NDF-SMR condemns eco-zone construction in Davao City’s militarized areas

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The National Democratic Front-Southern Mindanao Region (NDF-SMR) condemned the Duterte family’s plan to construct an economic zone in the most militarized areas of Davao City. This shows that land grabbing is the real objective of then Davao City and now vice president Sara Duterte-Carpio’s counterinsurgency campaign.

In the second week of July, the local government announced the conversion of a 25-hectare land in Barangay Daliao, Toril and an 80-hectare land in neighboring Bunawan and Tibungco, all in Davao City. Thousands of landless farmers and Lumads till these lands. Instead of awarding them the land they till, the Dutertes plans to construct an agro-industrial economic zone that will benefit bureaucrats (in the form of infrastructure kickbacks) and foreign companies.

These barangays were declared “insurgency-free” during the press conference of the 10th ID of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) last June 21. The declaration was made amid relentless militarization, massacres, killings, illegal arrests and detentions, intimidation, forced “surrenders” of civilians who are then forced to become members of so-called mass organizations.

Toril, in particular, has been subjected to intense militarization for over a decade. Last year, the 10th ID set up a fake farmers’ organizations to help pave the way for commercial plantations and other foreign companies. The NDF-SMR calls the plan to build sweatshops here “bullshit.” These will only exacerbate the problem of farmer’s and Lumad’s landlessness and will result in worse forms of exploitation of workers.

These “agro-industrial eco-zones” will transform productive agricultural lands to monocrop plantations and their processing and packaging plants, as well as tourist areas. These will dislocate farmers at once. In the long run, it will destroy the former productive soil due to the use of toxic chemicals (pesticides and others), like what happened in many Mindanao plantations.

Plans to construct eco-zones in other Lumad ancestral lands in other parts of the region are also underway. “In Talaingod, hectares upon hectares of land have been expropriated to build roads and resorts… evicting hundreds of Ata-Manobo families from their lands and livelihoods.”

NDF-SMR condemns eco-zone construction in Davao City’s militarized areas