Malacanang’s approval and issuance of the ECC for the Xstrata-SMI gold-copper project in Tampakan is a plot hatched in hell. Pnoy is inexcusably accountable for this barefaced and traitorous act. He has proven once more his subservience to his real bosses — the big landlords, big comprador bourgeoisie and foreign monopoly capitalists that includes the large-scale miners. His assertion of the ECC also shows that his overhyped “matuwid na daan” (righteous path) is a bare and futile posturing conditioned to pave way for foreign encroachment and plundering of our national patrimony.
The approval of the ECC takes place when Mindanao still has to recover from the ruins of super storms Sendong and Pablo, and concurrent with the mine landslides in Semirara, Antique. This is a manifestation of the government’s disregard for the environment and public welfare.
To save Malacanang from public exasperation, DENR Sec. Ramon Paje explained they have specified relatable conditions as basis for the ECC’s continuity or cancellation. Their exertion however is barren and obviously fabricated to pacify public dissension. Certainly, the government is only pretending to be taking onto serious consideration the issues pertaining to the environment and the indigenous people’s welfare attached to the mining project. By issuing the ECC, Pnoy’s regime seals off these disputable questions and gives signal to the Xstrata-SMI’s resumption of its full operation.
The issuance of the ECC does not only imply the government’s stupid, irrational and manipulated assessment of (open-pit) mining’s devastating impacts. Exceeding this purpose, serving the ECC means giving the company an absolute control for the “cleansing” of the mining site in preparation for operations, and the escalating killings will soon intensify further to fulfill the miners’ greed for superprofits. The AFP does the butchery for the company, murdering anti-mining activists and slaying Lumad mining dissidents. The current issuance of the ECC is adding injury to the injustices inflicted against the B’laans in Bong Mal and all the victims of the Xstrata-SMI and its funded military forces under the 1002nd Bd – 10th ID Philippine Army.
The people’s clamor to scrap the atrocious Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942) was methodically treated by the government with contempt by coming up with the EO79 to ensure its maneuvering and manipulations favoring the multinational mining companies. It created the Cabinet-controlled Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) through which all decisions and final approvals of the DENR, MGB and EMB are centralized in Malacanang. Through this, the Malacanang promptly decided the approval and issuance of the ECC which is a disparagement to the people’s intensifying resentment. Adding insult to injuries, it blatantly defy and shelve the anti-open pit mining provisions of the Environment Code of South Cotabato which reflects the people’s real sentiment against the Tampakan gold-copper project. Instead, the national government forcefully carried out the anti-people and anti-national Mining Act of 1995 that allows environmental ruin and human catastrophe.
The securing of Xstrata-SMI’s ECC challenges the masses’ resistance on foreign large-scale mining. More than ever, the people will pursue a much wider and more intense denunciation and struggle against this government-backed multinational plunderer. Moreover, the B’laan people’s armed resistance in Bong Mal is virtuously in position to defend their ancestral land and right to self-determination.
The revolutionary forces in FarSouth Mindanao are resolutely embracing their utmost task to lead and be one with the people in the struggle against foreign and large-scale mining and all forms of state-backed anti-people, anti-national and environmentally destructive programs and projects.