Destruction of 110,000 hectares of land, thousands dislocated in Caraga for coal mining

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caragaCaraga region is currently the target for the largest coal mining in Mindanao. In total, more than 110,000 hectares of Caraga’s land is being targeted for coal mining. This means further destruction of forests and mountains for mining. This will dislocate and destroy the livelihood of thousands of people and worsen the rapid climate change of the planet.

The current regime’s decision of choosing the further destruction of forests, land and environment and dislocate the people for coal mining is the same as declaring war against the people and against the environment.

Thus, NDFP-NEMR in turn declares war against the senseless and greedy decision of Malacañang to promote coal mining in Caraga and sacrifice the interests of the people and the environment.

The more than 110,000 hectares of land have been allocated among mining capitalists. More than 20,000 hectares of land in the region has been awarded by the government for mining to the capitalists Abacus Coal Exploration, Great Wall Mining, Benguet Corp. and Bislig Ventures. Another 7 large companies have been allowed to appropriate more than 30,000 hectares for exploration, while another 62,000 hectares are being offered by the US-Aquino regime for such.

Widespread coal mining will cause significant damage to the environment and people that would intensify the destruction resulting from nickel mining and agricultural plantations in Caraga. The coal will feed the power plants or coal-fired power plant (CFPP). These plants will discharge hazardous emissions that would aggravate global warming and contribute to climate change. This problem is escalating as shown by the increase and intensity of typhoons like Yolanda, Pablo and Sendong.

This will also result to dislocations of Lumads and farmers as the target area encompasses the ancestral lands of the tribes and farmlands of peasants. This also means militarization to brutally suppress those who oppose, harass and drive away residents from the area that the capitalists will mine, like what has been done to the more than 6,000 residents of 6 municipalities of Surigao del Sur.

This is in contrast to the land reform program implemented by the revolutionary movement. The reactionary government is instead strengthening land monopoly of big capitalists instead of solving landlessness of farmers.

Based on the decision of the NDFP-NEMR, the regional command of the NPA-NEMR commands all units within its territory to carry out punitive actions to prevent coal mining companies from operating in the areas, by destroying their equipment, preventing their agents or administrators from entering the area and attacking their armed troops.

The masses within the areas affected by mining are called upon to use different methods to expose, oppose and prevent these destructive projects. We also call upon groups and individuals who are for the good of the environment and the people like the church people, environmentalists, government officials and many others, to unite to oppose and block the exceedingly destructive coal mining.

We are also warning local businessmen and contractors to refrain from doing business with coal mining to avoid the destruction of your equipment and business.

There are plans of establishing 59 coal-fired power plants in the Philippines and half of these number will be in Mindanao. At present, in Mindanao, two coal power plants are operating, one in Misamis Oriental and another in Davao City. Another 3 plants are being contracted in Maasin (Sarangani), Sta Cruz (Davao del Sur) and Phividec (Misamis Oriental).

The US-Aquino regime is strongly pushing for coal energy to answer the needs of big capitalist companies, instead of implementing sustainable, safe and clean energy like hydro, solar and air.

This program directly violate the resolution at the recent world conference in Paris that prohibits the building of new coal-fired power plants and the gradual abandonment of coal energy because of its highly destructive effects.

We should not be fooled by the promise of the people benefitting from coal mining, and the added promise of clean emission from modern coal-fired power plant. Whatever small gain people get from coal energy can never compensate for the severe destruction that it will bring to society and the environment

Lastly, let us push for projects that sincerely serve the people and protect the environment.

Ka Maria Malaya

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