Legal harassment case against barricading typhoon victims has no moral ascendancy

Feb. 03, 2013

Sisters’ Association in Mindanao

Press Statement
2 February 2013

“Care for the earth is a duty of our faith and a sign of our concern for all people. We should strive to live simply to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own need.” –Pope Paul II, Soli

SAMIN stands in solidarity with the victims of Typhoon Pablo especially those who have organized under the Barug Katawhan. We support the victims’ actions during the 10-hour barricade that took place on January 14th in Compostela Valley.

The lack of haste on behalf of the government in response to the cries of the people affected by our most recent disaster is deplorable.  The inactiveness of the government to address the environmental issues the Philippines is facing, threatens the future security of our nation. We believe therefore that the demands of the typhoon survivors were legitimate, just, and moral.

The legal case filed by the government does not have any moral ascendancy. It is the government that has failed the people with its disaster response and it could not fault its hungry constituents for demanding what is rightfully theirs.

We are again calling on the government to be accountable to the people in which they were elected to serve. Is human life not more precious than personal greed disguised as ‘national interests’?

It is our belief as the Sisters’ Association in Mindanao (SAMIN), that life is the most precious gift given to us by God. It is also our belief that our earth is the sacred space in which the Lord gave in order to sustain this gift of life. We as human beings have been given free will and dominion over all other living things, and have been entrusted with the care of this earth.

For these reasons, we as an association of consecrated religious women take a firm stand in our support of Barug Katawhan and all leaders now being harassed by government, together with the ever increasing need for climate justice awareness here in Mindanao.

We, SAMIN, are calling on our government to be accountable to, and serve the people. We are calling on the government to work more diligently on behalf of the concerns of your constituents who have elected you to the various offices you hold today. We demand the government to be more responsible in the laws being passed which continue to harm our people and our environment. We demand climate justice.

It is no secret that climate change is a threat, and is seriously affecting us here in Mindanao. Our brothers and sisters in northern Mindanao region are still suffering from the devastation of Typhoon Sendong, when just one year later Super Typhoon Pablo strikes southern Mindanao region — the deadliest typhoon to hit the Philippines yet. Even today, we SAMIN, continue to support relief efforts for victims of the most recent flooding here in Davao City. Will the destruction end?

Part of the answer unfortunately lies in the destructive environmental practices that our government has allowed to take place here in Mindanao.

Large-scale mining is destroying our land. Legal logging is destroying our forests. Both are making our environment more susceptible to natural disasters. For how much longer will we allow our leaders to continue to devalue human life for the benefit of multi-national corporate giants and the almighty dollar?

Indeed it is our leadership that continues to exploit our natural resources for corporate profit. As a democratic nation, we Filipinos hold the power in electing our leaders. It is through these leaders that our voices should be heard in the development and creation of laws that affect the majority. The people have spoken out: No to Large-Scale Mining! Yet, our leaders have neglected us. The proof is evident in the Mining Act of 1995 and EO 79. Both documents are very eloquently worded, yet vile in action. Our leaders have proven that they are more interested in profit than the dignity and livelihood of the average Filipino.

This will happen again. Weather patterns across the world are changing. Mindanao, which was once relatively safe from severe weather, is now in the danger zone.

SAMIN will continue to work together with the people and for the preservation of this gift; our land. We stand in solidarity with citizen-led organizations working on behalf of the people.

We demand our government to uphold the dignity of the Filipino people, and the integrity of creation! We stand in solidarity with those who have been unjustly charged for their efforts during the 10 hour barricade on January 14th in Compostela Valley. We demand climate justice!

Sr. Noemi P.Degala, SMSM
Executive Secretary

comments powered by Disqus