DENR chief slammed over 600,000 hectare RP-Japan biodiesel deal

DENR chief slammed over 600,000 hectare RP-Japan biodiesel deal

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Friday slammed Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Joselito Atienza for allowing the United Kingdom-based Japanese firm Pacific-Bio-Fields Corp. to use 600,00 hectares of public lands for biodiesel production, dismissing it as national crime against national interest.

“The DENR under the tutelage of Secretary Atienza further degraded itself into the biggest pimp of national patrimony with this latest biodiesel escapade. Instead of protecting the country’s patrimony and natural resources, this office has turned into the largest money outlet of the corrupt administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

The DENR provincial office in Ilocos Norte had found the area in Pagudpud in Barangay Caunayan to be suitable for coconut plantation after inspecting it last year. The inspection was ordered by DENR Secretary Atienza.

“This is Secretary Atienza performing his role to the hilt as the most aggressive agent of Malacañang in disposing public lands for corporate takeover. This virtual sell out should be further exposed, opposed and condemned by the 90 million Filipinos,” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said the RP-Japan 600,000 hectare biodiesel deal is part of the government’s commitment to Japan under the Japan-Philippine Economic and Partnership Agreement (Jpepa), the controversial bilateral economic agreement approved by the Philippine Senate last year.

“This is Jpepa in action. Although Japan will lease it for 25 years and could renew it for 25 years, that is virtual land grabbing and land ownership because 50 years up to 75 years already constitute a lifespan,” Hicap noted.

Pamalakaya said it will explore all legal venues to stop the RP-Japan coco deal, including the filing of a temporary restraining order (TRO) before the Supreme Court and the filing of plunder and other criminal and administrative charges against Secretary Atienza and other groups and persons involved in the highly treacherous deal before the Office of the Ombudsman.

“We will make things hard and difficult for Secretary Atienza and his partners in crime in and out of Malacañang, including the Japanese business mafia behind this incorrigible biodiesel adventure in the country,” the group said.

To start its legal offensive, Pamalakaya today pressed senators and congressmen to investigate the agreement between Pacific-Bio Fields Corp. and its local partner- the Philippine BioEnergy Northern Luzon Inc. and the supplemental Memorandum of Agreement between the DENR and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

The militant group put to task Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles to immediately calendar the investigation. “It would be better if both House leaders conduct the start the probe ahead of the scheduled State of the Nation Address by President Arroyo,” the militant group said.

“The Senate President and the Speaker of the House must rally the lawmakers in declaring the agreement illegal, immoral and unconstitutional. They should cross party lines and go for the truth and nothing but the truth, because national interest is at stake here,” said Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya lamented that the incident involving the free use of 600,000 hectares of lands for the production of bio-diesel for the use of Japanese users is a clear proof that it is really anti-Filipino and merely intended to address the need of Japanese transnational corporations.

“In exchange for 400 nursing and caregiving jobs in Japan, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will allow the corporate exploitation of 400,000 hectares of Philippine agricultural lands to foreign groups identified with and serving at the pleasure of Japanese car makers. No Filipino can stomach this kind of across-the-nation betrayal of national interest,” said Pamalakaya.

In an announcement in Tokyo which coincided with the state visit of President Arroyo, the Pacific Bio-Fields Holding Corp. said the project would make alternative auto fuel which it plans to sell to Japanese users in five years. Its counterpart the Bio-Energy NL headed by company president Salacnib Baterina denied that the government will allow the use of 400,00 hectares for the production of bio-diesel for free. #

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