Didipio Mining Tragedy: Blame Corporatism, not Capitalism!

An Australian television network exposed the alleged brutal eviction of locals and land-owners in Nueva Viscaya by military agents. The incident happened in 2007, yet video clips of the report are still circulating online.

The military-led crackdown on a number of local land-owners in the town of Didipio, Nueva Viscaya, six years ago involved an Australian mining company called OceanaGold.

The news report narrates the case of a local resident named Rosanna Lawagan, whose house was torched in the middle of the night. She told the Australian network they “started their family” in the area, which was leased by the government to the foreign mining company.

“Employees in the green and gold are forcing residents out, often before compensation has been agreed”, the narrator says.

“The company has no respect to their rights,” said Oxfam Chief Executive Andrew Hewitt in the report.

As expected, leftist groups and their die-hard followers have been busy posting and spreading this Facebook video online to boost their propaganda. It was posted by FavRadio.

FavRadio titled the video, which as of this writing gained 61 likes and 434 shares, “Pambabastos ng mga Australian Miners sa mga taga-Nueva Viscaya”. 

The video description states: “Grabe naman ang politicians sa atin. Binebenta ang National Patrimony – all its riches and wealth – imbes na Pilipino at buong Pilipinas ang makinabang. Even if the Philippines is an oil-producing nation, it will still be a 3rd or 4th world country with the kind of “leaders” it is putting into power.”

It also states:

Assumption: Impossibleng walang budget at porciento na binigay ang aussie co. sa mga “responsible and influential” personalities para sa ibibigay sa mga taong apektado ng mining, so ito lng ang choices.

a. Involve kc ang military at nalagyan na ng mga “responsible and influential” personalities. Ung pulis involved na kc kita nmn sa video.

b. Nasa biliones kc ang perang kikitain sa mining na ito kaya sinolo na lng ng mga leaders mula sa ibaba hanggang sa itaas at sinolo na din ng mga “responsible and influential” personalities.

c. Dahil sa nakarating sa aussie media ito, malaki ang posibilidad na pati ang leader ng pinas sangkot sa kurakot at corruption dahil di lumabas sa Phil. media at naunahan pa ng aussie media. At impossibleng di makarating at inireklamo ng taong bayan ito sa leader ng pinas at sa Phil. media.

d. All of the above.

So far, a number of angry commenters blamed the government for “selling” our land to foreigners.

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Obviously this is a clear case of eminent domain gone wrong! I believe it is wrong and impractical to solely blame foreign investors when millions of Filipinos are working abroad, keeping our economy afloat with their dollar remittances.

At root, capitalism is not pro-business but pro-individual rights. The concept of eminent domain is just one of the very few mistakes made by the American founding fathers, as it can be abused both by the government and some politically connected corporatists.

However, this wrong was aggravated by the concept of ‘regalian doctrine’ in our Constitution. In the Philippines, once the government proves or finds out you’ve been occupying a rich deposit of gold or mineral, you’re out! That land is automatically no longer yours, unless you’re part of what our Charter calls “indigenous people” occupying their ‘ancestral lands’.

Our Constitution clearly states: “All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State.”

This is not the case in the United States, as Americans are guaranteed the right to own the minerals beneath the land. They cannot simply be evicted by the American government in favor of a crony or politically connected corporation. However, there have been a lot of cases wherein state governments were guilty of exploiting their eminent domain powers on behalf of a “favored”, politically influential private entity or corporatist (like real estate mogul Donald Trump).

Stop blaming foreign investors alone; blame the government and the corporatist system as well! This reported tragedy in Nueva Viscaya could not have happened without the connivance and conspiracy of the local government, particularly the national government. But like I said, once the State finds out you’re sitting on a vast deposit of, say, uranium or oil, you’re done, as the system is always in favor of the State or the so-called greater good of everybody.

What about those evicted home-owners, you ask? Well, they were sacrificed in the name of the greater good!

I find it very ironic and hypocritical that the communists have been trying to exploit this issue to advance their statist agenda. However, I also find it alarming that a lot of well-meaning Filipinos have joined the communists in denouncing economic liberalization and foreign participation due to our Corporatist system and abuses by some people in power.

The truth is, if we were a socialist country the same thing– or even a lot worse– would have happened to the native land owners in Nueva Viscaya, because under socialism all property is owned by the State. The same people would have been evicted without just compensation to pave the way for a state-owned and operated mining.

Both systems– socialism and corporatism– are against individual rights. Under corporatism, which is in effect your current system, the State is authorized to take the land property of any individual on behalf of a “favored” or politically connected individual or entity in the name of “public purpose” and “common good. Under socialism, the State has the absolute power to take the property of any subject in the name of society or the greatest good for the greatest number.

The concept of capitalism protects the property rights of any individual, rich or poor, against any kind of assault or intervention. Thus, the government was morally wrong in abetting and facilitating the eviction of local land-owners in Nueva Ecija in favor of a giant mining company. This is a clear case of Corporatism, which is another term for Fascism, “because it is a merger of state and corporate power,” according to Benito Mussolini.

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