Laban Kalikasan! Earth Day 2023 Statement
We, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, join the broad masses of the Filipino people in the fight against the continuing environmental devastation and plunder under the Marcos-Duterte administration. Hardly a year into the new administration, the Filipino people have already witnessed how Marcos Jr.’s policies have ultimately worsened the environmental and economic crisis we are facing today.
One of the most destructive policies carried over from the previous Duterte regime is the issue of reclamation — with dozens of reclamation projects across the country displacing fisherfolk communities and devastating local ecosystems. In Manila Bay, where many of these projects are taking place, our fisherfolk have lost homes and livelihoods to the destruction brought about by reclamation. The largest project of them all, the New Manila International Airport of San Miguel Corporation, continues to devastate the lives of fisherfolk across the bay; from Bataan to Bulacan to Cavite, fisherfolk are impacted one way or another by this massive project that will only benefit the rich few.
In addition to the spread of reclamation projects across the archipelago, other communities are also facing other issues such as large-scale mining and megadams. In the southern Sierra Madre, the proponents of the Kaliwa Dam continue construction despite opposition from Indigenous Dumagat communities. In Sibuyan Island in Romblon, a united Sibuyanon people successfully kicked out Altai Mining Corporation from its nickel ore project on the island, and have continued their people’s barricade until today. All of these projects had been given the heads up by the Marcos Jr. administration, which has only endeavored to continue long-standing policies of environmental destruction and systematized human rights violations.
To add to all this, worsening militarization in the form of indiscriminate bombings, coupled with the continued interference of the United States with regional geopolitics through the ongoing Balikatan exercises and new EDCA sites, are clear offensives against people and planet. For decades, green groups have resisted military expansion, and continue to do so today.
With this year’s Earth Day theme of “Invest in Our Planet”, it is clear that under the Marcos-Duterte administration, the only thing that is being invested on are infrastructure projects altering ecosystems on a massive scale. Under Marcos Jr., reclamation, mining, and the use of fossil fuels such as fossil gas are all geared to expand. Before we can even talk of investing in our planet, the investments in its destruction must first stop.
In our era of widespread destruction of entire communities and ecosystems, we join the growing chorus in countering the continued plunder of the current administration. The Marcos Jr. administration has shown its true colors, at best neglecting some of the most pressing environmental issues, and at worst directly contributing to the crises of today. But the people will not back down — our movement will continue to fight and grow to push back against Marcos Jr. and forward a genuinely sustainable and just society for the benefit of all Filipinos.