Hold responsible Marcos, foreign capitalist plunderers and cohorts

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This article is available in PilipinoBisayaHiligaynonIloco

Relatives of more than 100 people who died in the February 6 landslides in Masara, Maco, Davao de Oro demand justice. They know that the deaths of their loved ones was not caused by a simple accident or tragedy of nature, but by conditions created by profit-hungry plunderers, and complicit bureaucrat-capitalists and the state’s armed forces.

Even before all the bodies could be recovered from the landslide, the Marcos government was quick to exonerate the Apex Mining Corporation, the largest mining company in the area. Apex is owned by Enrique Razon, one of the country’s biggest bourgeois comprador and staunch Marcos supporter who secures major government contracts. Despite Marcos defense, Razon cannot escape responsibility for the deaths of 100 in Maco, mostly workers or people working for his company.

The Maco tragedy is a reminder of the numerous disasters in Mindanao, Cordillera, Marinduque, and other areas resulting from environmentally-destructive mining, plantations, energy projects, ecotourism and reckless construction of infrastructure. Due to widespread destruction of forests and mountains, millions of Filipinos suffer from landslides and widespread floods in cities and rural areas which cause large numbers of deaths, destruction of livelihood and worse poverty.

Mining in the Philippines has long been controlled by foreign multinational corporations. They swept into the country during the US-Marcos dictatorship, which pocketed kickback from its operations. With the neoliberal push of liberalization and deregulation, and behind the false veil of “mining for development,” the Mining Act was enacted in 1995, giving foreign companies the right to fully own and run large-scale mines in the Philippines, especially in gold, copper, nickel, chromite, zinc and other minerals, which further intensified the widespread environmental destruction.

Historically, American companies are primarily behind the largest mining operations in the country. Currently, these are owned or capitalized by American, Canadian, Chinese and Australian companies and banks. Mining in the Philippines does not serve the local economy. Extracted minerals are exported by the country, mainly to steel industries in China and Japan.

Worldwide, mining operations have intensified in the pursuit of imperialist countries for the cheapest source of raw materials. In the past two decades, global demand for nickel has doubled, mainly due to the size of China’s imports (which consumes 60% of the total nickel supply) for its steel industry, which forms a major part of its effort to dump surplus capital through infrastructure projects in its so-called Belt and Road Initiative.

The Apex Mining tragedy will certainly be not the last in the face of the Marcos regime’s effort to swing the country’s door open to foreign investments, which will continue to pave the way for devastating and plunderous operations of profit-hungry capitalists. Multinational companies in mining, agriculture, energy, tourism, and infrastructure are now swamping different provinces nationwide. They will flood in further if Marcos succeeds in amending the constitution to open the door to foreign plunderers.

For decades, the Lumad people in Mindanao, other indigenous people and peasants in various parts of the country, have been subjected to violence, oppressed, driven away and robbed of their ancestral land. This is done for the sake of foreign companies and large capitalists and bureaucrats. Marcos continues to aggravate brutal state suppression and terrorism against people opposing foreign mining and environmentally destruction.

Despite having declared Davao de Oro and southern Mindanao provinces as “insurgency-free,” combat troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) continue to build camps in communities to intimidate people and repress their resistance. Wherever there are mining operations, the AFP is there to sow fascism. Many of these units are in the payroll of mining companies and serve as private armies to provide security.

The Maco tragedy underscores the need for the Filipino people to intensify their struggle against foreign mining and plunder of the country’s environment and wealth, from the mountains to ocean. We must unite the Filipino masses and raise their awareness and determination to fight large companies that are destroying the environment, as well as the AFP’s aerial bombings of forests.

The masses should be mobilized in their numbers against the further destruction of the environment to prevent new tragedies, rehabilitate the mountains, and defend the country’s patrimony for the benefit of the people and their future democratic government. The mass movement of the indigenous peoples and settlers plays an undeniable crucial role as they are the direct victims of the destruction of the environment. Thus, they are also the first to be attacked by the fascist AFP to pave the way for the operations of foreign companies. They are partners with the peasant movement, and various democratic forces in the cities to strengthen the mass movement in defense of the country’s wealth and environment.

The revolutionary armed struggle is the most effective way of defending the environment. The New People’s Army has repeatedly proved its determination and strength to sanction or eventually drive away foreign environmental plunderers and in shooting the fatal spear against the pro-imperialist reactionary state. In the face of the Marcos regime’s efforts to fully open the country to foreign mining companies, it is imperative for the NPA to strengthen to defend the masses and the environment.

Hold responsible Marcos, foreign capitalist plunderers and cohorts