MAC/20: Mines and Communities


Published by MAC on 2004-12-01


Soccsksargends AGENDA (Alliance for Genuine Development)

We, leaders and representatives of different people’s organizations, non-government organizations, church institutions, local government units, academe, media, youth and concerned individuals now come in unity as convenors of the Soccsksargends Alliance for Genuine Development or Soccsksargends AGENDA to struggle against the incursions of various development projects in the area of South Cotabato, Cotabato Province, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani Province, General Santos City and Davao Del Sur (Soccsksargends) in particular and the Philippines, in general.

We strongly condemn and oppose development aggressions that worsen environmental degradation; extensively exploit natural resources; endanger human health and livelihood; intensify human rights violations; and encroach and plunder indigenous peoples’ ancestral domain.

We are alarmed by massive and extensive foreign corporate exploitations in South Central Mindanao Area—having rich potential raw materials, its land, mineral and water resources are eyed for plunder by both transnational and multinational companies—to wit, the aggressive mineral explorations of Sagittarius Mines, Inc.; the massive commercialization of genetically modified corn by Monsanto, Pioneer Hybrid and Syngenta; the expansive plantation of Dole Philippines, Lapanday Group of Companies and AMS Corporation; and the extensive land-use conversions for oil palm of Agumil and KIDI and cassava plantations of San Miguel Corporation.

We denounce the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and Mineral Action Plan of the Arroyo government that allow the wholesale plunder of our natural resources by the transnational mining firms. Mining operations pose serious and imminent threats of another ecological and environmental disaster that is expectedly worse than the tragedy like the mine tailings spill in Boac, Marinduque in 1996 and flash floods in Aurora and Quezon Provinces in 2004.

We believe that the December 1, 2004 Reversal of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 allowing 100% foreign ownership of mineral resources development consequently protects only the interest of foreign transnational mining corporations and their local cohorts and putting the lives and livelihood of the Filipino people in the midst of danger and uncertainties, thereby causing the Supreme Court lose credibility as the last recourse of the citizenry.

We fear the extensive, intensified, escalating and worsening human rights violations because of intensified militarization conducted by the state security forces and their agents would continue devastate the lives and livelihood of the peasants communities, Bangsamoro people and indigenous peoples. We regret that the indigenous peoples became victims as some Lumad leaders were already bribed with the socio-economic projects traps and were being abused in massive mass-media drum beating of the exaggerated potential economic remuneration of mining operations.

We are alarmed with the extensive commercialization of genetically modified corn seeds of agrochemical MNCs that have stepped up their promotional and marketing campaigns by alluring the local farmers on the economic benefits of GM crops even with the looming danger of GM crops to the biodiversity and people’s health. We are perturbed by government’s adherence to genetically modified crops as alternative program for food security while we are troubled that patented genetically engineered seed further aggravate the elimination of indigenous seed and concentrate the corporate control and monopoly on seeds and chemicals.

We are apprehensive on the rapid expansion of multinational companies like Dole Philippines, Lapanday Group of Companies, AMS Corporation and its subsidiaries of their pineapple and banana plantations coupled with the massive destruction of the environment and human health particularly with the use of banned pesticides in aerial spraying in banana plantation. We are distressed with the massive land-use and crop conversion targeting the rich agricultural lands for oil palm plantations of Agumil, KIDI, etc. and the cassava plantations of San Miguel Corporation.

We deplore globalization as the scheming mechanism of foreign monopoly corporations and their local cohorts to exploit and plunder the natural resources to the detriment of the environment, undermining the people’s lives and livelihood, and infringe human rights.

We vehemently denounce the Arroyo government for the total sellout of national patrimony and economic sovereignty and for violating the essence of the Philippine Constitution by remaining dumbfounded and blinded of the immediate, instant and transitory economic benefits of these development projects and being numbed to the aggressions aimed at the people of South Central Mindanao.

We recognize the legal and legislative works as arena to further address and advance the struggle against development aggressions but we resist being contented on the existing laws recognizing the fact that most of them are flawed and being circumvented by the government itself and foreign corporate cohorts to their ends.

We are resolute that development aggressions will be eliminated and genuine development will be possible only when the corrupt and rotten structural system will be changed through the people’s effort and unity, and pursue a progressive, independent and self-sufficient economy that promotes the people’s control of natural resources, protects the environment and pursues genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization.

We further advance these fight to protect our children and the future generations in pursuance of the interest of the people. Thus, we commit ourselves to intensify the struggle against development aggressions, to defend our national patrimony, to fight for our economic sovereignty and to move forward genuine development as the agenda of the alliance.

To this end, we call on to:

Stop commercialization of GE crops and ban GMO products!

Cancel GE crops field testing and trial permits of Agrochemical TNCs!

Immediate medical assistance to the victims of chemical poisoning and GMO contamination!

Indemnify victims of chemical poisoning and GMO contamination!

Stop Militarization!

Implement the GRP-NDFP CARHRIHL!

Indemnify victims of human rights of violation and environmental tragedy!

Stop Land and Crop Conversion!

No to Economic Plunder!

Scrap Mining Act of 1995!

Reject Mineral Action Plan of GMA administration!

Promote People’s Mineral Policy!

Defend our National Patrimony and Sovereignty!

Done on this Earth Day Celebration 2005.

April 22, 2005 at the Fr. Jerome Memorial Hall,

Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Lagao, General Santos City

Signed by the delegates of the Regional Conference on Environment and Development Aggression

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