NDF-EV lambasts state terrorists, corporate plunderers over extreme flooding, landslides in vulnerable communities


The National Democratic Front – Eastern Visayas today said the extreme flooding and landslides experienced in the region and other parts of the country must prompt the people to exact climate justice and demand accountability over the environmental crimes perpetrated by big capitalists, landlords, government agents and their mercenary security forces.

The NDF-EV said that long years of large-scale deforestation by logging corporations have taken toll on the capacity of forests to hold water and prevent flash floods and landslides.

“The decrease in forest cover and terrestrial biodiversity are significantly aggravated by terrorist bombing and artillery shelling even in areas within the Samar Island Forest Reserve,” said the NDF-EV. Just last year, supposedly protected forests of Paco, Imelda, San isidro (Barangay “Logging”) villages in Las Navas, Northern Samar as well as those in San Jose de Juan and San Jorge, Western Samar have been rained with bombs by the 8th Infantry Division and the Joint Task Force Storm.

The NDF-EV also lambasted Marcos’ cousin and House Speaker Martin Romualdez who violated an existing provincial ordinance that bans large-scale mining in Western Samar. “By circumventing reactionary laws, the Romualdez-owned Marcventures Holding extracts bauxite in 12,213-hectare of bauxite-bearing lands covering towns of Matuiguinao, Gandara, San Jose de Buan, Paranas, and Motiong in Western Samar — whose forests are covered within the Same Island Forest Reserve. Note that communities in these areas were badly hit by the heavy and sustained downpour this month,” the NDF-EV argued.

Eastern Samar, which declared state of calamity due to severe flooding, also serves host to at least five mining companies that extract 9,121 hectares of chromite, manganese, cobalt and other associated mineral deposits in the province. Open pit mining by billionaire Manuel Zamora’s Nickel Asia in Homonhon and Manicani islands (supposedly protected landscapes and seascapes under the Guian Marine Reserve) continues despite widespread opposition by residents, church people, and environmental groups.

In Leyte, amid severe flooding and fishkill due to mining in the past, the DENr-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) granted permit to MacArthur Iron Project Corporation to extract black sand to be exported to China.

Data show that mining and quarrying sector in the region grew by 84.7% from 2015-2018. DENR-MGB approved 25-year extraction to at least 12 contractors in the whole region.

“Corporate plunder of the environment unmasks itself not only through extractive businesses but also through graft-laden public works and big-ticket infrastructure projects,” the NDF-EV said.

It cited the case of Las Navas and Catubig, Northern Samar, where the uncompleted dam structures, irrigation facilities and canals under the corruption-ridden multibillion Help for Catubig Agricultural Advancement Project (HCAAP) have inundated rice farms and flooded communities.

In Catbalogan City, Western Samar, the local government’s Samar Sky City Project is literally converting a hill into a commercial district. “In the name of tourism and profit, the local government played deaf to cautions from a scientific study of Samar State University showing that various stages of the project will lead to increased runoff and flooding in low-lying communities in the city. The extreme flood experienced in Catbalogan City this month is testament to this,” the NDF-EV noted.

In Leyte, the construction of the P7.9 billion worth Tide Embankment Project, a 27.3 kilometer seawall, continues despite opposition from scientists that it will worsen floods due to disrupted inland drainage system. “The severe flooding in the city this month is proof to the dangers of disaster capitalism and should strengthen calls to stop other destructive undertakings such as the proposed Tacloban Causeway Project and similar reclamation projects that will block natural waterways and will result to inland flooding.”

“Mining billionaires like Romualdez and bureaucrat capitalists like his cousin Marcos who live in high mansions need not worry about floods and landslides. But the ordinary Filipinos who rely on their natural environment for food and whose houses are built on hazardous terrains suffer the brunt of terrorist bombing, corporate plunder, and ecologically-devastating infrastructure projects. It is high time that the people expose and hold accountable these environmental criminals,” the NDF-EV ended.

NDF-EV lambasts state terrorists, corporate plunderers over extreme flooding, landslides in vulnerable communities