June 4, 2010
Progressive green groups challenged incoming President Noynoy Aquino to implement fundamental environmental reforms and actions in his first 100 days in office to reveal if he is indeed sincere in the protection and conservation of our environment and national patrimony.
The groups posed eight challenges a day before the 2010 World Environment Day, an international event that aims to heighten awareness and heighten political and public action on environmental.
“Now that Noynoy Aquino is set to be proclaimed as the new president, the question that comes up is whether he will fulfill his promise to bring about a government different and opposed to the previous Arroyo administration. This would mean taking concrete steps in implementing positive reforms and reversing the policies that negatively impacted our people and environment,” said Clemente Bautista Jr. of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).
Kalikasan PNE with indigenous people network Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamayang Pilipino (KAMP), fisherfolk federation Pambansang Lakas ng Mamalakaya sa Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), environmental research group, Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC Phils.), and scientist group Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (AGHAM) identified eight concrete challenges as:
1. Conduct an investigation and form a commission that will prosecute the environmental crimes of outgoing President Gloria Arroyo;
2. Cancel the contracts or environment compliance certificate (ECC) of environmentally destructive and controversial projects such as Rapu-rapu polymetallic mining project, Didipio gold mining project and San Mateo Landfill Project;
3. Review anti-environment policies that were passed and implemented during the Arroyo administration like the Japanese-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement and Mining Act of 1995 that legitimizes the sell out and control of our patrimony to foreign corporations;
4. Replace pro-corporate DENR Secretary Horacio Ramos with an individual with proven track record in environmental protection and conservation, simultaneously declare 100-day moratorium on approving mining projects, coal-fired power plant projects and mega-dams
5. Formally communicate to the United States government the people’s demand for responsibility, justice and compensation on the toxic contamination in the former US military bases in the Philippines;
6. Junk the proposal to re-commission the mothballed and dangerous Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP);
7. Certified as urgent bill the House Bill 5840 or Anti- Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) Act of 2009
8. Implement a sound and effective disaster preparedness program and mechanisms towards climate change mitigation and adaptation
“These first eight actions, once done, will be a big step in reversing the policies that liberalize and privatize the country’s natural resources and replace them with laws that reclaim our patrimony and lead to ecological conservation. Accomplishing these will prove that Noynoy Aquino is a serious and genuine environment protector as he claims to be,” said Mr. Bautista.
“The first thing that Mr. Aquino needs to do is to prosecute those who are liable for carrying out projects and policies that resulted to the destruction and plunder of the country’s natural resources. These perpetrators are led by Mrs. Arroyo whose policies are geared towards the sell-out of our patrimony and whose projects have caused widespread poverty in affected communities and destruction of vital ecosystems,” expressed Bautista.
Among the top environmental crimes of Mrs. Arroyo that the groups cited are the liberalization of the mining industry, privatization of energy resources, massive deforestation for corporate production, lack of disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation program, peddling of agricultural lands for biofuel production, and political killings of environmental activists.
“Incoming president Noynoy Aquino faces a colossal task since the previous administration has left the Philippine environment in a chronic state of crisis but Mr. Aquino needs to step up to his promises and to the demands of the nation who have long clamored for genuine national progress and healthy environment,” ended Bautista.
Reference: Clemente Bautista
National Coordinator Kalikasan PNE