Onslaught of Typhoon Pablo
Onslaught of Typhoon Pablo
The National Democratic Front in Mindanao commiserates with the families of the victims and survivors of Typhoon Pablo, especially with those who were severely impacted by the sudden flashfloods and landslides in Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Surigao del Sur, and the larger part of Mindanao, including Palawan and parts of the Visayas. We likewise extend our sympathies to the bereaved families and friends of AFP soldiers who were killed in the heavy mudslide that flooded New Bataan in the province of Compostela Valley [Davao de Oro].
As a result of Typhoon Pablo, around 1,200 were killed in Mindanao, thousands were wounded and hundreds are yet to be found. Damages in agriculture were estimated to amount to ₱37 billion in Davao del Norte alone and ₱4 billion elsewhere, and left thousands of peasants in dire suffering and desperation. Cities were also flooded where many lost their lives, while thousands still were forced to abandon their ruined homes.
In response to this severe calamity, and in the name of all revolutionary forces, the NDF-Mindanao declares a unilateral ceasefire order for the New People’s Army in areas affected by the calamity in order to ensure the safe, unhindered and quick rescue of victims, and to allow for the immediate and unhampered relief services to the affected communities. This ceasefire order shall take immediate effect on 12:00 of December 5 until 12:00 of January 3, 2013 and may be extended as necessary depending on the results of the assessment on the conduct of said ceasefire.
In consultation with the Min- danao Commission of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the respective operations commands of the NPA in the affected areas, all NPA units covered by the aforementioned ceasefire are hereby ordered to cease from launching tactical offensives within the stated period. Meanwhile, we urge the AFP-PNP-CAFGU to refrain from using the rescue, recovery of bodies, distribution of relief goods, rehabilitation of damaged communities and carrying out COPD [Community Operations for Peace and Development—Ed.] as guise in their military operations against the NPA and the masses in the area. In these situations, all NPA units reserve the right to defend themselves and the masses who are already reeling from the calamity.
We likewise urge all NPA units in the affected areas to aid, when security and resources permit, in rescuing victims, recovering bodies, distributing relief and rehabilitating damages. On the same note, we urge all revolutionary forces and the masses to pool together their resources for relief in order to once more express our concern for the well-being of the victims.
The biggest damage that has a lasting effect, but which may not be immediately felt, is that Typhoon Pablo destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares of the remaining rainforests in Southern and Northern Mindanao. This havoc is the drastic result of climate change, created, in part, by the irreversible damage to the natural environment by imperialist mines, logging and agri-business plantations. On the other hand, global warming continues to worsen due to excessive carbon emission from unmitigated fossil fuel consumption in the name of superprofit. Now that the remaining rainforests are slowly being depleted, we expect the manifold negative effects to our environment which can lead to more frequent and stronger typhoons in the future, including the possibility of extended La Niña and El Niño phenomena.
The Aquino administration has never learned the bitter lessons of Typhoon Sendong, the sudden flashfloods of Ormoc, and many similar man-made and natural disasters. It even boasted of being prepared for any calamity, but in reality, it miserably failed in protecting the people against natural disasters.
Heavily hit were the towns of Bagangga, Cateel and Boston in Davao Oriental; New Bataan and Monkayo in Compostela Valley; and Lingig and Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur. These areas are host to large plantations owned by Dole and Su-mifru, including large mining sites such as Indophil.
The Diwata mountain range which straddles these towns have been denuded for the past 50 years by big logging activities bankrolled by the US and Japan, in cahoots with local big bourgeois compradors such as the Valderama, Alcantara and Andres Soriano of PICOP.
A few days before Typhoon Pablo made landfall, Noynoy Aquino peevishly remarked that “this is not a joke,” when the people did not immediately agree to evacuate. It must be made clear that instead of blaming the people, he should have immediately rescinded his very lax policies on mining, logging and agri-business plantations. In issuing EO 79, the onerous Mining Act of 1995 only exacerbated and exposed the Aquino government’s complicity with companies owned by foreign monopoly capitalists at the expense of the people whom he supposedly calls his boss.
It is clear that it is not a joke when it is the people themselves who repeatedly called for the immediate halt to the operations and pull-out of the large mining activities of Xstrata-SMI in the borders of South Cotabato, Davao del Sur and Sultan Kudarat; Toronto Ventures, Inc. in Zamboanga; THPAL, PGMC, Phelix Mining and SRMI in all provinces of Agusan-Surigao, which clearly pose threats to the affected communities of Lumad, Moro, peasants and fisherfolk. It is clearly not a joke when the people themselves have been against and urged to cease the expansion of plantations owned by Dole, Del Monte and Sumifru, which were the reason for the widespread landslides and other kinds of environmental destruction. It is not a joke when the US, China and other imperialist nations continue to refuse to sign the Kyoto Protocol which aims to lessen carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
In the past decades, Davao and Bukidnon were barely in the path of typhoons. But, frenzied by the insatiable greed for superprofit, the imperialists and the local ruling class abetted each other to create the conditions for climate change.
Hence, we call on the Filipino people to intensify the campaign to end imperialist mining, logging and agri-business plantations now. The people of the world must unite to compel the imperialists to cease their activities that cotribute to global warming. We need to stand united and mobilize now before all is lost, and before there is another onslaught of a much stronger typhoon than Pablo or Hurricane Sandy which devastated New York City, USA and cause our extinction forever!
Unite and save the environment!
Unite and struggle against wholesale plunder of our natural resources by imperialists and the local ruling class! (Pasa Bilis! Special Issue, December 4, 2022)
First published in the maiden issue of Sulong! January 2013. Sulong! is a publication of NDF-Mindanao.