Resist land reclamation projects on Negros Island
The people of Negros has every right to resist massive land reclamation projects on the island that will displace urban poor and fishing communities and disrupt their livelihood, affect food supply and drastically destroy the environment amidst worsening climate change. These land reclamation projects are clearly for the interests of big business and for the swelling pockets of bureaucrat capitalists.
More than a thousand hectares of land is targeted for reclamation in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, particularly Barangays Banago, 1 and 2 while a 174-hectare reclamation project is threatening the coastline of Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. After reclamation, these areas will accommodate international ports, economic zones and commercial facilities. Local bureaucrats of both cities are in connivance with big business and foreign investors and are staunch instruments of neoliberal policies.
Bureaucrat capitalists like Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez are relentless in pushing for these destructive projects because of huge incomes despite the dangers to people’s lives and livelihood and the ecosystem. Around 10,000 Bacolod City residents, majority from Barangay Banago and mostly urban poor, will be forced to leave their homes. More or less 2,000 fisherfolks and fish vendors dependent on the fishing grounds targeted for reclamation are about to lose their livelihood.
In Dumaguete City, more than 900 fisherfolk families will be left homeless and out of livelihood if the 5-G ready “Smart City” project will push through. Meanwhile, according to environmentalists and scientists, the rich biodiversity of the region will also be affected including 150 species of corals, 200 species of fishes, nine species of seagrass and 20 species of mangroves. The targeted reclamation area will cover 62.5% of seagrass beds and 60.5% of coral reefs and not less than four marine protected areas along the coasts of Dumaguete. The destruction of marine life will affect the food supply of the entire Negros Island and the neighboring provinces, as well.
The people and natural resources of Negros Island are in grave danger with the all-out puppetry of Marcos Jr to US imperialism and its neoliberal impositions. He is opening all doors for neoliberal onslaught of privatization, liberalization and deregulation that will only aggravate the socio-economic conditions of the island and plunder its resources. Negros Island is not only threatened with massive land reclamation projects but also large-scale mining, destructive infrastructure projects, privatization of public utilities, sugar importation and liberalization of agriculture, and many others.
The Marcos II regime is breeding power-hungry and greedy bureaucrat capitalists like himself who are eager to lick the boots of foreign and big capitalists. Their corruption knows no bounds as they leech on the people’s coffers and negotiate kickbacks and bribes in exchange for government contracts and projects.
The current de facto martial law on the island aims to suppress the people and clear the way for multinational corporations, big bourgeois compradors, big landlords and bureaucrat capitalist to accumulate big profits. The recent declaration of Bacolod City as “insurgency-free” is for the benefit of multinational corporations and plunderers, to the detriment of the people of Bacolod and the entire island.
The National Democratic Front (NDF) – Negros stands with Negrosanons in the fight against massive land reclamation and other schemes in line with neoliberal economic policies. There must be an intensified island-wide effort to arouse, organize and mobilize Negrosanon workers, peasants and Tumandoks, fisherfolk, urban poor, semi-proletariat, women, youth and students, teachers and other professionals, church people, environmentalists, human rights activists and other oppressed and exploited sectors to effectively advance their democratic rights and aspirations by carrying out collective actions and resisting state terrorism and fascism.
The struggle against massive land reclamation and other economic aggression such as destructive large-scale mining, dams and other infrastructure projects and sugar importation must go hand-in-hand with asserting demands for higher wages, employment, lower prices of basic goods, and accessible social services and public utilities such as water, electricity and transportation, and, most importantly, promoting land reform and national industrialization. The youth, in particular, must lead the propaganda and education movement to raise the people’s anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and anti-fascist consciousness.
As the economic, political and cultural crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system exacerbates, the people will further struggle to advance their democratic mass struggles. But this will be for naught if the Party cannot muster the people and mobilize them towards revolutionary struggle, especially armed struggle, to advance the people’s democratic revolution that fights for genuine national freedom and democracy. Only through the people’s democratic revolution can the people be fully liberated from the chains of oppression and exploitation. Their strength is decisive in defeating imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. ###