8/01/2011

FAUT PAS ... CREUSER !

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front urged the government over the weekend to end all on-shore and offshore oil and natural gas exploration activities in "Moro ancestral domain."



In a July 30 statement, the MILF said that while it is not against economic development, the exploration may violate the spirit of ongoing peace efforts.


"The natural resources of the Bangsamoro Homeland belong to the Bangsamoro people. Resources constitute one of the four strands in the Bangsamoro Ancestral Domain issue that is central to the ongoing peace negotiation between the GPH [Government of the Philippines] and MILF," it said in the statement signed by MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar.


Also it said, "...for as long as this issue remains yet to be resolved on the negotiating table, attempts to exploit and utilize these natural resources by foreign corporate entities in partnership with or with the express permission of the GPH would result in depriving the Bangsamoro people of their collective proprietary right over said resources."
 

An image of the statement was posted on the MILF website Sunday.

Jaafar particularly cited the on-shore and offshore oil and gas explorations, as well as the privatization or sale of Agus and Pulangi Hydro Power Complex.

Such exploration may "preempt the intent of the Parties to the negotiation to frame a comprehensive compact formula that would allow the Bangsamoro people to exercise governance over self-sustaining natural resource-based territorial homeland in their remaining ancestral domain," he added.


Jaafar also said the MILF cannot agree that such economic development be "unilaterally be determined by the GPH, contrary to and in violation of the letter and spirit of the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace of June 2001."

Meanwhile, the MILF opposed as well the privatization or sale of Agus and Pulangi Hydro Power Complex, saying: "The sale would preempt talks on the issues of ancestral domain and patrimony and land ownership."



The MILF also warned private companies against letting themselves become "accomplices in further depriving the Bangsamoro of their remaining ancestral domain."

“We have been minoritized in our own homeland of Mindanao due to massive land grabbing and resettlement programs. And now, the little resources that is remaining to us, some of those in the private sector and their partners in government still greedily covet," Jaafar said.


In a separate article on its website on Sunday, the MILF said its peace panel already served notice on June 27 and 28 to its government counterpart the MILF’ opposition to the explorations. 

Jaafar also said it is only fair and proper that the government should hear the voices of the Bangsamoro people on an issue that cuts across the whole spectrum of the peace process.


The Department of Energy (DoE) had announced recently that there are 15 areas being offered for exploration and development bidding, which are located in Cagayan, Central Luzon, Northwest Palawan, Mindoro-Cuyo, East Palawan, Cotabato and the Sulu Sea.



At least $7.5 billion, or about P322.5 billion, in investments is expected to be infused in the oil and gas sector, once the 15 contracts for the exploration and development of highly prospective areas are awarded to investors. 


LE GOUVERNEMENT  …  RÉPOND !

Malacañang on Monday rejected anew the call of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to stop all on-shore and offshore oil and natural gas exploration activities in "Moro ancestral domain."

At a press briefing, Ricky Carandang, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office head, said the government is not suspending the exploration of the country’s oil and natural gas resources.


“Nag-aangkat po tayo ng 90 percent na pangangailangan natin ng langis from other countries," he said. “If we can do anything to reduce this number of oil and gas that importation and perhaps produce it ourselves, the net effect will be positive for the economy."




In a July 30 statement, the MILF said that while it is not against economic development, the exploration may violate the spirit of ongoing peace efforts.


"The natural resources of the Bangsamoro Homeland belong to the Bangsamoro people. Resources constitute one of the four strands in the Bangsamoro Ancestral Domain issue that is central to the ongoing peace negotiation between the GPH [Government of the Philippines] and MILF," it said in the statement signed by MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar.


Last month, the MILF already asked the government to temporarily stop the explorations pending the resolution of the ancestral domain issue in the peace negotiations.

Investment potential



Teresita Deles, presidential adviser on the peace process, rejected it saying there was nothing in the existing agreements with the MILF which prevents any exploration, development and utilization of natural resources.

Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras earlier said the total investment potential of the 4th Philippine Energy Contracting Round amounted to US $7.5 billion. The contract areas cover at least 10 million hectares that could hold rich reserves in northwest Palawan, east Palawan and the Sulu Sea.


MILF and government negotiators met in formal talks last June 27 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The issue of the ancestral domain was among the concerns raised during the peace talks.

President Benigno Aquino III earlier bared the revived investor confidence specifically in the energy sector, citing over a hundred companies that expressed readiness to participate in the exploration process and efforts to strengthen the country’s oil and natural gas resources.


President Aquino noted the signing of a new contract, for the construction of a power plant in Luzon that will not only lower the price of energy but also provide a more reliable source.


Meanwhile, Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) expressed support to the MILF's opposition to oil and gas exploration in what they pertain to as the 'Bangsamoro Homeland,' asserting that genuine economic development should be “geared towards uplifting the Bangsamoro people from their current impoverished state."



“Clearly, the government’s active peddling of our resources is causing distress among national minorities, and even threatens to jeopardize the peace talks," said KAMP spokesperson Piya Macliing Malayao in a statement issued on Monday. 



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