Plan for imperialist plunder

ANG BAYAN
7 March 2012
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Mindanao 2020 is a broad program of the US-Aquino regime that aims to pave the way for the plunder and exploitation of the wealth and people of Mindanao by foreign corporations. This was first bared to the public in November 2010 as a "development program" spanning the next two decades.

Behind the concept of Mindanao 2020 is Braintrust Incorporated, a World Bank-funded institution. Among its partners in implementing the program are USAID, AusAID, The Asia Foundation, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, the World Bank and Japan Cooperation International Agency (JICA), all "development" agencies and institutions that serve as investment partners of monopoly capitalist corporations. Aquino set up the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) to directly administer the program's implementation, along with cornering contracts and funds.

US imperialism has always been greatly interested in Mindanao, with its estimated $840 billion to $1 trillion worth of untapped mineral resources all over the island. Researches estimate that 70% of the Philippines' mineral wealth is found in Mindanao. This includes rich gold, copper, nickel, manganese, chromite, silver, lead, zinc and iron ore deposits.

In a confidential cable from the US Embassy in the Philippines leaked last year by the Wikileaks website, the US directly ordered its agencies to cooperate with and fund exploration activities in identified resource-rich areas in the Philippines. In a cable in February 2006, the US even identified what these resources were and laid down instructions to ensure that it gains possession of them.

Facilitating the plunder of Mindanao's mineral resources is one of the main objectives of Mindanao 2020. On January 12, the US completed its digital mapping of the entire island, a project funded by the JICA. The Aquino regime will be using these maps as bases for framing particular schemes for eah region.

As of 2009, there were 89 mining permits granted by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to big foreign mining firms. The permits cover Mindanao's five regions. Forty-six of these permits are for the Caraga region, dubbed the "mining capital of the Philippines."

At the lead is Japan's $3 billion-Sumitomo Nickel Ore Plant in Barangay Taganito, Claver, Surigao del Norte.

h2. Infrastructure projects for foreign capitalists

In the first six years, the regime will focus on laying down the infrastructure and otherprojects that will directly serve the operations of monopoly companies. In accordance with the regime's Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016, the Aquino government came out with the Six-Year Strategic Development Priorities for Mindanao that prioritizes the development of infrastructure, energy and mining, agribusiness and tourism opportunities. This is simultaneous to efforts to ensure the security of foreign companies in the island.

Infrastructure development in the island is within the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) framework. Among the Aquino regime's PPP priority projects for 2012 are the completion of the P1.5-billion Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro. The Ayala Corp. has nailed the contract for running and managing the airport once it is completed. In this regard, there are plans to put up the Laguindingan Airport Development Project (LADP) between Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City for the construction of the Mindanao Railway System and tourism facilities such as hotels and malls. Also targeted for completion is the rehabilitation of the Kapalong-Talaingod-Valencia Road that links Tagum City and Valencia City. It is an important alternative route that would facilitate the flow of agricultural goods and produce between the provinces of Bukidnon and Davao del Norte where the biggest commercial plantations on the island are found. There are also plans to build the Bus Rapid Transit System in Davao City.

In September 2011, the Hebei Road and Bridge Group Co. Limited and China Henan Shuli Yiju Co., both Chinese companies, struck a deal with the Department of Public Works and Highways for the maintenance and development of roads in Mindanao.

Meanwhile, in the energy sector, the State Grid of China Corp. will be investing P50 million in the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) in exchange for 40% equity. The Marubeni Corporation of Japan has also ventured with Aboitiz Corp. for energy projects in the Mindanao-Leyte Interconnection.

Aboitiz Power Corp. also plans to build a 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Barangay Binugao, Toril District, Davao City. But the project has hit a major snag due to the city residents' strong opposition.