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‘Pato ni San Miguel’ will destroy ancestral lands

/ 10:42 PM March 22, 2013

I have been working among the Tagakaulo tribe for two years now. At the moment, I also head the movement that is protesting the 600-MW coal-fired power plant and mining projects of SMC Global Power Holdings and Legenda Mines Inc. respectively, in the town of Malita, Davao del Sur; both companies are subsidiaries of San Miguel Corp. (SMC). The reasons for our protest are that both projects will only aggravate the damage already done to the environment in the Philippines, not to mention climate change, and it will also most probably drive out the Tagakaulo from their ancestral lands.

I would like to share with your readers our advocacy in Malita through a short story.  Kung  si  San  Pedro  ay  may  manok  at  si  San  Roque  ay may aso,  si  San  Miguel  naman  ay  may  pato. (If St. Peter has his chicken and St. Roque his dog, St. Michael for his part has his duck.)

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There once was a tourist who went to a small town to see the sights. Seeing a large crowd congregating by the town cockpit, he heads toward it. Not having seen an actual cockfight in his life, he was excited to finally witness one.

At the cockpit, he was bewildered to see a duck as one of the entries in the matches. He was informed by a man beside him that their town was run by a powerful Mafia. It was so powerful that even the town mayor was at its beck and call. The duck, the tourist is told, was owned by the town’s powerful Mafia!

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The tourist left the cockpit amazed at what he had just learned. He went on his way exploring the town. He was not surprised to hear later on that the duck had won the cock derby.

The struggle against coal and mining in Malita is like having a duck owned by a powerful Mafia in a cock derby. We are up against the duck owners, SMC, through its subsidiaries SMC Global Power Corp. for coal and Legenda Mines Inc. for mining.

Malita has no future in these projects; it will irreversibly destroy Malita’s environment and drive out the Tagakaulo from their ancestral lands! Everybody knows this but those who stand to benefit financially from the project are praising to the highest heavens the blessings that SMC has graciously bestowed on the town such that the people who see the obvious can barely be heard. But not for long!

People, in and outside of Malita, are mustering their strength to collectively show SMC and its cheering squad that a duck has no place in a cock derby!

—FR. JOEY GÁNIO EVANGELISTA, MJ,

Missionaries of Jesus (MJ),

Davao del Sur, [email protected]

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TAGS: environment, Indigenous People, letters, mining, San Miguel Corp, tagakaulo tribe
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