Category Archives: Offshore mining

Pamalakaya assails Red exporting tag

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Krelin Montenegro

MANILA, Philippines-The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), a member of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) assailed on Saturday the Philippine government’s claim that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was sending communist cadres in place like India and Thailand under the banner of the league.

“This is too much. This brazen and bizarre state terrorism campaign of Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzalez and NICA director general Pedro Cabuay should be condemned to the highest level. We demand the two terrorist officials of the Manila government to retract their statements, issue public apologies here and abroad and refrain from making further outrageous claims based on and mobilized by the doctrines of national security and global terrorism,” said Pamalakaya national chair and ILPS fisherfolk representative Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader said ILPS is an international assembly of 350 progressive and democratic organizations from 50 countries fighting for the collective rights and interest of the working peoples of the world.

“It is the Philippine government who is exporting its state terrorism campaign against Filipino progressives abroad by spreading these malicious claims and false allegations in the name of US led terrorism all over the world and in the name of national security doctrine in the name of modern day global slavery and oppression,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya said it had participated in various international conferences and gatherings under the banner of ILPS not to export cadres and train local insurgents but to promote international solidarity through sharing of Filipino fisherfolk issues and struggles in the Philippines and support their peers’ struggles in other parts of the world through campaigns, mobilizations and other form of advocacy.

The militant group said it had been to India twice for international gatherings opposed to World Trade Organization and free trade liberalization in 2005 and 2008, and had been to Thailand in 2002 once and thrice in 2009 not to export communist rebels but to discuss the impact of trade liberalization on fisheries, share experiences on disaster preparedness and express sectoral views on the ASEAN Human Rights charter.

Pamalakaya said it is planning to file appropriate criminal and administrative charges against Secretary Gonzalez and Cabuay and that they will soon consult their lawyers about what charges shall be filed against the two security officials.

For a start, the group said it will ask the 350-member organizations of the ILPS in 50 countries to declare the two Philippine defense officials persona-non-grata in their respective countries and issue statements denouncing the Manila government’s claim against the ILPS to high heaven.

In 2008, Pamalakaya attended the 3rd General Assembly of the ILPS in Hong Kong. During the assembly, Pamalakaya sponsored a resolution urging the Philippine government to stop all offshore mining activities in the country.

The resolution was signed by 350 member organizations of the ILPS that include social activists and respected leaders of people’s movements in the United States, Canada, Italy, Turkey, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Iran and Brazil to mention a few.

Last year, Pamalakaya attended a fisherfolk conference in Bangkok, Thailand which was sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN).

During the conference, Pamalakaya and ILPS-Philippine chapter of the league conducted a petition signing that urged FAO officials to investigate the left-and right destruction of food and fish baskets in the Philippines by the Macapagal-Arroyo government through privatization and anarchic conversion of agricultural lands and fishing areas by foreign monopolies and their domestic partners in the country. The petition was supported by food security groups in the US, North and South America, Italy, France and countries from Central, South and East Asia. #

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Visayan fishers want 12-year old fisheries law repealed

By Sugar Hicap

Cebu City- Fisherfolk groups in the island provinces of Bohol, Cebu and Negros today declare the 12-year old Fisheries Code of 1998 a major disaster, saying the next Congress should prioritize its repeal and replace it a new fisheries law that is progressive and responsive to the demand of the marginal fishermen across-the-country.

Leaders of Bokkana-Bohol, Pamana-Sugbo and Pamalakaya-Negros, the three island wide chapters of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) in Central Visayas and Western Visayas said the law enacted during the time of former President Fidel Ramos failed to achieve its goal, which is to empower the Filipino fisherfolk and raise the standard of living of not less than 1.3 million small fishermen and fish workers, and other 8 million people eking their livelihood from fishing and fish culture.

Enacted on Feb.24, 1998, the Fisheries Code replaced Presidential Decree 704 implemented during the time of former President Ferdinand Marcos. The post-Martial Law code reserves the 15-kilometer municipal fishing area to small fisherfolk and taps fisherfolk organizations as “Bantay Dagat” to help government enforcers in catching fishermen using dynamite and other forms of illegal fishing and drive away commercial fishing vessels from encroaching the reserved fishing area for marginal fishermen.

However, there are exceptions and loopholes in the law that allows big time commercial fishing vessels to penetrate the 15-kilometer municipal fishing area, if the waters inside the 15-municipal fishing area are 7 fathoms deep. In many cases, commercial fishing companies enter the municipal fishing grounds because of the 7-fathom exception.

“The 1998 fisheries law is either a comprehensive failure or a running nightmare or both. It has done nothing to alleviate the sorry situation of small fishers. The fisheries code is supposed to raise the standard of living of 10 million fishers and their dependents. But look at the fisherfolk now, they are the poorest people all over the country,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said Fisheries Code of 1998, which is hyped a protective law failed to stop large-scale destructive fishing, offshore mining in Central Visayas and Negros Island and now the offshore reclamation in Panglao Island, province of Bohol.

Hicap said the Fisheries Code reduced fisherfolk as sidekick law enforcers of the maritime police of the Philippine National Police (PNP) or reserve troops of the Philippine Navy.

The Pamalakaya leader said the 1998 fisheries law effectively limited the scope of fishing from communal practice to zone divided fishing with the implementation of zoning ordinance and color coding that bars fisherfolk from fishing to nearby municipalities or provinces.

Hicap said the 1998 fisheries law also legalized extortion and corruption, with local government officials imposing fees and taxes to small scale fishermen as to use of boats, nets and other fishing gears.

He said the 12-year central law in local fisheries sector also failed to combat global warming, and on the contrary promoted the massive conversion of fishing areas and public lands along coastal and lakeshores into aquaculture hub, industrial zones and eco-tourism spots.

Pamalakaya, its regional and provincial chapters in Central Visayas and Negros Island will lead the drafting of a new fishery law that would be submitted to next Congress for approval.

Tentatively billed as Genuine Fisheries and Aquatic Reform Bill (GFARB), the new fisheries act envisioned by small fisherfolk seeks to nationalize the backward fishing industry, ban all government and private activities that destroy the marine fishing areas like offshore mining and reclamation, and other forms of privatization and conversion of all communal fishing areas and coastal communities.

The GFARB will immediately reserve the exclusive use of 15-km municipal fishing ground to small fisherfolk, stop massive fish importation activities, distribute existing corporate fishponds to fishermen associations and organizations, and ensure production subsidies to poor fisherfolk.

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Energy chief’s plan to lead party list charge raised eyebrows of militant group

By Sugar Hicap

Manila, Philippines-The alleged plan of Department of Energy (DoE) secretary Angelo Reyes to lead a transport party list group in the May 2010 elections literally and figuratively raised the eyebrows of leaders of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday.

In a joint statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France said if there was truth to report that incumbent 1-UTAK party list agreed to have Sec. Reyes as its first nominee, and then a first-rate murder and political prostitution of the party list system was again committed by the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

“Imagine, Sec. Reyes, the undisputed puppet of oil cartel and no.1 employee of offshore mining companies in the country is the no.1 nominee of a party list group which describes as sectoral party list group that caters to the interest of the marginalized and the oppressed. God this is imaginable and mind-boggling,” the two leaders said in their joint statement.

Hicap and France said the information was fed to them by ally transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON). The two Pamalakaya officials said the militant transport group shared to them the information circulating in the transport sector that Sec. Reyes planned to run as no.1 nominee of the administration backed 1-UTAK party list, displacing former first nominee and incumbent Rep. Atty. Vigor Mendoza.

The Pamalakaya leaders agreed with PISTON that Sec. Reyes bid for party list bid has something to do with the plan of Mrs. Arroyo to clinch the post of House Speaker in the May 2010 elections. They said President Arroyo is saturating the House of Representatives with Palace commissioned party lists to ensure the Arroyos would still dominate the lower House under the new elected President.

“This 1-UTAK party list is really a very, very mysterious party list in the tradition of mafia and syndicate. First its incumbent congressman is a corporate lawyer, now it wants a former military general and top coddler of oil cartel to represent poor drivers in Congress. This super roadshow treachery of the party list system must be further expose and oppose with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo receiving the largest share of blame and wholesale condemnation,” the Pamalakaya leaders added.

Aside from being a reliable puppet of the oil cartel and a certified militarist and human rights violator, Pamalakaya said Sec. Reyes was also responsible for the mushrooming of destructive oil and gas explorations in Philippine territorial waters.

The group said the latest offshore based crime of Reyes was the approval of the oil and gas exploration in Palawan, near the Kalayaan group of islands.

Pamalakaya said the energy secretary pushed for the approval of Geophysical Survey and Exploration Contract (GSEC) No.101 also known as Sercice Contract no.72 (SC72) and awarded the contract UK firm Forum Energy Plc. The exploration contract grants the London-based oil and gas company the right to conduct offshore mining that covers 880,000 hectares of marine waters located in the Red Bank basin in Palawan or 150 kilometers east of Spratlys group of islands.

“The no.1 nominee of 1-UTAK party list worked hard for a project that would lead us to a major environmental catastrophe. Look, a total of 880,000 hectares of marine waters were sacrificed by Sec. Reyes to uphold the extreme greed of powerful corporations for super profits at the expense of national patrimony, people’s rights to livelihood, and sound and sustainable environment,” the group lamented.

“The shameless and brainless party list behind Reyes bid for party list congressional seat is unpardonable. This is an across-the-nation insult to the collective intelligence of the Filipino people and the voting public,” added Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya said the offshore mining activity might result to huge decline in the production of fishes and other marine products in the country. Hicap said offshore mining in the Visayan Sea and Palawan alone could lead to decline of year fish production by 600,000 metric tons or 20 percent decline annually, and it would affect the livelihood of not less than 100,000 fisherfolk and the 500,000 people largely dependent on fishing as means of livelihood.

Forum Energy said the service contract they obtained from DoE is within 200 nautical miles of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) based on Republic Act 9522, or the Philippine Archipelagic Baseline Law passed by Congress last year.

Citing the impacts of oil and gas exploration of Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. Ltd. (Japex) in Tanon Strait, a protected seascape separating the island provinces of Cebu and Negros, Pamalakaya said fish catch was drastically reduced by 67 to 75 percent from a high of 15-20 kilos average catch per day to 3-5 kilos of fish per day due to offshore mining.

The militant group also cited previous studies on the effect of offshore mining which said that an oil exploration activity generates 214,000 pounds of air pollution every year, 50 tons of nitrogen oxides, 13 tons of carbon monoxide and 6 tons of sulfur dioxide and 5 tons of volatile organic hydrocarbons.

Pamalakaya said drilling operations could produce 1,500 metric tons to 2,000 metric tons of highly toxic water waste materials per drilling. The group said other toxic materials which oil and gas exploration could produce include cadmium which causes lung cancer, lead which causes gastrointestinal diseases, blood and kidney disorders, mental retardation and affects the nervous system, chromium which causes lung and liver cancers, kidney and other respiratory illnesses, and arsenic which causes lung, liver and skin cancers. #

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Militant group to avail CJ Puno’s “writ of nature”

By Kaka Esteban and Mama Mila Liguasan

Manila, Philippines-The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday said it will avail the writ of “kalikasan” (nature) which will be promulgated by the Supreme Court before Chief Justice Reynato Puno retires on May 17.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the writ of kalikasan which is authored by the Chief Justice will be tested on various environmental cases which his group will file against the Macapagal-Arroyo government and its private clients pertaining to anti-people and anti-environment development projects in Manila Bay, Laguna Lake, offshore mining projects in Palawan, Cebu-Bohol Strait and Lingayen Gulf and offshore reclamation in Panglao, island province of Bohol.

Pamalakaya is confronting the issue of anti-fisherfolk and anti-environment state projects in Manila Bay particularly the reclamation of not less than 12,000 hectares of coastal areas along Bacoor Bay, which the government intends to develop as R-1 Expressway Extension Project and the rehabilitation and expansion of Sangley Point as an international shipping port in Southern Tagalog region.

The militant group is also opposed to various eco-tourism projects in Laguna Lake, including the grand plan of Manila Water and Maynilad to source potable water from the 90,000 hectare lake. Pamalakaya is also against the reclamation of not less than 10,000 hectares of lake shores in Laguna Lake.

Pamalakaya will also bring to court the controversial 465 hectare offshore reclamation in Panglao island in Bohol, and the oil and gas explorations in Palawan, Cebu, Bohol and Lingayen Gulf provinces– Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.

“We will explore this writ of nature to defend our rights to livelihood and sound environment. But the main fight for social justice will be decided in the battlefield as provided by the parliament of the street and the court of public opinion,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Hicap appealed to Puno to rush the finalization of the writ of nature, saying fishers group like Pamalakaya and other environmental advocacy groups have been waiting for said writ since 2008, when the idea was first brought during the high tribunal’s consultations with grassroots organizations and advocacy groups.

“However, we welcome this development. We hope the writ of nature will not become a toothless tiger and will be of big use to people defending their livelihood and rights to healthy ecology,” added Pamalakaya.

Puno announced on Saturday that he wants the high court to finalize rules that will institute the writ of ‘kalikasan’ (nature) before he retires in May, saying that this new legal remedy would lead to a better implementation of the country’s environmental laws.

The Chief Justice announced the SC committee on the revision of the Rules of Court, which he chairs, is set to promulgate the rule governing the issuance of the writ of ‘kalikasan’—an order that a court can issue to protect a person’s right to a healthy environment—in one or two months.

Puno described the writ of ‘kalikasan’ as a “most effective” means to ensure that the Filipinos’ constitutional right to “balance and healthful ecology” is realized.

The soon to retire Chief Justice said the new writ aims to encourage more citizens to file suits involving violations of the country’s environmental laws, and to solve the problem of delays on the disposition of pending environmental cases, which have now reached 3,000.

In January 2008, the high tribunal approved the creation of 117 environmental courts—also called the “green courts” to expedite the resolution of all pending environmental cases. The writ of ‘kalikasan’ can solve the overclogging of these courts.

Police conducting checkpoints in broad daylight as encountered by the recent Lakbayan

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Fishers group ask Japex to set aside

Fishers group ask Japex to set aside
P 20-billion for Tañon Strait rehab

The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday asked owners of the offshore mining group Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. Ltd. (Japex) to set aside some P 20-billion for the rehabilitation of Tañon Strait.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the P 20-billion fund will be set aside for the environmental repair and economic rehabilitation of the protected seascape separating the island provinces of Cebu and Bohol, which he said was extremely devastated by the three-year offshore mining activities of the Japanese oil and gas firm.

“The Philippine government must push Japex to pay for what they destroyed during the aggressive and destructive search for oil and gas deposits in Tañon Strait. The P 20-billion rehabilitation fund is just a near approximation of what Japex destroyed. It could be more, but what is important is that they have to pay for the crimes against the environment and the fishing people,” Hicap asserted.

On May 13, 2008, Japex mother company announced that Japex Philippines Ltd. had decided to relinquish its service contract effective June 20 last year because of the lack of commercial oil and gas discovery as a result of exploration work, including drilling of one exploration well.

Japex Philippines, the subsidiary of the Tokyo based Japex Ltd was established on May 26, 2006 to supervise the oil and gas exploration in Tañon Strait with a paid up capital of 2.9 billion yen.

According to Service Contract No. 46, which was awarded to Japex, the Japanese oil and gas hunt company will lead the gas and oil search with 65 percent participating interest, while the Philippine government through Kufpec Philippines, a unit of Kuwait’s state oil company, will have a 35 percent participating interest that will entail 2,500 square kilometer of Tañon Strait waters.

“The issue here is not money, but truth, justice and accountability and the appropriate and just demand for just compensation. The P 20-billion fund will serve as seed fund for all rehabilitation efforts, including the economic and production needs of affected fisherfolk and coastal people,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Pamalakaya proposed a cooperation body in the form of Task Force Tañon Strait Rehabilitation could be created to manage and implement the rehabilitation works. The group said aside from fisherfolk organizations, non-government organizations and representatives of affected coastal municipalities in Cebu and Negros Occidental, church, academic and environmental advocates should also be included in the independent task force.

Meanwhile, Pamana-Sugbo, the provincial chapter of Pamalakaya in Cebu revealed that United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right food is looking into the impact of offshore mining in Tañon Strait to the coastal people and fishing communities covered by the previous oil hunt in Central Visayas.

Pamana-Sugbo chair Victor Lapaz said UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food Mr. Olivier de Schutter acknowledged the receipt of several information on the oil and gas exploration project in Tañon Strait, a protected seascape separating the island provinces of Cebu and Bohol, and expressed his interest to know more about the situation, including the increasing presence of government troops and the actions taken by the Supreme Court on the cases filed by the affected fishermen.

In his two-page email addressed to Mr. Vince Cinches, executive director of Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center (FIDEC), a support non-government organization (NGO) working with Pamalakaya and the affected communities due to offshore mining in Tañon Strait and other parts of Central Visayas, de Schutter said after examination of the initial report of Pamalakaya and FIDEC, he wants to know more about the Philippine army getting involved in stopping the demonstrations against the offshore mining.

“Some reports mentioned that the army has been deployed in some areas to prevent local leaders from disturbing ongoing exploratory operations. Could you please give us more details on this situation?” the UN special rapporteur on the right to food asked.

“Has the army intervened in some demonstrations and then left, or is the army permanently deployed to prevent access by fishermen? Can you provide details of a few instances where this happened, including the names localities, dates etc?” de Schutter added.

According to Lapaz , the UN Special Rapporteur on the right food also want to know the Supreme Court action on the cases filed by his group, Pamalakaya, FIDEC, the affected communities and environmentalist groups against the offshore mining in Tañon Strait conducted by Japan Petroleum Exploration Ltd. (Japex) since 2005.

“The UN special rapporteur on the right to food is interested on how the high tribunal acted on several petitions filed by affected communities and their supporters before the Supreme Court. It seems the UN engagement will depend on the high court will take this issue. If the court decides in favor of the national government and Japex, then that will be time the UN will intervene because the legal remedy at the domestic arena is already exhausted,” Lapaz added.

Pamalakaya said the next offshore mining battle will be in Cebu-Bohol Strait, where the Australian firm NorAsia is expected to start its oil and gas exploration in August this year. The group had already written Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to persuade the’ offshore mining company—NorAsia Energy Limited to back off from oil and gas exploration deal with the Philippine government in the Cebu-Bohol Strait.

Pamalakaya said it will ask de Schutter to also investigate the offshore exploration and mining of NorAsia on the 445,000 hectares of marine waters over a 7-year period based on the agreement signed by NorAsia and its Filipino partner-the TransAsia Oil and Energy Development Corporation. The agreement was sanctioned by the Department of Energy.

In 2007, NorAsia acquired 146 square kilometers of 3D seismic data over two prospects in Service Contract 51. It said Area 8 of Service Contract 69 offers significant follow-up potential in additional structures if initial drilling in Service Contract 512 is successful.

NorAsia said Service Contract 69 has approximately 3,000 kilometers of existing 2D seismic and an active petroleum system as shown by the abundant onshore oil seeps and seismic-supported direct hydrocarbon indicators in the area.#

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UN special rapporteur on food begins inquiry on Tañon Strait offshore mining —- Pamalakaya report

UN special rapporteur on food begins inquiry on Tañon Strait offshore mining —- Pamalakaya report

The chairperson of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday revealed that United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right food is looking into the impact of offshore mining in Tañon Strait to the coastal people and fishing communities covered by the previous oil hunt in Central Visayas.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in his email dated June 3, 2009, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food Mr. Olivier de Schutter acknowledged the receipt of several information on the oil and gas exploration project in Tañon Strait, a protected seascape separating the island provinces of Cebu and Bohol, and expressed his interest to know more about the situation, including the increasing presence of government troops and the actions taken by the Supreme Court on the cases filed by the affected fishermen.

In his two-page email addressed to Mr. Vince Cinches, executive director of Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center (FIDEC), a support non-government organization (NGO) working with Pamalakaya and the affected communities due to offshore mining in Tañon Strait and other parts of Central Visayas, de Schutter said after examination of the initial report of Pamalakaya and FIDEC, he wants to know more about the Philippine army getting involved in stopping the demonstrations against the offshore mining.

“Some reports mentioned that the army has been deployed in some areas to prevent local leaders from disturbing ongoing exploratory operations. Could you please give us more details on this situation?” the UN special rapporteur on the right to food asked.

“Has the army intervened in some demonstrations and then left, or is the army permanently deployed to prevent access by fishermen? Can you provide details of a few instances where this happened, including the names localities, dates etc?” de Schutter added.

According to the Pamalakaya leader, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right food also want to know the Supreme Court action on the cases filed by Pamalakaya, FIDEC, the affected communities and environmentalist groups against the offshore mining in Tañon Strait conducted by Japan Petroleum Exploration Ltd. (Japex) since 2005.

“The UN special rapporteur on the right to food is interested on how the high tribunal acted on several petitions filed by affected communities and their supporters before the Supreme Court. It seems the UN engagement will depend on the high court will take this issue. If the court decides in favor of the national government and Japex, then that will be time the UN will intervene because the legal remedy at the domestic arena is already exhausted,” said Pamalakaya.

Last year, a Tokyo based daily published a story on May 13 announced that Japex mother company announced that Japex Philippines Ltd. decided to relinquish service contract 46 on June 20, 2008 because no promise of oil and gas was found in the protected seascape believed to be rich in marine biodiversities.

But Pamalakaya said the pull out of Japex offshore mining in Tañon was a triumph of truth and justice and high regard for people’s livelihood and the environment. We are happy to send Japex out of Tañon Strait. But we have some scores to settle with Japex and Malacañang for the economic and environmental havoc they created to the people,” the group said.

Pamalakaya said the next offshore mining battle will be in Cebu-Bohol Strait, where the Australian firm NorAsia is expected to start its oil and gas exploration in August this year. The group had already written Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to persuade the’ offshore mining company—NorAsia Energy Limited to back off from oil and gas exploration deal with the Philippine government in the Cebu-Bohol Strait.

In their three-page open letter to Prime Minister Rudd of the Australian Labor Party, Pamalakaya said the offshore mining that will be conducted by NorAsia and their Filipino partner companies beginning next month poses extreme danger to the Philippine marine environment, and the East Visayan Sea, which is the center of marine biodiversity in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Pamalakaya said the case of Cebu-Bohol Strait will also be brought to the attention of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food.

“The far-reaching effects of oil and gas exploration even during its exploratory or prospecting stage prior to production and extraction are extremely dangerous to fish production and marine life based on the country’s previous experience with Tañon and other offshore mining activities staged by foreign oil and gas groups,” the group said.

Pamalakaya said it will ask de Schutter to also investigate the offshore exploration and mining of NorAsia on the 445,000 hectares of marine waters over a 7-year period based on the agreement signed by NorAsia and its Filipino partner-the TransAsia Oil and Energy Development Corporation. The agreement was sanctioned by the Department of Energy.

In 2007, NorAsia acquired 146 square kilometers of 3D seismic data over two prospects in Service Contract 51. It said Area 8 of Service Contract 69 offers significant follow-up potential in additional structures if initial drilling in Service Contract 512 is successful.

NorAsia said Service Contract 69 has approximately 3,000 kilometers of existing 2D seismic and an active petroleum system as shown by the abundant onshore oil seeps and seismic-supported direct hydrocarbon indicators in the area.#

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Fishers group says baselines law will revive Spratly offshore mining deal with China

Fishers group says baselines law will revive Spratly offshore mining deal with China

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s signing of the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law or Republic Act No. 9522 will lead to the revival of the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU), an offshore mining deal between the Philippines and China despite the latter’s against the controversial baselines bill.

In a press statement, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said RA 9522 will legalize the equally controversial offshore mining agreement between China and the Philippines.

“Mrs. Arroyo and her company of hooligans in and out of Malacañang removed the Kalayaan group of islands from the Philippine territory to facilitate the revival and provide the full blanket authority to JMSU that would allow China to proceed with its biggest offshore mining escapade in Palawan and South China Sea,” the group said.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the Philippines baselines law which excluded Kalayaan group of islands from our territorial rights and jurisdiction is tantamount to treason to the highest order.

According to Hicap with the signing of baselines law, the Manila government will soon start renegotiating the stalled offshore mining project with China..

The Pamalakaya leader said the China National Offshore Oil Corporation will eventually set up gas pipelines from Palawan and the “regime of islands” to mainland China once the potential reserves of 3.3 trillion cubic meters of gas are confirmed in the ongoing gas exploration. This is the immediate consequence of this baselines bill,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Pamalakaya said with the baselines law now in effect to be followed with the revival of the RP-China offshore mining deal in Spratly, the setting up of gas pipelines from Palawan to China will be the next big thing to happen since the transfer of gas can only be done through the construction of gas pipelines like in the case of the Malampaya gas pipeline project.

“That’s the next logical chapter of this highly detestable baselines law is China’s setting up of oil exploration empire in South China Sea and the Spratlys where pipelines will be constructed to complete the oil hunt and oil loot, and the Malacañang will just beg for alms in the form of taxes and other duties,” the group added.

Pamalakaya said his group’s fearless forecast in the next three years is that China will establish gas pipelines that would supply the energy sector of China, Malaysia and Singapore and that it would merely engaged in lease contract with the Philippine government for the use of 142,886 square kilometers encompassing Palawan and certain parts of the Spratly Islands being claimed by the Philippines over the last four decades.

Pamalakaya recalled last year the Chinese oil exploration vessel Nan Hai docked at Puerto Princesa City port to refuel after coming from a seismic operation in Southwest Palawan.

“Nam Hai 502 was in Palawan last year not only to conduct seismic operations because it is already confirmed that trillions of cubic meters of natural gas are found in the waters of Palawan and the Kalayaan group of Islands. The best kept secret there is that the Chinese oil explorers are seemingly engaged in mapping operations regarding the setting up of gas pipelines,” the group said.

The Pamalakaya added: “We were not born yesterday not to understand this geographical escapade of Chinese oil explorers. Once they explore, all aspects are considered from identification of gas deposits to how these deposits would be taken off and transferred to the home base of the oil exploration giant and their big-time clients in neighbor countries.” #

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Passage of RP baselines bill will revive China’s offshore mining stint in Spratlys, says fishers group

Passage of RP baselines bill will revive China’s offshore mining stint in Spratlys, says fishers group

The newly passed RP baselines bill will signal the revival of the stalled Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) in Spratly Islands with the Chinese government dictating all the aspects and phases of the ambitious offshore mining project in the Kalayaan group of islands, according to the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya).

“The passage of RP baselines bill is an enabling law to allow the regime of offshore mining giants headed by China to explore the bodies of waters connected by the regime of islands in the Spratlys,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

On March 10, 2008, Pamalakaya filed a diplomatic protest before the Chinese Consular office in Makati City, urging the Chinese government to refrain from pushing the $ 8-billion offshore mining venture it clinched with the Philippine and Vietnamese governments.

“The new RP baselines bill will pave the way for the re-entry China National Oil Corporation in the Spratly Islands, including portions of Palawan waters to acquire the right to mine the 3.3 trillion cubic meters of gas in Palawan and Spratly group of islands,” the Pamalakaya leader said.
Hicap said after the offshore mining exploration and the successful of tapping of gas and oil reserves, gas pipelines would be set up from Palawan to China, which he said will be the next big thing to happen under JMUS since the transfer of gas can only be done through the construction of gas pipelines like in the case of the Malampaya gas pipeline project.
“That’s the next logical chapter of this highly detestable partnership between the Arroyo government and China courtesy of the RP baselines bill and the predictable revival of JMSU. China will put up its pipelines to complete the loot, and the Malacañang will just beg for alms in the form of taxes and other duties, the Pamalakaya leader added.

Pamalakaya said the RP baselines bill is a complete sellout because it will facilitate the revival of China’s offshore mining interest in Spratlys, and in the next three years, China will establish gas pipelines that would supply the energy sector of China, Malaysia and Singapore and that it would merely engaged in lease contract with the Philippine government for the use of 142,886 square kilometers encompassing Palawan and certain parts of the Spratly Islands being claimed by the Philippines over the last four decades.
The militant group recalled that last year of the interception of Chinese oil exploration vessel Nan Hai which was docked at Puerto Princesa City port to refuel after coming from a seismic operation in Southwest Palawan. Pamalakaya said that aside from seismic operation, it was also convinced that part of the operation is a study on where to put or start the setting up of China’s gas pipelines in Palawan.
“The Chinese oil exploration vessel Nam Hai 502 was in Palawan last year not only to conduct seismic operation because it is already confirmed that trillions of cubic meters of natural gas are found in the waters of Palawan and the Kalayaan group of Islands. The best kept secret there is that the Chinese oil explorers are seemingly engaged in mapping operations regarding the setting up of gas pipelines,” Pamalakaya said.
“We were not born yesterday not to understand this geographical escapade of Chinese oil exploration. Once they explore, all aspects are considered from identification of gas deposits to how these deposits would be taken off and transferred to the home base of the oil exploration giant and their big-time clients in neighbor countries,” the group added.
Pamalakaya said that although Antonio Calilao, president of the state-owned Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) has admitted that the entire 142,886 square kilometer area covered by the controversial Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) among the Philippines, China and Vietnam are all within Philippine territory, he did not touch on the prospects of constructing gas pipelines for fear of making JMSU more controversial and more disparaging in the eyes of the outraged public.
Calilao said JMSU as a purely commercial agreement has a precedent citing the joint Australian-Philippine cooperation, the joint Norwegian-Philippine cooperation, stressing that involvement of other nationalities in such undertaking is a very common practice here.
In a related development, Pamalakaya revealed that the Arroyo government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline (TAGP) with Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam that would allow the construction of an ambitious gas pipeline from Palawan to East Natuna, Sabah, Malaysia.
Pamalakaya said the gas pipeline project that would link the Philippines through Palawan and Malaysia through East Natuna in Sabah, Malaysia was the product of the MoU on the ASEAN wide gas pipeline project.
The militant group said the Palawan-Malaysia gas pipeline project will go as far as 1,540 kilometers, with the gas pipeline measuring 42 inches in diameter. The cost of the gas line project between the Philippines and Malaysia would amount to $ 3.036 B. The project would start this year and would be completed in 2015.
Pamalakaya said other pipelines to be constructed are the Malaysia-Thailand gas pipeline, the Indonesia-Singapore gas pipeline and the Myanmar-Thailand gas pipeline. Hicap said Singapore is also eying its own gas pipeline that would connect the Philippines through the Camago in Palawan.
“Nothing has been said about this ambitious gas pipeline project. It remains a national confidential project on the part of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The people were kept uninformed and Congress has not been advised that such monumental project exists that has serious implications to the nation’s sovereignty and patrimony,” Pamalakaya said.
The group added:” If there’s nothing wrong about this project, why would President Arroyo keep this project like a big, big secret? We smell something fishy here, as fishy as JMSU.”
According to the eight-page MoU document obtained by Pamalakaya, the agreement was signed on July 5, 2002 in Bali, Indonesia by Abdul Rahman Taib, Brunei’s Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Suy Sem, Cambodian Minister for Industry, Mines and Energy, Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Indonesian Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy, Nam Viyaketh, Laos’ Deputy Minister of Industry and Handicraft, Leo Moggie, Malaysian Minister of Energy, Communications and Multimedia, Brig. General Lun Thi, Myanmar Minister of Energy, Raymond Lim Siang Keat, Singapore Minister of Foreign Affairs, Phongthep Thepkanjana, Minister to the Prime Minister office of Thailand, Dang Vu Chu, Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and former Department of Energy secretary Vincent Perez Jr. for the Philippine government.
The MOU states, “Realizing that energy self-sufficiency can be achieved through national and multinational efforts geared towards indigenous energy resource exploration, development, exploitation, distribution and transportation, and undertaken in a manner that both conserves the resources a nd preserves the environment and human habitat.”
The MOU, which is consistent with the vision of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries to promote energy cooperation in the region, was first tackled on June 24, 1986 in Manila when members of ASEAN forged an agreement on energy cooperation, followed by the ASEAN Energy Cooperation in Bangkok on Dec. 15, 1995.
The TAGP is a specific energy program approved in Hanoi, Vietnam and was endorsed by ASEAN heads of state December 16, 1998. On July 3, 1999, the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation from 1999-2004 was approved, and it entrusted the responsibility of implementing the TAGP to the ASEAN council on Petroleum (ASCOPE). In 2002, the final MOU on gas pipeline projects across ASEAN was signed by its member states.
The objective of the gas pipeline project is to provide a broad framework for ASEAN member countries to cooperate towards the realization of the TAGP project to help ensure greater regional energy security.
The MOU for gas pipeline projects task all member countries to establish cooperation in various aspects such as individual and joint studies, and to support or encourage the production, utilization, distribution, marketing and sale of natural gas among ASEAN member nations.
Pamalakaya said ASEAN nations have virtually opened the floodgates for economic plunder by big gas and oil monopolies when it announced that funding would be secured from the private sector that has the means and technology to explore and extract the rich gas resources still abundant in Southeast Asian region.
“It is a sell out. In fact, this corporate prey was probably used by the Philippine government to sign the JMSU and sold its stake in the disputed Spratly Islands, including its own territory like Palawan, which is incidentally the object of the Palawan-Malaysia gas pipeline project,” the militant group said.
The agreement also recognizes the role to be played by the private sector in developing gas pipelines, including its financing and construction, and the supply, transportation and distribution of natural gas to member countries. The TAGP promotes the open access principle including management of pipelines according to internationally accepted rules as set by established oil and gas industries all over the world.
The MoU on TAGP also encourage exemption of export and import tax duties, lower or free transit fee, tax duties or other taxes imposed by the government, including charges on construction, operation and maintenance of pipelines as well as the natural gas in transit. #

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Palace warned: French like general strike in RP, possible, says leftist group

Palace warned: French like general strike in RP, possible, says leftist group

A militant group warned Malacañang of a scenario of an across-the-nation general strike similar to that was launched by France’s 1.9 million-strong workers is not a remote possibility in the country, given the extreme degree of crisis confronting the country’s 37 million labor force.

The fearless forecast was raised by the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) after Labor secretary Marianito Roque announced that the government maybe looking at 200,000 jobless workers in six months if companies continue to shed jobs at present rate.

“A general strike across-all-sectors and across-the-archipelago is not a remote possibility given the extreme impact of the global financial crisis and the government’s continued implementation of neo-liberal economic impositions despite its adverse and devastating effects to 90 million Filipinos. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her top economic officials are facing a social volcano here,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

Records of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) show that 18,641 workers lost their jobs as of last week and that 33, 548 were working on reduced hours since companies in economic zones felt the brunt of the global economic crisis and financial crunch late last 2008.

“The scenario of general strike that would include factories, schools, government agencies, transport and farm and fish strikes is not a remote possibility. The current turn of events is pushing and driving the people to stage a general strike that would lead to the crowding of the National Capital Region and other key urban centers and cities nationwide. Mrs. Arroyo is really in big trouble,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Hicap said to cushion the impact of the global economic crisis, the Macapagal-Arroyo government should impose a number of mitigating measures including a stop to mass lay off, moratorium on withholding tax, refrain from imposing new taxes, stop retrenchment of workers, spare the P 12.5 billion SSS funds from corruption, stop water and electricity rate hikes among others.

The Pamalakaya leader added that the government should allow the passage of House Bill 3059 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) to ensure genuine land reform to rev up agricultural production in the countryside that will absorb jobless and job-lacking Filipinos all over the country.

Hicap said if passed into law, GARB will lead the national economy to absorb job losses in the National Capital Region and other urban centers, including displaced overseas Filipino workers abroad.

“Free land distribution with guaranteed strong subsidy and support mechanism is the most effective and far-reaching economic measure that would shield the country from the devastating impact and global menace of economic and financial meltdown across the globe,” Pamalakaya’s Hicap insisted.

For the fisheries sector, Pamalakaya demanded a P 32-billion production subsidy to enable the not less than 1 million small fisherfolk and fish workers to continue production and cushion the impact of the worldwide economic and financial crisis.

The group suggested a minimum P 4,500 oil subsidy for all small fishermen operating small fishing boats and P 2,000 for non-motorized small fishing boat owners across-the-country.

The P 4,500 monthly subsidy constitutes about 50 percent of the monthly expenses spent by marginalized fishermen owning a small fishing boat in their daily fish capture. Hicap said the proposed measure if approved will benefit 313,985 small fishing boat operators and will cost the government a monthly production subsidy of P 1.4 billion per month or P 16 billion per year.

As for the P 2,000 production subsidy to non-motorized boats, the proposed production subsidy measure will benefit more than 600,000 small fishermen all over the country. #

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