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17/07

Filippijnen: internationale solidariteit met lokale gemeenschappen in Mindanao

Twee weken nu ben ik in de Filippijnen. Na een aantal bezoeken aan Mindanao, organiseerden we vanmorgen met de International Solidarity Mission een persconferentie om lokale gemeenschappen uit Mindanao te ondersteunen. Zij verzetten zich tegen schadelijke mijnbouwactiviteiten en krijgen daarom met repressie te maken.

We experienced first-hand the great influence and power Glencore-Xstrata-SMI wields in their extractive mineral operations

Tijdens de persconferentie drukten we, samen met de andere leden van de solidariteitsmissie, onze bezorgdheid uit over de repressie waar lokale gemeenschappen in provincies als Davao del Sur en Sarangani dagelijks mee te maken krijgen en die direct gelinkt is aan mijnbouw. Ik publiceer alvast de persmededeling, erg de moeite waard!

 

International Solidarity Mission

 

Press Statement

General Santos City

July 14-17, 2013

 

We, members of the International Solidarity Mission of the International Conference on Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines, express grave concern for on-going human rights violations in the Davao del Sur and Sarangani provinces. Violations of civil and political as well as social, economic, and cultural rights are evident, especially against the Lumad People. Bringing the voice of the international community, we join in solidarity with those who are struggling for the respect of their dignity and human rights and condemn the rampant human rights violations, militarization and development agression in the region.

 

Development agression and the greed that drives it postures imminent threats of forced displacement of lumad communities. The Aquino Administration's push for large-scale, foreign mining in the Philippines underscores disrepect for the cultural rights and ancestral domain of the Lumad people. Not only will foreign, large-scale mining poison watersheds and destroy ecosystems of this beautiful and fertile country, foreign, capital-driven mining, like that of Glencore-Xstrata-Sagittarius Mines, Inc (Glencore-Xstrata-SMI), proves again and again that profit rules over respect for the environment and the human rights of the people.

 

Even in so-called exploratory operations, Glencore-Xstrata-Sagittarius Mines, Inc, has already revealed its true character as being anti-people and a threat to the Lumad and their ancestral domain. The Bla'an people of Tampakan struggle under militarization and harrassment. The Capion massacre of October 18, 2012 in Sitio Alyong, Barangay Kimlawis, Kiblawan is a glaring example of the deplorable brutality with which state forces promote and secure the mining corporation rather than the Filipino people whom they are mandated to protect. As even our mission to the area was divested of rented vehicles, when a representative of Glencore-Xstrata-SMI allegedly threatened to revoke their contract with the company we had hired, we experienced first-hand the great influence and power Glencore-Xstrata-SMI weilds in their extractive mineral operations. In the face of such massive financial power, the resulting need for international solidarity and pressure at the side of the Filipino people in their quest for peace based on justice and respect of their ancestral domain and national sovereignty is evident. We unequivocally assert our condemnation of the Capion massacre and the continuing explicit human rights violations in the area as well as all efforts to displace the Bla'an people from their ancestral domain.

 

Militarization of Lumad communities must end. In our visit with a militarized community in Blasan, Barangay Malawanit, Magsaysay, Davao del Sur, we bore witness to the gripping fear that pervades militarized communities. Through methods of deceit, entrapment, forcible entry and occupation of their homes, divestment of properties, torture and forced displacement/hamletting, military and paramilitary violated basic rights and committed great offenses against the Lumad people. The intense climate of fear is compounded by the reality that the entire community is subjected to both a food blockade and restricted access to tilling, tending and harvesting their own fields. Such unconscienable action by military forces is tantamount to depriving the community to their right to life. Instead of protecting the community so their economic enterprises can prosper and thrive, the economic rights of the people have been so severely violated that in losing their harvests, some families have even lost the seeds needed for the next planting season. As we have listened to stories of women poked in the stomach by guns or forced from their homes at gunpoint, men who were placed in sacks and purposefully trampled or forced to act as military guides, youth who do not attend school due economic hardship, and babies born under forced evacuation/hamletting, our dismay and outrage at such abhorrent human rights violation became apparent. The call of the community is clear--the military MUST be made to respect the human rights of civilians! We call on the Aquino administraction to hold perpetrators of human rights violations accountable and to withdraw rights-violating military forces from Lumad communities.

 

Development agression, whether foreign or domestic, against Lumad communities should not be tolerated. The community of Bulol Kilot, Alabel, Sarangani has been on their land for generations, yet Angie Mayol broker of a fishing corporation claims that they are entitled to the land. This is nonsensical--how can people who have lived according to their own culture and social structures be underhandedly dispossessed of their ancestral land through government-tolerated machination? As they spoke of their mountain, which they call the Sacred Mountain, their connection to the land was undeniable. We find it absurd, that an outsider would even be tolerated in filing a case against the Bla'an community which if successful would force their demolition and relocation. We condemn this blatant land-grabbing and affirm the community is their assertion of their right to defend their ancestral land.

 

We are appreciative of the warm welcome we have received here in Mindanao. Each community has shared beautiful expressions of their culture and hopes for their children and people. We thank all those have hosted us for their generosity and hospitality. We commend the multitude of people we have met who have joined in a struggle for justice, peace and fullness of life. And we encourage the Filipino people to continue in holding foreign and local corporations accountable for their destructive plans and actions in your country.

 

Above all, we want to stress:

 

Lumad people, their cultures and their connection to the land of their ancestors must be respected. In the rabid competition for profit and gold, the human race is making a horrendous error by failing to recogize indigenous peoples as essential treasures of this nation. Foreign corporations and local developers should be prohibited from encroaching on the lands of our Lumad brothers and sisters. We would do well to listen to the voices of the Lumad people who call to "defend and protect the land" and we would be a better humanity if we respected and learned from their wisdom and cultural values. We call on the Lumad people to strengthen their strugle for what is right and good for all people of the world.

 

We are outraged by the human rights violations occuring in indigneous communities and we join our voices with the Filipino people, especially the Lumad, in urging the Aquino adminstration to repeal the Mining Act of 1995 and to end human rights violations and the climate of impunity that prevails in the Philippines.

 

We are resolved to bring the stories of the Lumad people to the broader community opposed to large-scale mining, militarization, and development agression. The international community will expose international policies and economic structures that ultimately violate the human rights and welfare of the Filipino people!

 

Mabuhi kang katawhan diri sa Mindanaw!

 

Long live the international solidarity!

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