A new alliance of environmentalist groups and individuals is using cyberspace to call for the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The anti-administration stand is not only a result of the so-called Gloriagate tapes and the jueteng controversies but also the President’s anti-environment policies and programs.
BY DENNIS ESPADA
Can chain letters help in unseating President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?
Environmentalists hope so, thus their decision to use cyberspace to reach out to as many people as possible.
“Using wires and waves, we are going to tell the world that the call for Arroyo to step down (from the presidency) indeed reverberates not only in Manila but also across the country,” geologist Trixie Concepcion, spokesperson of Environmental and Natural Resource Advocates for GMA’s Expulsion! (Enraged!) said last week. Enraged! is a new alliance of 33 environmentalist groups and individuals.
The chain email letter seeks to refute the President’s claim that she still enjoys the support of the people from the provinces. “Our constituencies on the ground, affected by the anti-environment policies of this fake President, are supportive of the public clamor to get rid of her administration,” Concepcion said With this initiative, she is expecting to get response from officials in Malacañang.
Arroyo administration not earth-friendly
In a statement, Enraged! stressed that the Arroyo administration has failed miserably in terms of environmental protection and natural resource management.
The wanton destruction of the country’s ecosystems has led to prolonged ecological tragedies and Arroyo has not been able to stop or reverse the trend, the alliance said.
They reminded the government’s failure to dispense justice and rehabilitation for the countless victims of Southern Leyte landslides in 2003, Aurora-Quezon flashfloods in 2004, the U.S. military toxic contamination in Central Luzon and the Marcopper-Placerdome mine waste spill in Marinduque.
Since 2001, the Arroyo administration has approved 96,141 hectares of mineral lands under mining agreements and another 166,511 hectares forest lands under large-scale logging agreements. All of these, according to Enraged!, are mainly controlled by foreign transnational mining corporations and big commercial logging firms.
In its unity statement, Enraged! declared, “(Arroyo) has been the primary proponent of environmental plunder with her globalization policies that promote massive resource extraction for profit. Her mining liberalization program and promotion of large-scale commercial logging have displaced hundreds of thousands of Filipinos and resulted in massive devastation of our forest and mountains.”
Environmentalists to join July 25 mass action
Clemente Bautista, Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment’s (KPNE) national coordinator, told Bulatlat that some Filipino scientists signed the alliance’s unity statement. Among them are: Dr. Romeo Quijano, a toxicology expert from the College of Medicine in the University of the Philippines (UP) in Manila who was recently a recipient of the Jennifer Altman Awards for his commitment to “science for public interest”; Dr. Rowena Boquiren, a professor in environmental history from UP Baguio; Dr. Milagros Serrana of Miriam College’s Science Department; and Dr. Aloysius Baes, an expert in the field of geochemistry.
Aside from KPNE, Enraged! member-organizations include Samahang Nagtataguyod ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Sambayanan (Agham or Association Advancing Science and Technology for the People); Earth Island Institute-Philippines (EII); Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (Masipag or Peasants and Scientists for Agricultural Development); Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC); Brigadang Berde (Green Brigade), Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohya (SIBAT or Spring of Science and Technology);
Concerned Citizens Against Pollution (COCAP); Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan (LRC-KsK or Comrades in Nature); Bangon Kalikasan Movement (or Rise Nature); South East Asia Regional Institute for Community Education (SEARICE); People’s Task Force for Bases Clean-Up (PTFBC); Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan sa Pilipinas (KAMP or Association of Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines);
Women Education Development Productivity Research (WEDPRO); SALIKA; Salika Task Force Macalajar; Soljus Pax; Luksong Tinik Mountaineering Society; Diopin Communities for Mining Concerns; Center for Cordillera People’s Concerns (CCPC); Earth Savers Movement; Care Foundation; and the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya sa Pilipinas (Pamalakaya, National Unity of Fisherfolk Movement in the Philippines).
Other personalities who expressed solidarity with Enraged! are Prof. Ed Aurelio Reyes of SanibLakas (Joined Strength) Foundation and movie actor Roy Alvarez of Mother Earth Foundation.
The ranks of environmentalists will wear green shirts as they join the anti-administration mass action on July 25 when Arroyo is expected to deliver her State-of-the-Nation-Address (SONA) at the House of Representatives building in Batasan Complex, Quezon City.