Hasty approval of coal-fired power projects in Mindanao questioned
“midnight decision” on eve of Pnoy’s Mindanao energy summit
MANILA – Greenpeace
today questioned the “midnight” ECC approval of a 100 MW coal-fired
power project in
Mindanao, consummated by authorities on the eve of the Holy Week Holidays and
just before the Energy Summit called by President Aquino on the island
was to take place.
According to the
environmental group, the hasty approval, which came well before the
region’s upcoming Energy Summit intended to gather key stakeholders
and examine viable options to address the island’s energy shortfall,
confirms earlier suspicions that pro-coal business interests were out
to capitalize on the current crisis to railroad government approval of
such environmentally-sensitive projects that should have undergone
Moreover, the group
contends that no proper assessment and review of other energy options
for the island were conducted by the Department of Energy whom it
accused of favoring coal power at the expense of clean and renewable
alternatives which would be more economically viable and sustainable
in the long-term.
“With this midnight
approval, the government has succeeded in creating a truly agonizing
Holy Week scenario for the people of Mindanao, replete with episodes of
sacrifice, false prophets, and public betrayal. After suffering from
the agony of blackouts, the people are now offered false solutions in
the form of coal plants guaranteed to flagellate local communities
with decades of pollution that pose an immediate and lasting threat to
human health, local livelihoods, and the climate,” said Von Hernandez,
Executive Director, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
“After the President’s
campaign promise to support the development of renewable energy and
phase-out coal power plants prior to his election, we thought this
administration would approach this problem with a greater measure of
integrity and sophistication. On the contrary, he has allowed coal
pushers in his team to overturn his pledge as evidenced by the DOE’s
existing plans to build an unprecedented number of coal plants during
his term. The President should be advised that each coal plant he
builds edges out the opportunity for the people of this country to
harness clean and renewable power,” he added.
Coal is the dirtiest
fossil fuel, wreaking environmental havoc, from coal mining that
pollute water sources, to coal burning which releases toxins as well
as greenhouse gases. Coal is also the main driver of climate change
whose catastrophic impacts include extreme weather leading to floods
or drought, and rising sea levels. Greenpeace maintains that there is
no such thing as “clean coal plants” and that there are no
commercially available technologies that can remove mercury, a deadly
neurotoxin, which accumulates in the environment and in the food
chain, or carbon dioxide which causes climate change.
The DOE confirmed
early this week that four coal plants and one coal power plant
expansion are in the pipeline for Mindanao. One of the plans were
approved early this week, ironically, with a promise from the
President to expedite the construction process of the harmful
facility. Last November 2011, the government gave the go signal to a
coal plant in Sarangani, and before that in July, PNoy was guest of
honor in the inauguration of another coal facility in the Visayas.
Should the other projects in Mindanao push through, President Aquino’s
administration would have approved more coal plants than any of his
In contrast, renewable
energy is clean and costs cheaper than coal or oil in the long run.
In fact, the current proposed increase in prices per kilowatt hour due
to the use of diesel in Mindanao is much higher than the proposed
Feed-in-Tariff rates for new renewables that is currently pending at
the Energy Regulatory Commission.
“President Aquino is
correct when he says that he inherited this
Mindanao “power crisis” from his predecessor. However, he also
inherited and actually supported the Renewable Energy Law, whose
implementation is currently languishing under his Department of
Energy. The President has a real opportunity to transform
development plans into truly inclusive, sustainable development, given
the island’s “gold mine” potential for renewable energy. Instead of
laying the ground for the faster approval of coal projects, the Aquino
administration should prioritize the process that would finally enable
the immediate and massive entry of RE projects in
Mindanao and in the whole country for that matter,” concluded
Leyte guv urged
beneficiaries to strictly follow 4Ps conditions
Media Relations Center
April 4, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY – Leyte
Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla urged beneficiaries of the Pantawid
Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to ensure continuous inclusion in
this pro-poor, mass based program of the national government.
This the governor
related as another 918 poor household beneficiaries in 15 barangays of
Tolosa were placed under the 4Ps.
The new household
beneficiaries received their two months allowances from the Land Bank
of the Philippines Tacloban who personally went to Tolosa to
distribute the cash grants and their ATM cards.
Tolosa is the newest
addition to the list of municipalities in
Leyte now enrolled under the 4Ps conditional cash transfer.
Gov. Petilla told
beneficiaries that the government is spending billions of pesos for
this program that it needs to be fully complied with.
“The government is
spending a lot for 4Ps thus we would like to make sure that the
recipients are really helped by the cash grants and deserve to be
placed under such social pension,” Gov. Petilla said.
The P1,400 conditional
cash allowance that each household beneficiary receives every month
will enable beneficiaries to give their children decent life, put
nutritious food on their tables, afford the necessary vaccinations and
send their children to school, reminding them that there is hope and
that a brighter future is ahead.
4Ps is under the
auspices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
where qualified beneficiaries are families who need to comply with
conditions set by the welfare department otherwise non-compliance will
result to de-listing of the program’s beneficiaries.
Included in the
conditions which need to be strictly complied include sending the
children to school or visiting health centers. Qualified beneficiaries
receive P6,000 a year or P500 per month per household for health and
nutrition expenses and P3,000 for one school year or 10 months or P300
per month per child for educational expenses.
NDF-EV is in
solidarity with the stand of church leaders in the region against
By NDF-Eastern Visayas
Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today expressed support for the
stand, through the Eastern Visayas Ecumenical Forum, of the leaders of
the Catholic Church, United Church of Christ in the Philippines and
the Iglesia Filipina Independiente against large-scale mining in the
region. [ read
An ecumenical pledge to condemn and oppose large-scale
mining in Eastern Visayas, Masbate province and all over the country
“It is truly Christian
to love your neighbor as well as to love your country in standing up
to large-scale mining and imperialist plunder,” said Fr. Santiago
Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. “We support all kinds of struggle against
large-scale mining in the country and against imperialist plunder.
The US-Aquino regime is giving free rein to foreign companies to
carry out large-scale mining operations. Meanwhile, the country's
natural resources are fast disappearing, while human rights violations
abound because of militarization under Oplan Bayanihan that target
communities where there are already operations or steps towards
Fr. Salas added that
large-scale mining has no significant contribution to the country's
economic development. “According to research by independent think-tank
IBON, mining and quarrying contributed only 1.5% to the country's
gross domestic product in 2011. Furthermore, IBON cites the laughable
fact that in 2011, domestic helpers here and abroad contributed P167.4
billion worth of services and remittances to the economy, compared to
the mining industry's P122.1 billion in gross production value or
P99.2 billion in gross value added. Other research shows that 89% of
the natural resources mined in the country are exported rather used
for domestic development. It means that aside from not benefiting the
country's economy, our non-renewable natural resources continue to be
drained away. There are also the social costs such as rising cases of
landgrabbing, militarization, extrajudicial killings and other human
rights violations against those who resist large-scale mining, and the
effects of widespread environmental destruction.”
Fr. Salas also slammed
the Aquino regime for selling out the country, and he called on
sympathetic politicians in the region to listen to the people and to
resist imperialist plunder. “Those who say they are against mining
should show they mean more than words and self-promotion. We challenge
them to reject the tokenism of “responsible mining,” which is the line
of the large-scale mining companies. If these politicians are really
for progress, we challenge them to support and advance pro-people
mining that is based on a national development plan anchored on
genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization. This will
solve the grinding poverty and hardship the people suffer, as well as
ensure a sustainable, self-reliant and progressive economy while also
protecting the environment.”
Fr. Salas called on
the church people, mass media, human rights and environmental
advocates, sympathetic officials and other sectors to continue the
struggle against large-scale mining and imperialist plunder. “If the
reactionary government is selling out the Philippines, on the other
hand the revolutionary government remains firm in its policy against
large-scale mining and enforces this in areas where there is Red
The New People's
Army is under orders to dismantle large-scale mining projects, and to
attack and disarm the military, paramilitary, police and private
security guarding these projects until they are forced to shut down.
The priority targets are those involved in landgrabbing, human rights
violations, serious environmental destruction and the plunder of
non-renewable natural resources. In the long run, only armed
revolution can end the anti-national and anti-people exploitation and
oppression of US imperialism and the local ruling classes. Only
through the people's unity in the national democratic revolution will
genuine peace and progress be achieved.”
awardees to use cash prize for tree nursery, project expansion
Rene “Tatay Ete” Vendiola, Ramon Aboitiz Awardee for Exemplary
Individual, and Manuel Margate who serve as client service
department manager of Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF)
that was declared Eduardo Aboitiz Awardee for Outstanding
Institution, raised the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. Triennial
Awards trophies during the award ceremony last March 22 at Marco
Polo Plaza Cebu.
By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
April 3, 2012
CEBU CITY –
Preserving the environment does not need a high educational attainment
but it requires a high degree of passion and love for nature.
are manifested by self-made environmentalist, Rene “Tatay Ete”
Vendiola, who is a high school dropout and former kaingin farmer but
managed to set up a Liptong woodland that preserves local fauna and
species of plants and native trees.
For his effort in
biodiversity conservation and forestation in Bacong, Negros Oriental,
Vendiola was awarded with the Ramon Aboitiz Award for Exemplary
Individual during the 5th Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI)
Triennial Awards last March 22 at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.
For Vendiola, he was
not competing with the other four finalists – two priests, a peace
promoter in Mindanao, and a former Boy Scout master.
“Ang RAFI nangita og
tukog sa lukay nga hugpungon aron mahimong silhig. Gihimo mi sa RAFI
og silhig. Sa among pagkasilhig, kami ang mogamit sa among nahibaw-an
aron makatabang sa atong komunidad (RAFI is looking for ribs out of
coconut leaves so that when grouped together, they form a broom. We
the finalists are formed by RAFI into a ‘broom’ so that together, we
can use our knowledge and help our community),” he said.
Vendiola shared over
Pagtuki last March 24 that when declared awardee of the RAFI Triennial
Awards for the individual category, he felt like crying because it was
his first time to get an award. Pagtuki is the official radio program
of RAFI every Saturday over dyLA from
As the awardee, he
received a trophy and a cash prize of P440,000, which he said he will
use to build his dream endemic trees nursery.
On the other hand, the
Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF) bagged the recognition as
the Eduardo Aboitiz Awardee for Outstanding Institution for their
efforts to uplift the lives of many women.
NWTF, an organization
that provides capital to poor women to start in small scale business,
has been providing livelihood opportunities through its program called
“Project Dungganon” (dungganon is Hilagaynon or honorable).
director, Dr. Cecilia del Castillo, was sent to India to learn the
Grameen Credit system, on which the program is based.
“We did not publicize
our work. We just did our jobs. The people we helped are those who
have little opportunities in life. They are the ones who really need
our help,” said Manuel Margate, NWTF client service department
manager, said in Bisaya.
He said NWTF will use
the Php 440,000 cash prize received during the RAFI Triennial Awards
to expand and improve Project Dungganon so that the organization can
uplift the lives of more poor people.
The RAFI Triennial
Awards was launched in December 6, 1996 during the 39th anniversary of
the foundation to commemorate the philanthropic, humanitarian, and
holistic ideals of RAFI founders Don Ramon Aboitiz and his son Don
Eduardo Aboitiz. The awards program is now on its 15th year this year,
which is also the 45th year of RAFI.
It is one of the
awards capabilities of RAFI, recognizing individuals and institutions
that go the extra mile in bringing about positive change and in
uplifting the quality of life of communities.
For more information
about the RAFI Triennial Awards, please contact (032) 418-7234 loc.
105 and look for Cathy Margate, or visit www.rafi.org.ph or
weakens Pacific tuna protection in Guam meeting
to ensure conservation measures, will host next round of talks
GUAM – Protection of
dwindling tuna stocks in the Pacific Ocean now has to rely on weak
measures that could put bigeye tuna populations in free fall to
depletion. This developed as a result of breakdown in agreements on
necessary conservation measures during the meeting of the Western and
Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) this past week in Guam.
Instead of creating a rescue plan to ensure the survival of the
world’s largest tuna fishery, WCPFC member countries ended up with
very temporary measures that undermine previous ones meant to keep
tuna stocks from further decline.
“The outcome of the
meeting is a very disappointing step backwards, unravelling years of
work to protect tuna populations in the Pacific. People in the region
rely on tuna for food, jobs, and economic prosperity. The
Commission’s decisions go against the wants and needs of the region,”
said Mark Dia, Greenpeace Southeast Asia’s Oceans Campaign Manager.
Members failed to
agree on stronger conservation measures, which would have included the
extension of the closure of the Pacific Commons  to purse seine
fishing, the continuation of a regional ban on fish aggregating
devices (FADs) in purse seine fishing from three to four months, and
an additional 10 percent reduction in long-line fishing. Pacific
Island Countries also proposed the closure of the Pacific Commons to
long-line fishing, but this was stalled by other countries,
particularly South Korea.
The members were able
to agree on protecting endangered oceanic white-tip sharks and on a
ban on setting of purse seine nets on whales and dolphins, but Japan
blocked a proposal to ban setting nets on whale-sharks (“butanding” in
The closure of the
Pacific Commons to purse seine fishing for the past two years had
helped reduce pirate fishing in the region and supported Pacific
Island Countries’ efforts to reap more equitable financial benefits
from the fishery. However, the closure is effectively lifted starting
this April, with the
having negotiated for 36 of its vessels to resume fishing in the
Pacific Commons, while other distant-water fishing fleets will
continue to operate in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of Pacific
Island Countries. The concession comes with stringent requirements
for the Philippines, such as the limit to the number of vessels,
proper reporting procedures, and the installation of satellite-based
monitoring systems to track where each of the 36 ships are at any
“The Philippines has
been given concessions, but is expected to ensure conservation
measures within its territorial waters as its contribution to
protecting tuna populations. Failure will not only result in less
tuna, but will affect the livelihoods of everyone who depend on tuna
fisheries in the Pacific,” Dia added. “All eyes will now be on the
Philippines to make good its commitments to conservation and
management measures.” This is especially true now that the country is
hosting the next round of WCPFC meetings in December.
With the WCPFC’s
failure to act, eight Pacific Island Countries have signified that
they will enforce protection of the Pacific Commons as a condition to
their allowing access to territorial waters.
arrested for malicious mischief
By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
CAMP RUPERTO KANGLEON,
Palo, Leyte – Albuera Police arrested an American national for
Malicious Mischief on March 29, 2012.
the suspect as one Richard Alexander Bieveir, 64 years old, widower
and presently residing at Barangay San Pedro, Albuera,
Reports disclosed that
at about 2:30 PM, along the national highway of said place, a white
Isuzu forward stake truck with plate number GKC 405 traveling towards
was stoned and attacked by Bieveir. It hit and wrecked the windshield
of the vehicle with an estimated damage of P15,000.
immediately arrested by the responding police officers and
subsequently brought to Albuera Municipal Police Station for
A case for malicious
mischief has been filed before the office of the Municipal Trial
Court, Albuera, Leyte docketed under criminal Case Number 4310.
Said suspect is now
under the custody of Albuera Municipal Police Station for proper
“This only shows
that the PNP will always uphold the rule of law. Violators should face
appropriate charges as the consequence and the PNP will always be here
to enforce the laws”, PRO8 Regional Director PCSupt Arnold Rayala
VP Binay lauds OFWs
for helping authorities convict notorious Singaporean trafficker in
By OVP Media
Vice-President and Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)
Concerns Jejomar C. Binay today commended two Overseas Filipino
Workers (OFWs) for their help in convicting a Singaporean human
trafficker named Lim Beng Huat. The trafficker, also known as “Alfred
Lim,” was ordered jailed for six years by a Malaysian court.
Binay thanked Marilou
Bagsit and Marivic Capistrano, for cooperating with the Philippine
government in running after Lim in partnership with the Blas F. Ople
Policy Center, a non-government organization that represents the OFW
sector in the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).
“This is a good
example of how teamwork can lead to more convictions in the fight
against human trafficking and illegal recruitment. We call on other OFWs to emulate these two women by reporting incidence of abuse and
illegal recruitment to our embassies abroad and also to the Philippine
Overseas Employment Administration or to NGOs such as the Ople
Center,” Binay said in a press conference at the Coconut Palace.
also thanked the Malaysian government particularly the Malaysian Royal
Police, the prosecutors who handled the case, and the Sessions Court
for resolving the three-year old trafficking case and giving credence
and importance to the testimony of the two OFW victims.
Both Marilou and
Marivic were recruited to
in 2008. They escaped from Lim’s townhouse on June 30, 2008 after
suffering physical and verbal abuse from said recruiter. Lim is known
to slap his victims and deprive them of food and salaries especially
when they are returned to his agency by Malaysian employers. Some of
his recruits end up as prostitutes against their will.
Binay also noted a
sharp rise in the number of convictions for human trafficking cases
with a total of 66 convictions since the start of the current
administration compared to 20 convictions under the previous
He stressed the need
for victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment to come
forward and seek government assistance in filing cases against their
“We also call on the
media and local governments to continue reminding the public not to be
swayed by promises of quick deployment overseas made by illegal
recruiters,” he added.
Binay also called for
the passage of the amendments to the Anti-Trafficking Act particularly
on Section 6 which provides the right to privacy to the accused in
human trafficking cases. He noted that this emboldens human
traffickers since despite pending warrants of arrest, the law
prohibits law enforcers, the media, and non-government organizations
from revealing their identities thus enabling them to recruit more
victims especially in remote areas.
Susan Ople, head of
the Ople Center, said that the conviction of “Alfred Lim” is the first
international case involving a Singaporean trafficker filed by two
OFWs. It is also considered a landmark case because “Lim” has been
known to have victimized nearly a hundred OFWs, mostly women forced
into oppressive work conditions including prostitution.
With the conviction of
“Lim”, the Center hopes that more of his victims will come out openly
and provide information about “Lim’s” cohorts in the Philippines.
Lim’s victims can
contact the Blas F. Ople Center for assistance through hotline:
Pres. Aquino and
oligarchs are the problem and solution to the man-made power shortage
QUEZON CITY – A
coalition of progressive unions and organization today tagged
President Aquino and the country’s oligarchs are to blame for the
man-made power supply woes in Mindanao.
“LAMPARA believes that
the current power shortage in Mindanao is reflective of the greedy
monopoly of certain families – the Pangilinans, the Tans, the Sys, the
Lopezes, the Aboitizes, and the Cojuangcos – who are completely in
control of the power generation, distribution, and supply of
electricity in the entire country,” the group’s statement said issued
after a briefing on the issue on the power shortage.
“We insist that the
power shortage in Mindanao is man-made. These actions are clear proof
that these oligarchs are socially irresponsible, politically
unaccountable, and financially acquisitive. They are scaremongering
and manipulating the country’s power industry to again drive the
hapless Filipino consumers and workers no choice but deeper into their
pockets to pay for their increasing electric bill,” the statement
The statement was
signed by Associated Labor Unions-TUCP, Napocor Employees Consolidated
Unions (NECU), TUCP Party-List, Napocor Employees and Workers Union,
Kilusang BANAT, Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA),
Napocor Drivers and Mechanics Association (DAMA), Rebolusyonaryong
Alyansang Makabansa (RAM), Para sa Bansa, Partido Manggagawa, National
Confederation of Labor (NCL), Buklurang Manggagawag Pilipino (BMP),
Sentro, and Earth Savers Movement.
They called on
President Aquino to exercise his presidential prerogative quickly and
discontinue political paybacks to these families and their corporate
campaign contributors, proving he is truly for the Filipino people.
pagkakataon na ito upang ipatupad ninyo ang inyong polisiyang tuwid na
landas na may political will. Ginoong Pangulo, basagin mo na ang hamon
ng nakararami na ikaw ay isang elitista at pangulo ng iilan lamang,”
the statement said.
The statement also
said: “We are alarmed that this issue will again polarize the highly
sensitive and pervasive class disparity between and among Filipinos at
a time when millions of ordinary waged workers have to pass through a
convoluted wage board procedures for them to be able to cope with the
skyrocketing increases in prices of basic commodities and costs of
basic services due to a deregulated oil industry.”
11.79 per kilowatt hour na halaga ng kuryente dito sa Metro Manila pa
lamang ay isang pasakit na para sa mga manggagawa dahil 11 per cent ng
kanilang sahod ay napupunta sa konsumo sa kuryente. May nakaamba pang
pagpapatupad ng 69 centavos per kilowatt hour na dagdag sa halaga ng
kuryente sa Metro Manila, 60 centavos sa Visayas sa darating na buwan
ng Mayo,” Alan Tanjusay, policy advocacy officer of ALU and co-convenor
madadagdagan din ng 69 centavos bilang generation charge at 27
centavos bilang tax recovery adjustment charge. Sa kabouan, papatak ng
12.75 pesos na ang bawat kilowatt hour simula sa susunod na buwan o
tumaas na ng 2.40 pesos per kilowatt o 23% na ang itinaas ng presyo ng
kuryente isang taon matapos ang huling umento sa sahod. Malinaw na ito
ay isang malaking denubyo na kahaharapin ng mga manggagawa at kanyang
pamilya. Malinaw na malinaw na ito ay isang supervening event na
umiipit sa ating mga ordinaryong mamamayan,” he added.