Tag Archives: Renewable energy

[Press Release] Reclaim Power for the People Not Emergency Powers-P4P

Reclaim Power for the People Not Emergency Powers

Photo by PMCJ

Photo by PMCJ

The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) along with other organizations launched the Philippine-leg of the Reclaim Power week – a global convergence of efforts to raise the urgency of transforming energy systems away from dirty fuels and towards a public and community-controlled alternative energy systems.


Spearheading the activity is the recently established Power for People (P4P) – a national campaign network composed of people’s organizations, electric cooperatives, lawyers and members of the academe from different parts of the country coming together to address issues in the energy sector by advancing alternatives.

“The Reclaim Power is a global effort on climate justice by demanding serious, deep and drastic emissions reduction globally,” said Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of PMCJ and the lead convenor of P4P Campaign Network. “Reduction can only be possible if all people and communities unite to ban dirty energy projects and fight for clean and democratic alternatives.” Arances added.

The Reclaim Power Global Week of Action on Energy will include a series of activities running from October 10 to 18 – the highlight being consolidated actions all over the country against coal on October 17.

On October 10, there will be a mobilization against the World Bank to protest against its continued financing of dirty and harmful energy. Another activity that will take place during the Reclaim Power week is an action on waste incineration which is another major concern for environmentalists and communities in the country.

“Different waste-to-energy incineration technologies are being peddled these past few years as a co-fuel if not an alternative altogether to coal.  However, the US Environmental Protection Agency, found that compared with source reduction, reuse and recycling, waste incinerators contribute far higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions throughout their life-cycles,” says Paeng Lopez of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, an member organization of PMCJ.

The Power for People network is a means for concerned organizations and individuals to advance their campaign against coal-fired power plants and to demand that the government ensure the utilization and development of renewable energy.

Communities do not want coal

Clint Pacana, Executive Director of the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AMRECO) and member of P4P said, “These initiatives include holding our own government accountable for its push for coal fired power plants and repeated display of skepticism towards renewable energy. Like in Mindanao, instead of rehabilitating the Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Complex to ensure the continued enjoyment of low cost electricity, the government is pushing for its privatization along with the increased number of coal fired power plants in the region.”

Reflecting the misaligned direction of the government with its energy policy and voicing out the demands of the people in the community is Juliet Borlon-Aparicio of Tanggol Kalikasan, Inc. who said, “Sa halip na pagkalulong sa maruming enerhiya galling sa coal, dapat na pagtuunan ng pansin ng gobyerno kung paano magagamit ang mga potensyal na mapagkukunan ng renewable energy sa aming probinsya.”

The government has approved the construction of a new 1, 250MW coal plant in Atimonan in addition to the expansion of 875MW to the existing 1,195MW of the Pagbilao and Mauban coal plants.

Atimonan is one of the stop overs of the People’s Walk for Climate Justice. While the climate walkers are on their way to the major stopping point, a forum that discusses the ill effects of a coal plant is being held today in the community which will host the hazardous project.

Emergency Powers

When asked about the group’s take on the energy crisis and the request for emergency power by the President, Atty. Jose Aaron Pedrosa of Sanlakas had this to say, “The President’s declaration of a power crisis by 2015 is a situation conjured precisely by the government’s policies on the energy sector with the EPIRA as its face. The people cannot simply expect the grant of emergency power to provide a solution to a crisis that was borne out of the same law.” Sanlakas is the head of PMCJ Energy Working Group and a member of Power for People.

The real power crisis that has beset the country for more than a decade is the continuing lack of electricity access of more than 2.5 million households, sky-high electricity rates, market manipulation and pollution of big power player and the control of the power industry – from generation to distribution – by a few corporations.

“To address the real energy crisis would require an overhaul of EPIRA and the abandonment of the government’s privatization paradigm,” Pedrosa added.

“All these efforts – the People’s Walk for Climate Justice, the formation of Power for People, the series of activities for the Reclaim Power week and all the other future activities are part of the people’s demand for climate justice. We want the President to walk his climate talk as a contribution to the global effort to avert catastrophic climate change,” Arances said.

Kathryn Leuch, PMCJ Energy Campaigner, 0936 9678 341

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[Statement] Our Future is NON NEGOTIABLE: Stand and Fight for a Nuclear free, Sustainable and Habitable World -Akmk Peace

Our Future is NON NEGOTIABLE: Stand and Fight for a Nuclear free, Sustainable and Habitable World

“Every dollar spent on nuclear is one less dollars pent on clean renewable energy and one more dollar spent on making the world a comparatively dirtier and a more dangerous place, because nuclear power and nuclear weapons go hand in hand.”
—Mark Z. Jacobson

The plight for non-carbon emitting source of energy has been going on for years for the sake of preventing the deterioration of the environment. It is under this premise that the solution in the form of nuclear energy was born and high hopes for it were made public. However, real people, real events and real stories tell us that the safety of this “safe” source of energy is but a myth.

Akmk Peace copy

Recently, the Philippines’ Department of Energy have aired their interest in reviving the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant using the energy crisis as an excuse during a public forum last July 25. They keep on telling the people that it is a way of saving the environment as if its radioactive wastes do not exist. In reality, options for renewable energy exist, it is just that it has less business potential for the private sector and it does not carry any hidden symbol. The creation of nuclear power plants is not just an environmental issue; it is also an issue on the maintenance of peace. It is true that the United States is the only country that actually used nuclear energy as a weapon but the point is that it was still used as a weapon and a highly dangerous one at that. It is a symbol of potential military power that, when time comes, will not discriminate and can destroy the affected area for half an eternity.

One more option amidst being declared as the dirtiest source of energy has been promoted by the Philippine government –Coal. Not less than five coal-fired plants are to operate in the Philippines to solve electric supply shortages. Coal industry is one of the big emitter of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that contributed to global warming and Philippine government knew this, but are still promoting amidst the impact of Climate Crisis to the Philippines.

Nuclear energy and all other non renewable (fossil fuels) energy sources are not something that we can gamble our future with. The AKMK being an alliance sworn to promote peace and environmental sustainability in Mindanao and the rest of the world stands firm to the call that a safe world is a nuclear free, sustainable and habitable world.

Reina Marie Gahum
Secretary General
Alliance of Mindanao Youth for Peace (Alyansa ng Kabataang Mindanao para sa Kapayapaan)
Mindanao, Philippines
Email: akmk_peace@yahoo.com
FB: Akmk Peace
4 August 2014

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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.


“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

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

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[Press Release] REclaim power! Coal and renewable energy confab opens -PMCJ

REclaim power! Coal and renewable energy confab opens

reclaim power pmcj

Davao City – Days after the alarming pronouncement on energy of President Benigno Simeon “PNoy” Aquino III during his State of the Nation Address (SONA), 100 leaders and representatives coming from various parts of the country will come together to share experiences on the impacts of coal projects and exchange ideas to collectively forge a national platform to pursue the campaign for genuine energy transformation.


Reclaim Power! National Peoples Conference on Coal and Renewable Energy hosted by Ateneo de Davao University aims to address critical local and national issues and alternatives on energy which have been glossed over in the President’s SONA last week.

Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) explains, “the conference will pave the way towards accessible, affordable, sustainable renewable energy systems for peoples and communities while exposing the realities of coal energy, an energy source that the PNoy Government is promoting to abate the current energy crisis.” At present, an estimate of 2.7-million households do not have access to energy.

In his speech, PNoy mentioned that there is an existing power crisis and argued that hydropower will not provide for enough supply when El Nino occurs. This became his premise to argue for preparation to avert a projected shortfall in energy supply.

“This is where coal comes in. The proliferation of dirty coal power-plants all over the country is the government’s solution to the energy crisis oblivious to the dangers it may cause – a solution which will endanger the lives of millions of Filipinos because of the proven impacts of coal.  The continued promotion of coal only reveals the Government’s reluctance and skepticism towards renewable energy as an energy source that is highly abundant in our country,” Arances said.

Under the Aquino administration, permits granted to coal mining projects have doubled, from 39 coal operating contracts (COCs) in 2007 to 71 COCs in 2013. The number of approved coal plants has increased in the same period. In addition to 17 coal plants (with 28 boilers) with a total of 5506.2 MW capacity are currently operational across the country, 25 more coal plants (with 45 boilers) of up to 9,054 MW capacity have been approved as of mid-2014 (committed and indicative) and railroaded for final construction by 2020. This is up from 17 coal plants (with 29 boilers) with 4,584 MW approved in less than a year ago. This is in addition to another 12 more coal plants with 2,480 MW capacity proposed in the same year.

Stories on the impact of coal is well documented in the Philippines. In Naga, Cebu, a “Clean Coal” plant inaugurated by the President himself in 2011, has been operational for 3 years and the negative impacts to the host community have compounded throughout the years.

Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, Secretary-General of SANLAKAS and concurrently the head of PMCJ’s Energy Working Group documented the experience of communities in the site. He explained, “What they flaunted as a clean coal project was twice issued with a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) by the Province and the City of Naga due to the hazards it posed to the environment and the nearby communities. Despite the alarming morbidity and mortality rates in Naga, the continued operation of the coal plants threatens to put more lives, livelihood as well as the health of the environment at greater risk. By putting up more coal plants else where, the government is turning a blind eye to the realities on the ground and experiences of communities like Naga.”

Based on Department of Energy (DOE) data, new renewables (including solar and wind) constitute only 11.8% of all approved power plants, compared to coal’s 82.8% share. In Mindanao alone, the share of coal will rise to 56% by 2020 from its current share of 31%, with hydropower decreasing from 52% to 24% by 2020 according to the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA). In Mindanao, 12 coal plants are set to go online by 2020. Seven of these will rise in Davao Region.

“It is thus, no coincidence that the People’s Conference on Coal and RE is now being held in Davao. We do not want to tread on a coal-ridden trail while our renewable energy potential remains largely underinvested.“ Lucita Gonzales, Secretary General of Power Alternative Agenda in Mindanao (PALAG-Mindanao) said.

Palag Mindanao is one of the co-organizers of the national conference.

Despite the pressing issues on energy, the conference will also go beyond the current issues and lead towards building a peoples based energy platform that will empower consumers and individuals.

“We acknowledge that there is a need to fix the energy deficit in our country. The energy crisis is also a manifestation that there are fundamental problems in our energy systems. The peoples conference and gathering will attempt to address the needs of the people and listen to the stories and experiences felt on the ground, a democratic process that is severely lacking in our energy system.” Arances concluded. -30-

The conference is organized by PMCJ in cooperation with Freedom from Debt Coalition, CREATE-AdDU, Palag Mindanao, Gitib Inc./Our River Our Life, Ateneo Human Rights Center, and 1-CARE.The conference is supported by 11.11.11., Foundation for Sustainable Society Inc., European Climate Foundation, Korean Green Foundation, Bantay Kita and Natural Resource Governance Institute.

The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) is a grassroots-based movement consisting of basic sectors, grassroots communities and other organizations. We are campaigning for national climate justice campaigns on on energy, adaptation/rehabilitation after Typhoon Yolanda and other issues on climate change.

August 4, 2014
Contact Persons:
Khevin Yu, PMCJ Campaign Staff: 09175213356
Val de Guzman, PMCJ Energy Campaign Staff: 09199657509

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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

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[Press Release] Activism not a crime – Greenpeace

Activism not a crime
Naga MTC upholds activists’ rights in coal-ash protest case

 Greenpeace today welcomed the decision of the Naga Municipal Trial Court (MTC) to acquit activists charged with trespass during a December 2009 action to document toxic coal ash from the Naga coal-fired power plant that had been dumped in a public area in Barangay Tinaan. Greenpeace carried out the peaceful protest to call attention to the threats posed by coal ash to the health of residents and the environment.

“Activism is not a crime. And we are very glad that the judiciary recognizes this. But we repeat our call to the provincial government to get its act together. Coal ash – a toxic by-product of the coal-firing process from the power plant – was dumped in an area posing a threat to the health and livelihoods of the Barangay Tinaan community. The risks have also increased as more coal ash continues to be produced by the coal plant and threatens other areas in Cebu, and there are still no clear plans for proper disposal.” said Mark Dia, Country Representative of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
Results of tests conducted by Greenpeace in 2005 from ash samples taken from the Naga and Toledo coal-fired power plants in Cebu revealed the insidious presence of mercury, which is a deadly neurotoxin; arsenic, which is a known carcinogen; as well as other hazardous substances such as lead and chromium.[1]

“The provincial authorities wasted time and taxpayers’ money for over two years by trying to criminalize activists who simply exercised freedom of expression, taking action that they themselves should have taken to protect the community” added Amalie Obusan, one of the activists charged in the case.

Greenpeace campaigns for the only long-term solution to this problem – to phase out the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, one of the most polluting energy sources – and to rapidly develop the Philippines’ abundant renewable energy sources. Developing and using renewable energy is the smart choice for the economy and for the climate. Fossil fuel prices are rising and will rise much more steeply once all the social and environmental costs are factored in.

“Coal, as well as other fossil fuels will run out and it is recognised gllobally that we cannot keep pumping greenhouse gases into our atmosphere at the current rate for much longer without suffering ever more dangerous climate impacts. Renewable energy never runs out and is clean and sustainable,” added Dia.

Coal-fired power plants have also been identified as the single biggest source of carbon emissions, largely responsible for climate change. The loss of thousands of lives and economic ruin brought about by recent extreme weather events, such as Sendong, Ondoy and Pepeng, are either aggravated by or can arguably be traced to climate change and the havoc it wreaks on the planet. Greenpeace is thus advocating an “Energy Revolution” (ER) – a transformation in the way energy is used, produced and distributed – as a key solution to mitigate climate change. This entails a massive shift to renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Greenpeace has identified a target of 50% RE in the Philippines’ energy mix by 2020 as not only achievable but imperative for avoiding dangerous climate change, for energy security and for sustainable economic growth.


Press release – January 27, 2012

Note to Editors:

[1] Greenpeace Southeast Asia. Bringing Calamities to Communities. 2005


Mark Dia, Country Representative +63 917 843 0549, +63 2 3321807 loc 111, mark.dia@greenpeace.org

JP Agcaoili, Media Campaigner, +63 917 631 2750, +63 2 3321807 loc 108, jp.agcaoili@greenpeace.org

[In the news] Clean and Renewable Energy Movement for Ecological Integrity to campaign for clean energy | Sun.Star

Clean and Renewable Energy Movement for Ecological Integrity to campaign for clean energy | Sun.Star.

January 23, 2012

 CADIZ City — A new green group, now in its final stage of formation, will soon be launched to lead the advocacy for the use of renewable energy or what the group calls clean energy.

Francisco Puey, a Negrense businessman, a staunch advocate of clean and renewable energy systems, and the chief facilitator of the Clean and Renewable Energy Movement for Ecological Integrity (Creme), said his team is now in Cadiz and Sagay areas exploring some private spring and biomass sources for development to clean and renewable energy to supply public utilities and communities.

Puey said the group will spearhead the promotion, utilization and development of clean energy like solar, wind, hydro and biomass power in Negros and elsewhere.

“The threat of a power crisis in the next two to five years is not just a product of speculative minds of certain government officials and policy makers but a real one which, if not addressed soon and decisively, will only make us all sorry,” said Puey.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[Press Release] Akbayan Confronts Secretary Almendras over DOE’s Commitment to Coal

Akbayan  Confronts Secretary Almendras over DOE’s Commitment to Coal

A sharp exchange between Akbayan Representative Walden Bello and Department of Energy Secretary Rene Almendras marked a pre-plenary budget hearing on Sept. 7.

DOE Still behind Aboitiz Coal-fired Plant

The bone of contention was the administration’s position on coal-fired power plants.  Bello asked Almendras if the DOE was still supporting the construction of a coal-powered energy plant by the Aboitiz group of companies in Subic given what he characterized as the “overwhelming rejection of the proposed Aboitiz coal-powered plant by the citizens of Subic, Olongapo, and Zambales.”  Almendras did not answer the question directly but pointed to what he alleged was a need for additional base load generation capability due to an impending electricity shortfall in Luzon of 600MW in 2013 and 2014, and 700MW in 2015.
Coal, the energy secretary continued, was currently the cheapest energy option.

Bello countered that the DOE was myopic in considering only financial cost and ignoring the well-known negative environmental impacts of coal, which not only has damaging effects on the environment and public health but is also worse than oil in terms of its contribution to global warming.

“Coal is dirty,” said Bello, “and the costs in terms of environmental degradation and the toll on public health will outweigh the alleged financial benefits.”

Push for Coal Undermines Renewable Energy Act

Moreover, the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 (RA 9513), according to Bello, “mandates the government to move from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy.”  The reliance on coal-powered plants that the DOE is promoting is undermining the law, said the Akbayan congressman.The Renewable Energy Act seeks to improve the exploration and development of solar, biomass, wind, hydro, geothermal, tidal and other renewable sources of energy.

Almendras denied, however, that the push for coal in the short term was moving the country away from the intent of the Renewable Energy Act.  He said that in renewable energy sources now make up over 55 per cent of the total energy mix.  “I think the Renewable Energy Act is a good law,” said the DOE Secretary, claiming that there are now “implementable renewable energy technologies.”

Bello countered by asking the secretary to provide him with a detailed program showing how the DOE was moving the country’s energy mix from fossil fuels to renewables.

Bello Questions Almendras’ Loyalties

At one point, Bello brought up the DOE secretary’s previous employment with Aboitiz corporate group, the main promoter of the coal option in the country.

“How can we be sure that your previous association with Aboitiz is not affecting your decisions?,” asked Bello.

Almendras denied being influenced by Aboitiz, saying his decisions were guided solely by the “national interest.”

Bello said, however, that his question regarding Almendras’ loyalties was a “legitimate” one:  “I have to make this question explicit with all administration appointees who come from the private sector.  I did the same thing with Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Gary Domingo, asking him if his opposition to workers’ security of tenure might not be related to his having been executive director of SM Investments, one of the worst abusers of contractualization.”

Disciplining the Oil Giants

Earlier in the hearing, the Akbayan representative also said the constant changes in the price of oil were tormenting consumers and making it very difficult for consumers and industries to doing any planning.  “While consumers and industries suffer, the oil giants are making tremendous profits,” Bello asserted.

Almendras agreed, saying that, despite volatile price of oil, the big three oil companies, Petron, Shell, and Caltex, have maintained profit margins between 1-3% over the last couple of years, and have “never been in the red” except in 2008.

This prompted Bello to ask whether or not the DOE considers price controls.  Almendras said that while the DOE preferred to deal with the oil problem via subsidies to the consumer, he was open to changes in the Oil Deregulation Law that Congress might deem fit to make.

According to Bello, if genuine, the Energy secretary’s commitments to such reforms “will be instrumental in crafting Philippine energy policies that will be beneficial for ordinary Filipino consumers rather than the energy giants.”###

Sabrina Laya S. Gacad
Senior Legislative and Media Officer
Office of Hon. WALDEN F. BELLO
AKBAYAN Party-list Representative
House of Representatives
Quezon City, Philippines

[Press Release] Towards sustainable development GREEN CONVERGENCE URGES AQUINO TO TAKE CHARGE

Towards sustainable development

Reminding President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III of his avowed ‘Social Contract’ and policy statement during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) that promised the protection of the environment, members of the Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy (Green Convergence) yesterday urged the President to take charge and make true his promises to lead the nation towards the path of sustainable development by conserving and protecting the country’s natural resources.

In an annual gathering of Green Convergence through its State of Nature Assessment or Green SONA, the group said Pres. Aquino may be partly fulfilling his “contract” through the promulgation of some executive orders and programs but either they are not implemented adequately or are contradicted by other major policy directions.

They cited that while PNoy issued a moratorium on the cutting of trees in natural forests the executive order exempted areas for mining and those to be prepared for plantations.  Furthermore, illegal logging remains largely unabated in the Sierra Madre.  Though he inaugurated the Renewable Energy Program to fight climate change he also inaugurated coal-fired power plants which are highly contributive to climate.  Though the Department of Agriculture under the present leadership has promoted organic agriculture the official policy remains anchored on modern biotechnology moving towards genetically engineered crops. Green Convergence also strongly urged PNoy to forcefully enforce the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

“The President has to take charge and honor his environmental commitments to the nation that he has explicitly stated all too often. As we have surely not taken him out of context because of the straight-forwardness and simplicity of all his articulations, we expect him to oblige,” emphasized Dr. Angelina P. Galang, founder of the Green Convergence.

As members of the Green Convergence recited their incisive assessment of President Aquino’s positive inputs that are matched against the wider contradictory policies, they enumerated their following demands that should be the contents of his social contract in protecting the environment:

“Mr. President:  We ask that there be a moratorium on mining applications and approvals until a national industrialization plan is formulated that would rationalize the industry in terms of what and where minerals should be mined;

•    We ask for strong forest protection and economic programs for forest communities that will make them stakeholders in forest protection;

•    We ask for meaningful engagement with Indigenous Peoples with acknowledgement that their culture makes them the best stewards of the forest;

•    We ask for a complete stop to Bt corn planting and field testing of genetically modified crops until and when they are proven safe for humans and the environment;

•    We ask for rejection of nuclear power with finality.  Transition to 100% renewable energy which has been shown to be able to supply all our energy needs way into the future;

•    We ask for correct and vigorous implementation of RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act;

•    We ask for enactment of the National Land Use Management Act, Forest Resources Bill and Minerals Management Bill; and

•    We ask for a review of the Philippine’s involvement in the Clean Development Mechanisms and REDD + until and when this carbon trading  schemes show their effectiveness in reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and not just increasing profits of rich nations.

Green Convergence is composed of more than 50 networks and groups from the environmental, social and religious movements.–end–

Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment & Sustainable Economy

July 18, 2011