Internationalist solidarity with the peoples of the Philippines fighting large scale development projects
Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines are fighting large scale development projects that destroy highly biodiverse areas and dispossess them of their land and their rights. Many of them are paying with their lives.
In 2018, the Philippines saw the highest number of defenders killed in the world. The country consistently ranks as the most dangerous place for environmental defenders in Asia (2019, 2021). A new report - the first released under the Marcos government - raises new concerns for the millions of Indigenous People living in the Philippines. Land grabbing, social and economic marginalisation, red tagging, human rights abuses and violations risk continuing, and becoming even worse than under the previous Duterte government.
The State of Indigenous Peoples Address Report
The 2022 State of Indigenous Peoples Address (SIPA) Report by Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center/Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC-FoEPH) gives a comprehensive overview of the socio-economic and environmental trends affecting the lives of the Philippines’ 14 to 17 million Indigenous Peoples. Their situation is stark:
- Half of all Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles* (CADTs) are embroiled in environmentally-destructive projects.
- Half of all approved large-scale mining contracts and 87% of all large-scale logging projects are within or close to registered ancestral domains.
- Three in every four indigenous persons remain among the poorest 40% of Filipinos. They face significant gaps in access to education, public health, water, electricity, and other public services.
- From 2019 to 2021, at least 45 killings of indigenous persons were linked to land and environmental conflicts. There was a 67% spike in killings in 2021, compared to the previous year.
- At least 27,430 more experienced human rights abuses, such as forced illegal arrests, judicial harassment, and forced evacuation, among others.
The SIPA report raised a number of concerns over the new Marcos administration’s policy leanings, indicating business-as-usual in economic policies from the previous government. Their current plans for energy and mining, and public-private partnership for infrastructure development, threaten ancestral domains and indigenous territories. Meanwhile, no reforms are planned to curb the cost-of-living crisis for peoples who are already among the poorest of the poor.
Internationalist Solidarity with the Philippines
We highlight cases from the Philippines, so as to build a common understanding of the reality in the country, generate support for the environmental defenders who are threatened there, and create internationalist solidarity with Filipino struggles against extractivism.
Video: "The Lumad's story"
Lumad, the collective term for indigenous peoples in Mindanao, are some of nature's most ardent defenders. In this video, we trace the history of the term Lumad and how such a term helps to surface the enduring struggles of indigenous peoples.
The Philippines has 421 principal rivers that provide water to drink for 110 million Filipinos, and are also the source of irrigation for almost a million hectares of agricultural lands across the nation and a significant source of electricity. The government's emphasis on big dams and hydropower infrastructure threatens to destruct watersheds with dire consequences for resource-dependent communities.
June 30th marks the full circle of the first year under Philippine president Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., son of previously deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
The Philippines is both a globally critical hotspot of biodiversity and natural resources and a historic beacon of democracy and people power in Asia. But the environmental and human rights situation has deteriorated over the past decades, especially under the prior regime of the fascist Rodrigo Duterte, president from 2016 to 2022.
Having established an alliance with the Dutertes and other dynastic elites to win the 2022 presidential race, how has the second coming of the Marcoses fared as the continuity of Duterte’s economics and militarism?
Listen to the Datus, the chieftains of the indigenous Dulangan and Taboli Manobo tribes of Mindanao island, as they react to the big trends under Marcos 2.0.