US-Duterte regime’s legacy to the environment: Fall of Haribon, rise of Black Hawks

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As the US-Duterte regime draws to a close, one definite legacy it will leave behind is pushing the Philippine eagle to the brink of extinction, choosing instead to allow black hawk helicopters and other environmentally-destructive military air assets to roam and bomb the forests of Southern Mindanao for the last six years.As the US-Duterte regime draws to a close, one definite legacy it will leave behind is pushing the Philippine eagle to the brink of extinction, choosing instead to allow black hawk helicopters and other environmentally-destructive military air assets to roam and bomb the forests of Southern Mindanao for the last six years.

The critically-endangered Philippine eagle’s remaining pairs of nests currently monitored in the region is down to only 400. The sorry state of the haring ibon or haribon is the direct result of Duterte’s kowtowing to imperialism-imposed neoliberal policies and relentless state terrorism that, on one hand, continue to ravage our environment and natural resources, while on the other, deputize the fascist state armed forces to bombard the countrysides and forests with air and artillery strikes.

It is deeply hypocritical for the Duterte regime, especially in Davao City, to continue capitalizing on the Philippine eagle as the Kadayawan festival icon, making use of its image on merchandises and other commercial products, and even utilizing it as the AFP’s 10th Infantry Division’s coat of arms, when it has done nothing but exacerbate the .perilous situation of Philippine eagles and other wildlife.

The mercenary Armed Forces of the Philippines remains to be the staunchest fascist defender of the greedy interests of the US and Chinese imperialists and local ruling elite. While the Philippine eagle dwindles in numbers, black hawk choppers and other attack helicopters, drones, and fighter jets have imposed their aerial dominance to become the deadliest predators in the Philippine skies during Duterte’s reign of tyranny.

In Talaingod, Davao del Norte in October last year for instance, at least 68 aerial and artillery bombs rocked Pantaron mountain range in the span of 34 days. Home to the haribon and other endangered wildlife. Pantaron is one of the last remaining forest covers and watershed areas in Mindanao. Similarly, the mineral-rich and biodiverse Black Mountain range in Davao de Oro and adjacent mountain ranges have been indiscriminately bombed and strafed several times during the height of the pandemic between early 2020 up to the present. In December 2017 until the middle of 2018, Mt. Apo and its contiguous Talomo mountain ranges, which are all noted habitat of Philippine eagles in Davao City, have also been bombed several times. These bombings, which have resulted to the displacement of Philippine eagles, were condemned time and again by several environmental groups.

While the global community is up in arms against imperialist greed as the culprit of climate change, Duterte’s policies and programs remain on the road of environmental destruction. When he appointed retired military general Roy Cimatu as secretary of the reactionary government’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the agency has been reduced to a mere stamping pad for neoliberal programs like the Build, Build, Build, large-scale open-pit and foreign mining, logging concessions, and expansion of export monocrop plantations, which not only displaced thousands of Lumad and peasant families and encroached on the habitat of our flora and fauna, but carried out wholesale and irreversible destruction to the environment as well. True to his puppet mold, Duterte’s recent railroading of Republic Act 11647, which granted full foreign ownership over Philippine enterprises, and other related laws will allow imperialist corporations to siphon to an unabated degree our natural resources while pumping back immense amounts of toxic waste to our land, air and waters.

As large scale mining corporations, plantations and logging concessions flatten our mountains, strip our forest covers, and pollute our rivers, the Filipino people have become even more vulnerable to typhoons, floods, epidemics and other calamities. In the last five months, typhoons Odette and Agaton devastated the lives and livelihood of the masses in several areas of Southern Mindanao when the natural calamities resulted in heavy flooding, landslides, flashfloods and cases of diarrhea outbreak and avian flu. These catastrophes unearth the increasingly vulnerable state of the toiling masses in the face of natural and man-made disasters, especially when such calamities are made worse by the reactionary regime’s failed response and criminal neglect. This Earth Day, the revolutionary forces in the region urge for a stronger united front to condemn the US-Duterte regime for its fascist destruction of the environment, especially its aerial and artillery bombardment in the countryside. We call on democratic and patriotic forces to fight for climate justice by ensuring that the next reactionary government drastically overturn the damage caused by the Duterte regime.

Organs of political power and all revolutionary organizations in the countryside must continue implementing the policies of the People’s Democratic Government with regards to protecting the environment and preserving our natural resources. The New People’s Army in the region must likewise continue to mete out punitive actions against destructive economic activities of imperialist corporations and the domestic ruling class, especially their mercenary armed protectors in the AFP, PNP and their paramilitaries.

We must continue taking part in the global climate justice movement grounded on class struggle to fight against imperialism and its military industrial complex. The US military industrial complex specifically remains to be one of the biggest contributors of environmentally-destructive carbon footprint in the world today. In the past two years during the pandemic, the world was witness to the deadly effects of environmental destruction perpetrated by the greed of global capitalist system.

In Southern Mindanao, the fascists and reactionaries have appropriated the Philippine eagle as a symbol of state terror and greed of the ruling class, ironically despite their singular responsibility to the bird’s near extinction. The Filipino people must continue to struggle in the path of the national democratic revolution as the only way to protect the environment, especially the Philippine eagle, and reclaim it as symbol of our valiant resistance.

US-Duterte regime's legacy to the environment: Fall of Haribon, rise of Black Hawks
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