Magazine article New Internationalist

Desecration: Philippines Power Project Threatens Ancestral Lands (Mount Apo, Mindanao)

Magazine article New Internationalist

Desecration: Philippines Power Project Threatens Ancestral Lands (Mount Apo, Mindanao)

Article excerpt

MOUNT Apo on the Philippines island of Mindanao is the most sacred site for the indigenous people of the rainforest, the Lumads. More than 100,000 Lumads hunt and farm on its slopes, as they have since records began. It is the burial ground of their ancestors and home to their supreme being, Apo Sandawa.

Their land covers a hugely profitable source of geothermal energy which the government - owned Philippines National Oil Company (PNOC) wishes to tap, and more so since the region is short of energy and suffers prolonged electricity cuts. So PNOC plans to dril into the mountain to tap the boiling water and use it to generate electricity.

The Lumads are resisting this desecration. 'If this project continues,' says Edtami Mansayagan, a Lumad leader, 'it will not just mean our physical death through environmental destruction, but also the death of our history, of our people's dignity, of our dreams as a people.'

Mount Apo is the source of 28 rivers. …

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