A total ban on all logging and mining activities!
Implement massive reforestation and a sustainable
Climate justice now! We demand full reparation from
rich countries and their corporations!
Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) extends full sympathy to the victims of Typhoon Pablo:
to the families of those killed and missing, and to the millions suffering from the destruction
of their homes and crops and those still waiting for relief. PLM demands answers to serious
questions raised by the government’s response to the catastrophe.
These include why, despite the authorities warning of the impending disaster in advance,
no concrete evacuation plans were in place; evasiveness about the death toll; delays in
getting food and other supplies to survivors and diversion of resources to prevent
small-scale looting by desperate survivors rather than providing food.
That both the death toll and the number reported missing have continued to rise days
after the typhoon had passed indicates that the government’s response focused more on
political spin than life-saving preparations. Pagasa gave warning well in advance.
But the government seemed to think it was doing its duty by having President Noynoy Aquino
appeared on TV to tell people they should evacuate. In many affected areas that was all.
Geologist Mahar Lagmay said that while most people in the affected communities had
been aware of the danger, they had not known where to go for safety.
PLM contrasts this response with disaster response in Cuba, which also lies in a cyclone-prone area,
but where the UN International Secretariat for Disaster Reduction has noted far lower death tolls.
This is achieved by adequate infrastructure, such as buildings and roads; institutionalised and
well-resourced response systems, including the ability to activate shelters that are staffed with
trained medical personnel; and the integration of hurricane training into the general education system.
All of this reflects Cuba’s socialist system, where meeting human needs is prioritised.
We also condemn the large-scale looting of the Philippines by foreign logging and mining companies
which contributed greatly to this tragedy. The government’s condemnation of illegal logging and
small-scale gold mining ignores the real culprit. We call for a total ban on logging and mining in
Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, the areas hardest hit by the tragedy. These areas have been
devastated by these operations for a long time, and further logging and mining will destroy what’s left
of the ecology.
To start the process of rebuilding, we also call on the government to implement massive reforestation
and develop sustainable crop agriculture that will provide food security for people in the damaged areas
and elsewhere. It’s about time that the country deviates from plantation monoculture of export crops
and large-scale mining.
Lastly, we find it ironic that the devastation in Mindanao came in the wake of the UN Conference on
Climate Change in Doha, Qatar which again failed to deal with increasing greenhouse emissions by the
rich countries. The failed conference locked in the planet for another decade of unchecked gas
emissions which bring devastating climate impacts.
While the United Nations has appealed for $65 million aid for the victims of Typhoon Pablo, we believe
that we should not have to beg for charity from the rich nations. We hold the rich and imperialist
states of the global North responsible and we demand reparations and climate justice.