DAVAO CITY – A partylist lawmaker said that liberalized mining espoused by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation is the cause for rights violations of indigenous peoples all over the country.
“Development through mining under neoliberal globalization is a lie,” said Bayan Muna Partylist Carlos Isagani Zarate.
“Under the auspices of neoliberal globalization, it is profit that rules, not national development and progress. This is why mining in the Philippines and other poor countries results in land-grabbing, environmental destruction, and the further impoverishment of the people. Instead of development, the people are driven out of their lands or being killed, especially indigenous peoples whose lands hold abundant mineral resources,” he said.
“From the Igorot people in the north to the Lumads in the south, mining applications approved and rabidly defended by the Aquino government cover vast tracts of ancestral lands. The economic deals forged in the Apec will worsen ancestral land-grabbing and the militarization of communities,” Zarate added.
Zarate said there are at least 144 indigenous peoples, environmental defenders, and human rights activists who are victims of extrajudicial killings in Mindanao.
Mines and Geosciences Bureau data indicates 41% or 774,000 hetares of the 1.8 million hectare land area of the Cordillera region is covered by applications for mining. In Mindanao, 131,000 hectares of mining tenements encroach on Lumad lands.
“It is no wonder why the hundreds of indigenous peoples are here in Manila to join the Apec protests. They are sacrificial lambs in the altar of imperialist globalization,” Zarate said.
After the meeting of the APEC Mining Working Group last August, a new APEC fund of US$ 958,000 was contributed by Australia to launch finance projects that will push the mining liberalization policy across the region. (davaotoday.com)