SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
On Thursday PANALIPDAN-Mindanao released a statement condemning President Aquino’s policies which allow for large scale mining which in turn create environmental man-made disasters, such as the large scale flooding and destructive land slides which ravaged the Southern Mindanao Region:
“No one else is to blame but President Noynoy and large scale mining corporations on the lives lost to typhoon Pablo,” said Sr. Stella Matutina, secretary general of PANALIPDAN-Mindanao, a network of environmental defenders, in response to National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee (NDRRMC) Usec. Benito Ramos’ statement that the typhoon Pablo tragedy is due to illegal mining.
“Stop blaming the people of Mindanao for not leaving their disaster-stricken homes and the small-scale miners for doing such a living,” Sr. Matutina said. “Small scale mining has been sustainable since the time of the Lumad forefathers. It is not like when large scale mining came in to our towns, destroy our ancestral lands – that’s when disasters start coming upon us,” Sr. Matutina said. “This typhoon would not have been this tragic if not for the logging and foreign mining companies ravaging our mineral resources,” Sr. Matutina continued.
“We are here in Manila to let every Filipino know, especially the Aquino government, that the peoples of Mindanao have suffered enough! Foreign large-scale mining has to stop now,” Matutina said. “Our leaders had been killed by the AFP and the paramilitary groups because of their opposition to foreign mining companies. Typhoon Pablo’s disastrous effects on our people and communities only highlight our vulnerability because of these government-favored corporations. And now, the Noynoy government is blaming the Mindanawons for being stubborn to evacuate,” Matutina said.
“EVACUATE?” the nun repeated the word. “We have already evacuated long before the typhoon came in,” Sr. Stella said. She said indigenous peoples had long left their ancestral lands due to severe military operations and military harassments in their communities.
“Unless foreign large-scale extractive mining and other business interests will be stopped, we fear that Mindanao will soon be divided into three: one, foreign companies’ land; two, evacuation centers of both people from disaster stricken areas and those affected by military operations; and three, cemetery.” Sr. Matutina said.