Tag Archives: SMC

Militants slam new DENR chief for evading talks on Laiban dam

By Chocolate Moose Fernandez

Manila, Philippines-Militant groups opposed to the ambitious
P 52-billion Laiban dam project in Tanay, Rizal slammed newly appointed Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Eleazar Quinto for evading a dialogue with their leaders last Thursday.

Leaders of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Pamalakaya-Southern Tagalog, Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Kasama-TK), Anakpawis party list and Katribu party list were scheduled to meet Sec. Quinto for the dialogue but the new secretary was not present prompting activists to temporarily blocked the entrance and exit gates of the environment office last week.

Pamalakaya vice-chair Salvador France said the letter urging Sec. Quinto to face the opposition groups to Laiban dam project was delivered on Jan.12, about 10 days before the scheduled meeting. The letter was received by the DENR receiving section on the same day.

“Secretary Quinto is evading the issue which is a matter of life and death to affected fisherfolk, farmers and indigenous communities. For the information of Mr. Quinto, Laiban dam project will directly displace 20,000 upland villagers,” France stressed.

The Pamalakaya leader added: “It seems to us that the P 52-B Laiban dam project between MWSS and San Miguel Corporation is a done deal and Sec. Quinto is compelled by the appointing authority to follow the anti-people multi-billion project. That’s the reason for the snub.”

France said the P 52 billion dam project was part of the exchange deal between Mrs. Arroyo and SMC chair Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, the group added.

Last week, officials of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) announced that the deal will with SMC will be sealed not later than March. MWSS administrator Diosdado Jose Allado said the government targets to award the project to largest food and beverage conglomerate upon the submission of necessary requirements.

Pamalakaya said to sow disunity and terror among indigenous people, the Armed Forces of the Philippines had stepped up its recruitment for Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) among the Dumagat and Remontado allocating 20 percent of its personnel for the indigenous peoples. The latter have long denounced this military scheme, saying CAFGU recruitment sows disunity among them.

Most villagers however continue to refuse joining the CAFGU believing that they are just being used by the military as a cannon fodder or shields for their counter-insurgency operations.

Military atrocities in the Southern Tagalog region peaked in 2000-2001 when 11 military battalions were deployed in the area, causing the displacement of about 220 indigenous families living in four provinces, including Rizal and Quezon.

The dam, when finished, will provide an average 1.89 billion liters of water a day for some 5.5 million residents of Metro Manila and surrounding provinces by 2015. The project will also include a hydropower plant to supply 25 megawatts of electricity. #


Filed under agriculture, disaster, environment, human rights

NPC’s ganging up of Chiz shows Danding Mafia rule— Militants

By Chocolate Moose Fernandez and Lollipop de los Reyes

Manila, Philippines-Leftwing militants belonging to Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday said the ganging up of erstwhile Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) presidential candidate Sen. Francis Escudero by his party mates led by Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco and son Rep. Mark Cojuangco was lucid testimony that Danding and sons operate the political party like a Mafia.

“The NPC is being run by the Danding Cojuangco mafia, and those who will oppose the sinister agenda and cruel intentions of the ruling syndicate shall be expelled from the party. The case of Senator Francis Escudero is highly evident here. After bolting out from the Cojuangco party, the senator is now being persecuted by the rabid lapdogs of the NPC,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

Yesterday, Danding’s son Rep. Mark Cojuangco admitted that radical positions taken up by Sen. Escudero on several issues that support the call of Filipino workers for P 125 across the board wage increase and the immediate scrapping of billions of debts incurred by farmers under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) caused the split between the senator and the NPC founded by Danding in 1992 as his vehicle when the chair of San Miguel Corporation ran as President.

The young Cojuangco said the position of Escudero in favor of legislated wage increase might cause the collapse of the business ,while the proposal to condone billions of pesos in debt incurred by farmer beneficiaries under CARP should have wait for the inventory of the debts before the NPC takes an official stand.

“What is wrong in calling for the legislative approval of P 125 across the board daily wage hike for Filipino workers? What is wrong with the proposal to condone debts incurred by farmers under the bogus CARP? There’s nothing wrong about these advocacies,” added Hicap.

On the other hand, Pamalakaya said what was immoral and patently despicable was the annoucement of Liberal Party presidential standard bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino on national TV that he was seeking a dialogue and reconciliation with Danding, while on the other hand remains elusive and non-committal to demands of Hacienda Luisita agricultural and farm workers for the free distribution of land, which he asserted, was acquired by the Cojuangcos through unjust, immoral, coercive and unlawful means.

Pamalakaya asserted that it is public knowledge that Danding wants a considerable portion of Hacienda Luisita for the expansion of San Miguel Corporation, and a Noynoy presidency will make the Pacman’s dream to come true.

On December 18, 2008, the Hacienda Luisita Management signed by Hernan M. Gregorio, Jr. — assistant Estate Manager of HLI imposed a deadline to farm workers that they only have up to October 30, 2009 to harvest and finish all land cultivation activities inside the hacienda.

In response to the Oct. 30 deadline, some 50 supporters of Hacienda Luisita farm workers staged a mass demonstration outside the Cojuangco business building in Makati City this morning, and issued their own cease and desist order against the Luisita management.

In their two-page cease and desist order, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) declared the Hacienda Luisita Oct.30 deadline null and void, immoral, unlawful and fatally flawed.

Hacienda Luisita has been under stock distribution scheme since the implementation of CARP in 1991 during the Aquino administration, which the groups said superficially, classified the farmer-beneficiaries as “stock-holders. KMP and UMA said the SDO commenced with the massive land use conversion (LUCs) that left only about 3,200 hectares of agricultural lands from the original 7,500 hectares in 1958.#

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Dumagats launched Tanay-Manila caravan vs. Laiban dam

by Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines- Leaders of indigenous Dumagat communities in Tanay, Rizal went on Tanay-Manila protest caravan against the revival of the mothballed Laiban Dam Project.

In a press statement sent to The Pamalakaya Times, leaders of Dumagat indigenous groups asserted that the $ 1 billion dam project would submerge 7 barangays in Tanay and 2 in Gen. Nakar, Quezon province.

The protest caravan, which came a week after lawmakers from the House of Representatives filed a bill seeking a halt on all flagship dam projects in the country in the aftermath of the San Roque Dam flooding of provinces in Northern Luzon. The caravan was also joined by farmers, fisherfolks and other sectors from Southern Tagalog, and it is part of the weeklong activities to commemorate peasant week.

Among the Dumagat leaders, Lupe de la Cruz,70 of Sitio Nayon, Brgy. Sta. Ines, Tanay said that they are firm in their stand against the construction of the dam citing its severe effects to their livelihood, safety, and ancestral domain.

“Mawawalan kami ng tirahan at ang ang aming mga pananim ay lalamunin ng tubig. Papaalisin kami sa aming lugar na hindi naman namin alam kung ang paglilipatan sa amin ay may pananim o wala; o kung malaya ba kaming nakakapaglakad katulad sa aming lupang ninuno na walang humahadlang sa amin”, he said

The Laiban Dam project which started in the 1970s recently saw its revival following moves of San Miguel Bulk Water Co., Inc, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation owned by landlord Danding Cojuangco to submit an unsolicited joint venture proposal to MWSS to develop the dam.

Government data showed that some 4,413 families will be directly displaced including Dumagat and Remontado communities, while downstream communities are also at risk of disastrous flooding should the project pushes through.

De la Cruz also chided military atrocities in their area, ranging from intimidation to direct threats among residents vocal against the project. Increased military presence were also observed in the area.

“Mahirap lumabas sa mga kabayanan dahil iniimbestigahan kami ng mga militar, tinatanong kung kasapi ng NPA”, he furthered.

On October 17-18, Dumagat leaders joined the solidarity mission “Lakbay Pakikiisa”, initiated by multi-sectoral groups in the region led by BAYAN-ST, Serve the People Corps, Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Kabataan and the indigenous Katribu partylists to provide relief and rehabilitation to communities in Tanay, Rizal that have yet to receive help from the government despite the damage Typhoon Ondoy has wrought.

The group traversed the bumpy roads for 4 hours leading to Brgy. Sta. Ines, where at least 1,300 families waited and availed of the relief goods. Medical and psycho-social services were also extended to the residents.

The coordinated protests also marked the 18th anniversary of Calabarzon Project, an extensive development project in Region IV-A which has brought destruction to peasants, fisherfolks, and urban poor communities over the region in favor of foreign and local business interests.

“The 18 years of Project CALABARZON has only brought tragedy and has only worsened the lives of the people in the region with its pro-capitalist and pro-imperialist leaning. The government made it appear as a developmental project when in reality, only few business interests who would benefit from it”, said Imelda Lacandazo, spokesperson of the militant KASAMA-TK.

She furthered that massive land conversion and infrastructure building have already displaced farmers, fisher folks and urban poor communities, and have caused serious blow to the environment.

Similar protest actions were also held in Batangas Pier and Trece Martires City in Cavite while members of the Save Laguna Lake Movement also staged a protest caravan going to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources office in Quezon City.

The caravan from Rizal will also stage protest actions in Benpres holdings where displaced farmers from Brgy. Macabud in Rodriguez, Rizal will air their grievance against the Lopez owned Bantay Kalikasan. The caravan will then head to the Department of National Defense and the MWSS offices before joining the Laguna delegation in a protest march from the Department of Agrarian Reform to the DENR office. #

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$ 1- B food project to spur landgrabbing across-the-nation, farmer groups say

$ 1- B food project to spur landgrabbing across-the-nation, farmer groups say

Four of the country’s biggest rural-based groups—the activist peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the peasant women federation Amihan and the Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) on Tuesday said the ambitious $ 1 billion food joint project of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and Malaysia’s Kuok Group will spur massive landgrabbing in the countryside at the expense of small farmers across-the-country.

“This is first-rate landgrabbing,” the four groups said in a press statement. “This is sell-out and mass murder of peasant land rights to the highest order,” the four groups added.

The Philippine government pledged more than one million hectares of prime agricultural lands for this project, of which 100,000 hectares have been identified as Priority 1 areas in Luzon and Mindanao and another 480,000 hectares of Priority 2 areas for recommendation to San Miguel and Kuok.

Priority Areas 1 include the provinces of Mt. Province, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Sarangani, while Priority Areas 2 is consist of the provinces of Isabela, Mindoro Oriental, Mindoro Occidental, Negros Oriental, Bukidnon, Davao Oriental, Sultan Kudarat and Surigao del Sur.

To kick off with the project, SMC and Kuok agreed with the government to start the project within the first half of 2009 in some 18,494 hectares of logged over areas in Davao del Norte. The joint project dubbed “Feeding the Future” will plant rice, sugar, corn, vegetables as well as production of meat and dairy products.

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said the inclusion of rice in the program was just a deodorizer or part of the publicity blitzkrieg so the project would be accepted by farmers and the Filipino public.

“The real intention is to landgrab and appropriate agricultural lands for exports. This Feeding the Future Project is nothing but a recipe for landlessness, destruction and all-time-high exploitation,” Ramos added.

For his part Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap dismissed the Palace-backed SMC-Kuok joint project as treason to the highest level.

“Whether Malacañang admits it or not, the joint SM-Kuko food venture is a spin off the 20-year old bankrupt CARP where multinational and foreign agro-business corporations are allowed to control vas tracts of land for a lifetime through lease, management, grower or service contracts,” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader insisted that under the Feeding the Future Project the national government will allow SMC and Kuok to appropriate over 1 million hectares of prime agricultural lands through different schemes like lease, management and contract growing for 25 years and renewable for another 25 years.

“This $ 1-B SMC-Kuok joint project is a lifetime winner take all bonanza awarded by the Macapagal-Arroyo government to perennial landgrabbers and land monopolies. This is absolutely anti-farmer, pro-big landlord and big business groups, anti-agrarian reform and anti-environment,” added Hicap.

According to KMP and Pamalakaya, the enactment of House Bill 3059 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) authored by the late Anakpawis party list Rep. Crispin Beltran and co-authored by his successor Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela Party list Reps. Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan will stop the government from selling and disposing lands to private and land monopoly interests.

Pamalakaya and KMP also said the passage of GARB or HB 3059 will provide the legal power to millions of Filipino farmers to demand land distribution for free to landless, land-lacking and willing-to-till peasants all over the country.

“Legally, politically and morally speaking, the passage of GARB will stop the government from selling, leasing and disposing agricultural lands to big time land grabbers and super-profit oriented agro business corporations. So it is legally, politically and morally necessary for Congress to seal the approval of the progressive agrarian reform bill,” both groups added.

KMP and Pamalakaya said the enactment of GARB will also allow the national government to absorb between 10 million to 12 million jobless people all over the country because of free land distribution that would be accompanied by robust rural support infrastructures in the countryside which would absorb unemployed Filipinos.

They said GARB’s political and economic capacity to create jobs is very superior and would spur rural and urban development with millions of the country’s labor force being absorbed by the promising and vibrant economic activity in rural areas.

Pamalakaya said the slowdown that started in 2008 will be carried through in 2009, unless the government makes radical decisions for radical reforms to arrest the rising tide of economic distress in the country.

GARB which critics said as confiscatory and unconstitutional, seeks to cover all agricultural lands, including those re-classified and exempted agricultural lands and public lands sold or leased by the government to agribusiness groups and foreign corporations.

The covered lands will be nationalized and distributed for free to landless, land lacking and willing-to-till farmers across the country with enough guarantees and support subsidies to make agricultural more productive and responsive to the needs of producers and the Filipino public.

“The moribund, illusion-bred and loopholes-peppered CARP should be thrown to the dustbin of history. In the next six months, the legislation and the debates should now focus on GARB, nothing more, nothing less,” said Pamalakaya and KMP.

Both groups said GARB with all its guaranteed protection rights including security of tenure will further reactivate the economy and create more secure and stable jobs to millions of farmers in the country.

“GARB will galvanize rural economic activity that would spill over the urban areas and provide decent paying jobs to millions of jobless folks in towns and cities. If Congress will give GARB a chance, it will show the road to genuine development and prosperity, unlike CARP which champions the cause of landlords and their closet allies within the ranks of pseudo farmer groups and non-government organizations. CARP also legalizes landgrabbing spree which is very evident in the SMC-Kuok bogus food project,” KMP and Pamalakaya added. #

Fisherfolk activists staged a swim protest against Charter Change

Fisherfolk activists staged a swim protest against Charter Change

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