Mindanao martial law to push for destructive projects under BBB – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) strongly condemns the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao that was approved by the Congress yesterday.
The group said that aside from President Rodrigo Duterte’s tyrannical aspirations, the real score behind the extension of martial law is to push through its destructive projects under the “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program that would benefit local and foreign investors and developers.
“The Filipino people have nothing to gain from the martial law in Mindanao, only giant oligarchs who have business interests in the region and Duterte who aspires for the concentration of power will benefit from the military rule,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement, citing that 3 of the 36 big-ticket infrastructure projects under the BBB are in Mindanao region, including the P40.57 billion expansion of the Davao City airport, P14.6 billion for the Laguindingan airport, and the P31.54 billion Tagum-Davao-Digos segment of the Mindanao railway.
PAMALAKAYA said that aside from the BBB projects, the Mindanao martial law is devoted to plunderous projects that would affect the rural sector including the expansion of agro-corporation-plantations and implementation of marine sanctuaries.
There are one million hectares of plantations aimed to expand in Mindanao intended for oil palm, banana, pineapple, rubber, and sugar plantations, according to the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), all of these will displace farmers from their land and convert agricultural lands into vast export-crop plantations.
While in the entire Caraga region in Mindanao, there are total of 680 hectares of marine sanctuaries within the municipal waters of General Luna and San Isidro in Surigao del Norte, and Nasipit in Agusan del Norte. These indefinite marine sanctuaries prevent the municipal fisherfolk access to their traditional fishing grounds or the 15-kilometer municipal waters declared by the existing fisheries law.
“Thousands of fisherfolk have been denied access to their livelihood, while there are also reports that those declared marine sanctuaries are prospects for eco-tourism zones that will totally ban small fisherfolk from conducting fishing activities,”
“We have formulated that the main factor of the extension of martial law in Mindanao is to smoothly implement both the government and private sector projects that plunder the natural resources and detrimental to the livelihood of the people, especially farmers and fisherfolk. Martial law will provide security blanket to these projects to impede the resistance of the people. But we are not afraid, we will continue to organize and mobilize our ranks in order to frustrate Duterte’s destructive pet projects and his total authoritarian rule,” ended Hicap. ###