Dec 4 at 8:33 AM

‘Pablo’ survivors that Aquino shared at COP 21 now displaced by militarization in Compostela Valley

Kalikasan PNE press release

4 December 2015

As President Benigno Simeon Aquino III related the devastation brought
about by the 2012 typhoon Pablo (international name Bopha) before world
leaders during his speech at the United Nations 21st Conference of
Parties (COP 21) climate talks, around 200 survivors of the deadly storm
were evacuating from the intensifying militarization of their rural
communities and ancestral lands.

“How cruel of Pres. Aquino that while he was pitching to COP 21
delegates the tale of his government’s so-called ‘innovations’ in
response to Typhoon Pablo, ‘Pablo’ survivors were being militarized by
state forces and forced to evacuate from their lands. ‘Pablo’ survivors
who have yet to recover from the deadly typhoon now face military
operations aiming to clear the way for the entry of large-scale miner
Agusan Petroleum,” said Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator of the
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).

In his COP 21 speech, Pres. Aquino said, “After typhoon Bopha in 2012, I
had the opportunity to conduct aerial assessments of provinces where
coconuts are the main source of livelihood. As far as the eye could see,
not a tree was left standing. I note that it takes 5 to 7 years for a
coconut tree to grow to maturity. What will the people do to survive in
the meantime? We had to innovate by promoting intercropping, to ensure
that communities will have other sources of livelihood to sustain our
farmers until the new coconut trees reach maturity.”

Reports indicate that around 200 Lumads and other peasants, all ‘Pablo’
survivors, were now evacuees (bakwit) from the municipality of
Compostela. They are now spending the anniversary of Typhoon Pablo in a
makeshift refugee camp at Davao City to flee the occupation of homes by
military troops last November 23.

This was the culmination of a series of human rights violations since
Lumad and other peasants under the Compostela Farmers Association staged
a people’s barricade against the entry of the Agusan Petroleum and
Mineral Corporation (Agpet).

“The Lumad of Compostela have long opposed the attempts of Agpet to
explore their ancestral lands for gold, knowing full well destructive
mining operations would worsen their vulnerabilities and amplify the
natural hazards they face. For rejecting the threats of environmental
disaster, the Aquino government gave Comvaleños the disaster of
militarization,” said Dulce.

Agusan Petroleum and Mieneral Corporation is a subsidiary of the
Cojuangco-owned San Miguel Corporation, which covers 12,444 hectares in
Compostela Town, are within the ancestral domains of the Mandaya and
Mangwanon Lumad tribes.

Organizers of the Manilakbayan (Manila journey) of some 700 Lumads last
month estimated that more than 40,000 indigenous people in Mindanao have
been displaced to date by the interlinked problems of policies on
plunder and militarization.

“We call on the world leaders in COP 21 to bear witness and condemn the
Aquino government’s militarization of climate-impacted communities like
Compostela. It is proof that the global climate protocol under
negotiation should hear the voice of climate refugees such as Filipino
disaster survivors. The new climate agreement should also take decisive
action against imperialist plunder and pollution as the root of the
global climate, environmental, and social crises,” ended Dulce.

Kalikasan also called for immediate support to the Compostela bakwits
such as food, water, temporary shelter materials, and other basic
necessities while they are refuged in Davao, as well as an immediate
independent investigation into the militarization of the Pablo
survivors’ communities.#

Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: +63 (2) 433 0184 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site:
www.kalikasan.net