Fortify widespread resistance against Duterte’s EO 130, neoliberal policies this Earth day

The National Democratic Front in Southern Mindanao marks this year’s Earth Day commemoration with strongest condemnation of the US-Duterte regime’s latest affront to the environment and the Filipino people: Executive Order No. 130, a neoliberal policy that lifts the moratorium on new mining agreements. It is an outright  plunder and sell-out of our resources and sovereignty to the interests of foreign large-scale large mining under the pretext of bolstering the country’s pandemic-stricken economy.
EO 130 ultimately caters to the insatiable greed of Duterte’s imperialist masters and local cronies who have for so long salivated over the country’s mineral-rich potentials. Without a doubt, the corrupt Duterte regime enacted EO 130 to facilitate the environmentally-destructive projects under the Build, Build, Build program in order to siphon off millions of pesos in contract kickbacks from its favoured imperialist and bourgeois-comprador cronies.
Already heavily burdened by Duterte’s fascist and inutile pandemic response, millions of Lumad and peasants are set to face the inevitable destruction of their lives and livelihood to be wrought by EO 130, as new mining ventures will surely displace them from their land and consequently open the floodgates for worse environmental disasters such as more violent flashfloods and landslides.
In the town of Pantukan in Davao de Oro, more than 1,000 families in Sitio Gumayan and Sitio Panganason in Brgy. King-king are fearing displacement by the resumption of the operations of mining giant St. Augustine Gold and Copper Ltd, which is owned by Duterte’s favored bourgeois-comprador and Philippines’ richest billionaire Manuel Villar. Representatives from the company, escorted by the mercenary 28th Infantry Battalion, have already coerced residents to attend “consultations” to discuss their pending displacement. The masses in both sitios have registered their rejection of St. Augustine’s plans, hence, the continued and heightened militarization by AFP troops in these areas.
In September last year, Lumad and peasant communities in Davao del Norte and Bukidnon likewise decried House Bill 7501 Pantaron Mountain Range National Park Act, a chip off the same neoliberal block as EO 130. HB 7501 wants the reactionary government to exercise full control over their ancestral domain and effectively drive them away from Pantaron and along Pulangi River. This furtive machination to drive away the Lumad and peasants from their land is a but a continuation of the US-Duterte regime’s militarized encroachment in Pantaron, which has more than 50 pending requests for mining exploration from big foreign companies in the past years. Communities along Pulangi River, meanwhile, are militarized as the Chinese-funded South Pulangi Hydro-Electric Power Plant project is underway.
Since 2018, boundary towns in the provinces of Davao del Norte, Bukidnon and Agusan del Sur straddling the mountain range of Pantaron have not seen respite from intense militarization, with combat operations by AFP troops, forced paramilitary recruitment and aerial and artillery bombardment destroying farms and forest areas and terrorizing communities. Just recently this April, the AFP fighter jets bombarded the hinterlands of La Paz town in Agusan del Sur to pave the way for the entry of large-scale mining in mineral-rich Mt. Kinambaihan.
As we commemorate this year’s Earth Day, we call on all revolutionary forces and allies to fortify the people’s struggle against environmental plunder anchored on the framework of class struggle. This struggle is intrinsically intertwined with the Lumad’s struggle for self-determination and defense of ancestral land and the Filipino peasantry’s struggle for genuine land reform against imperialist economic aggression and feudal exploitation. Lumad and peasants are the historical staunch protectors of our natural resources while imperialism and its social base, feudalism, are the notorious plunderers of the environment.
Red fighters have actively safeguarded the environment and the peasant and Lumad masses from aggressive foreign industries and the Duterte’s armed mercenaries that protect them. In choosing to punish large and foreign businesses which plunder the environment and exploit Lumad and peasants, the New People’s Army manifests its deep understanding of the importance of the people’s war to champion environmental welfware.
To resist Duterte’s profiteering and environmentally-destructive schemes, we must militantly break away from the imperial chains of large foreign companies, end feudal domination of landlords and build a national industry that sustainably harnesses our mineral resources and genuinely benefits the people.
Fortify widespread resistance against Duterte's EO 130, neoliberal policies this Earth day