IP Partylist Slams Arroyo for Accepting “Green Award”

News Release
April 18, 2010

Quezon City – – Katribu Partylist President and First Nominee Beverly Longid said the conservation award Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo received in the US this week inflicts insult on indigenous peoples who have long considered her as the ultimate destroyer of the Philippine environment.

“As president of the Republic of the Philippines, GMA allowed the plunder of mineral-rich lands, which have been sustaining IP communities for several centuries,” Longid said of GMA’s National Minerals Policy.

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According to Katribu, if there is anyone who deserves a green award, it would be the indigenous peoples who, for centuries, have been protecting the environment and developing indigenous sustainable practices amid the climate change.

“But definitely not GMA. She does not deserve any green award. How did the award-giving body end up recognizing a leader known for promoting destructive mining and despised for perpetuating development aggression?We are suspicious of the motive and criteria behind the award,” Longid said.

“She has done nothing to protect the environment. In fact, she has done exactly the opposite of environmental protection. Her policies of liberalization, privatization and deregulation have unleashed wide-scale destruction of the Philippine environment,”

Aside from the outright sellout of our country’s natural resources and patrimony to large-scale corporate interests, GMA has committed countless human rights violations to protect such interests.

According to Longid, indigenous peoples who are asserting their rights to ancestral lands and a healthful ecology and opposing the entry of such destructive projects have been victims of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and militarization.

GMA is a Nazi hiding under the green cloak of environment. The award bestowed to GMA gives the word environment a bad name. If any, she is an “environmental” Nazi, according to Longid.

Several other environment groups have expressed their outrage on the environment awards, and these include Swiss-based International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF).

Longid said the several generations of Philippine IPs have collectively and severally worked for the conservation of the environment. “They have employed indigenous knowledge and practices to protect and preserve their resources,” she stressed.

Longid also pointed out that it is not true that the IPs existence in communities declared as protected areas has threatened the eco-systems in those areas. She said IPs did not cause climate change nor global warming. They are among the most vulnerable, but resilient, victims of climate change, she iterated.

Carbon emissions from developed countries account for 80 percent of the total emissions worldwide but underdeveloped and developing countries get the burden of its effects, according to environmental activists, quoting from world environment reports.

Almost one year has passed since the Global Summit on Climate Change in Anchorage, Alaska that gathered indigenous peoples from Asia, Arctic, Pacific, The Caribbean, North America, Latin America, Russia and Africa.

In a declaration, participants to the global climate summit, which included indigenous peoples from Cordillera then called on the United Nations Climate Change Conference’s Fifth Conference of Parties (COP) to support a binding emissions reduction target for developed countries of at least 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 95 percent by 2050.

They were also saying the “Mother Earth is no longer in a period of climate change, but in climate crisis,” and thus were insisting on an immediate end to the destruction and desecration of the elements of life.

The IP Global Summit in Anchorage, pointing to the root causes of climate change to the use of carbon-emitting coal and oil, also called upon states to work towards decreasing dependency on fossil fuels. It further called for a just transition to decentralized renewable energy economies, sources and systems owned and controlled by our local communities to achieve energy security and sovereignty.

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