Aquino regime misses the essential points at issue

Luis G. Jalandoni
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
5 October 2011

President Aquino reacts to the offensives of the New People's Army against certain mines in Surigao del Norte as if he were merely the caretaker of the foreigners and local big compradors. He thinks only in the narrow terms of favoring foreign investments, even if extremely exploitative. He is concerned only with providing military security for them.

He completely misses the following essential points: 1. the extraction of nonrenewable resources such as mineral ores for export at dirt cheap prices kills the Philippine prospects for industrialization, 2. the indigenous people are subjected to dispossession of land, mass dislocation and ruination of their lives and culture; and 3. the unbridled mining poisons the environment and damages agriculture and other forms of livelihood.

Aquino is unmindful of the fact that the rivers and creeks as well as the coastal waters of Claver in Surigao del Norte are already poisoned and that the Tribal Coalition of Mindanao et al, has filed a petition in the Supreme Court on May 30, 2011 against the mines targeted by the NPA.

Aquino shows no regard for the essential issue in the indigenous people's struggle for the very life of their communities, their children, their way of life, their future. This essential issue is clear in the petition cited above for a writ of Kalikasan calling for a Temporary Environmental Protection Order against Taganita Mining Corp., Platinum Group Metals Corp., Oriental Synergy Mining Corp., Shenzhou Mining Group Corp. and Marcventures Mining Development Corp..

The first two mining corporations stated above were subject of the NPA attack on October 3, 2011. The third corporation attacked is a sister company of Taganita Mining Corp.

The respondents are charged with “destroying and polluting the ancestral domain” of the petitioners “by failing to provide proper siltation dams for their nickel mines, thereby irreversibly damaging marine resources, mangroves, corals and created serious health risks to the prejudice of the lives, health and properties of the tribes and inhabitants of the Provinces of Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.”

The petition states that the University of the Philippines Natural Sciences Research Institute (UP-NSRI) tested the water and soil samples taken from the mentioned river and water systems and found nickel levels as high as 190 mg/L while the maximum acceptable level of nickel in drinking water should only be 0.02 mg/L according to the Department of Health (DOH) and the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD).

The policy of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People's Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines is to ban the mining corporations that destroy the livelihood, the environment and aspiration for industrial development and violate the rights and welfare of the indigenous people and the entire Filipino nation. It is emphatically the firm policy of the revolutionary movement to protect the indigenous people and their ancestral domain and to prevent further damage to the environment.

Instead of being worried about the threat level or trying to lure investors, the Aquino government must heed the just demands and deep aspirations of the indigenous people and other sectors of Philippine society. #