Short-lived quarry ban unmasks DENR's lip service

The National Democratic Front (NDF) – Negros expresses its grief for the more than a hundred lives lost caused by landslides in Itogon, Benguet and City of Naga, Cebu after Typhoon Ompong. The devastation brought about by grave damage to the environment is a result of large-scale mining and quarrying by foreign multi-national corporations (MNC) in partnership with local big compradors.

To save face, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Roy Cimatu ordered the immediate suspension of quarry operations all over the country to show its phoney concern for the danger it brings. But after only a few days the quarry ban was lifted. Clearly the pressure of big mining interests in the country is irresistible. Duterte’s tirade against large-scale mining and quarrying is only a worn out old song as Duterte has always acted for his bureaucrat capitalist interests and in favor of his wealthy patrons and benefactors.

The quarry ban lifting further exposes the pro-imperialist, anti-people character of the US-controlled Duterte regime. It only gives lip service to the Filipino people. Amid skyrocketing prices of basic goods especially rice and the wave of increases in oil prices, Duterte has remained silent on these matters and is instead generating issues blown out of proportion to distract the people from the ailing conditions of the country such as Trillanes’ arrest, Mocha Uson’s blunders and Duterte’s wildest delusion of a collaboration between the Magdalo group, the Liberal Party and the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army to oust him this October.

The local governments in Negros are no different from its national counterpart. Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon and Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo are puppets of the US-Duterte regime in the implementation of neoliberal policies that destroy the Philippine economy and the environment.

NDF Negros challenges the provincial governments to put a stop to destructive mining and quarry operations. These are rampant in the whole island especially in southern Negros. Particularly in Kabankalan City, not less than 20 quarry operations are currently operating. Will local government react only when there is a death toll and after they have already satisfied their bulging pockets with people’s money?

The NDFP’s proposal for the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms does not allow destructive mining and quarry operations all over the country. Duterte’s cancellation of peace talks with the NDFP deprived the Filipino people of CASER’s programs on National Industrialization and Economic Development and Agrarian Reform and Rural Development that address the roots of the problems of the Filipino people.

Until the country is under the auspices of US imperialism and is dominated by big compradors and land lords, the exploitation and oppression of the Filipino people will continue. The people’s democratic revolution thru a protracted people’s war remains as the solution for the people to achieve genuine freedom and national liberation.

Short-lived quarry ban unmasks DENR's lip service