By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — According to Rafael G. Baylosis, member of the Reciprocal Working Committee for Socio-Economic Reforms (RWC-SER) of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the people’s growing anti-mining stand is just.
In a round table discussion on the updates of the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (Gph) and the NDFP at the Sarmiento Hall of the University of the Philippines Baguio, Baylosis said that the Filipinos especially the indigenous peoples (IPs) always had the right to protect their lands and resources from destructive large scale mining (LSM).
He said that these resource extraction activities cause communities’ physical dislocations and economic displacement among the people.
“Hindi na nga nakikinabang ang mga tao dahil mga malalaki at dayuhang korporasyon lang ang kumukuha sa mga mineral, nasisira pa ang kapaligiran,” (The people do not benefit from mining because big and foreign corporations take the minerals) Baylosis added.
Baylosis said that actually the mining industry is essential to the economic growth of a nation. He said that the extracted are used in producing necessary machinery, technology and are needed for heavy industry.
However he said, the present Philippine mining industry is not owned and operated by Filipinos. He explained that the kind of mining in the country which is dominated by big foreign corporate mining is large scale exploration and extraction which is also destructive.
The refining and intermediate processing he said is done in other countries. The extracted materials from the mines of the country are exported immediately abroad. “Pati na nga yung lupa at mga bato kung saan nandun yung mga mineral ay kasama na sa pinapadala sa ibang bansa,” (Even the soil and rocks where the minerals are, are shipped to other countries) said Baylosis. This he said is because the country has no capacity to process them here.
According to Baylosis, the NDFP with the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New Peoples Army(CPP-NPA) support the struggles of the Filipino communities especially the IPs against LSM.
He said that the protection of the rights of the people to their ancestral lands and resources from plunder and destruction brought by corporate mining is included in the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) proposal.
He added that one of the proposals is the proper utilization of resources by the Filipino people where it will be most beneficial with high regard for the preservation of the environment and resources.
Immediately, he said that Gph should also assert what is stated in the 1987 Philippine Constitution on the ownership of corporations and industries which clearly provides that more than 40% foreign ownership of corporations and industries should not be allowed.
“Kung pangangatawanan ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas yun ay malaki ang tulong nito sa mga Pilipino kahit papano sa ngayon,” (If ever the Philippine government will stand for this, it will be a great help to the Filipinos even in its present state). Baylosis said.
The discussion was hosted by the UP All Workers’ Union and the UP academe. # nordis.net