Category Archives: Press Release

[Press Release] Environmental group to President-elect Marcos: Prioritize environmental issues | BAN Toxics

Environmental group to President-elect Marcos: Prioritize environmental issues

BAN Toxics urged President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to prioritize ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment and take action for proper chemicals and wastes management in time for his upcoming inauguration.

“We call on President-elect Marcos to prioritize the ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment, implement measures for sound chemicals and wastes management, and the total ban of waste importation to protect our nation from becoming the world’s dump site again,” says Reynaldo San Juan Jr., executive director of BAN Toxics.

The Basel Convention on Hazardous Wastes Management and Disposal was established to protect human health as well as the environment from the harmful effects of improper hazardous waste management worldwide.

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[Press Release] Putting torture prevention on the Philippines’ national agenda | TFDP

PUTTING TORTURE PREVENTION ON THE PHILIPPINES’ NATIONAL AGENDA

In commemoration of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) in cooperation with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)-Philippines today launched a public forum on the prevention of torture.

The event is supported by the European Union through the project “Reducing risky practices leading to torture and ill-treatment in Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand” (#SafeInCustody).

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[Press Release] Groups Call for Ban on Toxic Thermal Paper Receipts with BPA/BPS | EcoWaste Coalition

Groups Call for Ban on Toxic Thermal Paper Receipts with BPA/BPS

Three civil society groups are calling on the government and business sectors to protect workers and the general public from the adverse effects of exposure to endocrine disrupting and cancer-linked chemicals present in thermal transaction receipts.

At the “Kapehan sa Dabaw” and the “Forum on Hazardous Chemicals in Thermal Paper Receipts” held last June 20, representatives of the Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS), EcoWaste Coalition and the Wonjin Institute for Occupational and Environmental Health (WIOEH) exposed the hidden hazards in such receipts.

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[Press Release] Environmental group spotlights mercury-free alternatives in a new study | BAN Toxics

Environmental group spotlights mercury-free alternatives in a new study

In line with the celebration of National Poison Prevention Week, environmental watchdog group BAN Toxics launches alternatives study titled “Mercury-Free Alternatives in the Philippines: Batteries, lamps, and medical measuring devices” in a press briefing.

The fourth week of June is celebrated as the National Poison Prevention Week as declared by Presidential Proclamation No. 1777 s. 2009 as an effort to raise awareness on the preventive aspects of poisoning prevention at home, school, work and the general environment.[1]

The study aimed to assess the availability of mercury-free alternatives in the Philippine market in view of the country’s commitments of phasing out mercury-containing products under the Minamata Convention on Mercury.[2]

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[Press Release] Government must stop judicial harassment against human rights groups | Civicus

Government must stop judicial harassment against human rights groups

CIVICUS, a global civil society alliance, is alarmed by the ongoing judicial harassment against members of three human rights groups, that have been accused of perjury for seeking legal protection from the Supreme Court against government harassment and intimidation. Around court hearings this week – where National Council members from Karapatan will deliver their testimonies – our organisation calls on the government of the Philippines to immediately drop all charges against them and to halt all forms of reprisals against human rights defenders.

The perjury case stems from a petition for protection, through the writs of amparo and habeas data, submitted in May 2019 by the National Council members of Karapatan, national officers of women alliance, GABRIELA and religious group – the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP). The organisations were tagged by the government as alleged fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The petition was initially granted but later denied by the Court of Appeal in June 2019. A petition for review of the decision is still pending.

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[Press Release] Increase in salaries, first agenda of teachers to incoming VP and DEPED Secertary Inday Sara Duterte | TDC

Increase in salaries, first agenda of teachers to incoming VP and DEPED Secertary Inday Sara Duterte

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) hopes to engage the incoming Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Vice President-elect Sara Duterte in a discussion to tackle the teachers’ long overdue demand for salary increase.

“What we ask is beyond increase in our salaries, it’s about rectifying the decades-old mistake of the government,” said Benjo Basas, a Caloocan City teacher and the group’s national chairperson.

Basas argued that teachers’ salaries should be based on the recommendations of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670), a 1966 vintage law created to institutionalize and further protect the rights and welfare of teachers. However, the law that currently governs the salaries of teachers is the salary standardization law (SSL) of 1989 and its latest version, RA 11466 or the SSL-5 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in January 2020.

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[Press Release] Youth group takes their part to protect the environment | BAN Toxics

Youth group takes their part to protect the environment

As part of Environment Month celebration, the Environment Stewards Organization (ESO), a youth organization from T’boli National High School South Cotabato City spearheaded an environmental awareness-raising campaign, tree planting activities, and leadership development training that aims to advocate for environmental sustainability and preservation.

With the goal to involve the youth in nature preservation, ESO was founded in October 2014 through the efforts of then principal of T’Boli National High School, Mrs. Mila A. De Leon, T’Boli Mayor Dibu Tuan, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 12 Director, Datu Tungko Saikul, and four other officers.

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[Press Release] Ensure Rights Panel’s Independence | HRW

Ensure Rights Panel’s Independence
President-Elect Marcos Should Select Commissioners in Transparent Process

President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines should ensure a transparent, inclusive process to select qualified and independent human rights experts as commissioners for the national Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Human Rights Watch said today. Marcos, who will be inaugurated as the new Philippine president on June 30, 2022, is expected to announce his appointments in the coming days.

The Commission on Human Rights is empowered under the 1987 Philippine Constitution to investigate human rights violations and promote respect for human rights in the country. Marcos ran on a campaign marked by disinformation about his family’s role in human rights abuses during the dictatorship of his father, Ferdinand Marcos Sr., and so the appointment of the commissioners will be an important first test for his administration’s commitment to human rights.

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[Press Release] Environmental group lauds DOH-FDA for banning mercury use in medical devices and dental procedures | BAN Toxic

Environmental group lauds DOH-FDA for banning mercury use in medical devices and dental procedures

Environmental watchdog group BAN Toxics lauds the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Philippines for issuing the FDA Circular which totally bans mercury-added thermometers, sphygmomanometers, dental amalgam capsules, and liquid mercury use in dental restorative procedures in the country.

FDA Circular No. 2022-003 aims for “the total ban of the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, sale, offer for sale, donation, transfer, and where applicable, the use, promotion, advertising, or sponsorship of mercury-added thermometers and sphygmomanometers along with dental amalgam capsules and liquid mercury for use in dental restorative purposes to protect human health from the adverse effects of mercury-added medical devices.”[1]

In addition, the storage, transport, and disposal of the banned medical devices shall comply with the existing implementing rules and regulations of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

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[Press Release] Teachers question work during school break | TDC

Teachers question work during school break

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) calls on the leadership of the Department of Education (DepEd) to clarify some of the content of its new ordinance that will extend the work of teachers beyond the school year which will end on June 24, 2022.

“This policy should be clarified because we expect teachers to enjoy a two-month vacation between the closing and opening of school years, we have the right under the law,” said Benjo Basas, national chairperson of TDC.

According to Basas, DepEd Order No. 25, p. 2022 signed by Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan last week seems to ignore the supposed entitlement of two-month vacation of teachers. The Order will require some of the teachers to conduct ‘summer’ or end of the school year classes for children with failing grades in two subjects. Meanwhile, children with low marks of 75 to 79 in any subject must attend enrichment classes. These two interventions will be held from July 24 to August 12.

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[Press Release] EcoWaste Coalition Hails Global Ban on Highly Toxic Chemical PFHxS

EcoWaste Coalition Hails Global Ban on Highly Toxic Chemical PFHxS

The toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition lauded the decision by the world’s governments to add PFHxS to the Stockholm Convention’s list of banned persistent organic pollutants (POPs) with no exemptions.

PFHxS, or perfluorohexane sulfonic acid, its salts, and related substances, will be added to Annex A of the treaty for global elimination as agreed during the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP10) of the Stockholm Convention in Geneva, Switzerland.

PFHxS belongs to the highly persistent group of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), or the “forever chemicals.” Related fluorinated chemicals, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), were added to the Convention in 2009 and 2019.

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[Press Release] Kumpirmado: Mga gurong uupo sa halalan, kakaltasan ng 20% sa honorarium | TDC

Kumpirmado: Mga gurong uupo sa halalan, kakaltasan ng 20% sa honorarium

Ayon kay Benjo Basas, National Chairperson ng TDC, ito umano ang kinumpirma ng ilan nilang kasapi na dumalo sa isinasagawang pagsasanay kaugnay sa darating na halalan sa Mayo.

“Para namang atat na atat sa maliit na halagang masisingil ang BIR sa ating mga guro at talagang kinaltas na ang P200 sa P1000 na transportation allowance. Kung tutuusin ay halos wala nang halaga itong P1000 lalo pa ngayong sobra-sobra nang nagtaas ang presyo ng langis. Baka sa huli abonado pa ang mga teacher natin,” ayon kay Basas.

Nananawagan ang grupo sa Comelec at DepEd at maging sa mga mambabatas na agad na himukin ang BIR na suspendihin ang pagpapataw ng buwis na ito na ayon sa grupo ay hindi makatarungan.

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[Press Release] Group Urges Government to Protect Consumers from Mercury-Added Products | EcoWaste Coalition

Group Urges Government to Protect Consumers from Mercury-Added Products

In observance of World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) on March 15, a toxics watchdog group urged the authorities to launch a fresh drive to protect consumers from banned mercury-added products (MAPs) that are still sold locally, especially on e-commerce platforms.

WCRD is a yearly commemoration spearheaded by Consumers International to raise global awareness about the rights of consumers to basic needs, healthy environment, safety, information, education, choice, representation, and redress, and to demand respect and protection for such basic rights.

“The government needs to mount a multifaceted campaign to stop the entry, distribution, and sale of mostly imported MAPs phased out in 2020 under the Minamata Convention on Mercury to reduce health risks and environmental contamination,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

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[Press Release] TDC challenged bets for Teachers’ Agenda

Group challenged bets for Teachers’ Agenda

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) calls on the candidates for May 2022 elections to consider their comprehensive agenda for the country’s teachers and education workers dubbed as the ‘13-Point Teachers’ Dignity Agenda.’

“We have witnessed several forums and even debates where candidates, especially those gunning for the highest office in the land have presented their plans, unfortunately, we have yet to see a suitable platform that responds to the needs of our teachers and the education sector in general,” said Benjo Basas, the group’s National Chairperson.

Basas said that the 13-Point Teachers’ Dignity Agenda focuses on the rights and welfare of the teachers such as the increase in salaries, compensation for those affected by COVID-19, free post-graduate education, provision of free laptop computers and internet services, and putting up of a separate insurance system and hospital for teachers among other benefits. But there are also demands that address the learning of children like the change in curriculum, reduction of class size, provision of books and other materials and facilities, and adequate funding for the safe return of in-person classes.

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[Press Release] Wage hike for all workers and oil subsidy for PUV drivers amid oil price hikes | EILER

Wage hike for all workers and oil subsidy for PUV drivers amid oil price hikes – EILER

Labor NGO Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) calls on the government to increase the minimum wage and immediately release the oil subsidy for PUV drivers amid incessant oil price hikes due to the worsening geopolitical situation and the highly speculative nature of the market.

“Ordinary Filipinos should not bear the brunt of these oil price hikes. The government should ensure that enough safety nets are in place for the public transport drivers and commuters and that there are subsidies for MSMEs so that they can cope with the increase in prices,” said EILER Executive Director Rochelle Porras.

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[Press Release] EcoWaste Coalition Joins Clamor for a Strong Plastics Treaty

EcoWaste Coalition Joins Clamor for a Strong Plastics Treaty

On the eve of a historic United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), the EcoWaste Coalition reiterated its unity with the global plea urging delegates to agree to negotiate for a strong treaty with binding controls and targets that will end the toxic threat and injustice from the plastic wastes and pollutants plaguing the world.

As the second session of the fifth UNEA (UNEA-5.2) resumes on February 28 to March 2 in Kenya, Nairobi on hybrid format, members of the EcoWaste Coalition gathered in Quezon City to remind government delegates of the “make or break” opportunity to negotiate for a legally binding agreement to prevent and remedy plastic pollution and its toxic impacts.

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[Press Release] PAHRA launches Human Rights Electoral Agenda for 2022

PAHRA launches Human Rights Electoral Agenda for 2022

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) launched on Saturday, Feb. 5, its comprehensive human rights electoral agenda called #KarapatDapat. More than 70 representatives from human rights organizations, civil society and grassroots organizations, party-list groups, and religious organizations joined the launch via Zoom and Facebook Live.

Secretary-General Ellecer “Budit” Carlos discussed how crucial it is for pro-democracy forces and citizens to stand their ground and emphasize that human rights is indispensable in good governance and that it should be the primary framework for public service and expressed in political platforms as the nation prepares for the national and local elections in 2022. He said that while there are candidates who are promising to promote, protect, and integrate human rights in their own electoral platform of governance, there are also notorious candidates who pose a threat to human rights and human rights defenders. The Karapatdapat Campaign also enables support for surfacing pro-human rights candidates and prevents candidates who will surely be tyrants and despots from winning the elections.

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[Press Release] EILER supports legislative efforts ensuring workers’ right to health and their well-being

Labor NGO supports legislative efforts ensuring workers’ right to health and their well-being

Labor NGO Ecumenical Institute of Labor Education and Research (EILER supports legislative efforts to ensure workers’ right to health and their well-being. This is in light of proposals for a Workers’ Rest Law’ (HB 10717 and SB 2475) that prohibits employers from contacting or giving additional work for employees beyond working hours.

Under the pandemic, workers have further been subjected to labor flexibilization and difficult work set-up such as working from home or working on-site without the guarantee of ayuda and quarantine leaves if they contracted Covid-19. Many employees, especially those under work from home set-up, have complained about being forced to attend work-related activities beyond work hours without additional pay. This negatively impacts workers’ physical and mental health. Aside from this, workers also face repressive and discriminatory policies such as the “no vaccine, no work” policy being imposed on various workplaces.

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[Press Release] #FactsFirstPH to Filipinos: The battle for facts needs you | HRW

The battle for facts needs you.

This is what more than 100 organizations from the media, coalitions, civil society, business, academe, law, and the Church said as they launched a first-of-its-kind initiative on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, called “#FactsFirstPH.”

#FactsFirstPH brings together various sectors that are committed to promoting truth in the public space and exacting accountability on those who harm it with lies.

#FactsFirstPH will collectively push for truth-telling and debunking lies through four steps: fact-checking by news organizations; networking by civil society and grassroots groups; research and analysis by academic institutions; and seeking accountability by lawyers groups.

“The attack on facts is personal: if you defend the facts, you’re hammered down, intimidated to stay silent or join the mob. Those aren’t our only options. There is strength in standing up together. Because now more than ever, we need facts,” Rappler CEO and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa said.

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[From the web] NUJP demands arrest of media killing ‘mastermind’

NUJP demands arrest of media killing ‘mastermind’
Joel Reyes campaigning to reclaim Palawan governorship despite arrest warrant

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) called for the arrest of former Palawan governor Joel Reyes, the alleged mastermind in the killing of Palawan broadcaster Gerry Ortega in 2011.

In a statement on Ortega’s 11th death anniversary on Monday, January 24, the NUJP said former Palawan governor Joel Reyes is campaigning to reclaim the top provincial post even as he remains a fugitive from the law.

“[N]ot only is former governor Joel Reyes evading his warrant of arrest for Ortega’s killing, he is running for Palawan governor, according to news reports, and is campaigning while a subject of a manhunt,” the media group said.

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