On the GRP’s interests in Masungi
NDF-Rizal is one with the people in condemning the Government of the Republic of the Philippines’ (GRP) decision to construct the Bureau of Corrections’ headquarters in the Masungi Georeserve site. Masungi has had a long history of land disputes because its vast lands are rich in natural resources. This is the real reason behind the reactionary government’s interest in the georeserve
The Masungi Georeserve is located in the 26,000-hectare Upper Marikina River Basin Landscape protected area in the towns of Baras and Tanay, and even Antipolo City, in Rizal province. Aside from being well-known for its 60-million-year-old limestone formations, it also sustains 400 species of flora and fauna. The georeserve also claims that the restored forest currently stores roughly 160,000 tons of carbon, equivalent to 66 million gallons of gasoline. Once the restoration is complete, it will be able to store almost 1 million tons of carbon and accumulate even more each year.
This possibility of the extraction of minerals and the large land area alone are enough to make land grabbers and bureaucrat-capitalists’ mouths water over potential profit.
Since the time of the US-Marcos dictatorship Masungi has been a hotbed of disputes between syndicates linked to illegal logging, quarrying and a number of landlords wanting to grab parcels for themselves. Not to mention that the area is also considered part of the Dumagats and Remontados’ ancestral domain but they never exercised their right over the land. Residents also currently face threats of demolition.
Today, the situation is not much different—while it is a conservation site, it remains entangled with land disputes, and has been a site of shooting incidents between goons and rangers in 2021 and 2022. Now, the reactionary government under the US-Marcos II regime inserts make conflicting interests grow more intensely as they push forward this decision.
The people cannot be fooled. They have all the reason to doubt the reactionary government’s intentions and to criticize this proposal. Whether for the resources or the land area, these bureaucrats are after profit and not some mere development of government structures.
The people should remain vigilant and immediately expose bureaucratic maneuvers toward landgrabbing. Anything that goes against the common interest of the people and the environment should be guarded and fought against. We call on the people to oppose the GRP’s decision to construct the Bureau of Corrections’ headquarters inside the Masungi reservation area. We must uphold protection of the environment against capitalist plunder and destruction. At the same time, we must uphold and protect interests of national minorities and people residing in the reservation’s area and vicinities.###