By JORGE MADLOS
Spokesperson, NDFP Mindanao
The NDFP-Mindanao is one with the entire nation and the world in celebration of Earth Day. Today, we renew our commitment in defending the environment from the ravages of destructive imperialist industries, such as large-scale plantation and mining.
Now more than ever, the revolutionary movement commits itself to aid in the rehabilitation of areas hit by typhoon Pablo, primarily those which are well within the territory where Red political power has already been established.
Along this line, the New People’s Army (NPA) has stepped up meting out punitive action against agri-based multinational corporations, such as Dole, Del Monte and Sumifru, which continue to brazenly violate revolutionary policies on the environment and subject the Lumads, peasant and workers to continuous oppression and exploitation. These agri-business giants are aggressively expanding further across vast areas in almost all provinces and regions in Mindanao, depriving thousands of peasants of land to till as well as grabbing more land supposedly intended for food crops.
These expansive plantations are known to cause massive soil degradation, the poisoning of rivers and streams and other water sources and, worst of all, the massive siltation and flooding of low-lying areas. If one recalls, typhoon Sendong, which lashed out in 2011, nearly drowned entire communities along the Cagayan River in Cagayan de Oro and Mandulog River in Iligan City because areas at the foothills of the Kitanglad and Kalatungan mountain ranges and the vast Bukidnon plateau are already studded with monocrop plantations.
Agrarian revolution in Mindanao shall be undertaken with keen interest on developing sustainable farming especially in these areas. As an intrinsic part of the rehabilitation process, the widespread peasant mass movement must assert that vast plantation areas, especially those devastated by typhoon Pablo, must not be given back to the multinational agri-business giants and instead be re-distributed to landless tillers and reverted to food crop production purposes.
The revolutionary movement has already sent a clear message to large-scale mining corporations against its environmentally-destructive operations in the countryside during its simultaneous attack against the three mining giants in Surigao province. These companies have wantonly exploited the country’s non-renewable resources, depriving future generations of Filipinos of mineral resources enough to support future industrialization. In fact, they are an impediment to national industrialization and genuine agrarian reform. Worse, they aggravate the adverse effects of climate change, which of late has sent the country some of the worst storms of the decade, such as typhoon Pablo of 2012.
The US-Aquino regime is complicit to the wanton destruction of the environment by enacting policies which only serve to satiate the greed for profit of foreign monopoly capitalists. Laws, such as EO 79, which ups the ante in favour of the Mining Act of 1995, give more latitude for big companies to exploit the country’s minerals and natural resources, rapidly denuding remaining forest cover and levelling mountains to give way to open-pit mining. Recently, the large-scale mining giant Xstrata-SMI, one of the largest and most destructive mining ventures in Southeast Asia, has been favoured by the US-Aquino regime by irrevocably giving it an environmental compliance certificate — an act which has already been the object of mass condemnation and protests in the Socsksargen, North Cotabato and Davao del Sur areas. The Aquino regime has also mobilized the full force of its fascist forces in Mindanao as “investment defense forces” to protect these companies at all cost. Lumad environmental defenders in Mindanao laid their lives on the line in defense of their ancestral lands.
The US-Aquino regime’s answer to the power crisis in Mindanao is to hand over the operation of the power industry to privately-owned power producers, which also plan to put up massive pollution-causing coal-fired and diesel plants instead of developing cheap, clean and renewable energy sources.
Thus, under this premise, the NDFP-Mindanao doubly reaffirms its commitment to defend, preserve and help rehabilitate the environment by taking decisive action to thwart the wanton destruction caused by big foreign agri-business and mining operations. We shall hold these companies accountable for both environmental degradation and destruction and mete out appropriate punitive action for their plunder of our patrimony.
We commend Pablo and Sendong victims who, together with numerous environmental groups, take time out on Earth Day to plant trees in certain areas in the countryside. This is an act that must be emulated and sustained in order to help recover our badly ravaged forests. Thus, we call on the people to join us hand in hand in the long-term defense of mother earth in our struggle against imperialism, the main culprit of global warming and climate change, through the people’s democratic revolution with a socialist perspective .
(Sgd) Ka Oris