EO #79 is a declaration of war against the Filipino people--CPP

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines
July 10, 2012

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today called Executive Order No. 79 released by Benigno Aquino last Monday "a declaration of war against the Filipino people." The EO, said the CPP, seeks to strengthen centralized control and further liberalize the mining industry to further allow foreign big mining companies to plunder Philippine resources and ravage the environment in exchange for a bigger share of taxes for the government.

"The executive order upholds the Mining Act of 1995 which allows big foreign mining companies to plunder Philippine mineral resources, extract and export Philippine non-renewable resources for the benefit of foreign monopoly capitalists and to the detriment of the Philippine economy, the environment and the health and livelihood of millions of Filipinos," said the CPP. "Both Aquino's EO 79 and the Mining Act of 1995 are nothing but barefaced open-house declarations, that the Philippines is available to be robbed and raped by foreign mining companies on the cheap."

"In the face of the grave implications of EO 79, the CPP calls on all patriotic and revolutionary forces to intensify all avenues of struggle, from the legal arena to mass struggles and armed resistance," said the CPP. "All efforts must be exerted to hinder the Aquino regime from paving the road for the all-out entry of foreign big mining companies."

Aquino's EO 79 restricts the powers of local governments to control, regulate or prohibit mining operations in their areas on the basis of the assertion that national laws should take precedence over local laws. "The principal aim of EO 79 is to put the mining industry under the full control and prerogative of the national government in order to further empower Aquino to draw in foreign mining companies and earn additional revenues. EO 79 is Aquino's response to the long-standing complaint of foreign big mining companies against the restrictions and regulations being imposed by local ordinances and resolutions against mining."

"Aquino's EO 79 extends the moratorium on new mining agreements enforced since January 2011, not in the interest of upholding national patrimony nor protecting the environment, but simply for the self-serving objective of pushing the reactionary congress to come up with new legislation that will increase the Aquino regime's revenues from mining operations."

"Aquino's so-called mining moratorium is a useless piece of trash," said the CPP, pointing out that "foreign big mining companies can still be granted exploration permits to search and dig for minerals for which they will be given preferential option when the Aquino government does issue a mineral agreement after the new law on mining revenues is enacted." The Aquino government seeks to generate at least P16 billion from royalty payments.

"By creating a 'one-stop shop' for all mining applications and procedures, the Aquino regime seeks to take full control of the mining industry and make it easy for foreign mining companies to apply for and start operations in the Philippines," said the CPP.

"In response to the demand of large-scale mining companies, the Aquino government further seeks to kill small-scale mining by restricting such operations in areas to be designated by the government as 'Minahang Bayan' and imposing environmental restrictions on their operations," added the CPP. "It declares a ban on the use of mercury by small-scale miners, but turns a blind eye to the wanton and large-scale destruction of the environment through open-pit mining, substandard disposal of mine tailings and other similarly destructive operations of foreign big mining companies that ravage the environment on a wide scale."

"Aquino's EO 79 pays lip service to environmental protection in the hope of pacifying certain sectors which have expressed concern over the destruction brought about by mining and are pushing for supposed "responsible mining," said the CPP. "Aquino has declared that no mining agreement will be granted in the future in certain areas but failed to decisively put a stop to the exploration and mining operations already being undertaken in those areas. In declaring certain areas closed to mining, Aquino serves big business interests especially those engaged in so-called eco-tourism projects, which themselves are culpable for landgrabbing and displacement of peasants and minority communities from their ancestral lands," added the CPP.

"Aquino makes a big fuss about following so-called international standards of transparency with regard to payments made by foreign mining companies and the taxes received by the government," said the CPP. "Transparency, however, has nothing to do with the fundamental issues surrounding mining in the Philippines. It is a plain and simple fact that Philippine national patrimony and rich natural resources are being ceded by the reactionary state to the foreign big capitalists."

"The aggression of foreign big mining companies into ancestral lands, the displacement of thousands upon thousands of people and widespread destruction of mountains, farmlands, water sources and waterways have generated great opposition to mining operations by minority peoples, peasants and various progressive and pro-environment sectors," added the CPP. Roman Catholic and Christian religious groups as well as various local governments have expressed their position against mining.

"In the past two years, the Aquino regime has ignored the Filipino people's demand to put a stop to large-scale destructive mining," said the CPP. "Instead, it has mobilized its armed forces and supported the formation of private armies of mining companies in order to suppress resistance against the entry and operations of mining companies." Scores of community activists, antimining advocates and environmentalists have been killed under the Aquino regime. Thousands of communities are being put under martial rule.

"The CPP calls on the Filipino people and all their revolutionary forces to unite and vigorously oppose the attempt of the Aquino regime through EO 79 to further liberalize the mining industry and subject the Philippines to the plunder and ravenous operations of foreign big mining companies," declared the CPP.

"In contrast to the Aquino regime's declared policy of opening wide the doors for the entry of foreign big mining companies, the CPP and the people's democratic government firmly uphold the policy of prohibiting large-scale destructive mining," added the CPP.

"This revolutionary policy is consistent with the national and democratic interests of the Filipino people to uphold Philippine national sovereignty, protect the country's patrimony, respect the ancestral domain and right to self-determination of the national minority peoples, advance the agrarian revolutionary struggle of the peasant masses and uphold national industrialization."

"The New People's Army (NPA) must continue to enforce the directives of the democratic people's government in line with the prohibition against large-scale destructive mining by foreign big mining companies and their local cohorts and punish the biggest plunderers, destroyers and polluters of the environment as well as their brutal armed contingents," added the CPP.