Editorial: A week-long deception

www.nordis.net

Only in a government as shameful as that of the Philippines’ can you find an event that celebrates the evils and atrocities committed on its people. The annual Mines Safety Week is nothing but a validation of how the government is willing to sacrifice anything that is “not profitable.”

Large-scale corporate mining portrays itself as a socially and environmentally responsible industry, when it has long been condemned because of the destructive impact and various violations it has committed against different communities in the country.

Specifically, in the Cordillera, the issue of mining permeates into the everyday lives of indigenous peoples. Almost every province in the region suffers from the ill effects of large-scale mining. The Abra River has been declared unsafe for humans in 2008 because of the contamination from mine tailings and waste.

All provinces where the river passes are adversely affected by the chemicals dumped into the river, from Abra, to Mountain Province, down to Ilocos Sur. The Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation has yet to accept responsibility for polluting the river.

In Benguet, areas where past mining operations have been conducted are now barren wastelands. Several barangays in Mankayan have experienced massive sinking and landslides that affects a wider area every year.

Beyond the apparent economic effects and the irreparable environmental repercussions of large-scale mining, political and cultural consequences are also at play. Because the government chooses to side with foreign and corporate plunderers, land-grabbing became prevalent in the region.

The Cordillera mountain ranges filled with rice terraces and rich forests are being transformed into a treasure hunting spot. And with large-scale mining operations slowly taking over the region, involuntary migration becomes more and more rampant. Communities are being forced to leave their ancestral lands resulting to the loss not just of their livelihood but of their cultural identity as well. And when the people choose to stand up for their rights, mining corporations with the aid of the government and the military respond by using trump-up charges, death threats or worse, extra-judicial killings.

Instead of relevant programs to address the concerns about the mining industry, the people have been given the Mines Safety Week – a week long celebration of whitewashing the calls by the people for proper compensation for the loss of lives and livelihood. It is painfully insulting as this “celebration” is but a drop in the bucket of gimmicks in the larger deception of the people brewed by mining corporations and their local cohorts.

Despite the ever-present dissent against the Mining Act of 1995, none from the past and present administrations have ever listened to the affected peoples’ communities to rescind it. And even if the complaints are backed up with irrefutable evidence, the government prefers to be blind, deaf and dumb.

Decades of the peoples’ struggle for the respect of their rights and for justice against the destruction of their environment, their homes and their livelihood were answered by a week-long celebration of their lies. Nothing will ever be safe when large-scale mining corporations are free to do whatever they want and made to get away with it. The violations committed by corporate mining is growing against the communities and the Mines Safety Week celebration will not be enough to hide the horrors of the rotting industry. As the injustice and deception continues, the people will have no choice but to stand up for their rights to a safe and healthy environment, to their ancestral lands, and to Life. #

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Shameless oligarchs

There is no honor upholding a promise to representations for a nationally recognized, historically established plunderer and a dead bloody fascist dictator before a hundred fold of ten thousands of anti-Marcos activists and their communities who are protesting the burial of his alleged remains in a cemetery reserved for the heroes of a republic, especially for whatever they want it to symbolize. Only a community of thieves and robbers will celebrate with all the pomp and glitter their sincere recognition of the best plunderer amongst them with good riddance to top it!

The people have and are moving on, and with that dark era of Philippine history in mind they shall know better to prevent seating another tyrant. Why do you think there is a push for the peace negotiations to address the roots of the armed conflict and for justice? # nordis.net

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