anti-environment and pro-foreign," said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDFP-EV spokesperson.
"The Mines and Geosciences Bureau's claim that these mining activities are small-scale and exploratory only is meant to disguise their real nature as large-scale foreign mining. For example, many towns along the Samar and Leyte coasts will be affected by just two mining concessions, Northern Access Mining Inc. and Pan-Asia Mining Limited, which will export magnetite sand to China.
"Furthermore, the extracted resources will be all for export and not for domestic development. The sheer scale of mining applications for 2010 alone thus confirms large-scale foreign mining, with 66 approved and 197 more pending. The escalation of mining activities as divulged by the MGB therefore means economic plunder, suffering for the people and environmental destruction."
Fr. Salas also said that the Aquino government is not pushing real economic development but appears hell-bent on continuing the previous Arroyo administration's neoliberal globalization policies. "Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino is pursuing (former President) Gloria Arroyo's tack of opening the country to further foreign exploitation. He refuses to carry out agrarian reform and national industrialization, which are prerequisites for genuine development and will make mining truly useful to the national interest. Instead, he wants to fully implement the pro-foreign Mining Act of 1995 despite years of opposition and calls for its scrapping by the people. He ignores so many communities throughout the country that have already stood up to large-scale foreign mining. They condemn the plundering of the economy and the national patrimony, the destruction of the people's livelihoods, and the damage to the environment that will take decades to repair, if at all."
The NDFP-EV called on the people to unite and resist the escalation of foreign mining in the region. "We urge the people to defend their communities, livelihoods, the environment, and the national patrimony against large-scale foreign mining. We support the calls to junk the Mining Act of 1995 and for genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization. The revolutionary government will continue the long-standing policy of investigating and stopping imperialist mining in its jurisdiction.
"If the mining firms refuse to heed the revolutionary government's cease and desist orders, the New People's Army is authorized to undertake punitive actions. The NPA units enlighten the mining company's workers about the evils of imperialist mining, and confiscate or disable the mining equipments. In the final analysis, we must all unite and oppose large-scale foreign mining, and struggle for genuine development based on national sovereignty and democracy."