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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Philippines and Russia: On Independent Foreign Policy
A per report of Yahoo! News, “During the presidential election campaign, Marcos initially maintained a neutral position on the Russia-Ukraine war. However, he later issued a statement that he is united with the rest of world in calling for Russia “to respect Ukraine’s freedom and its citizens’ democratic way of life.” (Russia ready to help Philippines with oil, gas needs: Russian envoy, Nicholas Young, Jun 14).
It was at this period also that the Philippine government during the UN General Assembly voted together with 141 out of 193 member countries to denounced Russia’s aggression against Ukraine (U.N. General Assembly in historic vote denounces Russia over Ukraine invasion, Reuters, March 3rd).
Though, the said Resolution is non-binding, it is my firm view that the decision undertaken by Malacanan and DFA on this critical world issue is undeniably wrong. The Russian Federation may consider that idiotic decision as an act of an unfriendly country. (Putin issues decree requesting ‘unfriendly’ countries pay for gas in roubles, The Financial Times, April 1st).
Philippines: Drop perjury charges against Philippines Civil Society Organisations
FORUM-ASIA is deeply concerned by the ongoing court trial on perjury charges filed by Hermogenes Esperon Jr., the former National Security Adviser in the Cabinet of Rodrigo Duterte, against civil societies, Karapatan the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) and GABRIELA as well as the systematic vilification and smear campaigns against them.
In July 2019, Hermogenes Esperon Jr. filed a Complaint-Affidavit for perjury with the Quezon City Office of the city prosecutor (QC OCP) against Karapatan National Council members, GABRIELA Chairperson and Secretary-General, and RMP National Coordinator and Northern Mindanao Region Coordinator. The former National Security Adviser claimed that the respondents committed perjury when they petitioned the Supreme Court for the Writ of Amparo and the Writ of Habeas Data.
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.
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.
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.
Red-tagged labor rights NGO filed a complaint at CHR
On June 14, 2022, the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) formally filed a complaint at the Commission on Human Rights, a week after it publicly denounced the malicious statements made by elements of the NTF-ELCAC against their institution.
In its complaint, CTUHR narrated that they received a report that they have been red-tagged in the program, “Laban Kasama ang Bayan” aired last June 6, 2022. One of the topics discussed in the said episode was “Labor Infiltration Operations of CPP-NDF-NPA in CALABARZON, Central Luzon and NCR,” where they zoomed in on the strike conducted by J&T Express workers in Cabuyao, Laguna.
The guest Charlie “Steve Alejandro” Ponclara and one of the hosts Jeffrey “Eric” Celiz, in a series of exchanges, purported that the strike of the workers was illegal and that they were infiltrated and instigated by operatives of the CPP-NPA-NDF. CTUHR was tagged as one of these, together with Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan – Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU).
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.”
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).
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.
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.
Southeast Asia (SEA) is spiraling into a fossil future thanks to a massive fleet of gas projects and the financial institutions backing them, risking the region’s energy security, biodiversity, and any and all hope to limit global temperature rise to less catastrophic levels – a new report from civil society reveals.
Financing a Fossil Future: Tracing the Money Pipeline of Fossil Gas in SEA published by think-tank Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) and partners dives into projects and companies involved in fossil gas exploration and development, transportation, gasification, storage, re-gasification, pipelines, and power generation, and the institutions that offered them financial services from 2016 to 2022.
“Angat Buhay Para sa Kalikasan” Statement on the New Administration
President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. and Vice-President-elect Sara Duterte are slated to take their oath this month and govern our country for the next six years.
However, in the wake of election irregularities such as massive-voting buying, malfunctioning VCMs, disenfranchisement of voters and allegations on electronic vote rigging, we call on the Comelec to investigate these cases and hold accountable those found guilty.
We recognize that President Marcos, Jr. and Vice-President Duterte has captured the votes of the electorate in a landslide victory. But we also note that this victory is a result of a decades-long campaign to rehabilitate the reputation of the Marcoses through historical revisionism and the propagation of fake news. There have been reports of massive disinformation and misinformation, particularly on Martial Law and the dictatorial rule of President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.
Environmental group pushes for stricter regulation as illicit trade of mercury-added skin lighteners prevails
BAN Toxics calls the attention of local authorities in Manila City after the group discovered the continued selling of Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene and Goree Day & Night Beauty Cream despite a public health warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA advised the public against the purchase and the use of Goree products which were tested and found to contain toxic mercury (Hg) levels beyond the 1 part per million (ppm) limit. Pursuant to Republic Act No. 9711, the manufacture, importation, exportation, sale, offering for sale, distribution, transfer, non-consumer use, promotion, advertising or sponsorship of health products without proper authorization from FDA is prohibited.
Groups Back Phase-Out of Toxic “Forever Chemicals” to Protect Women and Other Vulnerable Sectors
Various civil society groups have joined forces to call for a global ban on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) ahead of the World Environment Day. Also known as the “forever chemicals,” PFAS do not break down in the environment and build up in the bodies of humans and wildlife over time, resulting in adverse health effects.
At a webinar co-organized by the EcoWaste Coalition with the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP), Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS), Taiwan Watch Institute (TWI) and the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), the groups pressed for a ban on PFAS as a class while conveying support for PFAS-free clothing, food packaging, cookware and other applications.
Next Admin’s funding for Teachers’ Magna Carta sought
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) acknowledges the findings of the Senate Committee on Basic Education and its recommendation to fully implement the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670), a vintage law enacted in 1966. The group particularly commended Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, the committee chair for raising the matter in Senate’s plenary yesterday and expressed hopes that the next DepEd secretary, the Vice President-Elect Sara Duterte will at least consider the senator’s recommendations.
“We acknowledge the gesture of Sen., Gatchalian in Senate’s floor yesterday. By standing in the podium, he made our tiny and unheeded voices for more than 5 decades audible,” said Benjo Basas, the group’s national chairperson.
Basas said that the TDC has been in constant coordination with the leadership of relevant committees in both houses of Congress who expressed support for their advocacies.
“With the enthusiastic Senate Education Committee on our side, we are certain that the 19th Congress will use its oversight function and legislative powers in our favor. But we still need the proactive stance of the DepEd, the agency primarily tasked to implement the letters and spirit of the law,” Basas added.
Five reasons why gender-based violence against women should be considered torture
Gender-based violence against women (GBVAW) is the most systematic and widespread human rights violation worldwide. It includes sexual crimes such as rape or harassment but also forced marriage, intimidation, threats and physical violence. In this blog post, our expert presents five reasons why GBVAW is torture and should be legally considered as such.
Mylene comes from an impoverished area in the rural Philippines. As a young adult, she moved to Manila in the hope of a better future. Instead, she fell into the hands of traffickers and was forced into prostitution. Over the years, she experienced numerous forms of violence. For instance, the police arrested her for vagrancy and raped her in exchange for charges being dropped. Once a police officer detained her in an apartment for several days where he sexually abused her. One night she escaped naked from a car containing four police officers who, after forcing her to use illegal drugs, had taken turns raping her inside the moving vehicle. She also suffered frequent physical and sexual violence from those who sought her services.