urged to heed UN climate report
Groups call to activate
local adaptation fund
April 4, 2014
MANILA, Philippines – Civil society groups said the Aquino government
must improve its adaptation and mitigation efforts, not only in the
aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, but also given the dire warnings cited
in the recent United Nations climate report on climate change.
At a press conference today, Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, Greenpeace and
Oxfam expressed their grave concerns following the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Working Group II Report on Impacts,
Vulnerability and Adaptation, which released a grim climate forecast
for Southeast Asia. The IPCC report was the consolidated work of
thousands of scientists and affirmed by world governments.
The three civil society groups urged the Aquino government to take the
first step by allocating funds for the People’s Survival Fund (PSF),
which by law should finance the adaptation plans of local government
units (LGUs). Adaptation plans include setting up early warning
systems and contingency planning for extreme weather events such as
droughts and floods.
The organizations emphasized that they continue to call on governments
across the world, particularly developed countries, to honor their
responsibility and commit to scale up their adaptation and mitigation
actions. “But after Yolanda, we also need to adapt to the best of our
own abilities and empower communities so they can be more
climate-resilient,” the three groups stated.
“Beyond the PSF, both disaster risk reduction and climate change
adaptation should already be incorporated in the post-Yolanda
rehabilitation plan, and then into longer-term national and local
development plans and budgets,” according to Melvin Purzuelo, convenor
of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas.
“The IPCC report however states that adaptation is not enough. We
therefore need to integrate adaptation with mitigation strategies,
such as transitioning to renewable energy systems,” said Amalie Obusan,
regional climate and energy campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
On the PSF, Justin Morgan, Oxfam country director, added: “Congress
must allocate at least P1 billion to the People’s Survival Fund as
mandated by law. President Aquino must also sign the revised
Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Climate Change Act to make
the fund operational.”
“As a highly vulnerable country, extreme weather events are now our
new normal, and we need to take concrete measures to literally
survive,” the groups added.
Green groups to
Canada: Time to take back your toxic waste
April 3, 2014
MAKATI – Green groups
and civil society organizations gathered today at the Canadian Embassy
to call for the “re-exportation” of their toxic wastes which were
discovered by the Enforcement Department of the Bureau of Customs (BOC)
headed by Deputy Commissioner Ariel Nepomuceno last January and
initially intended as plastic scraps supposedly for recycling. The
groups delivered a petition letter to Canadian Ambassador Neil Reeder
to ask for the immediate return of the 50 container vans of toxic
wastes back to its Canadian port of origin.
Composed of ANG NARS
Party-List, Greenpeace, Ecowaste Coalition, Mother Earth Foundation,
Green Convergence, Ban Toxics, Public Services Labor Independent
Confederation and the Ateneo School of Government, the groups
expressed their dismay at the inaction by the Canadian government and
demanded that the shipment firm Chronic Incorporated, and its
Philippine consignee Chronic Plastics, return the hazardous shipment
back to Canada at their expense.
“These toxic wastes pose
imminent risks, threats and hazards to our environment, which in turn,
result to irreparable damage on the health of the Filipinos. So we
demand for the re-exportation of these Canadian wastes immediately,”
said Rep. Leah Paquiz of ANG NARS Party-List.
According to the BOC, the
shipment, which started arriving as early as June 2013, contained
mixed waste composed of plastic bags, bottles, newspaper, household
garbage, and even used adult diaper.
“The Philippines is not and
will never be a dumping ground for international wastes. We ask that
Ambassador Reeder to cooperate and help expedite the return of their
toxic waste that have been ‘overstaying’ in our shores since June,”
said Abigail Aguilar, Toxics Campaigner of Greenpeace Philippines.
Greenpeace said that the
toxic shipment was a clear violation of the Basel Convention on the
Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes, an international treaty,
to which both the Philippines and Canada are signatories, designed to
eliminate the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and
specifically intends to protect developing nations from becoming the
dumping ground of industrialized countries. The Canadian shipment also
violated Republic Act 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear
Wastes Control Act of 1990).
An online petition at
change.org was also initiated to gather signatures and put pressure to
the Canadian embassy to act swiftly on the issue. change.org/DiBasurahanAngPilipinas
DILG urges LGUs to
localize Magna Carta of Women
April 2, 2014
MANILA – The
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has urged all
local government units (LGUs) to ensure that the principles of
Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women (MCW), which is
considered as the “Bill of Rights” of Filipino women, are mainstreamed
at the local level.
DILG Undersecretary for
Local Government Austere Panadero, who is also the concurrent Gender
and Development Focal Point (GAD-FP) Chairperson of the Department,
said all LGUs must comply with the requirements of the said law
through the creation of an enabling environment that will promote
women’s empowerment, gender equality and ensure gender responsive
governance at the local level.
This after the DILG,
Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), Department of Budget and
Management (DBM), and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)
recently issued a joint Memorandum Circular to all provincial
governors, city and municipal mayors, punong barangays, members of the
local sanggunians, DILG Regional Directors, and all other concerned on
the guidelines on the localization of the Magna Carta of Women.
“The MCW provides that local
governments are tasked to promote and ensure that GAD is mainstreamed
in the local policy-making, planning, programming, budgeting,
implementation, monitoring, and evaluation,” Panadero said.
Under the joint memo
circular, the local chief executives are directed to ensure that their
GAD Focal Point System or similar GAD mechanisms are in place,
fully-functional and its members have the capacity to promote gender
mainstreaming pursuant to Sec. 37 of the MCW Implementing Rules and
Panadero said the DILG,
through its Bureau of Local Government Development (BLGD), will
conduct a series of training programs on gender mainstreaming for DILG
Provincial GAD coordinators and Provincial Grassroot Budgeting Focal
Persons all over the country from April to May, this year.
He said the workshops in six
batches (three in Luzon, one in Visayas, and two clusters in Mindanao)
will enable the participants to coach and mentor LGUs on their
implementation and compliance to MCW on the following mechanisms: 1)
preparation of GAD plan and budget, monitoring and evaluation system;
2) formulation of GAD Code; 3) establishment of GAD database; 4)
creation and/or strengthening of the GAD Focal Point; and 5)
mainstreaming gender in local development plans.
The 1st batch of
participants will be from Regions 6, 7 and 8 to be held in Cebu City
on April 22-24, 2014; 2nd batch from Regions 9, 11 and ARMM in Davao
City on April 28-30, 2014; and 3rd batch from Regions 10, 11, 12, and
13 to be held in General Santos City on May 6-8, 2014.
Likewise, the training of
the 4th batch from Regions 4A and NCR will be held in Metro Manila on
May 13-15, 2014; 5th batch composed Regions 4B and 5 will also be held
in Metro Manila on May 20-24, 2014; and lastly, the 6th batch from
Regions 1, 2, 3 and CAR to be held in Baguio City on May 27-29, 2014.
“All of these activities are
ultimately aimed at educating and building the competencies of our
local government officials and their GAD focal persons on effective
gender mainstreaming as a strategy to eliminate gender discrimination
in government systems, structures, policies, programs, processes and
procedures as mandated by the MCW,” said Panadero.
Post-Yolanda Livelihood Rehabilitation:
partner to support Filipino coconut farmers
By REGGIE MARIE B. BARRIENTOS
April 1, 2014
MANILA – Further
strengthening its commitment to contribute to post-Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)
recovery efforts, Cargill Philippines has entered into an P11 million
partnership with Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP)
designed to rehabilitate coconut farming communities in parts of Leyte
province. The program will be replicated in other areas of Eastern
The initiative, which will be rolled out in Barangay Inangatan,
Tabango, Leyte and other nearby areas, aims to help address damages
caused last year by the super typhoon on agricultural production in
Eastern Visayas, considered to be the country’s second highest coconut
producing region. Cargill Philippines and PBSP will be implementing
the project in collaboration with the Philippine Coconut Authority,
the Department of Agriculture, Visayas State University - Villlaba
Campus and the local government of Tabango, Leyte.
“We recognize the need for a long-term, holistic, and sustainable
program in order to truly make an impact in the lives of those
affected by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan),” remarked Philip Soliven,
President of Cargill Philippines.
“With this project, we hope to contribute to the rebuilding and,
eventually, further developing the livelihoods of the area’s coconut
As part of its objectives, the initiative will establish a coconut
nursery for the propagation of seedlings. The facility is expected to
supply 70,000 seedlings a year for long-term coconut rehabilitation in
the municipality and surrounding areas.
The project also aims to rehabilitate coconut farms in the area. In
the second semester of 2014, 150 hectares will be planted with a fast
growing coconut variety and intercropped with corn as a short-term
gestating crop. This will be rolled over three more times at 150
hectares per cycle until the middle of 2016, to achieve a cumulative
reach of 600 hectares over two years.
Two 5,000 square-meter demonstration farms will also be established at
two different sites to promote cash crop production as a source of
income and food for the farmers while waiting for the coconut trees to
The demonstration farms will showcase appropriate integrated farming
systems technologies such as vegetable production, fish farming, and
backyard poultry and livestock raising, among others.
Apart from these, coconut farmers will also receive training on
Integrated Farming Systems from PBSP’s Center for Rural Technology
Development (CRTD). The expected 400 farmer-beneficiaries will also be
organized into a farmers’ association whose leaders will also receive
development, financial management, and project management training,
among others, in order to ensure the sustainability of the program.
“We greatly applaud the efforts of Cargill Philippines, one of PBSP’s
newest members, in heeding the call to support those affected by super
typhoon Yolanda,” said Rene Fortuno, Director for Livelihood and
Enterprise Development Program of PBSP, which will monitor the
implementation of project activities and submit quarterly reports on
the status of the project.
“We look forward to further collaborating with Cargill for the
successful implementation of the project.”
Reflecting its focus on sustainability, the project is designed to
eventually allow the development of an inclusive business model for
Cargill Philippines that may involve, but is not limited to, the
sourcing of coconut materials as well as other produce from the
initiative’s intercrop/cash crop selection for use in its primary
product processing operations. It is also envisioned to successfully
link Cargill’s core coconut business to efforts aimed at reducing
poverty among coconut farmers.
Previously, Cargill raised around US $500,000 in cash donations to aid
the survivors of super typhoon Haiyan, partnering with the UN World
Food Program for initial immediate relief works to ensure the survival
of the victims and with the PSBP to deliver life-saving and early
recovery assistance, including food and comfort packs, and provide for
shelter repair kits to help mend damaged houses in affected areas.
New IPCC report
shows world unprepared for dangers of climate change
Greenpeace urges swift
transition to renewable energy to disarm threat
March 31, 2014
YOKOHAMA, Japan –
Greenpeace urged world leaders to accelerate the transition to clean
and safe energy as the UN climate panel issued on Monday a new warning
on the looming climate chaos.
The Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC) said climate change impacts are already
widespread across all continents and oceans and rapidly worsening. How
bad it will get hinges on near-term choices.
"We’re walking a tightrope,
but if we act boldly and cut climate pollution faster major threats to
human security can still be avoided and vital ocean systems, forests
and species protected. Our actions will define how history will judge
us and we question world leaders: will you stand with us?" said Kaisa
Kosonen at Greenpeace International.
The IPCC report found that
climate change is a growing threat to human security, as it
exacerbates food and water vulnerabilities and indirectly increases
the risks of migration and violent conflicts.
"Oil rigs and coal power
plants are weapons of mass destruction, loading the atmosphere with
destructive carbon emissions that don't respect national borders. To
protect our peace and security, we must disarm them and accelerate the
transition to clean and safe renewable energy that’s already started,"
said Jen Maman, Peace Adviser at Greenpeace International.
The issue of economic
impacts, where estimations vary wildly, has also grabbed attention,
but for vulnerable regions losses caused by climate change cannot be
valued in terms of GDP alone.
"Let’s not get distracted by
limited economic models or be blinded by global GDP. What value can
you put on the lives of 8,000 people left dead or missing by typhoon
Haiyan? Or what is the cost of the trauma of children being torn from
their mother's arms due to storm surges? That is the true cost of
climate change that should define the urgency of the action we take,"
said Amalie Obusan, Regional Climate and Energy Campaigner at
Greenpeace Southeast Asia and based in the Philippines.
"Today it's the victims who
are paying the costs of climate change while polluters are going free.
Oil, coal and gas companies are earning huge profits but not being
held liable for the damage they are causing. This has got to change
and we are determined to change it."
governments to come to the climate summit of UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon in September with serious offers that will help achieve a 100%
renewable energy system. Solar, wind and other clean energy are
already challenging our old system, but governments must accelerate
Chiz presses for
gov’t control over power assets; files bill to amend EPIRA
By Office of Senator Chiz
March 28, 2014
PASAY CITY – Senator
Chiz Escudero has filed a bill amending the Electric Power Industry
Reform Act (EPIRA) to bolster government control over all existing and
future assets of the National Power Corporation (Napocor)) in order to
temper the profit-oriented practices in the sector.
Escudero, chairman of the
Senate Finance Committee, put forward Senate Bill No. 2167 (S.B. 2167)
to amend Section 47 of Republic Act No. 9136 or the EPIRA law, and
place all remaining assets of Napocor under government.
His proposal effectively
repeals the provision which states that assets “shall be sold in an
open and transparent manner through public bidding, and the same shall
apply to the disposition of independent power producers (IPP)
Escudero, who voted against
EPIRA when he was still in Congress, said the law failed to deliver
its promise to solve the country’s perennial energy woes.
“The EPIRA became a misnomer
to its purpose. Instead of reforming the business environment to
better service and improve delivery of supply and lower rates to
consumers as it was hoped then, it has caused the government to lose
control of the power industry,” Escudero lamented, as he noted that
the Philippines has one of the highest power rates in Asia.
Such situation, he added,
“enabled private businesses to raise power rates with impunity.”
S.B. 2167 also seeks to
exclude the Agus and Pulangi complexes in Mindanao from privatization
since these hydropower plants supply half of the energy demands in
“We should endeavor to
rehabilitate these two resources in order to stabilize the market
situation in Mindanao as hydropower is still the cheapest. Monopoly in
Mindanao will also be cut,” Escudero pointed out.
According to Escudero, all
existing and future power assets, especially from hydro resources,
must be retained, rehabilitated, maintained and developed.
The bill provides that in
case of transfer of possession, control, operation or privatization of
multi-purpose hydropower facilities, the control and power of the
government must always be empowered to direct water usage in all cases
it may deem appropriate to satisfy all water requirements imbued with
Escudero’s bill also presses
for the development of geothermal resources in the country and
construction of new geothermal plants and that steamfield assets and
generating plants of each existing geothermal complex should not be
“Unless we institute policy
reforms through amending the failures in EPIRA, it will be difficult
to maintain control of the power industry by the government and make
it service-oriented. We must put an intervening mechanism to temper
the operation of free market forces especially in cases of monopolies
and/or abuse to protect greater public interest,” Escudero said.
Peace and Order
Councils of 3 Samar towns declare their towns as "Peaceful and
Development Ready Municipalities"
By DPAO, 8ID PA
March 26, 2014
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City, Samar – Peace and order councils of three towns of Samar
Province declare their towns as Peaceful and Development Ready
Municipalities in a joint signing of declaration held at Marju Krishel
Hotel, Calbayog City.
The towns of Tagapul-an, Sto.
Niño and Almagro all of Samar were declared by the peace and order
councils of said municipalities headed by their town mayors as
peaceful and development ready.
The joint signing and
declaration of said towns was made possible after the towns met the
parameters stipulated under National Internal Peace and Security Plan,
namely: different threat groups failed to function as organized
insurgent movement; there is minimal threat to stability, peace and
order and development, as well as transgression of laws; no
established support system for threat groups; effort to infiltrate
unaffected areas and sectoral organizations has been prevented; and
the arouse, organize, mobilize (AOM) and Ideological, Political and
Organizational were thwarted and prevented.
These mean that rebel
activities need minimal military interventions as it can be easily
addressed by the PNP troops in said municipalities.
The declaration was attended
by Hon Kathleen S. Prudenciado, Mayor of Almagro, Samar; Hon. Lilia A.
Coñejos, Mayor of Sto. Niño, Samar; Hon.Vicente F. Limpiado Sr., Mayor
of Tagapul-an, Samar and Ms Luz D. Tacal of Samar PSWDO, representing
Hon. Sharee Ann T. Tan, Governor of Samar. It was also attended by Maj
Gen Jet B Velarmino AFP, the Commander of 8th Infantry Division, Col
Wilson B. Leyva, the Commander of 801st Brigade, Philippine Army and
Lt Col Glen C. Calambuhay, the Commanding Officer of 43rd Infantry
Battalion. While Philippine National Police was represented by Chief
Inspector Felipe R. Tan, Chief, Police Community Relation, Samar
Provincial Police Office.
The declaration of the three
towns as peaceful communities and ready for development symbolizes
that a new era of peace and progress has started in Samar Province.
That rebellion is a thing of the past and no longer the craze or fad
of the masses. This also indicates that the 8th Infantry Division is
still on the running to meet its target for the whole Samar Province
to be declared as Peaceful and Development Ready comes June 2014.
In her message, Hon Lilia A.
Conejos, Mayor of Almagro, Samar said: "There were so many violence in
my town in the past, people got killed because they do not give in to
the extortion demands of the NPA rebels. I thank the military for
helping us to move on and cleansed our town of NPA rebels and help us
realized our dream of a having a peaceful community to live on."
Maj Gen Jet B. Velarmino AFP,
the Commander of the 8th Infantry Division said: The Joint Declaration
of the municipalities of Almagro, Sto. Niño and Tagpul-an of Samar
Province as 'Peaceful and Development Ready Municipalities' shows that
the spirit of Bayanihan is strong among the Army, the Local Government
Units and other stakeholders in these municipalities."
"We are very happy to be
part of this endeavor and we can proudly say that we are moving
towards the right direction. Together, we are sending a strong message
that these municipalities believe that it is through peace and
development efforts, and not armed struggle, that we can achieve a
sustainable development and a just and lasting peace in this part of
Samar Province," he added.
Bounty for Tiamzon
and Austria, a one-time bigtime organized racket – Karapatan
March 26, 2014
QUEZON CITY –
“Mukhang pinagkakakitaan pa ng gobyerno at militar ang iligal na
pag-aresto at pagdukot ng mga peace consultants, mga aktibista at
ordinaryong sibilyan,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina
Palabay on the 10-million peso bounty each for the arrest of Benito
Tiamzon and Wilma Austria.
“The Aquino government’s
practice of criminalizing political acts to cover up the illegal
arrests of peace consultants, activists and civilians is legitimized
by the highly questionable Joint memorandum 2012-14 of the Department
of National Defense and of Interior and Local Government,” added
Karapatan called the reward
system as ‘one-time, big-time’ organized racket of the DILG and the
DND and the list, a “secret hit list” akin to Gloria Arroyo’s Order of
The said hit-list carries
the name of 236 alleged communist leaders with total reward money of
P426 million for their capture. It was the same list that legitimized
the illegal arrest, torture and detention of security guard Rolly
Panesa, whom the military alleged CPP-NPA leader “Benjamin Mendoza”
for P5.6 million. The money was awarded by the AFP to an unidentified
The same violation,
Karapatan said, was committed against Oligario Sebas, a farmer from
Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, who was also jailed because the AFP’s
claimed he was “Felimon Mendrez”, allegedly a CPP leader in Negros.”
The AFP said Sebas had a P5.2 million bounty on his head and was on
the said list.
Also, the said DND-DILG
Joint Order was used to legitimize the enforced disappearance, illegal
arrest, and detention of Estelita T. Tacalan, a 60-year old peasant
organizer and rural health worker in Misamis Oriental. Tacalan was
reported missing on April 27, 2013 and was surfaced more than a week
later at the Dipolog City Jail.
Tiamzon and Austria, with
P10million each for their capture are in the said list, among other
detained and missing peace consultants.
“The reward/bounty system is
dangerous because it can be used to justify the victimization of any
person so the military and police may get the reward money," Palabay
In earlier statements,
Karapatan lambasted the joint memorandum saying “it is no different
from the secret hit list of Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya which
resulted to thousands of cases of human rights violations ranging from
illegal arrest and detention, enforced disappearances and political
Karapatan called for the
scrapping of the DND-DILG’s secret hitlist saying the “AFP should also
be held accountable for squandering the people’s money to violate
Ducut to name con men in electricity price manipulation
March 26, 2014
QUEZON CITY – The
March 3 order by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to recompute
the generation price at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM)
for November and December 2013 for purposes of determining the Meralco
tariffs clearly found evidence of market abuse, manipulation and
collusion by many of the power industry players, the Trade Union
Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said yesterday.
“We, thus, dare ERC Chairman
Zenaida Ducut to identify these con men guilty of colluding and gaming
the electricity market. ERC exercises police powers but has not
identified who is accountable. This recomputation seems to be a trick,
a snow job and purely for show unless she identifies these crooks. If
she cannot name them, she rather resign and let someone else do it in
the name of 5.3 million Meralco customers,” said Gerard Seno,
executive vice president of the Associated Labor Unions-TUCP, adding:
“These are the same people who have been driving up power rates for
the last 12 years and ERC should send them to jail.”
Last week, PEMC came up with
rates increase computation of P2.43/kwh and P3.02/kwh for the two
billing periods and said that the final computation still depends on
Meralco. This was later disputed by ERC, showing that the increase
should only be P0.33/kwh to P0.43/kwh.
Seno said it is important
for ERC to redeem its 12-year inutility as a regulatory body by naming
and prosecuting who gamed the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM)
and who colluded against public interest.
“They are the same con men
in the guise of Independent Power Producers investors who have made
our power rates the third highest in the world. ERC exercises police
powers but found no one to hold accountable. This is not the ‘Tuwid Na
Daan’ but political accommodation. Command responsibility rest in the
hands of Ms. Ducut,” Seno stressed.
The ERC on March 3, 2014
denied the petition of Meralco to increase its pass-through generation
charge by P4.15/kwh and P5.33/kwh for December 2013 and January 2014
billings respectively because of evidence of alleged gaming at the
Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).
He also noted ERC regulatory
rulings and calculations of allowable rate are regarded by Philippine
Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) and Meralco merely as suggestion
and not mandatory.