Tag Archives: Climate

[Campaign] ‪#‎WeAreAllTacloban‬ ‪#‎ClimateJusticeNow -PMCJ

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On November 8 let us remember the day when our country suffered the devastating impacts of typhoon Yolanda while the whole world sat to witness. The typhoon took along with it our sisters and brothers’ homes, livelihood, and the lives of their beloved.

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But what the typhoon did not take is our ability to see through the challenge an opportunity to help and support those who are in need and the dignity to stand tall and demand accountability from those who have contributed to such a scale of devastation.

A year has passed and yet communities are still in misery. The government has failed in ensuring people’s participation in its rehabilitation plans and to deliver climate-resilient programs in building back better.

With this let us join hands in solidarity with the people who are still struggling after the typhoon and together HOLD THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE for its unpreparedness and for implementing policies and plans that worsened the conditions of affected communities.

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Our message: 8 November, 8 Injustices.

Injustice 1: Government Neglect towards the people
Injustice 2: Ignored people’s rights to participate and be consulted
Injustice 3: Massive displacement of Yolanda victims
Injustice 4: Disaster profiteering of companies
Injustice 5: Anti-poor actions and policies
Injustice 6: Promoting more indebtedness in the country
Injustice 7: More dirty energy addiction
Injustice 8: Absolving the accountability of developed countries on climate disasters

Join us as we make a “SOLIDARY SURGE” for the communities affected by typhoon Yolanda. Here’s how:

In real life: Take part in the mass actions in Manila and in Tacloban (for more info, email us at pmcj2012.sec@gmail.com).
Online: Selfie time – Take a selfie holding a placard: WE STAND WITH YOU, WE ARE ALL TACLOBAN (Indicate your city or province. Ex. Bataan)
Picture Profiles – Change your profile pictures to the image below.
Wall post – write your insights, assessment and demands from our government in its handling of the disastrous typhoon Yolanda
Hash Tags Yo! – Don’t forget to use ‪#‎WeAreAllTacloban‬ ‪#‎ClimateJusticeNow‬ in all your posts
Keep them coming – Send us your materials – pictures and messages – to pmcj2012.sec@gmail.com or on the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice FB page

Together, let us hold the government accountable and stand with the affected communities and demand climate justice for the victims of Yolanda

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[Press Release] Envi groups launch week-long solidarity action against COMP international mining conference 2014 -ATM

Envi groups launch week-long solidarity action against COMP international mining conference 2014

Photo by ATM

Photo by ATM

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) and various Civil Society Organizations held a press conference on September 12, Friday to formally announce to the public the start of the groups’ nationwide campaign against irresponsible and destructive mining in the country.

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The press conference with the theme ‘25 taon pa ng pagmimina, mas malalang disgrasya’ is a counter-attack of the concerned organizations to the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines’ (COMP) theme for this year’s international mining conference which is ‘Mining: the next 25 years.’

According to ATM National Coordinator Jaybee Garganera, the week-long solidarity action that will be participated by environmental and political groups from all over the Philippines is a “renewal of call against environmental destruction and abuse and violation of human rights brought by mining.”

During the conference, Garganera lambasted the current mining policies of the country by saying that the EO79 and the mining fiscal reform bill “ do not prioritize the people but the opportunistic intentions of transnational corporations”, which according to him is “not worth it, given the industry’s irreparable damage to the environment.”

Fr. Oli Castor of Philippine Meserior Partnership Inc. (PMPI), one of the speakers in the conference, complemented the arguments presented by Garganera as he discussed the economic, cultural and social effects of mining in the country.

“Though it has been claimed by the government that the mining industry has brought substantial growth in our economy, the numbers seem not to agree.” said Fr. Castor.

Fr. Castor was referring to the data produced by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) stating that mining industry has only contributed one (1) to two (2) percent in the country’s growth development product (GDP).

“Apart from the almost unfelt contribution of mining in our economy, let us not forget the farmers and fishermen who lost their livelihoods, the communities and indigenous peoples who have been displaced and the disasters the extractive industry has brought Padcal, Palawan and Marinduque among others.” pointed Fr. Castor.

Aside from criticizing the alleged inefficiency of the Mining Act of 1995 and its recent version EO 79, the groups also slated the mining industry’s contribution in elevating the country’s risk and vulnerability brought by climate change.

“The worsening climate crisis is unequivocal and the destructive nature of the mining industry is not helping our country’s vulnerable situation.” said Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ).

Furthermore, Arances asserted that “Now more than ever, we should call for a drastic policy change to stop the disregard of the true costs and impacts of mining to communities and the environment.”

Aiming For Long Term Solutions

Despite the criticisms that were expounded during the press conference, the groups cleared out that it is a “long-term solution to a long withstanding problem” that they demand from the government and nothing more.

Dr. Cielo Magno of Bantay Kita, the non-government organization representing the country in the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), claimed that “transparency is the first step” for the long-term solution.

“EITI aims to increase the accessibility of information regarding mining operation in the country. Having access to this information will allow us to further assess the impact of mining to our country. Our continued vigilance coupled with access to pertinent information will ensure that no form of economic and social injustice could be committed.” said Magno.

“Through transparency on how we manage our natural resources, we increase the accountability of mining companies to the communities and the government” she added.

However, the groups reiterated that transparency in the extractive industry’s revenue is just the start and the passage of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB) is the topmost priority.

“What we need are long-term and efficient form of actions to stop the uninhibited plunder of our country’s natural resources. No less than a radical shift in our minerals management law will do this,” said Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez, who is one of the champions and principal author of the AMMB.

Gutierrez then urged Congress to swiftly and immediately pass the AMMB, saying it is the “best alternative” to the existing mining policy.

“EO 79, in particular, has inefficiencies that do not effectively respond to the prevalent negative impacts and externalities spawned by the mining industry,” he said.
“It’s high time for Congress to pass an alternative minerals law that puts premium in the ecological value of our country’s mineral resources, and shift the land use priority towards environmental protection, food security and sustainable development,” added the lawmaker.

“Through AMMB, we aim to ensure that the exploration, development and utilization of the mineral resources are truly responsive to the aspirations and welfare of our people now and in the future,” Gutierrez concluded.

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Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB.

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0927) 761.76.02 nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Check Zabala, ATM Media and Communications Officer (0927) 623.50.66 media.comms@alyansatigilmina.net

Press Release
September 12, 2014

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[Blog] Brown water, black sand: MacArthur, Leyte’s struggle against mining, Yolanda, and climate change. By Denise M. Fontanilla

Brown water, black sand
MacArthur, Leyte’s struggle against mining, Yolanda, and climate change
Text and photos by Denise M. Fontanilla

MacArthur townspeople with other civil society members and partners of Alyansa Tigil Mina hold a rally in front of an illegal black sand mining site in Maya village on August 21.

MacArthur townspeople with other civil society members and partners of Alyansa Tigil Mina
hold a rally in front of an illegal black sand mining site in Maya village on August 21.

I recently spent eight days in eastern Visayas, the region where typhoon Yolanda first passed through on November 8, 2013, almost ten months ago. Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM, or Alliance Against Mining) invited the civil society network I work for to their general assembly last August 18-21 at the Visayas State University, in Baybay City, Leyte Province, and I was happy to represent them and join the representatives of mining-affected communities and other civil society groups from across the country.

On the last day of the assembly, we visited the Pacific-facing town of MacArthur, named after the American general. It is classified as a fifth-class municipality, part of the second poorest group of towns in the country.

MacArthur, Leyte’s central elementary school.

MacArthur, Leyte’s central elementary school.

I got a glimpse of MacArthur’s central elementary school from the road, and saw students holding classes outside or in tents, as some school buildings were still under repair while some were under construction. A community organizer I travelled with couldn’t help but note that, unlike the school, the town’s cockfighting arena had long been fully operational.

Almost 22,000 of its residents were affected by the typhoon, including more than a hundred farmers and fisherfolk who made up the people’s organization UNLAD, short for Unahin Natin Lagi Ang Diyos (“Always put God first”).

The house of UNLAD’s secretary general Bernardita Morcilla looked like most others in the area: the roof was comprised mostly of gleaming new galvanized steel sheets and a couple of tarpaulins. Tita Brenie, a 67-year-old fish pen owner, and her family had to rebuild their dirty kitchen; I could still see a pillar of hollow blocks from the old walls.

ATM reported back in late November that “houses, schools, churches, [and] markets were all damaged.” Their partners, including UNLAD, added that about 80% of the town’s coconut trees were destroyed. But despite being badly hit by Yolanda themselves, UNLAD members connected ATM with devastated barangays and supported the groundwork for the network’s relief operations in seven towns in Leyte, including MacArthur. And aside from foraging for rootcrops, bananas and coconuts spared by Yolanda for their food, UNLAD prioritized cleaning and clearing operations nine days after Yolanda struck.

“ATM thought we were going to ask for food, but we asked for a chainsaw instead,” Tita Brenie told us in Filipino with a smirk.

Mark of PAKISAMA tours ATM members around UNLAD’s organic vegetable farm.

Mark of PAKISAMA tours ATM members around UNLAD’s organic vegetable farm.

Tita Brenie’s house stands at the entrance to UNLAD’s communal farm, which spans more than two hectares. ATM and PAKISAMA (Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka, a national confederation of small farmers and fishers) established a nursery, training center, vegetable farm, piggery, and other facilities to provide food and income for UNLAD members and other residents. UNLAD members have been harvesting 15 kilos of assorted vegetables and beans on a daily basis since last April, according to Jaybee Garganera, the alliance’s national coordinator.

The farm project started during ATM’s early recovery phase and continues well into the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase, which includes cash-for-work programs, livelihood, and some shelter and infrastructure support for three towns.

UNLAD’s history

UNLAD was formed by fisherfolk in Bito Lake who blamed the massive fishkill in March 2012 on Nicua Mining Corporation, which was operating nearby and was releasing mining wastes into the lake. A study by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources showed that the death of about 22 tons of tilapia was caused by domestic waste, overstocking, and contamination from the site of the Chinese firm. A team from the Leyte-based Visayas State University confirmed that the lake was lower in elevation compared to the mining site; team leader Dr. Humberto Montes, Jr. also cited an earlier study which predicted that the water level of the lake may decrease if large excavations are conducted in nearby areas.

Tita Brenie said the lake turned brown (“like 3-in-1 coffee”) and that she had to stop selling the fish she harvested in her fish pen for a time because the fish tasted like oil and grease.

UNLAD was organized on April 28, 2012. Its members held a barricade two days after until mid-May, when the barangay council governing the lake allowed the mining operations to continue. But the fisherfolk organization reformed in June to include farmers affected by the black sand mining operations in the town’s rice fields.

“Nicua has secured a 25-year permit from MGB in December 2010 to explore and extract magnetite sand concentrate in [a] 524-hectare area, notably rice and coconut fields, in the towns of MacArthur and Javier in Leyte,” reported the Leyte Samar Daily Express.

Magnetite sand is an iron ore highly-sought after for steel production. The black sands of many beaches, particularly in the Northern Luzon regions, have been scooped up in the quest for the valuable mineral, leaving coastal areas and river banks eroded and more vulnerable to sea level rise, floods, and storm surges. The disturbance of the farmlands and marine ecosystems also leads to less food and decreased sources of livelihood.

Tita Brenie shows ATM members RT Mining’s operations in Maya village. One of its facilities is in the far background.

Tita Brenie shows ATM members RT Mining’s operations in Maya village.
One of its facilities is in the far background.

In MacArthur’s case, more than 70 hectares of the town’s farmlands have now been destroyed, Tita Brenie said, and the rest are drying out because the company has diverted the irrigation. Farmer Alfredo Cordero told Interaksyon and Leyte Samar Daily Express about the foot skin disease he contracted from the oil and chemicals from the mining site, which seeped into the water in his nearby ricefield.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) led a solidarity mission to Lake Bito with ATM also in June 2012. Also through ATM and its partners, a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) was filed at the Abuyog Regional Trial Court, and the plight of MacArthur was picked up by radio and various national newspapers.

“Can we eat magnetite sand? Why are we prioritizing mining over rice and fish production?” Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of CBCP-NASSA, then stated.

In August of the same year, the operation of Nicua Mining Corporation was suspended by the environment department’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau for allowing another Chinese mining company to operate within its designated area. The Abuyog court also issued the TEPO the very next month.

But the local government unit (LGU) of MacArthur continues to marginalize the members of UNLAD, according to Marissa Miguel Cano of the Visayas State University’s quick response team. “The LGU passed an ordinance limiting the size of fish pens in Lake Bito to only half a hectare per occupant and denied their applications to set up and operate fish pens,” she wrote in her history of UNLAD. “Worst of all, the mining company stopped rehabilitating the mined areas.”

“We really can’t expect anything from the government, as even the barangay officials here don’t care about us,” Tita Brenie also said. “The mayor said I was only a nuisance.” She added though that UNLAD is now more acknowledged within the town since they supported relief and recovery efforts.

“Pagkain, hindi buhangin!”

We were touring the vegetable farm and sampling the organic produce for lunch when Tita Brenie and an ATM officer asked if we can extend the solidarity visit to the farm to a mobilization in the black sand mining site of RT Mining Corporation in the ricefields of Brgy. Maya. UNLAD believes that the management of Nicua are also behind RT Mining, which was said to operate outside their approved area.

We readily agreed to hold the rally, and proceeded to think of chants other than the usual “Tao Muna, Hindi Mina! (People First, Not Mining!)”. After several suggestions, someone eventually came up with the runaway winner, “Pagkain, Hindi Buhangin! (Food, Not Sand!)”

We travelled from the farm to Brgy. Maya, where a new waiting shed greeted us from the highway. A sign announced that the roofing materials were donated by two mining companies, which were said to be subcontracted by Nicua. We then made our way to the middle of the ricefields under the glaring sun, at around one o’clock, where we found what looked like a desert of black sand.

UNLAD members led the mobilization, holding up cheesecloth and rice sacks with messages in the local language such as “Farming is better without mining!” and “Uphold the Memorandum Circular No. 44 of Sec. Roxas!” The latter referred to the secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government’s order for all local governments to suspend or cancel all illegal small-scale mining operations, especially black sand mining in coastal areas.

ATM intends to file a case against RT Mining, according to its Visayas campaign officer Teody Navea. “We demand the immediate shutdown of RT Mining Corp. We will support our partner UNLAD-BLFFA in their struggle for their right to food security and sustainable livelihood,” he said in a statement.

In between chants, UNLAD leaders like Tita Brenie and other Alyansa Tigil Mina members led by Sir Jaybee addressed the mining site workers and armed guards over the portable mic, listing the various reasons why their operations must be stopped. We stayed under the sun for about two hours as we had to wait for the local TV crew, so when it was my turn to speak, I couldn’t think of anything to start with other than the devastating heat and briefly connected that to mining, Yolanda, and climate change. After a couple of minutes, I led another round of chants before gratefully handing the mic back and asking around for a sip of water.

Mining, Yolanda, and climate justice

I have attended several conferences about Yolanda, with experts of various fields explaining how disasters are not entirely natural, about how they magnify the existing vulnerabilities of people and surface deep-rooted issues of development. But it was only when I saw the situation in MacArthur when the jargon-filled statements really hit home.

ATM is working on a policy paper on mining and climate justice that lists previous mining- and extreme-weather related disasters, such as the Pantukan mines landslide in Compostela Valley, in the Davao region of Mindanao, during Typhoon Pablo (Bopha) in December 2012. The copper smelting plant in Leyte, which is largely owned by the Swiss company Glencore Xstrata, was also heavily damaged by Yolanda.

Not only are mining and other extractive industries vulnerable to disasters, they also make nearby communities more vulnerable than they already are. Companies for mining and coal contribute greenhouse gases not only through their actual operations but also through deforestation and conversion of agricultural lands. The resulting damage further threatens people’s very survival, their health and food security, among other things.

You would think that the people of MacArthur and other Yolanda- and mining-affected communities have enough to worry about, but going against mining is integral to rebuilding their lives and livelihoods. It is part and parcel of increasing their resilience not only to disasters but also to the impacts of climate change. While scientists have yet to directly link extreme weather events with climate change, we do know that climate change has stacked the odds against vulnerable countries like the Philippines, with global warming fueling typhoons like Yolanda and contributing to sea level rise.

In the international climate negotiations, the Philippines has been calling for developed or industrialized countries, which have contributed the most to the climate crisis, to fulfill their commitments to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions. They also have the responsibility to help developing countries like ours, which contributed the least emissions but already bear most of the consequences, to adapt to climate change impacts by sharing funds and technology.

But as Filipino climate advocates like me follow the United Nations climate conferences and continue to push for a progressive global deal in 2015, we also challenge our own government to truly practice what it preaches. It must better integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in national- and local-level planning. And it must follow the true path to sustainable development by instituting policy reforms not only in energy but also in mining and land use in general. This might seem as a grand wish list, but as Filipinos await the next typhoon with dread, we cannot afford to do anything less.

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Denise M. Fontanilla is the advocacy officer of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, an advocacy network of civil society organizations working on climate change issues in the international and national fronts. Alyansa Tigil Mina is one of its members.

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[Event/Campaign] A Global Call for Mobilization -Reclaim Power

Reclaim Power

See more @ reclaimpower.net

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[Press Release] Communities demand consultation on government push for new coal powerplants -PMCJ

Communities demand consultation on government push for new coal powerplants
Photo extracted from Jong Pacanot FB
Davao City – “There was no consultation in our community, there is no social acceptance of coal powerplant.“—This is only one of the many concerns of coal-affected communities and electric cooperatives who are currenlty attending the National Peoples Conference on Coal and Renewable Energy.

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“The government failed to consult the main stakeholders on energy. These are the people who will be heavily impacted by the planned expansion of coal power-plants all over the country. Instead, Pnoy immediately consulted industry players and power producers whom are also major proponents of coal,” said Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), one of the lead organizers of the conference.

The groups accuse the PNoy government of bias towards power industry players whose proposed solution to the energy crisis is to approve and build more coal-fired power plants. Contraty to the push of communities and organizations to maximize energy sources that have less impacts to the environment and health of people.

According ot the latest data of PMCJ, twenty-six (26) new coal plant projects comprising of forty-five (45) coal boilers have been approved and are expected to go online by 2020.

In Limay, Bataan, there will be a 600MW coal fired power-plant by San Miguel Consolidated Power that started construction last February 2013, to be finished by 2016.

“Matatapos na ang construction ng bagong coal power plant, pero wala paring consultation sa tao na malinaw na tumututol dito,” Derek Cabe of Nuclear Free Bataan Movement.

This is the same case in Ozamis City where there is a proposed 300MW coal powerplant by the Ozamiz Powers Generation Incorporated power, where communities are not fully informed about the project and its irreversible impacts. “May papasok na coal power-plant sa Ozamis based sa first scoping na ginawa ng company pero hindi lahat ng impormasyon ay binibigay sa komunidad. Kulang ang transparency sa kompanya at sa LGU,” said Arandy Silva, of Gitib Foundation.

Based on the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) 2008-2030, the country will aim to target energy self-sufficiency through the use of fossil fuel, oil, gas and coal. Meanwhile, the President continues to question the reliability of renewable energy sources.

“With or without an energy crisis, the proposed new coal power-plants will inflict debilitating effects on environment, health, loss of livelihood and to our resiliency to climate change impacts. The government will put its people in danger with its energy plan.” Arances added.

Coal no more! Shift to clean, renewable energy

“The position of the government will lock the country into more dependence in using dirty and harmful dirty energy,” added Arances.

The Philippines has a vast potential for renewable energy. Data from PAG-ASA presents the following areas/provinces to have wind energy potential: Ilocos, Mountain Province, Palawan, Basco (in Batanes), Catanduanes, Tagaytay City and western portions of Batangas, Guimaras. Masbate, and northeast coast of Negros Occidental.

Solar energy on the other hand is opted for by more households in Mindanao where there is intermittent power supply. A viable option is to encourage local government units to identify the different renewable energy sources available in their areas in order to provide for the communities’ demand. This is a proposed solution to providing electricity to more than 2.7-million households.

Congress passed Republic Act No. 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008. In the law, end-users or energy consumers are encouraged to use green/energy energy resources.

Additional notes:

Coal kills! Ash samples tested from coal plants in Toledo, Cebu, Sual Pangasinan, Masinloc, Zambales and Calaca, Batangas, and in Mauban, Quezon revealed presence of heavy metals – mercury (deadly neurotoxin) and arsenic (known carcinogen). As well as the hazardous substances lead and chromium. A typical coal plant generates 500 tons of small airborne particles that causes chronic bronchitis, aggravates asthma; 720 tons of carbon monoxide which causes headaches and additional stress on people with heart disease. It can also produce as high as 225 pounds of arsenic, a major cause of cancer, and 114 pounds of lead, 4 pounds of cadmium and other toxic heavy metals every year.

Coal is not Cheap. It comes with a horrifying cost to people and the environment – According to International Energy Agency (IEA), 45% or 14.2 giatonnes of the total 31.6 gigatonnes of global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil – fuel combustion in 2011 came from burning of coal causing global warming and climate change.

Coal Mining and combustion processes have serious effect on people’s health and environment weakening the capacity of people and communities to deal with impacts of climate change. Also, Coal Mining destroys forest, mountains and watersheds.

There is no such thing as Clean Coal – Clean coal technology emits 4 times more coal ashs compared to an ordinary coal plant. According to EIA, the risk of getting cancer is 900 times higher from coal ash exposure compared to cigarette smoking.

For more information on Renewable Energy: https://www.doe.gov.ph/renewable-energy-res

PRESS RELEASE
August 6, 2014
Contact Persons:
Khevin Yu, PMCJ Campaign Staff: 09175213356
Val de Guzman, PMCJ Energy Campaign Staff: 09199657509

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[From the web] Climate change and human health — a glimpse of history repeating itself -www.healthresearch.ph

Climate change and human health — a glimpse of history repeating itself
by dhet173
September 2, 2013

PNHRS

The human race have long experienced the wrath of nature. The ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Mayans and European populations among other primeval inhabitants during the four centuries of the Little Ice Age were all distressed by nature’s climatic cycles. Disasters and disease outbreaks occurred repeatedly in response to the extremes of climatic cycles from drought to flooding to extreme cool climate.

Cool, wet summers led to outbreaks of an illness called St. Anthony’s Fire in Central Europe. Malnutrition led to a weakened immunity to a variety of illness. Even in non-tropical areas where malaria was less likely to be expected, became one of the most dreaded illness and caused significant number of deaths in England.

In 1969, when the Apollo moon shot provided extraordinary images of the earth suspended in space, people’s view on the biosphere and its limits were transformed. People gained more understanding on how both human and animal species depend on supplies of food and water, freedom from excess infectious disease, and the physical safety and comfort conferred by climatic stability, that the world’s climate system is fundamental to this life-support.

However today, massive outbreaks of climate-induced diseases continue to threaten the population. Humankind’s activities are altering the world’s climate. We are increasing the atmospheric concentration of energy-trapping gases, thereby amplifying the natural “greenhouse effect” that makes the Earth habitable.

Read full article @www.healthresearch.ph

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[Press Release] Organic Shop Turns On the Lights for Earth Hour -Dakila

Organic Shop Turns On the Lights for Earth Hour

dakilaIn celebration of this year’s Earth Hour, Got Heart Foundation, together with SolarSolutions and DAKILA – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism will switch on the lights of the Got Heart Shop in the evening of March 23, 2013, Saturday, in White Plains, Quezon City.

For the past six years, celebrating the earth hour means switching off the lights from 8:30 to 9:30 pm all over the world. This event is joined by households, business establishments, and some local government units. It aims to raise awareness and engage the public to act on the need to address climate change.

In contrary to this practice, an organic shop in Quezon City will turn on their lights in this year’s Earth Hour. While the whole world turns dark, the shop will switch on all their lights with the use of solar power. With the theme “Go Beyond Earth Hour. Go Solar.” , Got Heart Foundation, SolarSolutions, and DAKILA aim to campaign another way of addressing climate change. Instead of switching off the lights for one hour to help the earth, the event will highlight the benefits of using renewable energy to lessen the carbon emissions that contribute to heating the planet, thus, helping the earth in the longer run, beyond the celebrated earth hour.

The Philippines is one of the countries that receive a great amount of sunlight. This is one major source of renewable energy that the country could take advantage of. Using solar power is beneficial for the planet and economical for the electrical energy consumers. This is why Got Heart Shop decided to switch to using renewable energy source.

According to the shop owner, Mel Yeung, “We decided to go solar because we want to share the light of hope through sustainable social enterprises and green technology.” Today, the shop is entirely run by solar power.

DAKILA will organize the event on Saturday, March 23, 2013 in White Plains, Quezon City. The program will run from 8:00 to 9:30 pm. Some climate action advocates will gather in support of the call to address climate change. A renewable energy source will be used in the entire program with the help of SolarSolutions Inc.

For more info, contact Dakila at 4354309, 09238285454 or email mabuhay@dakila.org.ph

Press Release
21 March 2013
Dakila

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[Press Release] Kiblawan mayor confirms Sagittarius Mines link to escalating militarization in Tampakan -ATM

Kiblawan mayor confirms Sagittarius Mines link to escalating militarization in Tampakan
Says military receives subsidy for allowance and operations

atm-logoKoronadal City – Kiblawan Mayor Marivic Diamante disclosed that Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) is actually providing funds for the allowance and operations of the military and paramilitary groups within the towns of Kiblawan, Tampacan, Columbio, all covered by the SMI mining permit.

Diamante, in her testimony to the recently-held congressional hearing of the National Cultural Communities Committee, explained that a memorandum of agreement was signed in July 2006 by the local governments of Kiblawan, Tampakan and Colombio with SMI. This MOA was the basis of the deployment of 120 Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) men in the areas, and the creation of the military led Task Force KITACO. Task Force KITACO has been implicated in killings of B’laan leaders and anti-mining activists in the provinces.

The congressional hearing held in the provincial gym of Koronadal City was initiated by the Committee Chair Congressman Teddy Baguilat, Jr, to look into the intensifying militarization in the provinces and the series of killings of indigenous peoples within mining areas, with particular focus on the massacre of Juvy Capion and her two children in October 2012. The family of Capion is known to be leading the struggle for the B’laans ancestral domain, and against SMI.

SMI community-based security plan

The mayor’s report corroborated the testimony of the Col. Norman Marcos Flores, new commander of the 1002nd Brigade, who confirmed that the Philippine Army is providing security to the KITACO growth area and to implement SMI’s community-based security plan in Tampakan and Kiblawan.

The Philippine Army identified 128 incidents of security threat against SMI from 2007-2012, and they find this as a valid reason for their presence in the area to offer protection for the mining company. In exchange for this, SMI provides monthly allocation for the operations, for gasoline, and allowance for CAFGUs directly deployed in Kitaco areas. SMI has doubled the monthly allowance of each CAFGU from the government budget of Php2,700/month to Php5,400.

Government-SMI collaboration against mining-affected communities, indigenous peoples

Rene Pamplona, of Social Action Center (SAC-Marbel) said, “Instead of the military defending the people—it defends and protects foreign investments and kills community members The government is killing its own people because of this mining problem. Depite the killings, and the violence in SMI mining areas, the government still issued the environmental compliance certificate (ECC). ”

SAC-Marbel is helping indigenous peoples in dealing with the killings and other human rights violations due to the militarization of their ancestral lands.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) sites of struggle officer Daniel Arias said: “SMI can no longer deny that these killings are rooted in the presence of its mining project and this was confirmed by the testimony of Mayor Diamante and the military. Truly, the blood of Juvy, and her children, Kitari, and all others who were killed are in their hands!”

“The situation painted by the testimonies of the military, the police, Mayor Diamante and the B’laans is very clear – the military is paid by SMI to protect its investment at all cost, even at the cost of the lives of the B’laans who are fighting for their land. And the Aquino government? It just issued the ECC to SMI. So the bias is clear. And it’s tragic,” Judy A. Pasimio of LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights) added.

Philippine Miserior Parnerships Inc Anti Mining Campaign Advocacy Officer Atty. Macki Maderazon who was also present during the said hearing further said: “This deadly deal between the LGUs of Kiblawan, Tampakan, Columbio and SMI puts the human rights of the mining-affected communities especially those who oppose it at greater risk of being violated further.

“This is not in accord with the duty of the government to protect the human rights of the people against corporate abuses and with the responsibility of corporations to respect human rights under the UN Framework and Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights to which our government is one of the signatories. Policy on greater accountability of mining corporations and affording remedies to victims of corporate abuses should now be considered in Congress. The current mining law and even the new E.O. 79 failed to consider this.”

Meanwhile Rep. Baguilat in his closing message said that it is wrong to identify indigenous peoples who are opposing mining as bandits. He added, as an indigenous person himself that for them land is life and it is their right to defend their ancestral lands.

Baguilat concluded: “Kung anu ang desisyon ng pamayanang katutubo, yun ang dapat sundin at i-respeto.”

Mayor Diamante last year posted a reward of Php300-thousand for the capture of Daguil Capion immediately after the killing of Capion’s wife Juvy and two children. (Read: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/superbalita-davao/balita/2012/10/21/p300000-ganti-sa-makatudlo-sa-gitagoan-ni-daguil-capion-249099) She added in her testimony that she did this so that community members will be motivated to point out where Capion can be found, as he is considered a bandit.

During the public hearing, a survivor (minor, not to be named) and witnesses to the Capion massacre last October 19 were interviewed by Congs. Nancy Catamco, Neri Colmenares, Luz Ilagan, and Manny Pacquiao. Thereafter, the representatives found serious flaws in the way the case was handled by the military and the police.

Sagittarius Mines Inc (SMI) is the local partner of Swiss Xstrata and Indophil for the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project. It has been awarded a mining permit over ancestral domains of the B’laans.

Tampakan Forum is a technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue.

For more information:
Atty. Macki Maderazo, PMP-AMC Advocacy Coordinator, pmpsecretariat@yahoo.com, 0922-8501873
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 0927-7617602
Farah Sevilla, Policy Research and Advocacy Officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net, 0915-3313361

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[Blog] Climate hypocrites by Rodne R. Galicha

Climate hypocrites
by Rodne R. Galicha

Rod Galicha2While the Philippine government advances in climate negotiations at international gatherings, plausible as it may, communities continue to suffer development aggressions resulting to a series of disasters fueled by the climate crisis.

The Climate Change Commission (CCC) chaired by no less than President Benigno Simeon Aquino III has been moving heaven and earth to realize the dreams and aspirations mentioned in the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP). Of course, I really don’t know if, indeed, the president takes it seriously –but the rest of the commission are doing their best to integrate climate action within the programs of the rocky ‘tuwid na daan’.

Last year, the civil society working group on climate change called Aksyon Klima – Pilipinas (AK) was invited to join an assessment of the NCCAP and workshop on programs to be implemented to realize and mainstream climate action. It was disappointing that a lot of national government agencies concerned were not around – how could we move forward if even these agencies were not really that serious to zealously participate? Or maybe, doing their own respective climate action plans for the sake of compliance?

How could we ever forget Commissioner Yeb Saño who rocked the whole climate negotiations in Qatar last year with his words: “The outcome of our work is not about what our political masters want. It is about what is demanded of earth’s seven billion people. I appeal to all: Please, no more delays, no more excuses.”

Commissioner Saño was not only referring to the international delegates, he was also referring to his colleagues in the government way back home. Unfortunately, majority of his colleagues were not listening because their political masters may remand them, hence, more delays, more excuses.

We were surprised by Habagat. Philex mining in Padcal was challenged with a crisis blaming nature as the culprit. And yes, typhoon Pablo became the strongest tropical cyclone to ever hit Mindanao, the costliest in the Philippines amounting to Php 42.2 billion, killing 1,067 people and more than 800 missing.

We never learned our lesson.

This month, 16 contracts to explore and develop coal resources were awarded by the Department of Energy ‘based on the company’s resource exploration strategy, utilization and production approach, evidence of available funds and financial track record, technical resources and validity of legal documents’. In 2010, 34% of the total power generated in the country came from coal-fired power plants, and I am afraid coal continues to be the main source of energy as more coal-fired power plants are being planned to be opened. This means more carbon dioxide thrown up to the atmosphere.

But what’s the point? Although in 2008, our country’s contribution to the global carbon dioxide emission was mere .28% but the effect of the total emission nowadays is the increasing temperature – as carbon dioxide traps a lot of heat – leading to a climate crisis we never experienced before: extreme weather conditions.

The recent disaster at Semirara mines is an eye-opener. After decades of operations, the unfortunate event happened – the company concerned may then point to the very act of nature as Padcal mines operators concluded after their own taste of fate.

It is not more on how much carbon dioxide we emit, but on how we view the vulnerability and exposure of our communities to hazards. Are we, as an archipelagic country composed of island ecosystems actually resilient? Do we have the capacities to adapt to the increasing hazards brought about by the climate crisis?

We were proud having participated actively in Rio de Janiero’s conference on sustainable development some twenty years ago. Countries of the world look up at us as we adapt policies like the Philippine Agenda 21, and later on the Climate Change Act, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, People’s Survival Fund Act, among others.

But we feel that our nation is at a huge risk – an undeniable reality.

Are government agencies really serious with the NCCAP? Look at these realities: more coal-fired power plants and contracts to exploit the islands to extract coal; an environmental compliance certificate courtesy of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources was granted for a large mine in South Cotabato putting the communities at a high disaster risk while stripping off the forests and top soil; and a so-called large century dam in the province of Rizal.

Huge projects are implemented to primarily boost the economy, but to address series of unthinkable mortalities and costs of disasters, the government must think a thousand times. The very right to live has been denied; the constitutional right to a healthful and balanced ecology is violated.

While the Climate Change Commission may be sweating blood acting on these challenges, others are adding up more risks to communities and ironically, ease to investors.

Our economy may be growing but I see dead people and devastated environment. This is not sustainable development. This is pure climate hypocrisy.

By the way, the grassroots movement is practically huge – climate justice is at hand and, indeed, political will is a renewable resource.

(Rodne R. Galicha is country manager of Washington-based The Climate Reality Project. He works on mining policy reform at Haribon Foundation. He blogs at http://www.rodgalicha.com.)

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[In the news] South Cotabato Provincial Board supports Governor Pingoy vs SMI project | Sun.Star

South Cotabato Provincial Board supports Governor Pingoy vs SMI project | Sun.Star.
By Bong S. Sarmiento
February 20, 2013

sunstar-network copyKORONADAL CITY — The Provincial Board (PB) of South Cotabato rallied behind the environment code that bans open pit mining, as the local Catholic Church urged the public to intensify the opposition to the Tampakan copper-gold project now that it obtained an environmental compliance certificate (ECC).

“The SP (PB) of South Cotabato will maintain its stand that the open pit ban provided for in its environment code will remain until a competent court declares it ultra vires (beyond one’s legal power or authority),” Vice Governor Elmo Tolosa, the PB’s presiding officer, said Wednesday.

He said the board was not surprised that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) eventually granted the ECC permit of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) because it was in favor of the project all along.

Read full article @www.sunstar.com.ph

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[Press Release] Romblonanons pass Environment and Natural Resources Code -ATM

Romblonanons pass Environment and Natural Resources Code
Mining identified as crucial environmental concern

atm-logoOn Monday, February 11, the Provincial Council of Romblon passed its Environment and Natural Resources Code that intends to legislate measures to protect and conserve its environment and natural resources, specifically on destructive industries such as mining and logging.

Gov. Eduardo Firmalo said: “Finally, the Environment Code is passed! We are firm with our decision that Romblon is a special province, with beautiful resources that we should not forgo because of its promised development. As caretakers of our province, we agree that to protect the environment and natural resources is one of our important roles.”

Romblon provincial board member Felix Ylagan, the principal author of the environment code, said that it is timely to approved the ordinance to correct the errors made against the environment.

“The people have spoken very clearly, let there be liberality, it has been said time and again to ‘apply the law not by the letters that killeth but by the spirit that giveth life’; the legislation has far reaching benefits which will protect us now and those of our children’s children,” Ylagan said.

Among the most controversial sections include Sec. 64 on Mining where it stated:

Mining shall not be allowed within one (1) kilometer radius from a declared watershed or watershed areas as identified by the municipality concerned;

Mining shall not be allowed above watershed areas regardless of its distance from the declared watershed areas;

Mining shall not be allowed in tourism and agricultural areas as identified by the municipality concerned; in areas identified by Presidential Executive Order No. 79, series of 2012; and in Section 19 of Republic Act 7942 as provided shall be applicable within the purview of Section 64 of this Code.

Reacting to the recent passage of the ordinance, Sibuyan Islands Sentinels League for Environment (Sibuyan ISLE) said that the legislation challenges local government units to integrate climate change action and disaster risk reduction management plans in their development programs.

Sibuyan ISLE director Rodne Galicha said: “The path to sustainable development has been laid down and the decision-makers must implement programs which will not worsen the effects of the climate crisis—conservation, protection and rehabilitation of the environment are top priorities as well.”

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) welcomed this development and encouraged more local governments to legislate regulations to mining despite reported intimidation by some national government agencies to give favor to mining operations.

“We are pleased to find out that the provincial policy has been passed already, mainly because we believe that the local policy makers should take a stand and ensure that their environment is safe from critical industries. We congratulate the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Romblon,and the people for the strong political will!” Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of ATM said.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Romblon Ecumenical Forum Against Mining (REFAM) said: “Indeed the strong will of the people reigned after many years—it is the moral obligation of the Provincial Council to decide on the fate of the people towards a genuine environmental stewardship.”

The Romblon Environment Code is passed three years after the South Cotabato Environment Code was passed. This is one of the reasons why the Department of Environment and Natural Resources cannot issue SMI-Xstrata’s Environmental Compliance Certificate for the Tampakan mining project.

Sibuyanons Against Mining (SAM)/Sibuyan Isle, Alliance of Students Against Mining (ASAM) and REFAM with Msgr. Ernie Fetalino of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop Ronelio Fabriquer of the Philippine Independent Church together with other lay leaders awaited the adoption of the said Environmental Code.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB. (30)

For more information:
Felix Ilagan, Sangguniang Panlalawigan, 0928-503. 215
Pearl Harder, REFAM Secretariat, 0917-5927932
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 0927-7617602
Farah Sevilla, Policy Research and Advocacy Officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net, 0915-3313361

Press Release
February 13, 2013

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[Press Release] 24-hour global #DirtyWeather report starts online -The Climate Reality Project

24-hour global #DirtyWeather report starts online

Manila, Philippines – Climate activists around the world decided to be united online to expose the realities of and solutions to the climate crisis through Internet broadcast by featuring news, voices, and multimedia content across all 24 time zones.

“Join us on November 15 at 9AM, Philippine time, until the next day for 24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report. Broadcast live on the Internet, it’s an event that anyone can attend. And it’s your chance to join millions around the world to demand real solutions,” said climate leader Rodne Galicha, Philippine district manager of The Climate Reality Project (TCRP), a global movement founded by Nobel laureate and former United States vice president Al Gore.

Galicha, also of Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), reiterated the call of TCRP for global action against dirty energy as it holds the second global event which started last year exposing the myths and deniers of climate reality and extreme weather conditions.

The global climate movement declared that dirty energy has created a world of Dirty Weather, “Today, climate disruption affects us all and it will take all of us together to solve it – join us in the Dirty Weather Report, when together we will stand up and demand real solutions to the climate crisis.”

“We must admit that we have been experiencing unusual and extreme weather conditions due to our careless and uncontrollable utilization of dirty energy like coal, oil and gas which in effect produces a lot of greenhouse gases trapping a lot of extra heat rising up the temperature of our planet,” said human ecologist and TCRP climate leader Floro Francisco, former assistant general manager of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA).

Franciso explained that extreme heat accelerates evaporation and warm air holds more moisture increasing more water vapor in the atmosphere resulting to an increase of rainfall.

Extreme weather conditions means longer and deeper droughts killing crops and livelihoods, even people; more intense typhoons, heavy rainfall resulting to flooding and mudslides,” said disaster risk reduction specialist and TCRP climate leader Miguel Magalang, executive director of Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC) with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boac.

For Magalang, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation initiatives should not be standalone ones but should form integral part of an integrated and sustainable development framework. Coming up with a convergent institutional framework in the local governments that would push for the whole sustainable development platform is necessary.

“We have to live with bad weather sometimes through adaptation but there is a need to mitigate further disasters caused by dirty weather. Human beings can leave dirty energy and switch to clean ones such as solar, wind and hydropower,” Magalang said.

“Filipinos cannot solve the climate crisis alone – it must be a global action, together. Countries with high-level carbon emissions like the United States must lead in this global change through deeper emission cuts,” said lawyer and TCRP climate leader Persida Rueda-Acosta, chief of the Public Attorney’s Office.

Acosta made it clear that climate justice is being sought in the 24-hour event. Whatever adaptation and mitigation poor, developing or smaller states are doing if larger and overly-consuming countries continue to exploit the natural resources of the powerless using more dirty energy, continuously polluting our water and air, heating up our climate – this crisis will still continue until it becomes too late to save the only planet we have.

Leading the event will be TCRP Chairman Al Gore, joining the opening of the event on November 15 at 9AM (PH time) and conclude with a presentation on November 16 at 8AM (PH time) in New York, USA. In the Philippines, live broadcast via internet are scheduled in Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila, University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos in Bacolod, Frendz Resort in the beach island paradise of Boracay, Aklan. Interested viewers are advised to check the details at http://www.facebook.com/groups/climate.ph.

In preparation for next week’s Climate Change Consciousness Week initiated by the Climate Change Commission (CCC), TCRP is requesting all Filipinos who have access to the internet to watch the global event to understand fully the need for a united effort to address the most pressing crisis the world is facing today. The 24-hour event will be discussed and analyzed next week in a series of activities like the ‘Climate and Mining Film Showing’ in Marinduque on November 19 and CCC’s GREENERATION: National Gathering for Youth Empowerment Program in Manila on November 22.

“Most of all, we want to hear from you – anytime during these 24 hours – gather your friends, family or loved one, we’ll ask you to sign a pledge and join a global movement to demand action. Visit our website http://www.climaterealityproject.org, use #DirtyWeather in Twitter and join the social media conversation; make connections, and send us your ideas. Find out how we can, and we must, solve the climate crisis — and how you can help,” Galicha reiterated TCRP’s global call.

Founded and chaired by Al Gore, Nobel Laureate and former Vice President of the United States, The Climate Reality Project helps citizens around the world discover the truth about the climate crisis and take meaningful steps to bring about change. Our mission is to reveal the complete truth about the climate crisis in a way that ignites the moral courage in each of us.

The Climate Reality Project employs cutting-edge communications and grassroots engagement tools to break the dam of inaction and raise the profile of the climate crisis to its proper state of urgency. With a global movement more than 2 million strong and a grassroots network of Climate Leaders trained by Chairman Al Gore, we stand up to denial, press for solutions, and spread the truth about climate change to empower our leaders to solve the climate crisis.

CONTACT:
Rodne Galicha, The Climate Reality Project – Philippine District Manager
+63-905-2850700, kalikasan101@gmail.com
http://www.Facebook.com/groups/climate.ph
http://www.climaterealityproject.org

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[Event/Statement] Join the Global Week of Action for Climate Justice. Join the mobilization on November 14!

DEMAND CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW!

Join the Global Week of Action for Climate Justice. Join the mobilization on November 14! 

Philippines: In the eye of a planetary storm

Eleven months after one of the most devastating typhoon hit the country, Cagayan de Oro and Iligan residents still bear the scar of those dreadful days. Typhoon Sendong ravaged the northern regions of Mindanao in 2011 and left 1, 257 people dead.

The monsoon rains in the first week of August of 2012 turned out to be more than what Filipinos are used to. Due to the intensity and devastation of the rains ushered in by the southsouthwest winds called habagat, to most of Greater Manila residents, habagat is now associated with the horrifying calamity that brought floods and destruction similar to that of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009 which at that time was thought to be a rare phenomenon.

Typhoons Ondoy (2009), Peping (2009), Sendong (2011) and Habagat in 2012 which was not even technically a typhoon – are far becoming almost ‘normal’ occurrences for Filipinos because of climate change.

The Philippines is in the eye of a planetary storm, and it is called climate change.

• Many studies internationally show that the country is one of the most vulnerable when it comes to exposure and responding to severe weather caused by climate change.

• Aside from increase of numbers and intensity of storms visiting the country, drought is also increasing. In 2010, 16 provinces declared state of calamity due to extreme drought.

• A one meter rise in the sea level would mean a loss of 89,800 hectares according to Manila observatory. Based on other studies this would mean affecting 64 out of 81 provinces covering at least 703 out of 1,610 municipalities, which could potentially
displacing at least 1.5 million Filipinos.

• In the past years, there has been a steady rise of incidents of diseases such as leptospirosis, dengue and malaria. Studies show that there is a direct correlation between climate change and increase of incidents of these diseases.

Climate change affects the country’s food security and self-sufficiency. As warming will be worst in Mindanao, the supposedly country’s food basket will be greatly affected.

The increase in rainfall in Luzon, which usually results in massive flooding have been detrimental to rice production, where 60% of national irrigated rice production is located.

The Earth’s climate is destabilizing and the planet is in crisis Philippine experience is not isolated case. It is indicative of what has been happening in the global scale.

• Scientists predict that about 625,000 people will die each year from now until 2020 by causes driven by climate change.

• Many mountain glaciers, which act as source of water for millions of people, have significantly

• retreated. Changes in rain-fall patterns, due to climate change, are causing even greater waterstress particularly in Western Africa and South Asia.

• There is 80% less Arctic-sea ice today than in 1950. The melting of ice causes sea-level rise,

• threatening 600 million people living less than 10 metres above sea-level and coastal cities such as Mumbai, Shanghai, Manila, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Istanbul and 7 more of the world’s 20 biggest cities.

• The increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is causing ocean acidification. Some oceans are now 30% more acidic than normal, harming ocean habitats like coral reefs and destroying fish stocks. Increased ocean temperature also reduces growth-size
of fish. At least 1 billion people rely on fish for food and livelihoods.

• Crop-yields are diminishing. It is also estimated that climate-related food price hikes since 2005 have pushed more than 105 million people into poverty.

Those responsible to the climate are the industrialized countries, led by the United States of America (USA) and most countries that compose the European Union (EU), particularly their elites, transnational corporations and governments of these countries. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – ratified by more than 195 countries – states that industrialized countries are the one responsible for the historical, accumulated and continuing excessive greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. These countries are legally bound to radically cut their greenhouse gas (GHG) and provide developing countries with funds, like the Philippines, to enable them to deal with the effects of climate change.

But since the adopting the Climate Convention – the rich countries have not been fulfilling their obligations and now, led by the US, they are trying to turn their back on their commitments.

There is very little time left to prevent climate change from reaching catastrophic proportions not only for the Philippines but for the entire planet!

Mobilize for the planetary emergency and fight for climate justice!

We reiterate the call of the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice which the Philippine
Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) is a part of —

Addressing the climate crisis requires profound social transformation in all countries and at all levels – local, national and global. It requires a rapid shift to systems of production and consumption that are compatible with the limits of the planet and aimed at meeting the needs of people rather than the relentless pursuit of profit. It requires immediate action by those responsible for climate change to make deep cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions and to stop false solutions such as offsets and carbon trading, and to mobilize finance and technology for peoples and countries most affected by climate change.

These will not happen without massive mobilization of people everywhere south and north. What we have done thus far have fallen short of overcoming the persistent refusal by powerful elites, corporations and governments to meet their responsibility and obligations and their efforts to stand in the way of social change.

We need to step up our efforts to build and exercise the power of collective action, in different forms at various fronts and arenas, at a scale never seen before. We need to build our capacity for globally coordinated mobilizations during critical political moments –progressively increasing the number of people mobilized, expanding the numbers of countries and cities participating, raising the scale, intensity and boldness of our actions, developing our strength and power to prevent planetary catastrophe.

Let us begin now!

Join the mobilization on November 14 – Assembly at 9:00am Bonifacio shrine in front of LRT
Central Station near Manila City hall; March to the US Embassy via Kalaw Street.
• Climate justice now!
• Deep emission cuts by US and EU and others responsible for the climate crisis!
• Deliver climate finance for affected peoples and communities!
• No more evasion, no more deception, no more false solutions!
• System change not climate change!

Our demand:
• Deep and drastic emissions reductions by rich industrialized countries without offsets -– in fulfilment of their legally binding commitments and in line with their fair share of the global carbon budget that takes into account historical per capita emissions
• Stopping the pursuit of false solutions such as carbon trading, market-based approaches to forests, soil and water, large-scale geo-engineering and techno-fixes, nuclear energy, mega hydro dams, agro-fuels, “clean coal”;
• Delivery of adequate and appropriate climate finance on the basis of rich, industrialized countries’ responsibility for climate change and their corresponding obligation to cover the full costs of enabling peoples of developing countries and other affected
communities to deal with the impacts of climate
• Appropriate technology transfers without intellectual property barriers. Developed countries must ensure free sharing of safe, appropriate and ecologically and socially sound technologies;
• Decisive steps towards the profound transformation of the system based on equity, science and the rights of peoples to live well in harmony with and respect for Mother Earth — Transformation of social and economic structures and technologies and reorient
policies to move away from profit-driven, growth oriented, high-carbon, elitedominated exploitative systems; Just transition to people-driven, equitable, and democratic post carbon sustainable development

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[In the news] Philippines among countries extremely vulnerable to climate change impact – consulting firm -InterAksyon.com

Philippines among countries extremely vulnerable to climate change impact – consulting firm
By Bong D. Fabe, InterAksyon.com
October 4, 2012

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — The Philippines is among the countries with the fastest growing populations that are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, according to the latest release of Maplecroft‘s Climate Change and Environment Risk Atlas.

Maplecroft, a global risk and strategic consulting firm based in Bath, United Kingdom, whose work includes analyzing key political, economic, social and environmental risks impacting global business and investors ranked the Philippines in 10th place in its new Climate Change Vulnerability Index, along with other countries with high population growth such as strategically emerging economies Bangladesh (ranked 2nd), Vietnam (23rd), Indonesia (27th), and India (28th).

These countries are among 30 that Maplecroft rated as “extreme risks.”

The top 10 are Haiti, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Cambodia, Mozambique, DR Congo, Malawi and the Philippines.

Of these, Bangladesh and the Philippines are among the world’s fastest growing economies with growth rates of 6.6 and 5% per annum, respectively.

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

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[Press Release] PH economy at high risk from natural disasters -climaterealityproject.org

PH economy at high risk from natural disasters
Climate group calls for genuine sustainable development platform

Manila, Philippines – The emerging growing economy of the Philippines is at highest risk in falling out due to natural hazards according to the 2nd Natural Hazards Risk Atlas released by Maplecroft, a global risk research institution.

“Bangladesh, the Philippines, Myanmar, India and Viet Nam are among the ten countries with the greatest proportion of their economic output exposed to natural hazards. In addition, they also demonstrate poor capability to recover from a significant event exposing investments in those countries to risk of supply chain and market disruptions,” Maplecroft statement said.

“High exposure to natural hazards in these countries are compounded by a lack of resilience to combat the effects of a disaster should one emerge,” explains Maplecroft’s Head of Maps and Indices Helen Hodge. “Given the exposure of key financial and manufacturing centres, the occurrence of a major event would be very likely to have significant impacts on the total economic output of these countries, as well as foreign business.”

Maplecroft said that the “Philippines’ resilience to natural hazards has been tested over recent days, with severe floods affecting the northern island of Luzon, including the capital Manila. At the time of writing nearly 2.7 million people have been affected by the floods which have killed at least 66 people. Large sections of the Philippine economy are exposed to typhoons, volcanic activity, landslides, floods and storm surges; a fact reflected by the 274 recorded disasters over the last 20 years.”

An official statement from Malacanang Palace stated that “the Philippine economy grew by 5.9% in the second quarter of 2012, outpacing most of the economies in Asia. The gross domestic product growth for the second quarter was way above the Asean preliminary average growth rate of 4.7% and higher than the industry forecast of 5.4%.”

“The growing economy of the Philippines seems to be good news for everyone, however, if the whole country is exposed to natural hazards with development platforms which induce vulnerabilities of communities instead of promoting resiliency, definitely the economy which is meant to be pro-people will fall down,” said Rodne Galicha, Philippine District Manager of The Climate Reality Project (TCRP), a global movement based in Wasington, DC, with 5 million members and supporters worldwide.

“We see more coal-fired power plants planned to be opened; mountains, seas and agricultural lands being exploited for mining; land conversions giving way to large subdivisions and mono-culture plantations – all these, resulting to the depletion of natural resources and biodiversity, are hypocrisies yet to be addressed under the shadows of fake sustainability,” said Galicha.

TCRP Filipino Climate Leaders, joining climate alliance Aksyon Klima, are calling for a genuine development platform to promote disaster resilient communities in the country by adhering to the basic principles of sustainable development which the United Nations’ Brundtland Commission defines as meeting ‘the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.

“The Philippines has been respected worldwide for pioneering sustainable development in its policies such as the Philippine Strategy for Sustainable Development and Philippine Agenda 21 but we have seen a gradual deviation of economic plans from the very essence of the agenda despite new laws like the Climate Change Act, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act and the People’s Survival Fund,” said Miguel Magalang, climate leader, Executive Director of Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC), and private sector representative to the Regional Development Council of MIMAROPA.

Magalang assessed that the deviation from the principles of Philippine Agenda 21 is the result of a lack of understanding of the real objectives of sustainability especially in the time of climate crisis.

“The path to development should not be governed by an economy which aggravates exposures and vulnerabilities to climate hazards and disasters – we should learn our lessons from the realities we have been experiencing – high level of precipitation, unpredictable intensities of storms, floods, landslides. Does our economic platform address all these?,” said Magalang.

The Climate Leaders also recommends that “disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation initiatives should not be standalone ones but should form integral part of an integrated and sustainable development framework. There is also a need to come up with a convergent institutional framework in the local governments that would push for the whole sustainable development platform. Local development councils from barangays to the regional level should be reoriented and reorganized as local sustainable development councils where all other councils, bodies and committees in the local governments are clustered under one umbrella. This will result in dovetailing of plans and savings in time resources because local chief executives will need only to preside in one meeting.”

“Together with Aksyon Klima, the Climate Leaders will continue to engage with the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to further our quest for a genuine platform which will address the needs of the present Philippines without compromising the survival of the next generations in the spirit of environmental sustainability and climate justice,” Galicha concluded.

The Climate Reality Project is bringing the facts about the climate crisis into the mainstream and engaging the public in conversation about how to solve it. We help citizens around the world discover the truth and take meaningful steps to bring about change. Founded and chaired by Al Gore, Nobel Laureate and former Vice President of the United States, The Climate Reality Project has more than 5 million members and supporters worldwide. It is guided by one simple truth: The climate crisis is real and we know how to solve it.

For more information:
Rodne Galicha, kalikasan101@gmail.com (http://presenters.climaterealityproject.org/presenter/rodne-galicha_2079)
Miguel Magalang, marinduque.macec@yahoo.com (http://www.slideshare.net/pwyp/myke-magalang-pwyp-montreal-conference-2009)

Maplecroft: http://maplecroft.com/about/news/nha_2012.html
Philippine Economy: http://president.gov.ph/daang_matuwid/philippines-improves-by-10-places-in-global-competitive-index/
The Climate Reality Project: http://climaterealityproject.org

PRESS RELEASE
September 7/8, 2012

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[Urgent Alert] Floods caused by torrential rains threaten food security of fishermen and urban poor in CALABARZON -AHRC

Asian Human Rights Commission

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION — HUNGER ALERT PROGRAMME
Hunger Alert Case: AHRC-HAC-005-2012

August 28, 2012
——————————
PHILIPPINES: Floods caused by torrential rains threaten food security of fishermen and urban poor in CALABARZON
ISSUES: Environmental protection, Impunity, Land rights, Poverty & adequate standard of living, Right to food, Right to health, Rule of law
—————————–

Dear friends,

Asian Human Rights CommissionThe Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from Workers Assistance Center Inc about the floods caused by torrential rains that has imperiled the food security of a vast population in the CALABARZON area of Philippines. Here, the floods affecting more than 3 million people have already taken a toll of 95. The severity of the situation is compounded by the submergence of a large area with residual/retreating water affecting more than 480 baranggays; 175,733 families and 830,700 people in the CALABARZON area alone, as per the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

CASE NARRATIVE

As if the disastrous consequences of the Typhoon Saola were not enough to put the life of ordinary citizen of Philippines, 11 straight days of southwest monsoon rains causing heavy floods have worsened the situation even more for them. The floods caused by the successive natural disasters have left the country battered with more than 3 million people directly affected.

Typhoon Saola (Gener) wreaked havoc on NCR and nearby provinces like For more than a week (since July 21 to end of July) Typhoon Saola (Gener) drenched NCR and nearby provinces like CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal & Quezon) and Central Luzon, and in Ilocos. The Southwest Monsoons followed by Typhoon Haikui approaching China further aggravated the situation. The flooding was unprecedented for some places like barangays in Bacoor, Cavite, which have not experienced it before.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council puts the estimates of flood affected people at around 3 million with a corresponding death toll of 95. In the CALABARZON area alone, 480 baranggays, 175,733 families, and 830,700 people are directly affected by the floods. This includes 209 baranggays, 44,007 families and 211, 929 people in Cavite alone.

The fishermen and the urban poor has borne the brunt of the flooding and are the worst affected. The towns affected in Cavite include Bacoor, Kawit, Noveleta, and Rosario. Deteriorating the situation further, floods have rendered roads to Rosario, Noveleta, and Bacoor unfit for transportation and thus cut them off from rest of Philippines for a few days.

Even the offices of WAC were not let off the fury of the nature and stand submerged in Rosario and Cavite. The members of the organization working in CALABARZON areas as well as ones working in the communities in Rosario, Cavite have communicated about the scarcity of basic necessitates like food, clothes, medicine and even clean drinking water and have been asking for help. Also, there is a manifold increase in the cases of Leptospirosis (also known as Canefield fever for its high prevalence in wet areas) and athlete’s foot from the flood along with common strains of cough and colds The situation is worse for the fishermen who got displaced because of the heavy rains. As if it was not enough, Tropical Storm Helen, internationally known as Kai-Tak lashed the country yet again.

In this light, the picture emerging out of the area is a grim one of worsening food and livelihood security of the people living in the area and requires immediate and urgent interventions from both the state and international community and respond to WAC’s call for food, preferably ready to eat, potable and clean water, mats and blankets, clothes, waterproof boots, and medicines to averting hunger and outbreak of disease in the area.
SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the authorities mentioned below demanding immediate intervention in Ms. Sarathi Mondal’s case. You may also demand an inquiry into why she was not provided with ration card and benefit of other welfare schemes that she is entitled to.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear _______,

PHILIPPINES: Floods caused by torrential rains threaten food security of fishermen and urban poor in CALABARZON
I want to draw your kind attention to the pitiable and pathetic situation local communities are compelled to live into because of the several natural calamities in quick succession. As if the disastrous consequences of the Typhoon Saola were not enough to put the life of ordinary citizen of Philippines living in the area, 11 straight days of southwest monsoon rains causing heavy floods have worsened the situation even more for them. The floods caused by the successive natural disasters have left the country battered with more than 3 million people directly affected.

Typhoon Saola (Gener) wreaked havoc on NCR and nearby provinces like For more than a week (since July 21 to end of July) Typhoon Saola (Gener) drenched NCR and nearby provinces like CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal & Quezon) and Central Luzon, and in Ilocos. The Southwest Monsoons followed by Typhoon Haikui approaching China further aggravated the situation. The flooding was unprecedented for some places like barangays in Bacoor, Cavite, which have not experienced it before.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council puts the estimates of flood affected people at around 3 million with a corresponding death toll of 95. In the CALABARZON area alone, 480 baranggays, 175,733 families, and 830,700 people are directly affected by the floods. This includes 209 baranggays, 44,007 families and 211, 929 people in Cavite alone.

The fishermen and the urban poor has borne the brunt of the flooding and are the worst affected. The towns affected in Cavite include Bacoor, Kawit, Noveleta, and Rosario. Deteriorating the situation further, floods have rendered roads to Rosario, Noveleta, and Bacoor unfit for transportation and thus cut them off from rest of Philippines for a few days.

Even the offices of WAC were not let off the fury of the nature and stand submerged in Rosario and Cavite. The members of the organization working in CALABARZON areas as well as ones working in the communities in Rosario, Cavite have communicated about the scarcity of basic necessitates like food, clothes, medicine and even clean drinking water and have been asking for help. Also, there is a manifold increase in the cases of Leptospirosis (also known as Canefield fever for its high prevalence in wet areas) and athlete’s foot from the flood along with common strains of cough and colds The situation is worse for the fishermen who got displaced because of the heavy rains. As if it was not enough, Tropical Storm Helen, internationally known as Kai-Tak lashed the country yet again.

In this light, the picture emerging out of the area is a grim one of worsening food and livelihood security of the people living in the area and requires immediate and urgent interventions from both the state and international community and respond to WAC’s call for food, preferably ready to eat, potable and clean water, mats and blankets, clothes, waterproof boots, and medicines to averting hunger and outbreak of disease in the area.

I therefore urge you to ensure
1. Immediate action to send food packets to the affected area;
2. Ensure availability of potable and clean water;
2. Arranging temporary shelters for all those who are displaced;
3. Ensure disbursal of blankets, mats and waterproof mats;
4. Ensure supplies of medicine to contain outbreak of disease/epidemic in the area;

Sincerely,
________

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. Benigno Aquino III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

2. Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188
E-mail: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com

3. Corazon Juliano-Soliman
Secretary, Department of Social, Welfare and Development
Constitution Hills, Batasan Pambansa Complex,
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Tel/Fax: +63 (2) 931-81-91

4. Sec. Joel Rocamora
Lead Convener
National Anti-Poverty Commission
3rd Floor, Agricultural Training Institute Building
Elliptical Road, Diliman
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 927 9796 / 426 5249
Email: napc.gov@gmail.com

Thank you

Hunger Alerts Programme
Right to Food Programme (foodjustice@ahrc.asia)
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

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[Press Release] Romblon LGU rejects another mining application, Asserts provisions in P-Noy’s mining policy -ATM

Romblon LGU rejects another mining application
Asserts provisions in P-Noy’s mining policy

San Fernando, Romblon – Municipality of San Fernando in Sibuyan, Romblon will not participate in any process pertaining to the application for Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) of Fil-China Mining Development Corporation, said Mayor Dindo C. Rios.

In a letter dated last August 13 sent to Roland de Jesus, MGB Regional Director for MIMAROPA, Mayor Rios stressed the provisions in the mining Executive Order 79 (EO 79) stating that protected areas shall be spared from mining.

‘The whole island is a protected area as a mangrove swamp forest reserve pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 2152,’ explained Mayor Dios. He also clarified that Sibuyan Island is also listed among the Tourism Development Areas (TDA), which had been declared as no go zone for mining.

Meanwhile, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) hailed this action of Romblon LGU for protecting their islands and recognizing that mining activities will further aggravate the susceptibility to landslide and flooding of many areas in the municipality.

“It was just disappointing that DENR themselves are the ones pushing for projects closed to mining. Even before the EO was released, there are already existing policies protecting Sibuyan including a local legislation opposing mining in the island,” said Jaybee Garganera, ATM national coordinator.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of Executive Order 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and passage of the AMMB. (30)


For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator;, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 09277617602
Rodne Galicha, ATM Sites of Struggle Officer; sos@alyansatigilmina.net, 09052850700
Edel S. Garingan – ATM Media and Communication Officer: communications@alyansatigilmina.net,
0922-8918972

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Event] Book Launch of Philippine Native Trees 101

Book Launch of Philippine Native Trees 101

August 15, 2012
5:30 p.m.
Forbes Park Pavilion
Makati City

This book is published by Green Convergence (GC) and Hortica Filipina (HF), the GC member focused on the promotion of planting native trees. It features 108 native trees and their botanical information, each accompanied by beautiful pictures and a personal anecdote by an environmentalist/friend/scientist who wrote about her/his favorite tree.

Kindly note that the Forbes Park gate guard will be required to have the names of those that have confirmed, so please RSVP @ 0917-4225521 (Noemi) or 0917-8538841 (Nina) by evening of Tuesday, August 14, 2012.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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[People] We don’t need $100,000, Mr. Thomas; we need action on greenhouse gas emissions by Walden Bello

We don’t need $100,000, Mr. Thomas; we need action on greenhouse gas emissions.

By Walden Bello
August 13, 2012

This July was the hottest July in the United States ever since they started keeping records.  In India, the monsoon rains are long delayed, resulting in the country’s second drought in four years.  Triple digit temperatures in New Delhi and other cities have already provoked the worst power outages in the country’s history and the expected bad harvest is likely to slice at least five per cent from GDP growth.   In Beijing, which usually suffers from a shortage of water, a storm on July 21 resulted in the worst flooding since records began to be kept in 1951, according to the Economist.  Meantime, here in the Philippines, the protracted “rainstorm with no name” (as PDI columnist Jose Montelibano christened it) that persisted for over a week plunged Metro Manila into a watery disaster that is now said to be worse than Ondoy.

The ‘new normal’

It’s climate change, and Department of the Environment and Natural Resources head Ramon Paje captured the nature of nature’s wrath when he said that the “new normal” in our climate is unpredictable weather owing to the uncontrolled rise in the globe’s mean temperature due to greenhouse gas  (GHG) emissions.   If there is any doubt that the abnormal is now the norm, remember that this is shaping up to be the second straight year that non-stop rains have wreaked havoc in Southeast Asia.  Last year, the monsoon season brought about the worst flooding in Thailand’s history, with waters rushing down from the north of the country engulfing even Bangkok, affecting over 14 million people, damaging nearly 7000 square miles of agricultural land, disrupting global supply chains of transnationals with subsidiaries in the country, and bringing about what the World Bank estimated to be the world’s fourth costliest disaster ever.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the unceasing rainstorms is we could do little to prevent it.  We could have made it less calamitous by resettling informal settlers away from the floodways to Manila Bay and reforesting the hills and mountains that border the Metropolitan area.  We could have passed the Reproductive Health Bill much earlier and propagated family planning to reduce the human impact on the upland, rural, and urban environments.  We could have, in short, taken measures to adapt to changing climate patterns.  But to prevent the fundamental shifts in regional and global climate was something we could not do.

Read full article @ opinion.inquirer.net

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[From the web] Philex defers mine acquisitions after Padcal closure -RAPPLER.com

Philex defers mine acquisitions after Padcal closure.

BY RAPPLER.COM
August 9, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – Philex Mining Corp, the country’s biggest copper-gold producer, is postponing plans to acquire more mine projects following the closure of its Padcal mine in Benguet due to a waste spillage.

Philex chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters the company was supposed to acquire an operating mine “quite soon,” but decided to defer it.

“I think for the moment it is best to delay that until we have the opportunity to look at the situation in Padcal. I think once we have a clear plan on how to rehabilitate Padcal, that’s when [we will acquire],” he said on the sidelines of the financial briefing of Philex affiliate Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

Pangilinan declined to identify the site they were supposed to invest in.

Previously, he said Philex was eyeing to acquire 3 new mining projects — two in the Philippines and one in Indonesia.

Read full article @ www.rappler.com

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