Earth Day protesters expose ecological destruction under PNoy

Aquino admin’s policies worsened degradation of environment
April 22, 2013
For Immediate Release

Environmentalists and militants protested today in the Quezon Memorial Circle where President Aquino was the guest of honor in the PH government’s Earth Day activity. The protesters decried claims of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that ‘ecogovernance’ is one of the top priorities of the Aquino government.

“We are dumbfounded by government’s claims that the administration is serious in its ‘ecogovernance’. The environmental track record of the Aquino administration shows otherwise. In 2012, three devastating mine spills happened including the Philex’ Padcal mine spill which is touted as the biggest mining disaster our country has ever experienced. These mine spills happened right after PNoy issued his Mining Executive Order or EO 79, a policy that is nothing but propaganda to make the mining industry appear strictly regulated,” said Clemente Bautista Jr., national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

In August 1, the Padcal mining project of Philex Mining Corporation started to release millions of metric tons of mine waste into the water bodies in Benguet and Pangasinan. Another mining company, CitiNickel, had two mine spills that contaminated rivers in Palawan province. Philex is the biggest mining company in the country.

“Pinayagan din ng gobyernong Aquino ang mga kumpanya na may mahabang listahan ng paglabag at pagsira sa kalikasan. Sa pamamagitan pa nga ng EO 79, kinokontra ng Malacanang  ang awtoridad ng mga lokal na pamahalaan na pigilan ang mga mapaminsalang pagmimina sa kanilang mga probinsya,” Bautista added.

Based on government data, the Aquino administration granted mining permits covering 945,660 hectares of lands. It also granted an environmental compliance certificate to infamous mining company Xstrata.

“The Aquino administration has also aggravated the fragile state of our marine and coastal ecosystems. It has done nothing substantial to address the impending reclamation of 38,000 hectares of foreshore areas, which covers 10 percent of important habitats such as seagrass expanses and mangrove forests. It had allowed foreign vessels to destroy significant areas of coral reefs in Tubbataha, not once but twice, and seems bent on letting the culprits off the hook,” Bautista pointed out.

“On top of these, the PNoy government failed to arrest state-sponsored impunity towards environmental activists. Not a single case from the at least 66 recorded killings of environmental advocates has been resolved. In fact, under the Aquino administration a total of 26 killings of environmental activists were registered and remains to be addressed,” said Leon Dulce of Task Force Justice for Environmental Defenders (TF JED).

Kamakailan lang, mahigit 70 na health worker, social worker, madre, mamamahayag at maging mga kasama naming environmental advocate ay patuloy na nililigalig ng mga militar pagkatapos nilang maglunsad ng isang national humanitarian and fact-finding mission sa mga apektadong lugar ng bagyong Pablo. Nararapat lang na bigyan ng karampatang tugon dito ang gobyernong Aquino bago sila magyabang ng kanilang pamamahala sa kapaligiran at mga komunidad na apektado ng pagkasira nito,” reiterated Dulce.

The TF-JED cited prominent environmentalists killed under the Aquino administration to include Palawan environmental broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega, top botanist Leonard Co and Italian priest Fr. Pops Tentorio.

“Ang pagtapon ng lason sa Subic Bay, ang pagsadsad ng USS Guardian at ng Tsinong barko sa Tubbataha, ang bigong tugon sa trahedya ng Bagyong Pablo sa Mindanao, at ang mga mapanirang proyektong reklamasyon sa Manila Bay ay ilan lang sa mga kongkretong ebidensya ng kapalpakan ng administrasyon Aquino sa pangangalaga ng kapaligiran at pamamahala ng ating likas-yaman.  ‘Total failure’ ang pamamahala sa kalikasan ng gobyernong Aquino,” Bautista ended. ###

  Reference: Clemente Bautista, national coordinator, Kalikasan PNE,  09228449787
CLEMENTE BAUTISTA
National Coordinator
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE)
No.26 Matulungin St. Bgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines 1100
Tel. No. +63-2-9248756  Fax No. +63-2-9209099
Email: kalikasan.pne@gmail.com
Website: www.kalikasan.net