Insurgency-free declarations precede neoliberal attacks
The US-Marcos regime’s so-called “pursuit of permanent peace and sustainable development in insurgency-free areas” is but a sugar-coated entry point for destructive neoliberal projects. In Negros Island, much like the rest of the country, the harmful effects to the people and the environment is too obvious to gloss over.
Areas in Negros Island proclaimed by the reactionary government as “insurgency-free” or has “dismantled” and “weakened” New People’s Army (NPA) guerrilla fronts have fallen prey to multinational corporations in connivance with big compradors and landlords.
Midan Mining Corporation has already initiated a mining exploration in Sta. Catalina, Basay and Siaton, Negros Oriental. There are also vested foreign corporate interests, aside from those of the Degamos, Teveses and Lopezes, in Tamlang Valley that covers five municipalities and Bayawan City in southern Negros Oriental.
Meanwhile, there are also on-going destructive mining activities in southern Negros Occidental, mainly Sipalay City, by Lepanto Mining, Selenga Mining, Maricalum Mining, Philex Mining and Colet Mines. More Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) applications for different areas in the province are still pending.
The Consunji family has also invested on a 6,000-hectare palm oil plantation in Candoni, Negros Occidental, still in southern Negros. More energy projects are also projected in Negros Occidental such as a modular nuclear power plant either in Sipalay City, San Carlos City or Cauayan, and solar farms in Cadiz and Calatrava. Anti-people and anti-environment projects are also eyed in the Northern Negros Natural Park.
The Negros Occidental Bulk Water Supply Project recently peddled by anti-farmer Gov. Lacson is actually a mega dam project that will cover Imbang River in Silay City and Malogo River, also in Silay City and the municipality of EB Magalona. From catastrophes such as floods to environmental and livelihood impacts caused by mega dams built in other parts of the country, Lacson is courting damning disaster with this venture.
Massive land conversion and reclassification to accommodate neoliberal interests on the island is also in a new wave of attacks such as the 1,080 hectare reclamation project in Bacolod City in line with Mayor Albee Benitez’ dream of transforming Bacolod into a “Super City,” and the 174-hectare reclamation project in Dumaguete City that is advertised to become a “Smart City.” The implementation of the Negros Island Region (NIR) puts in danger, as well, 87 hectares of agricultural land in Barangay Orong, Kabankalan City that is targeted for reclassification to become the center of the NIR where regional offices and commercial establishments will be built.
These neoliberal attacks are simultaneous with bloody focused military operations (FMO), and deceitful civil military operations and intelligence operations implemented by the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and its force multipliers to railroad the interests of the big comprador-landlords and multi-national corporations at the expense of the poor.
The people of Negros Island is currently suffering worsening humanitarian and socioeconomic crisis. The reactionary government’s sham “peace efforts,” contrary to National Security Adviser Eduardo Año’s claims, will surely spur the downtrodden masses to participate in armed revolution than abandon it.
Año’s pipedream of reducing revolutionaries to an ‘irrelevant number,’ is bound to fail. His statements regarding a lost ideology and non-support of the people is contradicted not only by his admission of an unattainable zero-insurgent status, but also because of the simple fact that neoliberal policies favor only them, while pushing the masses further to demand and fight for revolutionary change, in Negros and the entire country.###