Duterte’s plantation pitch: duplicitous, destructive

Kalikasan PNE press statement

2 February 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte should stop trying to forcibly prostitute
indigenous Lumad lands to agricorporate plantations and other
extractives. Let us count the ways how Duterte’s pitch before the Davao
Indigenous People’s Summit is a completely textbook divide-and-conquer
deception of the Lumad:

1. Duterte’s promise of wealth if the Lumad allow the entry of
plantations in their lands is a promise of poverty. In exchange for
chump change royalty, thousands of hectares of old growth forests,
heirloom agriculture, watershed areas will be converted into toxic
monoculture plantations.

The Lumad will be robbed of their natural pharmacies, hunting grounds,
farmlands, and water sources. The socio-economic, ecological, and health
costs will far outweigh the trickle-down income that the plantation will

2. Duterte apparently subscribes to the plunderer’s notion that
ancestral lands that have not been opened up to corporations are
‘unused’ lands. Indigenous communities have inherent natural resource
management systems that appropriately zone different rts of their
ancestral domain for its sustainable utilization.

Despite the continuing state neglect they experience, Lumad communities
have established self-reliant cooperatives and even alternative schools
that further enrich their practices of agriculture and ecosystems
management. These are the very same Lumad schools and communities that
Duterte threatened to bomb earlier in 2017.

3. Duterte’s promise that he himself will look for investors for
Lumad lands betrays his self-interests in plantations. Let us recall how
Duterte marketed Mindanao land for the encroachment of 300,000 hectares
of oil palm plantations. Let us recall how the daughter Sarah Duterte’s
husband, Mans Carpio, is the legal counsel of the particularly despotic
Lapanday banana plantation in their home region.

Let us remember how his longtime friend, Agriculture Secretary Manny
Pinol, has various banana, pineapple, rubber, and other plantation
interests. Let us note that Duterte’s major election funder, congressman
Antonio Floreindo, has been embroiled in graft raps over a shady deal
involving the lease of 5,000 hectares of Bureau of Correction lands for
his banana plantation.

4. Duterte’s assurance that he will not allow big mines in Lumad
lands if their communities refuse remains unsubstantiated at best. There
are at least 13 large-scale mining projects previously ordered closed or
suspended by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources where
indigenous people have raised their protests. These projects are still
ongoing despite the suspension/closure orders. The Office of the
President itself is the biggest stumbling block to the implementation of
these mine closure and suspension orders when it stayed the DENR’s orders.

5. If Duterte wants a peaceful development of the Lumad’s ancestral
domains, he better start telling the main organizer of the Davao
indigenous people’s summit, the Philippine Military, to stop being the
number one protector of plantation and mining interests against
indigenous people’s resistance. Mining and plantation-related killings
account for 74 percent of all 46 cases of murdered environmental
defenders that we monitored under the Duterte regime.

Duterte’s rhetoric is beyond becoming tiresome; it is becoming dangerous
and destructive. His regime professes to close down environmentally
destructive projects, but his sweet talk to big businesses especially
his cronies are resulting in the further expansion of big mines and

We express our solidarity with the indigenous people and other national
minorities who continue to resist the dangerous deceptions of the
Duterte regime. It is high time to teach this plunderer of a president
how, as in the words of the great Igorot chieftain Macliing Dulag, it is
of “such arrogance to speak of owning the land when we instead are owned
by it.” #

Deputy National Coordinator
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment

Reference: 0917 562 6824, secretariat@kalikasan.net

National Secretariat
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
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