“We reject the Apec’s policy prescriptions that allow foreign corporations such as Toronto Ventures and local compradors such as Alsons and DMCI to pollute and pillage our lands and resources.”
By DEE AYROSO
MANILA – Lumad and environmental groups staged a protest caravan against three large-scale mining and logging companies based in Makati City today Nov. 10, condemning their operations as “the brand of plunder and militarization” promoted in the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders’ summit.
“The Philippines’ brand of ‘responsible mining’ that will be showcased in the Apec is fraught with massive land grabs, militarization, and plunder,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan Peeople’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).
“We reject the Apec’s policy prescriptions that allow foreign corporations such as Toronto Ventures and local compradors such as Alsons and DMCI to pollute and pillage our lands and resources,” he said.
The protesters were composed mainly of Lumad delegates of the Manilakbayan, victims of human
rights violations resulting from operations in their communities by soldiers and paramilitary groups, acting as Investment Defense Forces (IDF) that aim to clear any opposition to the entry of mining companies.
“The Apec brand of mining liberalization and its accompanying security policies has rendered the Lumad and countless other indigenous peoples homeless in their own ancestral lands,” Bautista said.
At 10 a.m., the protest started at the office of the Toronto Ventures Inc.-Resources and Development (TVI-RD), along Paseo de Roxas avenue. The Canadian mining form operates a 5,287-hectare large-scale mine in the Zamboanga Peninsula.
The protesters proceeded to Chino Roces Avenue Extension, to the offices of the mining and real estate developer company, David M. Consunji Inc. (DMCI), and then to the Alcantara and Sons (Alsons).
Among the protesters was Sancio Calaba, a Manobo from Sultan Kudarat whose brother John was disappeared and is feared dead, after being seen in the company of private guards of DMCI, which has a logging concession in their community. The guards also serve as the Special Civilian Armed Auxilliary (Scaa), a government paramilitary unit.
Apec was established in 1989 as an economic forum that will push neoliberal globalization policies in the region. Now composed of 21 member countries, Apec represents 70 percent of global mining production and consumption. Recently, it came out with a an initial $958,000 fund to further promote mining liberalization in the region.
“Apec promotes global mining plunder. It pushes its poor member countries such as the Philippines to open up the industry to the unbridled exploitation of foreign mining companies. We oppose Apec and its schemes in robbing our country’s natural resources, and essentially its future,” Bautista said.