Tag Archives: Clemente Bautista

Pinoy activists outraged at outcome of Copenhagen climate talks

By the Center for Environmental Concerns, contributor, in Copenhagen, Denmark and Gerry Albert Corpuz, senior reporter, The Pamalakaya Times, in Manila

Copenhagen, Denmark- Climate activists from the Philippines expressed outraged at the Copenhagen Accord signed by 26 heads of states at the summit of the United Nations Conference of Parties 15 (COP15). The group was even more disappointed at the Philippine delegation, headed by President Gloria Arroyo, for being one of the first to sign the undemocratic document and once again selling out the interests and welfare of the Filipino people.

“The Copenhagen Accord, which does not commit the developed countries and biggest polluters to specific emission cuts targes at a specific deadline puts humanity nearer to the brink of world catastrophy. How the accord came to be is a case in point of how rich countries like the US preserve its interests at the expense of the welfare of the world’s population by imposing its power to prevent the creation of a fair, effective and legally binding deal,” said Clemente Bautista of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).

KALIKASAN-PNE was among the hundreds of civil society organizations that flew to Copenhagen to participate in the talks by forwarding the positions and calls of the country’s most vulnerable and marginalized sectors. While the group did not have high expectations that a binding and substantial agreement will be signed at the UN summit, they were revolted how the talks turned out.

The Copenhagen Accord was brokered by the United States during a closed door meeting last Friday night with the BASIC countries: Brazil, South Africa, India and China, which the other countries left out of the meetings. The process was undemocratic, secretive and in gross violation of the UN charter and the rights of other nations to take part in an agreement where the fate of the world depends on.

The Accord also set the to limit the increase in global temperature to 2°C instead of the 1.5°C needed by countries such as Bangladesh and Tuvalu to stay above sea level. To achieve that, the accord aims to cut global carbon emission by only 50% of 1990 levels by 2050, with no specific target and legally binding commitment from rich countries to reduce their emission.

Aside from the emissions cuts, the accord supposedly commits the developed countries to raise climate funds for vulnerable nations.

Unfair accord

“While we have observed in the past 2 weeks that the climate talks is not a negotiation between equal parties, we have also observed how the Philippine delegation expressed enthusiasm for the unfair accord and contented itself with a few billion pesos of climate aid, ” said Marjorie Pamintuan of Agham Youth.

Ms. Pamintuan also participated in the COP15 with 350.org, an international movement campaigning for the lowering the carbon in the atmosphere to 350ppm.

Referring to an interview of expert negotiator Ms. Bernarditas Castro-Muller, Ms. Pamintuan explained that, “The $30 billion that is to be provided by rich countries for vulnerable nations between 2010 and 2012, and the $100 billion dollars ‘from a wide variety of sources’ to be available after 2020 could hardly be considered any help at all since ‘these will be in the form of loans’ which will bury the Filipinos into much deeper national debt.”

Ms. Pamintuan further pointed out that, “additional national debts means larger budget cuts for services like education and health since a large portion of the national budget is appropriated for debt servicing. With a destroyed environment, unhealthy bodies and without education, what kind of future does the Filipino youth have?”

“Instead of being used to increase the resiliency and adaptive of the country, the $380 million pledge of clean technology and forestry investment funds from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank that Mrs. Arroyo is so proud of will be allocated to hoax technological solutions like clean coal, market based mechanisms and will also facilitate the exploit of our energy and forest resources by foreign corporations,” explained Ms. Meggie Nolasco of Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA).

According to the PCWA statement , “If the government is indeed serious in addressing climate, instead of promoting technological fixes and false climate solutions it should prioritize people’s needs by immediately scrapping destructive environmental policies like the Mining Act of 1995 and stopping the building of new coal-fired power plants and coal mining projects.”

“While there is already a global consensus that any further delays in coming up with effective solutions will jeopardize the whole planet especially vulnerable nations such as the Philippines, Mrs. Arroyo and her delegation even commended the unfair and unsubstantial deal,” said Ms. Nolasco.

Ms Nolasco added that, “What Mrs. Arroyo and her delegation should have done was act in the interest of the Filipino people by standing firmly with the other nations in demanding that developed countries, especially the US, to commit to an effective, fair and legally binding climate deal.”

“However, we must not be disheartened in our struggle. We must sustain our collective actions even as we go back to our countries and press for true climate change solutions and lasting social justice,” ended Ms. Nolasco.

Not all about aid

In Manila, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday chided President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for praising her efforts to secure $ 380-million in financial aid to help the Philippines cope with the impact of climate change.

“Is that how President Arroyo measure the meaning of success? Where is climate justice in the $ 380-million pledges to fight global warming? We don’t call it aid, we call it bribery from top global polluters and environmental destroyers,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

Hicap said his group was dismayed on President Arroyo over her silence and non-committal and no-combative stance on the collective position of the G-77 for the United States and other major economies of the world to drastically cut their carbon emissions to cushion if not eliminate the phenomenon of global warming across-the-world.

“President Arroyo attended the Copenhagen summit on climate change not to attack the global warmers and present the global people’s agenda for climate justice, but to perform her duty as an apologist for the US and other rich nations,” the Pamalakaya official said.

In her arrival statement, President Arroyo described the Philippines’ efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change as a “life and death’ issue. She said her government is at the frontline of the changing global climate, as she mentioned the past storms that had ravaged the country, the Filipino people and their way of life.

The President said the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank committed up to $ 250 million from their clean technology fund in recognition of the Philippines leadership role in tackling climate changes in Asia. Mrs. Arroyo also took home $ 70 million for forestry investment fund and another 50 million US dollars from the global environmental fund. The Danish government promised another 10 million US dollars in support to the Philippines local water utilities.

Money, money,money

“Mrs. Arroyo works hard for the money for herself and not for climate justice and not for the people affected by US-led inflicted climate change. That’s the President’s vision in life—money, money, enough money for her eternal greed, nothing more, nothing less,” said Hicap.
While President Arroyo was rebuked by Pamalakaya, the militant group commended a group of Filipino activists who made their presence felt during the Conference of Parties (COP) in Copenhagen.

The group praised Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of the environmental group Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment and the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS), Ms Tess Vistro of Amihan peasant women federation, Paul Quintos of Ibon Foundation and Ces Quimpo of Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC) for bringing the Filipino people’s collective position on climate justice and the need to punish top global polluters like the United States and its transnational corporations for bringing global environmental disasters to 77 most poorest countries in the world.

“The Filipino people were not in default in the Copenhagen battle. Their voice was added to the worldwide demands for rich nations to stop exploiting and destroying the people and the resources and to ensure global climate justice against the super profiteering activities of US and other capitalist exploiting nations across America, Europe and Asia and the Pacific,” said Pamalakaya.

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RP dams under heavy “pounding” from envi groups

RP dams under heavy “pounding” from envi groups

by Megan Yang in Makati City, and Bb. Joyce Cabral in Naga City

Environmental activists, scientists, indigenous people, urban poor, and other sectoral groups staged a demonstration in front of the San Roque Power Corporation (SRPC) office in Makati City and condemned the SRPC, the National Power Corporation (Napocor) and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration for the massive flooding in Pangasinan and portions of nearby provinces of La Union and Tarlac.

“SRPC, Napocor and President Arroyo should answer to the hundreds of lives, infrastructure and livelihood that were destroyed due to the flooding and devastation caused by their utter disregard to the consequences of their business all in the name of profits,” said Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of Advocates for Science and Technology for the People AGHAM.

According to the protesters, it was the sudden release of a large volumes of water in San Roque Dam at the height of the storm Pepeng that was largely responsible for 90% of Pangasinan being under water, P12 million worth of infrastructure destroyed, P200 million worth of partial damage on crops and fish production and a number of people being drowned.

The National Power Corporation (Napocor) owns the San Roque dam and spillway, while the San Roque Power Corporation (SRPC) owns the power generating facilities while being controlled by Japanese companies Marubeni and Kansai.

“Although San Roque Dam was also designed for flood control, SRPC and NPC admitted that they keep the water levels of the dam as high as possible as this will generate more electricity. This practice is highly irresponsible and a deliberate disregard to the safety of the nearby communities,” said Dr. Tapang.

“SRPC and NPC continue to evade responsibility and even blame the unusual amount of rainfall or the victims for not heeding the flood warnings for the extent of the calamity in Pangasinan. It is unspeakable how the corporations showed no remorse and even boasted that they would go with the same decision of opening the dam gates that caused so much devastation, deaths and losses if they again had to.” remarked Dr. Tapang.

The officials claim that people were given 4 hour lead time to evacuate, however, victims claim of not receiving any warning while those who were aware claim that their areas were flooded in 30 minutes.

“The disaster brought by San Roque Dam is just a reflection of how the interests of corporations are prioritized over the safety of the people. Surely this kind of mindset is dangerous and will bring more disaster to the people especially where similar projects of foreign corporations are located,”said Dr. Tapang.

Thousand of indigenous people were displaced during its construction and despite widespread protests in local and international level, San Roque Multi-Purpose Dam was approved in 1998. The dam’s construction was completed in March 2003 and became operational in May under President Arroyo’s term.

“President Arroyo should be held accountable for allowing San Roque Dam to operate during her term and for not listening to the demands and the protests of community. This is another example of how her administration is favoring the interests of the foreign corporations at the expense of the safety and welfare of the Filipino people and our environment,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of progressive environmental group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment.

According to Bautista, “For justice to be served to the victims of the floods in Pangasinan, the government must regain control of the San Roque Dam and work for its decommissioning. Also, plans of constructing large dam projects, such as the Laiban dam, that have proven to destroy our environment and make communities more vulnerable to disasters must be abandoned.”

“If it is indeed true that Mrs. Arroyo is bent on preventing future disasters such as those we have witnessed, she should discontinue favoring the interests of private corporations and hold them accountable for their crimes to communities and reverse her current policy of privatizing our energy resources and infrastructure such as hydro dams,” Bautista ended.

In Naga City, the Legaspi City based fisherfolk group Lakas ng mga Maliliit na Mangingisda ng Bicol (Lambat-Bicol), the regional chapter of the leftwing fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday urged Malacanang to recall the P 700-million Libmanan-Cabusao Dam (LCD) project in Camarines Sur.

“We cannot allow another San Roque Dam here in Bicol and wait for the next tragedy to strike courtesy of President Arroyo, her son Dato and their foreign investor. Damned that dam please,” Lambat-Bicol chair and Pamalakaya vice-president for Luzon Salvador France said in a press statement.

France asserted that the lessons learned from San Roque Dam should compel President Arroyo to sign an executive order terminating the dam project and she can do it within less than an hour.

“Malacanang has no choice but to scrap the Camarines Sur dam project for good to prevent another super calamity and humanitarian crisis in the making. We don’t care if Rep. Dato and her monster mom get hurt along the way because they will lose their fat kickbacks,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

The dam is part of the P3-billion worth of projects for the first district of Camarines Sur announced by Ms Arroyo in September last year, during the 34th birthday of her son Dato, representative of the first district of Camarines Sur.

The Libmanan-Cabusao irrigation and dam project was touted to be the answer to irrigation in 4,000 hectares of farms.

Lambat-Bicol and Pamalakaya said the project being implemented by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) under the Bicol River Basin Water Management Project (BRWMP) will usher a new era of environmental disaster and humanitarian crisis across the region if Malacanang and Rep. Arroyo proceed with the ambitious project.

The Pamalakaya official said the P 700 million dam project is a “monster project” orchestrated by the “monster mom” and his “monster son” referring to President Arroyo and son Dato.

“We have another major catastrophe in the making, if the mother and son tandem insist their evil and cruel intentions in Camarines Sur,” France said.

The Lambat-Bicol leader with the observations raised by local folk that large portion of Lupi town would be submerged underwater if the dam pushes through.

But Tomasito Monzon, chief of the BRBWMP, allayed fears that the P700-million Libmanan-Cabusao Dam (LCD) project would cause massive flooding in Lupi and neighboring areas.

“The LCD, which is Bicol’s biggest dam, is not capable of storing a large volume of water,” Monzon said.

“It would not cause massive flooding contrary to the apprehension of residents living near it,” he said.

He said the 11.3-meter tall and 150-m wide dam is a run-off river type of diversion structure unlike the big reservoir dams of Angat in Bulacan, Pantabangan in Nueva Ecija, and Magat in Isabela.

Monzon said a run-off river dam is only capable of raising water up to the maximum crest of the dam which, in the case of LCD, is 11.3 m only.
“When water reaches this maximum level, water will spill over back to the river,” he said.

“Reservoir dams are different because they are designed to store water during rainy days and when the impounded water reaches the maximum reservoir elevation, it is released gradually,” he explained.#

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