By AMIANAN SALAKNIBAN
“Niloko kami ng kumpanya” has been the chorus lament of people all over the country suffering the effects of large-scale mining in their communities. Fool’s day, it seems, is not only on April for these people, but in every day of their lives.
Twenty years since the liberalization of mining, the ‘development’ that the existing companies assured the people is still felt nowhere. Instead, millions of hectares of Philippine soil have been ravaged by large-scale mining and hundreds of people protecting the land have been killed. Our environment has changed but nothing has changed for the people, because as the riches of the earth abound beneath their feet, the people who own the lands remain among the poorest of the poor.
Large mining companies, with all their might, power, technology and money, can do a lot of things; one of which is depriving the people of their lives. Over the decades, the people have expressed countless negative experiences brought about by this kind of development aggression. Yet still, the state faces them with deaf ears and, more so, helped the perpetrators gain more from the suffering of the people by cooking up laws and using state tools for their end purposes.
It’s like a cyclical pattern of schemes that every mining-affected community in the country has experienced. They do it by fooling and forcing large-scale mining into the people. If you’re interested in learning how it’s done, here’s a quick recipe.
1. Use 4 cups of the country’s mining law (Mining Act of 1995 brand is preferred) as the base ingredient. Dilute its many provisions for it to be lenient to the entry of foreign companies. Add in a huge amount of incentives, privileges, and guarantees. Fold in 100% concentrated ownership, and capital repatriation. Sprinkle a bunch of easement rights, water rights, timber rights and tax incentives. The strong smell of the base will surely attract investors enough to make their mouth water with greed. Put it in the government oven and wait until golden brown.
2. When the law is cooked to perfection, set aside. When cooled, glaze a thin layer of Noynoy’s EO79, to coat the law and make it shiny to environmentalists and anti-mining advocates. This will also cover up the foul smell emanating from the depths of the rotten law.
3. In a separate bowl, combine ½ cup of DENR, 1 cup of MGB and 2 cups NCIP to carry out the will of the mining companies by making them convince the people in the mining affected communities to say yes to mining.
4. Blend together the mining companies and the local elite companies until smooth. Mix and mingle with local political dynasties in mining areas and gain their trust. Shower them with gifts and give them shares. This combination will make the whole mining application process creamy and smooth.
5. In cooking the consent of the people, the FPIC is such a bother as it makes the process rubbery or ‘makunat’. Just sprinkle some bribery here and there for the officials and local elders of indigenous peoples to make the process faster. Marinate the people with promise of prosperity and progress – that which can never be given to them by the government.
6. To cover the foul odour of mining from the people, use the utter neglect of the government to carry out “development” in the mining areas by making Corporate Responsibility Projects potpourri. Do this by combining finely chopped infrastructures, roads, scholarships, hospitals, and other social aids to entice the people to approve mining.
7. If the people are still adamant and ‘makunat’ to assent, there’s always the ‘Oplan Bayanihan tenderizer’ to soften them up by using deceit and violence as a method. Use either the government military brand called AFP or some paramilitary goons to protect the entry of the mining companies and its equipment, to force the people out of their homes and lands, to destroy barricades, to enforce demolitions, and to secure the sites.
8. With a use of a knife, slice and remove the leaders and members of the people’s movements and the community naysayers. This will create fear among those environmentalist and advocates thinking they can stop the operation. Don’t forget to label them ‘communists’ or ‘NPA rebels’ extorting money from the company. You can also brew a pint of lies and intrigues surrounding activists to lessen the people’s trust in them. In this government anyway, existing laws and conditions are not favorable towards punishing perpetrators of human rights, especially for those who hold political power. You can easily get away with murder here.
If the above mentioned process seems insufficient and the people’s resistance keeps on escalating, you can always repeat steps 1 and 2. Add more glaze and more sugar to the law. Don’t forget to ensure steps 7 and 8 are implemented properly. If repeating the cycle over and over is still not enough, well then, it proves that the people’s might is more powerful than any force. Just give up. Companies and the state can employ every means to subdue the people but when united, the peoples’ will shall prevail. # nordis.net