Friday, 5 December 2014

This madness is the direct result of the global capitalist system that is predicated on unending growth in extraction, production, consumption and waste for unending growth in profits. A tiny fraction of the world’s population benefit from this system — the richest one per cent of people now own nearly half of all global wealth. Developed economies, accounting for 15% of the global population use about half of the global resources and contribute the most in terms of environmental degradation.

People of the World, Surge Forward to Climate Justice!

November 1, 2014
On the first year of Typhoon Haiyan
People of the World, Surge Forward for Climate Justice!
Download a copy of the statement here.
It has been a year since Typhoon Haiyan struck central Philippines: one of the strongest and deadliest tropical cyclones ever recorded, leaving tens of thousands of people dead and missing, millions homeless and livelihoods destroyed.
In commemoration of the first year of Typhoon Haiyan and to honor all the victims of the global climate crisis, we declare this day, November 8, as International Day for Climate-Affected Communities as we call on all climate-impacted communities and their organizations to unite in demanding justice and system change.
Photo by Kate Yamzon
The sufferings of the communities hit by Typhoon Haiyan are also true in countless other places around the world. Globally, the number of reported weather-related disasters has more than tripled since the 1960s. Every year, these disasters result in over 60,000 deaths, mainly in underdeveloped countries. Direct economic losses (averaging US$100 billion per annum in the last decade) in relation to GDP were more than double in low-income countries in contrast with high-income countries. On average, 250 million people are affected annually, up by more than 30 per cent in just a decade as a result of climate change. Women suffer the most in morbidity (up to 14 times more), the long-term loss of livelihoods, forced migration, climate related conflicts, and yet have the least influence over climate policies at local and international levels.
The Carteret Islands of Papua New Guinea are literally sinking, with king tides washing away crops and rising sea levels poisoning those that remain with salt. Indigenous population have been forced to flee and relocate, making them the world’s first climate refugees.
In Central America, as in many places in the Global South, warming climates have resulted in reduced yields, increases in pests and plant diseases, and losses in livestock. The same is true in a number of countries in Africa, like Kenya where perennial drought has decimated most of the livestock and crops of small-scale farmers and pastoral communities. This is catastrophic for regions where millions of people heavily depend on agriculture for their food and incomes.
In the South Asian region, frequent and more intense rainfall is destroying lives and livelihood. In Pakistan, frequent and intense weather patterns are destroying harvests, particularly in South Punjab and Sindh provinces which provide much of the wheat and rice supply for the whole country. In June 2013 in Uttarakhand, India more than 5700 people were reportedly killed by flashfloods and landslides. This year, the state of Jammu and Kashmir witnessed intense rainfall 400 times the average rainfall.
This madness is the direct result of the global capitalist system that is predicated on unending growth in extraction, production, consumption and waste for unending growth in profits. A tiny fraction of the world’s population benefit from this system — the richest one per cent of people now own nearly half of all global wealth. Developed economies, accounting for 15% of the global population use about half of the global resources and contribute the most in terms of environmental degradation.
The climate crisis is capitalism transgressing planetary boundaries. The globalization of production has inflated the profit margins for TNCs based in the global north but also increased global warming pollution of industries, agriculture, transportation and services while intensifying the exploitation of working people. Transnational companies scour the world for resources such as oil, gas, metals, and minerals. Mining and energy companies, agri-plantations and other big business interests are grabbing vast tracts of lands throughout the world, most often displacing indigenous peoples from their territories. The end result is a more rapacious and global exploitation of nature and the deepening of inequalities in wealth and power.
We realize the extent of this injustice as neoliberalism further undermines the capacity of countries in the frontlines of climate change from responding to its devastating effects. Public and social infrastructures have been neglected or even dismantled as a result of privatization and austerity policies imposed on developing countries by international financial institutions. Millions are denied basic services such as health, water and sanitation — which have been transferred into the hands of profit-driven private sector. Deregulation, implemented to entice the private sector, has led to the deterioration of living conditions – both social and environmental. As climate change amplifies the number and severity of natural disasters, so does the suffering born by the poor as the root causes of vulnerability turn natural occurrences into chronic disasters and hamper swift recovery.
And like vultures feasting on the remains of the dead, big business in connivance with governments and authorities have even devised ways to skim off profits out of peoples’ tragedies. There are numerous instances of disaster areas being converted to “investment zones” for private-public partnerships between big foreign and local businesses, often dispossessing already displaced communities.
The poor people of climate-impacted communities have no option but to try and pick up the pieces of their lives after each disaster. Amidst their governments’ inefficiency, corruption, and utter disregard for their plight, they build solidarity to protect each other during calamities, share resources, and mitigate sufferings.
We demand an end to policies and programs that violate the integrity of nature, plunder the environment, and expose already vulnerable communities to further sufferings and miseries.
We reject false solutions to the climate crisis such as the corporate “Green Economy” and profit-oriented schemes like carbon trading and offsets, payments-for ecosystem-services, large-scale biofuel production, geo-engineering schemes, corporate-controlled renewable energy, the liberalization of environmental goods and services, and other measures being peddled by some global institutions, Northern governments and corporations. These measures and policies are but attempts to greenwash capitalism, commodify nature’s life-giving and life-sustaining capacities, and further concentrate resources in the hands of the elites and their big corporations.
The advanced capitalist countries have the historical responsibility to undertake more ambitious climate actions for having contributed most to global warming. These countries must commit to quantifiable goals that will keep 80% of known fossil fuel reserves to remain in the ground and ensure that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere return to 300 ppm. They must provide the means to prevent, minimize, and deal with damages arising from their cumulative pollution of the atmosphere as part of their ecological debt to peoples in the global south. They must also bear the costs of transferring technology to developing countries necessary to mitigate climate change.
These demands must be reflected in a binding agreement among governments currently negotiating a new climate agreement and a new development agenda to be concluded in 2015. A new international mechanism to address loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change in developing countries should be adopted to provide adequate and non-debt creating financing for loss and damage, including compensation funds, debt cancellation, universal social protection schemes, and community-led gender-responsive adaptation and mitigation programs. There must be full and effective participation of affected communities, including women, in all levels of decision making for addressing climate change.
But most importantly, we must collectively struggle against the current system which is the main cause of the looming environmental disaster. It is clear that the basic driving force of capitalism – that is to expand, grow and accumulate more profit for the few – is in contradiction with the reality of the earth’s finite and (shrinking) natural resources. We need to found an alternative sustainable system that must ensure the basic material and non-material needs of all peoples, while protecting the wellbeing and balance of the biosphere.
As we mark the anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan and honor the memories of our families, relatives and friends, we resolve to continue to build people’s resilience against climate change through solidarity. We vow to fight for climate justice, and build a new system based on the rational, collective, and democratic management and use of resources in the interest of the people and the well-being of the planet. ###
People Surge, Philippines | Campaign for People’s Goals for Sustainable Development (People’s Goals) | IBON International | People’s Movement on Climate Change (PMCC) | Land is Life | Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) | Kalikasan – People’s Network for the Environment, Philippines | Friends of the Earth International | Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) |  WALHI – Friends of the Earth, Indonesia | Idle No More | International Organization for Self-Determination and Equality (IOSDE) | Asia-Pacific Research Network (APRN) | Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON), India | Public Advocacy Initiatives for Rights and Values in India (PAIRVI), India | Tamil Nadu Womens Forum, India | Coastal Development Partnership (CDP), Bangladesh | People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) | Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PAN-AP) | Roots for Equity, Pakistan | Associación Raxcho’ch’ Oxlaju AJ (AROAJ), Guatemala | Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Nigeria | Ethiopian Consumer Society, Ethiopia | Third World Health Aid, Belgium | People’s Health Movement | Solidagro, Belgium | Society for Rural Education and Development, India | Asia Indigenous Peoples Network on Extractive Industries and Energy (AIPNEE) | Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS), Malaysia | Kapaeeng Foundation, Bangladesh | Papora Indigenous Development Association, China/Taiwan | Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP), Nepal | Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples (TFIP), Philippines | Centre for Research and Advocacy (CRAM), Manipur | Sevalanka Foundation, Sri Lanka | Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC), Philippines | Centre for Sustainable Community Development (S-CODE), Vietnam | Kalipunan ng Mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP), Philippines | Unnayan Bikalper Nitinirdharoni Gobeshona (UBINIG), Bangladesh | International Womens Alliance (IWA) | Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Philippines | Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) | Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), Philippines | African Biodiversity Network | Ugnayan ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), Philippines | SFA-Machakos, Kenya | Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP)| Mugal Indigenous Women Upliftment Institute MIWUI (Nepal) | Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF), Thailand | Solidaritas Perempuan (SP), Indonesia | National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO), Sri Lanka | Rural Women’s Association Alga, Kyrgyzstan | Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries/Medical Mission Sisters | Labour,Health and Human Rights Development Centre, Nigeria | UDYAMA, India | Bangladesh Krishok Federation | Presentation Sisters of Western Australia | Migrante International | Kilifi Distric Smallholders Farmers Association (KiDiSFA), Kenya | Migrante – Middle East | Rwanda Youth Alliance for Climate Actions (RYACA) | AMIHAN (National Federation of Peasant Women’s Associations), Philippines | Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency, PNG | Civil Society Coalition for Human Rights in Manipur and UN (CSCHR) | Centre for Organisation Research & Education (CORE) | Fundacion para Estudio e Investigacion de la Mujer (FEIM) | International AIDS Womens Caucus (IAWC) | Women Won’t Wait End Gender Violence and HIV/AIDS NOW! | Ugnayang Pilipino sa Belgium (UPB) | Kenya Smallholder Farmers Association | Centre Tricontinental (CETRI) | William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador,, UK | Migrante Australia | Vindhyan Ecology and Natural History Foundation, India | PINAY Quebec, Canada | Dignity International | Pax Romana ICMICA | South Bronx Unite | Centre for Human Rights and Development. Mongolia | Society of Presentation Sisters of Australia and Papua New Guinea | Indigenous Women and Children Foundation, India | Irish Doctors’ Environmental Association (IDEA), Ireland | Intal, Belgium | National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON). USA | Global Forest Coalition | International-Lawyers.Org (Suisse NGO) | Association for Promotion Sustainable Development, India | Quercus – Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza, Portugal | Sociedade Sinhá Laurinha – SlauAmbiental, Brazil | Ogoni Solidarity Forum, Nigeria | Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice | Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), Philippines | Endorois Welfare Council in Baringo County, Kenya  | Anglican Alliance| International Presentation Association | Coordinación de ONG y Cooperativas (CONGCOOP), Guatemala | Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho (FESPAD), El Salvador | Nahual Foundation | Secretaría Nacional de Medio Ambiente del FMLN (SENAMA-FMLN), EL Salvador | League of Filipino Students – SFSU, U.S.A | Marielos  Orellana | Sr. Sheila Kelleher, PBVM |  Sr. Maura Fitzsimons, PBVM | Sr. Pat Davis, PBVM | Programa De Campesino a Campesino (PCAC  y  MAELA), El Salvador | Federación de Cooperativas para el Desarrollo (FECODESA R.L.) Nicaragua – Centroamérica | Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN) | Cordillera Youth Center (CYC), Philippines | Aboriginal Rights Coalition | Alternativa Salvadoreña de Cooperativas (ALSACOOP), El Salvador | Confederación Nacional de Cooperativas Agropecuaria de El Salvador (CONFENACOA), El Salvador | Confederación Salvadoreña de Cooperativas (CONSALCOOP), El Salvador | Movimiento Salvadoreño por la Defensa de la Vida ante el Cambio Climático (MOSDEVI), El Salvador | Asociación de Directivas para el Mejoramiento del las Comunidades del Norte de Usulután (DIMECONU) | Asociación Nacional Campesina (ANC) | Society of Presentation Sisters of Australia & Papua New Guinea | Fundación Picachos | Fundación FUNETAP | Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation (BAFLF) | Botswana Khewedon San Council | Kabisaka Water Resource Users Association (Kabisaka WRUA) | Super Ethnic Minorities Rights , Kenya | Nubian Human Rights Forum | Peoples Advancement Centre (PAC), Nigeria | Okogun Odigie Safewomb International Foundation (OOSAIF) | | groundWork – Friends of the Earth South Africa | ULTeRA – Union Latinoamericana de Tecnic@s Rurales y Agrarios | Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, USA | Asociación Salvadoreña-Mesoamericana de Construcción de Paz (AMESCOPAZ), El Salvador | Friends of the Earth International | Asociación Civil Clectivo MAIZAL | FOE Mauritius | CEAG – Centro de Educación Ambiental de Guarulhos | SHISUK | Brigada Cimarrona Sebastian Lemba | Bolivian Platform on Climate Change | Netherlands Philippine Solidarity Movement (NFS) | PRESENTATION JUSTICE NETWORK IRELAND | Congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation of NL in Canada  | Mission Development and Peace groupe Roman Catholic Church Matthias-Laurentius Parish Alkmaar, Netherlands | Presentation Sisters, New Zealand | Vereniging Milieudefensie-Leiden (VMD-Leiden), Netherlands |  FREN Filipino Refugees in the Netherlands |  JP In der Maur, NFS, The Netherlands | Alexander von Humboldt Center | Red SUSWATCH | Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon ti Cagayan Valley – KMP |National Front for the People Health |
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Sunday, 9 November 2014

“The soldiers came and burned our school. They said it was a school of the New People’s Army.” – Epoy, 19, a Manobo from Mindanao-

Lumad students long for peace in their schools


MANILA – Manobo student Epoy, 19, has been running away from militarization since childhood. He and his family have moved from one town to another, hoping to get away from soldiers and their hostility. But their effort was in vain.

“From the mountains of Bukidnon, we fled to the mountains of Compostela Valley. We helped build a school there. It was just a hut so that somehow, children could learn. But the soldiers came and burned our school. They said it was a school of the New People’s Army (NPA),” Epoy said in an interview with

“I thought the military is supposed to serve and protect the Filipino people. But they are the ones who do harm on the people,” he said.

Epoy’s situation has not changed up to now. He once again fled the mountains of Compostela Valley and came to the hinterlands of Talaingod, Davao Del Norte, only to find himself caught in the middle of another military operation, which subjected their school to harassment and disrupted their classes.
Students of the Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center, Inc. (STTICLCI), teachers and community leaders have traveled from Davao Del Norte to Manila to redress their grievances to the government. (Photo by A. Umil/
Students of the Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center, Inc. (STTICLCI), teachers and community leaders have traveled from Davao Del Norte to Manila to redress their grievances to the government. (Photo by A. Umil/

Epoy and 12 of his Manobo classmates of the Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center, Inc. (STTICLCI), teachers and community leaders have traveled from Davao Del Norte to Manila to redress their grievances to the government. For a month, they will hold a cultural caravan entitled “Og Iskwela Puron (To school… I wish)” which highlights their journey of hope and struggle for their right to education through a showcase of their traditional arts and culture.

A kick-off activity was held on Nov. 5, at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon, City where the Teatro Salugpongan, a cultural group of the Manobo children, performed a stage play depicting the violence inflicted by the soldiers and how they stand up to fight for their right to education.

In March this year, constant military operations and military encampment in or near schools and households and other human rights violations, drove them to evacuate their community for more than a month.

Just this October, drunken soldiers under the 68th IBPA, who encamped no more than 50 meters away from the school, successively fired at some STTICLCI classrooms and school farm. Epoy and other residents have kept their ground but the military presence has kept them anxious.

In the nearby region of Caraga, school children are among the 1,783 Lumad residents who evacuated from 16 hinterland communities to evade militarization in the bordering towns of Lianga, San Agustin and Tago. Since Oct. 27, they have been staying at the barangay (village) center of Diatagon, Lianga.

Seven community schools in the three towns stopped classes, affecting 569 students.

Right to education
Indigenous people in far-flung areas have little or no access to the government’s social services like education. With the help of the people’s organization, schools were built for the children of the indigenous people who have to travel for hours to go to school in the town center.

Epoy and his classmates were grateful to the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines for taking the lead in building their school. When they were beginning to fulfil their dreams, state security forces arrived.

“How can we study peacefully? How can we help our parents and the community if the soldiers are building their camps in our school? We are here today to seek your support so that we can continue with our studies and we could go back to our peaceful lives,” Lando, 15 years old said.

“Hayaan ninyo kaming sumayaw sa saliw ng aming katutubong musika, hindi sa tunog ng mga bala (Let us dance to the rhythm of our indigenous music, not to the sound of gunfire)!” he said.

Roland Dalin, 15, dreams to be a people’s lawyer someday, to fight those who have consistently violated their human rights.
“I want to be a lawyer when I finish school so that I can defend the indigenous people from the soldiers. I want to defend their right to education,” Dalin said in an interview with

Madella Santiago, Save our Schools (SOS) Network spokeswoman said Lando’s plea is only one of the lumad children’s many pleas for help. She said there 39 cases of military attacks on schools – encampment, threats and intimidation of students and teachers – that have been documented by the Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) in southern Mindanao alone.

“This is quite alarming as these alternative schools, borne out of the efforts of lumad organizations and support groups and aims to provide education services for indigenous children, are under threat by the government who have long neglected them and deprived them of basic social services like health and education,” Santiago said.
Based on CRC’s documentation, since July 2, 2010 to October this year, there were 52 cases of attacks on schools, and the perpetrators are soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

During the program, Manobo children presented the “Kulintas sa Paghagit” (Necklace of Challenge) to the legislators, members of non-government organizations and individuals, who vowed to support their struggle for the right to education.
(Photo by J. Ellao /
(Photo by J. Ellao /

Rep. Nancy Catamco of the second district of North Cotabato also expressed support for the struggle of her fellow indigenous people. Catamco, who belongs to the Bagobo-Manobo tribe, chairs the House Committee on National Cultural Communities.

“I, too, have witnessed the oppression and violence being inflicted on the indigenous peoples since I was a child. My uncle, also an indigenous people, would go to our house and hide from the soldiers because he is being hunted by them. I also knew that whenever the soldiers and the members of the NPA have an encounter, the indigenous people are the ones who bear the brunt of the soldiers’ anger,” Catamco said who became emotional during the program.

“I really thank the Makabayan bloc who really stands up for the rights of the indigenous people, because without them, I could not do this alone,” she added. She also vowed to bring the Manobo children to the House of Representatives to share their stories.
Gabriela Women’s Partylist Luz Ilagan said there is also a need to bring the struggle outside the halls of Congress.

“Let us also mobilize in the streets so that the people would know the experiences and hardships of the indigenous people in the countryside,” Ilagan said in the program.
At the end of the program, the legislators, the Lumad students and their supporters joined the community dance, to the rhythm of bankakawan, an indigenous musical instrument consisting of a hanging percussion beam. (

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