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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Stop the Plunder of the Philippines! Defend Cordillera!

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On this day of global climate action, ICHRP-US and 350PDX join in solidarity with the people of the Cordilleras in the fight against corporate plunder and attacks from President Duterte’s militarized government!

In a recent address to the United Nations, President Duterte boasted of the role of the Philippines in addressing the climate crisis vis a vis the Paris Climate Accord, as the Philippines is on the frontlines of increasing extreme weather events each year. Duterte’s remarks on the climate crisis serve as mere posturing, as Duterte has shown he will sell the abundance of natural resources in the Philippines and the ancestral lands of Indigenous people to multinational corporations for the sake of his own profit.

Included in Duterte’s selling of Philippine land is the Cordillera region. For a long time, multinational corporations and the Philipine military have ravaged the Cordilleras with destructive large-scale mining projects, dams, and other energy projects, which have resulted in devastating impacts on indigenous and the livelihood of small farmers. Indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands continue to be treated as a resource base for profit by the State and private corporations at the expense of their self-determination and human rights. Despite the Indigenous communities’ organized opposition against Chevron’s Kalinga Geothermal Project, Duterte has illegally forced this project through Executive Order 30 which threatens massive destruction of the Cordillera people’s land environment.

With the passage of Duterte’s Anti-Terror Law (ATL) in July 2020, the repressive and militarist rule of the Philippine government will only worsen the situation of Cordillera peoples and all land defenders in the Philippines. The ATL is a graveyard for activists and innocent civilians, and a serious threat to ancestral land and resources since it will pave the way for the full implementation of destructive projects like large-scale mining dams.

Despite documentation of state sanctioned violence, including the shooting of Chinese American Brandon Lee in August 2019, the US continues to enable these fascistic attacks by providing security assistance to the Duterte government. Since 2016, the US has given a total of 550 million dollars in military aid to the Philippines. The bullet that shot Brandon Lee and paralyzed him from the neck down, and the thousands of bullets that have murdered indigenous peoples fighting for their right to land and self-determination were paid for by US tax dollars.

As state fascism of the Duterte regime and development aggression intensifies amid COVID-19 global health crisis, the Filipino people have not relented in protection of the land and their communities. As environmental, land and climate defenders in the US it is our duty to unite in solidarity with land defenders in the Philippines in their struggle for self-determination and their right to land!

We call on the people of the US to support the Philippine Human Rights Act, and demand our legislators take a stand by suspending security assistance to the Philippines until such time as human rights violations by Philippine security forces cease and the responsible state forces are held accountable. Further, we demand foreign corporations like Chevron to withdraw from these destructive projects that continue without the consent of indigenous people.

Stop corporate plunder of the Philippines! Defend Cordillera! Support the Philippine Human Rights Act!

Originally published by ICHRP on September 25, 2020.

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