Category Archives: From the web

[From the web] Philippines Loses Staunch Rights Defender | Human Rights Watch

#HumanRights #ChitoGascon

Philippines Loses Staunch Rights Defender | Human Rights Watch

Philippines Loses Staunch Rights Defender
Chito Gascon Led Commission on Human Rights During Trying Years
By Carlos H. Conde
Senior Philippines Researcher
Human Rights Watch

The Philippines has lost a beloved human rights defender. Jose Luis Martin Gascon, known to all as “Chito,” who had chaired the governmental Commission on Human Rights since 2015, died October 9 from complications due to Covid-19, his family said. He was 57.

Friends and allies in the human rights movement mourned Gascon’s passing. “The country lost a dedicated public servant who never cowered in fear in asserting people’s rights and civil liberties,” said Fides Lim, spokesperson of Kapatid, a group advocating for the rights of political prisoners. “Amid the challenges faced by the CHR … he carried on with dignity, strength and courage,” said Jacqueline Ann de Guia, Gascon’s colleague at the commission. Even the military, often the target of commission investigations, paid its respects.

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[From the web] Opinion: Duterte is worried about the ICC. He should be. | by Carlos Conde

#HumanRights #Killings

Opinion: Duterte is worried about the ICC. He should be. | by Carlos H. Conde

Clarita Alia remains anguished, nearly 20 years after I first heard her express her grief.

“His name was Danilo Lugay,” she told me over the phone recently from Davao City, in the southern Philippines. Police killed Lugay in September 2020 during a drug raid; a news report of the killing said he had fought back and police officers shot him. Lugay, 28, was the grandchild of Alia’s sister Naneth.

Alia’s voice cracked as she described what happened — the same pained voice that I heard when I interviewed her in 2002 for a report on the killing of her sons Richard, Christopher and Bobby, all teenagers. Assailants later murdered a fourth son, Fernando, in 2007. This unimaginable family tragedy gave Alia, a vegetable vendor who lives in a slum community, the label of poster mother for the city’s bloody “war on drugs,” in which police use extrajudicial executions instead of prosecutions as a primary method of punishing criminal suspects.

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[From the web] Congratulations, Maria and Rappler. You have made the country proud | LnM

#HumanRights #PressFreedom

Congratulations, Maria and Rappler. You have made the country proud

Laban ng Masa joins the country in celebrating Maria Ressa’s being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Russian journalist Dimitry Muratov. Maria and the news and opinion outlet she headed up, Rappler, have been in the forefront of the defense of freedom of the press. For continuing to expose the crimes of the Duterte regime, Ressa and Rappler were subjected to legal persecution and attempts at political annihilation and economic asphyxiation by the administration.

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[From the web] Int’l community must support independent investigative mechanism to end attacks on civil society | CIVICUS

#HumanRights #StopTheAssault

Philippines: International community must support independent investigative mechanism to end attacks on civil society

New research on the state of civic freedoms in the Philipines

CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, continues to call on the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent investigative mechanism to address human rights violations and abuses in the Philippines to further accountability and justice. A new brief published today, shows that one year on from the adoption of a profoundly weak resolution at the Council, serious civic freedoms violations continue to occur, creating a chilling effect within civil society.

The CIVICUS Monitor has documented the arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights defenders and activists on fabricated charges. In a number of instances, the activists have been vilified and red-tagged – labelled as communists or terrorists – in relation to their work prior to their arrest. There have also been reports of evidence planted by the police and military forces to justify arrests or violence against activists.

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[From the web] Victims and their families will engage a justice system that they can trust | iDEFEND

Victims and their families will engage a justice system that they can trust- iDEFEND

The report of the ICC registry indicating an overwhelming support of victims and their families towards an investigation into the war on drugs by the International Criminal Court, proves the lack of credibility of the Philippine system to provide justice to more than thirty thousand cases of extrajudicial killings in the country.

According to the Victims’ Participation and Reparations Section of the registry, there had been more than 200 submissions to the ICC supporting the request of the prosecutor to launch a formal investigation into the human rights violations in the country. The VPRS cited that some reasons given by the victims are the reign of impunity entrenched by the President, the unending trauma that they endure, and their conviction that their relatives did not fight back against authorities.

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[From the web] Lessons Unlearned: Fight for Inclusive Education Carries into Second Year of Remote Learning | by Isaiah Castro/ PhilRights.org

#HumanRights #Education

Lessons Unlearned: Fight for Inclusive Education Carries into Second Year of Remote Learning
by Isaiah Castro

“It makes me anxious,” John Carlou, 20, confesses when asked how he feels about remote learning. “Since it started, I have been struggling financially, mentally, and emotionally. Also, learning at home does not work well for me because I keep doubting myself.”

The eldest among four children, John Carlou resides in the rural Daanbantayan town in northernmost Cebu. An incoming third-year student of political science at the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu, he admits that he feels “alienated” and is still adjusting to the virtual set-up. He worries about his performance, especially during the heavily stressful final exams, which reflects on the grades he received last semester.

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[From the web] Global torture prevention community calls for protection of Afghanistan’s national preventive mechanism | APT

#HumanRights #Torture

Global torture prevention community calls for protection of Afghanistan’s national preventive mechanism

The recent Taliban military offensive poses a grave threat to the continued independence and functioning of Afghanistan’s National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) – the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) – and for the safety of its members and staff.

Everyone in Afghanistan who has engaged in work to promote human rights and democracy now faces a serious risk of reprisals under the Taliban. At particular risk are the women who lead and work for the AIHRC. All those under threat, including the staff of the AIHRC and their families, need protection including, if necessary, through visas and safe passage.

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[From the web] It’s Time for the U.S. to Stop Selling Weapons to Human Rights Abusers | HRW

It’s Time for the U.S. to Stop Selling Weapons to Human Rights Abusers
Published in:The Washington Post

By Elisa Epstein
Washington Advocacy Officer
Human Rights Watch
@elisacepstein

The Biden administration notified Congress in June of a proposed sale of more than $2.5 billion in arms to the Philippines, including fighter jets and two kinds of precision missiles. The notice came less than two weeks after the International Criminal Court prosecutor sought approval to open a formal investigation into crimes against humanity related to the Philippines’ brutal “war on drugs.”

Human rights groups promptly expressed concern that the administration would reward an increasingly abusive government with such a large weapons sale, particularly given public pledges by both President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the new administration would put human rights at the center of U.S. foreign policy.

This is not the first time in the Biden administration’s short tenure that it has found itself the object of criticism following an arms sale announcement. In February, the United States approved plans to sell Egypt missiles worth $197 million. In May, news broke of an approved arms sale worth $735 million of precision-guided weapons to Israel amid its latest military offensive in Gaza, where it used large, precision-guided munitions to destroy multi-story buildings containing scores of businesses and homes on the pretext of some unproven Hamas presence at those sites. According to the United Nations, Israeli airstrikes in May killed 260 Palestinians in Gaza, at least 129 of whom were civilians, including 66 children.

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[From the web] The new UN Climate Report and Environmental Defenders | UN Special Rapporteur on HRDs

The new UN Climate Report and Environmental Defenders | UN Special Rapporteur on HRDs

The report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which came out earlier this week warns of imminent climate catastrophe. Major atmospheric and climatic changes are already underway.

People have caused climate change, and must now bring it to a halt through radical changes in our behaviour and attitudes. And yet it’s the defenders of our environment who are often forced to risk their lives to advocate for increased environmental protection.

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[From the web] Rising unemployment shows Duterte admin’s failed economic policies | EILER

Rising unemployment shows Duterte admin’s failed economic policies

The increase in unemployment rate in the recent Labor Force Survey (LFS) shows the Duterte administration’s neoliberal agenda and failed economic policies further worsened the labor situation amid the pandemic, according to a labor NGO.

The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) said that while the imposition of stricter lockdowns during the previous quarter is seen as the immediate cause, the government’s neglect of local industries and its dependence on foreign businesses is the primary reason for the rising unemployment and precarious working conditions.

The LFS released by the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) for April 2021 shows the unemployment rate rose to 8.7% from 7.1% last March. That translates to 4.14 million unemployed Filipinos. Underemployment rose to 17.2% or 7.45 million from 16.2% last March.

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[From the web] Decision to take back hazard pay of contractual airport workers, unjust | EILER

#HumanRights #Workers

Decision to take back hazard pay of contractual airport workers, unjust

A Labor NGO expresses dismay over the state auditor’s order to recover the hazard pay amounting to P54.36 million given to contractual workers of the Manila International Airport Authority last year. As per the memo released by the service contractor, the retracted hazard pay shall be deducted from workers’ monthly salaries.

The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) said that the decision is unjust and shows indifference to the plight of contractual workers who are on the frontlines. EILER also added that all workers deserve hazard pay given the risks they face while at work amid the pandemic.

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[From the web] Workers’ Coalition Slams House Urgent Call for Chacha | NAGKAISA

#HumanRights #Workers

Workers’ Coalition Slams House Urgent Call for Chacha

The biggest labor coalition in the country slams the House leadership’s “hell-bent” effort to amend restrictive economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution amid the raging fight against CoVID 19 pandemic.

Instead of resuming plenary debates and deliberations on the proposed constitutional amendments in his Resolution of Both House No. 2 (RBH 2) when sessions resume this week, NAGKAISA holds that Speaker Lord Allan Velasco needs to prioritize the passage of the Bayanihan 3 and other measures to help displaced workers and to ease the burden of the CoVID 19 pandemic.

NAGKAISA said it before and will repeat it again that this is not the time for charter change. The money for the charter change campaign should be appropriated for “ayudang sapat para sa mga manggagawang nalaglag sa trabaho o kung may trabaho man ay di nakakapasok sa trabaho.”

First, on procedure, the alleged political “consensus” in the House has no counterpart support in the Senate. Under Article XVII of the Constitution, without the uppet chamber, such initiative is already dead on its track before moving an inch.

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[From the web] LAWYERS URGE THE SUPREME COURT FOR REFORMS IN THE ISSUANCE OF SEARCH WARRANTS: Express concern over the use of court processes as cover to attack activists and dissenters | NUPL

#HumanRights #Assault

LAWYERS URGE THE SUPREME COURT FOR REFORMS IN THE ISSUANCE OF SEARCH WARRANTS: Express concern over the use of court processes as cover to attack activists and dissenters
22 March 2021

More than a hundred lawyers, law deans and legal luminaries today formally urged the Supreme Court, through a letter, to institute reforms in the issuance of search warrants, concerned that court processes have possibly been resorted to as false legal cover to attack activists and dissenters.

The letter, prompted by the number of deaths and arrests in the course of the implementation of search warrants, include, among others, the following proposals:

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[From the web] Women need more vaccines, not tarpaulins! | Akbayan

#HumanRights #Women #COVID19ph

Women need more vaccines, not tarpaulins!

Photo from Akbayan FB page

“More vaccines, not tarpaulins!”

This was the message conveyed by women members of Akbayan Partylist as they unfurled a banner at a footbridge in Quezon City on Thursday marking this year’s International Women’s Month.

The Akbayan women said that they are calling for more vaccine options for the public and an end to early and expensive election campaigning amid the country’s efforts to contain COVID-19.

“Women want more vaccine options. The more vaccines that are made available, the more lives we can save, and the sooner we can all realize a new and better normal for all. Campaign tarpaulins and other early and expensive election campaigning will not save lives nor protect women from the global health crisis,” Akbayan Chair Emeritus Etta Rosales said.

It was reported that tarpaulins that carried messages urging Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte to run for president in 2022 appeared in different parts of the country. Duterte and her supporters drew flak from the public as the tarpaulins sprouted in different areas amid the country’s lack of vaccines against COVID-19.

“As women, who are one of the most vulnerable sectors to the pandemic, we are scandalized by this early election campaigning in the middle of a global health crisis. Hindi bale sana kung ganoon din kabilis ang rollout ng bakuna gaya ng paglalagay nila ng mga tarpaulin sa buong bansa,” Rosales said.

Rosales, who is also a former partylist representative, explained that women have every right to call for more vaccines as they bear the brunt of the pandemic.

“From facing a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission and deaths, as majority of health frontliners are women, to loss of jobs and increasing gender-based violence, COVID-19 has hit women harder and worsened gender inequality. Let us not add furthermore to our women’s multiple burden by depriving them of a fast, safe and efficient vaccine program,” Rosales said.

“We call on the government to provide a safe, adequate, and effective vaccination plan for all. We also call for the faster arrival of more vaccines to give the public, particularly women, the widest array options to protect ourselves from COVID-19,” Rosales said.

https://web.facebook.com/AkbayanParty/photos/a.99632461555/10157600362061556/

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[From the web] EcoWaste Coalition Appeals to Senators to Keep Prohibition on Waste Incineration

#HumanRights #Environment

EcoWaste Coalition Appeals to Senators to Keep Prohibition on Waste Incineration

Photo by EcoWaste Coalition

The pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition calls on the country’s top legislators to safeguard public health and the environment by keeping intact the Clean Air and Solid Waste Management laws, particularly the ban on waste incineration, as the Philippines marks the 35th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.

“We are honoring the Filipino people whose bravery and dedication toppled the oppressive leadership of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos Sr.. After 35 years of EDSA revolution, our communities and environment are again threatened by the unjust political and social structures that favor transnational corporations and a few individuals,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition.

From the martial law period until now, the Philippines still counts as one of the deadliest countries in Asia for land and environmental defenders especially when it comes to fighting for the rights of nature against corporations who pollute the environment.

According to Lucero, one of the recent injustices against nature was the push by the House of Representatives in promoting incineration under the guise of waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities, and the vicious attempt to repeal specific provisions in the Clean Air Act, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and other relevant laws.

Last year, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the declaration of a climate emergency by the House of Representatives, several environment groups, including the EcoWaste Coalition, made the urgent call for policies in mitigating the waste and climate crisis. The declaration urged local governments and government bodies to adopt policies to mitigate climate change.

The groups also asked the government to disallow the funding of dirty energy projects by corporations that greatly contribute to environmental crises and disasters which endanger the health of citizens due to the release of poisonous chemicals such as dioxins and furans.

“This year, as the country continues to battle COVID-19, it is also of utmost importance to use environmentally safe measures in dealing with waste to protect public health and the environment which is obviously not through waste-to-energy incineration,” added Lucero.

“Moreover as we commemorate the EDSA Revolution, we also call on the members of the Senate to set a high moral leadership and put into action the virtues of democracy and love for our country. We need to stop sacrificing our communities and it will start by scrapping the Waste-to-Energy Bill,” further added Lucero.

According to a factsheet by GAIA Asia Pacific, while marketed in the guise of advancing renewable energy, WTE incineration is not an environmentally sustainable form of energy source and waste management solution. It is a known fact that when burning of waste happens, toxic substances are released which undeniably compromise the health and safety of individuals, the factsheet said.

“It is really very important in calling on the government to scrap this proposal on waste-to-energy (WTE) incineration and to show its sincerity for the sake of the health and well-being of the people. Our lawmakers should instead uphold our existing environmental laws and approve the green laws pending in the 18th Congress, including the passage of the National Single-Use Plastics Ban as well as ordinances that would hold culprits accountable of polluting practices,” Lucero ended.


EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[From the web] Vaccines for all, safety for all -By Rene E. Ofreneo

#HumanRights #COVID19ph

Vaccines for all, safety for all
By Rene E. Ofreneo

No one is safe unless everyone is safe. This, in gist, is the rationale behind the proposal of India, South Africa and other developing countries for a “TRIPS Waiver” under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) agreement on Trade-Related Aspects Intellectual Property Rights or TRIPS.

The Covid-19 pandemic has bared the global reality: the health of one depends on the health of all. This means all countries should exert efforts to attain “herd immunity” for their populations. Otherwise, the virus, which has been mutating, will continue to circulate endlessly, flaring every now and then in different parts of the world. Hence, it is critical that all countries should have access to vaccines and medical products such as test kits, protective equipment, ventilators, therapeutics and medical devices that are needed to treat, prevent and contain the virus.

The problem is that there are barriers, “intellectual barriers,” in accessing these vaccines and medical products. Under the TRIPS agreement, industrial and pharmaceutical products traded around the world are subject to the protective rules of TRIPS on patents, trade secrets, copyrights and industrial designs. TRIPS is some kind of an aberration under the WTO umbrella of trade agreements. TRIPS provides utmost “protection” to the global trade players such as the multinationals while the rest of the WTO agreements seek maximum “liberalization” of markets for goods and services.

The proposed TRIPS Waiver means exemption of developing countries from the protective rules of TRIPS. Specifically, they shall be allowed to avail themselves of TRIPS “flexibilities” such as the “compulsory licensing” or manufacture of patented vaccines and medical products as well as the right to undertake “parallel importation” of the above from another source without the consent of the patent holders—all in the name of public health.

Click the link below to read more:

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[From the web] Groups Call for a Stronger ASEAN Regional Policy and Action to Combat Waste Dumping -EcoWaste Coalition

#HumanRights #Environment

Groups Call for a Stronger ASEAN Regional Policy and Action to Combat Waste Dumping

Photo from ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

Two civil society organizations from Malaysia and the Philippines urged the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to declare the entire region as “no dumping ground” for hazardous wastes and other wastes such as household and plastic garbage.

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and the EcoWaste Coalition together called for a robust ASEAN-level policy that will protect the region’s over 655 million people and their rich but threatened biodiversity and ecosystems from the adverse impacts of global waste dumping.

The groups’ plea for a regional stance to prevent foreign waste dumping came on the heels of the prestigious Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards (AEEA) given to recipients from Malaysia and the Philippines who were recognized for their work in combating transboundary environmental crime, which resulted in the re-exportation of unlawful plastic waste imports to their countries of origin.

“The AEEA conferred to environmental enforcers in Malaysia and the Philippines has again turned the spotlight on the illegal traffic of waste in Asia and the need for greater collaboration and vigilance, nationally and regionally, to put an end to such an environmental crime,” said Mageswari Sangaralingam, Researcher, CAP.

“To protect the region from the environmental and health impacts of waste trade, all the ASEAN member states should immediately ratify the Basel Convention Ban Amendment and fix regulatory loopholes if any that ‘legalize’ the entry of hazardous wastes and other wastes disguised as recyclable scraps. Regionally, we urge the ASEAN to adopt a declaration, or better still an agreement, proclaiming the region as no dumping ground for foreign waste,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Now is the time for the ASEAN to flex its muscles as a regional bloc to denounce global waste dumping and affirm its unity to safeguard the region’s people and the environment from the drawbacks and hazards of waste trade,” said Chinkie Peliño-Golle, Regional Coordinator, International Pollutants Elimination Network – Southeast and East Asia (IPEN-SEA).

Read complete article @ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP)
10 Jalan Masjid Negeri, 11600 Pulau Pinang
Malaysia
https://consumer.org.my/
EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City
Philippines
http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com/

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[From the web] ‘Stop the killings!’- Labor NGO seeks justice for the murder of union leader Leonardo Escala -EILER

#HumanRights #Workers

‘Stop the killings!’- Labor NGO seeks justice for the murder of union leader Leonardo Escala

Screen Grabbed from Eiler.ph

The Ecumenical Institute of Labor Education and Research (EILER) condemns the brutal murder of Leonardo “Ka Esca” Escala, union president of the port operator International Container Terminal Services Incorporated (ICTSI) last February 7, in Tondo Manila.

Under Escala’s leadership, the union the Nagkakaisang Manggagawa sa Pantalan Incorporated (NMPI)-ICTSI under the National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), fought for labor rights and humane working conditions.

Because of his convictions, he constantly received death threats.

Read complete article @eiler.ph

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[From the web] Clergy, scientists oppose seabed mining in Cagayan -ATM

#HumanRights #Mining

Clergy, scientists oppose seabed mining in Cagayan

Quezon City – Local clergy and scientists involved in marine conservation expressed opposition against the reported seabed mining project in Cagayan that will start operations this month.

In a statement signed on January 8, 2021, the Cagayan Advocates for Integrity of Creation (CAIC) called on Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Roy Cimatu to re-consider decision to allow the offshore mining project, citing the potential decrease of fish-catch of the more than 37,000 registered fisherfolk in Cagayan Province.

CAIC also mentioned the negative effects the mining project might introduce to several endangered species in the area. “It is clear to us that the black sand is a God-given resource to protect the ecological integrity of the whole province. Removal of it will cause irreversible damages to the entire bio-network” according to the statement signed by at least nine priests and nuns based in Cagayan province.

JDVC, owner and operator of the offshore mining project has asserted that their operations will not disturb the environment and has been accepted by local residents.

In a separate position paper, 78 environmental organizations and science-experts detailed the documented impacts of offshore or seabed mining.

Read complete article @www.alyansatigilmina.net

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[From the web] EcoWaste Coalition Pushes for LGU Inspection of Ice and Cold Storage Plants Following Ammonia Gas Leaks in Two Facilities

#HumanRights #Safety #Health

EcoWaste Coalition Pushes for LGU Inspection of Ice and Cold Storage Plants Following Ammonia Gas Leaks in Two Facilities

The EcoWaste Coalition, an advocate for chemical safety and environmental health, pressed local government units (LGUs) to immediately conduct inspections of ice and cold storage plants following ammonia gas leak incidents in Metro Manila and Batangas province last Wednesday.

On February 3, an ammonia gas leak from an ice plant in Navotas City led to the death of two workers, the hospitalization of close to 100 people, and the evacuation of some 3,000 nearby residents. Leakage from an ice plant in Lian Batangas on the same day caused the plants at an adjacent creek to wither and the fish to die.

Ammonia, particularly anhydrous ammonia, is a common refrigerant used in commercial and industrial facilities such as those involved in ice making, dairy products manufacturing and cold storage.

According to material safety data sheets, exposure to ammonia, a colorless, corrosive and highly irritating gas with suffocating smell, can irritate or burn the nose, throat and respiratory tract, eyes and skin, and cause dizziness and nausea among victims. Exposure to a high concentration of ammonia can be fatal.

“We call upon LGUs to conduct immediate inspection of ice and cold storage facilities in their areas of jurisdiction to prevent the possibility of chemical accidents in the future, as well as to reduce harm on workers, residents and the environment,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Read complete article @ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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