Tag Archives: climate justice

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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Protesters rally at the US embassy to demand for accountability and real climate solutions on first day of climate talks

contributed to The Pamalakaya Times

Manila, Philippines-On the first day of the international climate talks, militant and environmental groups marched towards the US embassy to hold accountable the world’s biggest polluters, headed by the United States and demand adequate financial and appropriate technological adaptation support for climate change vulnerable countries and communities.

From December 7-18, high level officials and representatives from all over the world will gather in Copenhagen, Denmark for the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) where a binding climate deal should be sealed. However the leaders of developed countries headed by US President Obama have announced that it is unrealistic to expect a climate deal in Copenhagen given the short amount of time.

“This foot dragging and sabotage by the US and other responsible countries should be condemned. Such inaction and the false solutions they continue to peddle equates to greater devastation and suffering from the effects of climate change by peasants, workers, indigenous peoples, fisherfolk, women, children, urban poor, and other vulnerable and marginalized sectors ,” said Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of the Advocates for Science and Technology for the People (AGHAM).

According to Frances Quimpo, coordinator of the international climate formation, People’s Action on Climate Change (PACC), “it is a great injustice that it is the poor who are suffering the most while it is the industrialized countries that account for 80% of the historical greenhouse gases emission with US primarily responsible for 30% of the global carbon emissions.”

“This inequality has long been recognized by the international community, yet 17 years of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and eight years of the Kyoto Protocol’s existence have failed and done little to abate the steeply-rising global greenhouse gas emissions and ease the lives of the poor, she said. The PACC was the climate group which staged daily mass actions at the Bangkok Climate Talks last October 2009.

“The UN climate negotiations have exposed the callous greed of the industrialized countries and the persistence of corporate and financial enterprise interests that dominate, command and dictate the discussions agenda according to their interests. For one, they are pushing for market-based mechanisms and technological fixes instead of real and structural solutions that strike at the root causes of climate change,” said Dr. Tapang.

Based on the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to enable to avert catastrophic effect of global warming, industrialized countries need to reduce GHG emissions by more than 25-40% based on 1990 level by not later than 2020. The Kyoto Protocol calls for a mere 5% cut in GHG emissions below 1990 level yet the US have not ratified it until now. What President Obama announced is a 17% cut of US greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2020, about 3 percent below the 1990 and far below the cut outlined by the UN climate panel.

According to the statement of Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA), while it is the industrialized countries that are primarily responsible for the rapid destruction of environment and the accelerated GHG emissions, the governments of developing countries who impede the genuine development of the world’s poor and marginalized communities and sectors by facilitating the plunder of the countries’ resources must also be held responsible.

“The Arroyo administration keeps on promoting and pursuing neo-liberal policies in strategic sectors, such as energy, mining, forestry, agriculture, and trade, which favors and benefits the foreign corperations but worsens the vulnerability of local communities. In addition, the Philippine government lacks genuine policies and programs to mitigate climate change and help communities adapt to its impacts,” said Meggie Nolasco, spokesperson of PCWA.

“To top it all, the Arroyo government is sending off a team of government junketeers whose purpose is to beg for crumbs from Annex 1 government in exchange for a weakened position in the climate negotiations,” said Nolasco. The Philippine president on the eve of Hillary Clinton’s visit, released a statement that it is not insisting on deep and early cuts in the Copenhagen negotiations, when the Philippines, along with other developing and vulnerable countries have been reeling from climate change impacts due to the havoc wrought by Annex 1 countries.

The protesters headed by PCWA, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, AGHAM and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) with other multi-sectoral organizations are calling on the international community to push for a just and equitable treaty and concrete actions that recognizes that the climate crisis is rooted and is continuously worsened by the unsustainable, wasteful and profit-oriented production of the world’s richest economies.

“We are not optimistic that an international agreement will be arrived at in Copenhagen as long as the powerful nations, big corporation and corrupt government officials, whose sole purpose is to water down or shoot down any important climate measures and continue with business-as-usual practices remain inside the negotiations,” said Meggie Nolasco, spokesperson of Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA).

She further averred, “ Together with marginalized communities and civil society organizations from all over the world, we are taking our postions and demands to the streets in fighting this oppressive system and the false solutions that are perpetruated by the climate offenders. “

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Fishers group urges House, Senate to prioritize Laguna Lake probe too

By Billy Javier Reyes and Rey Manangan

Binangonan, Rizal- The lake wide fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and staunch ally- the multisectoral alliance Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) on Thursday urged leaders of the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives to also prioritize the legislative inquiry on Laguna Lake which is still under 14.5 meter deep since tropical storm Ondoy hit the country on Sept.26.

“Today is Oct.16 or about 20 days since storm Ondoy turned Laguna Lake into a virtual water world. Do we need 40 days before Congress takes up an inquiry on the ill-fated 90,000 hectare lake? Excuse us, but Laguna Lake, its people and environment are not dead to wait for 40-day ritual,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

Hicap added: “Let me remind our lawmakers that 30 towns and cities of Rizal and Laguna provinces and the National Capital Region were swallowed by Laguna Lake at the height of storm Ondoy affecting 2.2 million out of the 6 million fisherfolk and lake shore population. But the investigation is not moving as if the issue on hand is just a dime-a-dozen concern”.

The Pamalakaya leader noted that only a handful of lawmakers agreed to their proposal for an all-out investigation on the current state of Laguna Lake. They are Senator Jamby Madrigal in the Senate, Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon and militant party list lawmakers Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casino and Neri Colmenaras of Bayan Muna, Luzviminda Ilagan and Liza Maza of Gabriela Women’s Party, Raymond Palatino of Kabataan Party and Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod of Anakpawis party list.

“The Senate has 23 senators and the House of Representatives has 255 congressmen. But only a few good men and women managed to rise above the occasion. It is not too late for the leadership of both Houses and their peers to come to their senses and start the ball rolling on Laguna Lake catastrophe,” added Hicap.

The lake-based groups said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles should discourage members of the Senate and the House from going into vacation or abroad and instead call for special sessions that will look into the impacts of storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng and root the causes of the twin catastrophe that plagued the almost entire island of Luzon. Both houses are set to have their recess on Oct.15.

“No more foreign trips please, and the lawmakers should continue their legislative work by pursuing these investigations in aid of legislation and by going back to their respective districts and find out the needs of their devastated constituents,” Hicap added.

Prior to typhoon Ondoy, Pamalakaya and SLLM asserted that towns and cities surrounding the lake were already flooded. The groups attributed the flooding to the closure of the NCHS that prevented excess waters of Laguna Lake from passing through Pasig River on its way to Manila Bay. Both groups said at the height of typhoon Ondoy, the Napindan channel was still closed impounding more waters to the lake and later spilled to 30 towns in Rizal, Laguna and Metro Manila.

Last week, the Social Action Center of San Pablo City in Laguna said the mass flooding affected 20 towns of Laguna, excluding several towns in Rizal province and had displaced around 750,248 people mostly fisherfolk, farmers and urban poor.

The most affected towns are the towns of Binan where 45,125 families or 198,700 people were displaced, followed by San Pedro (25,606 families or 153,636 people affected), Sta.Cruz (20, 498 families or 102,590 people displaced) Sta. Rosa (14,951 families or 77,052 people displaced), Cabuyao (7,670 families or 46,001 persons affected), Calamba (8,024 families or 33, 819 people affected) and Los Banos (5,496 families or 29,730 people displaced.

Pamalakaya and SLLM suggested the following names and offices to be invited or subpoenaed for the congressional inquiry, whether separate or joint congressional inquiry.

Their list includes environment Secretary Joselito Atienza, Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Edgar Manda, the governors of Rizal and Laguna provinces, mayors and local government officials of affected 30 towns and cities surrounding the lake, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the officials of Board of Investment (BOI), the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) and the Office of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita to represent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. #

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Lakeshore towns already flooded ahead of tropical storm Ondoy, says fishers group

Lakeshore towns already flooded ahead of tropical storm Ondoy, says fishers group
By Bb. Joyce Cabral

Binangonan, Rizal- The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday revealed that towns surrounding Laguna Lake were already submerged in waters ahead of the arrival of tropical storm Ondoy.

Reports from field coordinators of Pamalakaya in Rizal and Laguna provinces said fisherfolk and lakeshore residents had already noticed the rising water level in Laguna Lake and excess waters had spilled along in 30 towns in Rizal and Laguna provinces, and in the National Capital Region before Ondoy pounded heavy rains on September 26.

“The disaster is bound to happen. It is a perfect storm in the making because the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) refuses to open the Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NCHS) that will dispose excess waters in the lake. Tropical storm Ondoy only fast tracked the commencement of the super calamity,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya official added: “We have been sending hundreds of notices to LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda that the lake authority should open NCHS to prevent the happening of a Great Flood all over the lake and in Metro Manila, but Mr. Manda is either not listening to this fearless forecast, or he is not doing his assignment or he is ignorant of the issue and its consequences.”

The NHCS was built in 1983 to prevent or lessen the increase of salinity from Manila Bay and pollution from the Pasig River from entering Laguna de Bay during times of reverse flow. The NHCS is found on the confluence of Marikina and Pateros-Taguig rivers with Pasig River. This confluence is also the downstream endpoint of the Napindan Channel, which is the upper part of Pasig River that connects to Laguna de Bay.

Aside from preventing the reverse flow of Pasig River, the NHCS is also used for flood control. During the rainy season, most of the flooding along the Pasig River area is due to the increased water flow coming from Marikina River.

The Manggahan Floodway in Pasig City was constructed to divert much of this water from Marikina River directly into Laguna de Bay. By also closing the NHCS during times of rain, the water is effectively dammed in Laguna de Bay preventing it from flooding the downstream portions of Pasig River.

Pamalakaya said LLDA is complicating the situation by endorsing the forced eviction of 100,000 lakeshore residents mostly small fishermen and poor people who have been living in Laguna Lake surroundings for generations.

“The forced relocation of 100,000 people is not the solution. All it takes is simple science and basic logic. Since the closure of NCHS is the most obvious and compelling reason behind the flooding of Laguna Lake, the best thing to do is to open the NCHS, which has been closed by LLDA for year now. The situation merits the opening of NCHS and let the excess waters pass through Pasig River on its way to Manila Bay,” the group said.

The Pamalakaya official said LLDA chair Manda should exercise common sense in dealing with the flood problem in connection with the rising water level of Laguna Lake, instead of displaying extreme act of paranoia and going hysterical all over the public.

“Right now, the water level in Laguna Lake is higher than Manila Bay, and its only logical therefore, to allow it to be disposed on its way to Manila Bay by opening the NCHS,” France explained.

In a press briefing held last week at the headquarters of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), LLDA chair Manda said typhoon “Pepeng” will dump half of the rains that tropical storm Ondoy brought to the National Capital Region on Sept.26, the water level of Laguna Lake may break its all-time record of 14.62 meters, possibly sinking more coastal barangays in Metro Manila and Rizal province.

The LLDA chief made the projection to justify the removal of some 100,000 residents, specially those residing on the shorelines of Taguig, Cainta, Pasig, Taytay and Muntinlupa, in response to the preemptive evacuation called by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

According to Manda, the waters of Laguna Lake cannot easily pass through the Napindan Channel in Taguig into the Pasig River and then to Manila Bay because of some 25,000 informal settlers blocking the passageway. He specifically identified a community of about 25,000 families in Sitio Lupang Arenda—straddling Taguig, Taytay and Cainta.

However, Pamalakaya said the people of Laguna Lake should not be deceived by the latest escapade of LLDA general manager that his recommendation is meant to spare people’s lives from the wrath of typhoon Pepeng.

“Since he assumed the LLDA general managership, what Mr. Manda really has in mind is the forcible removal of 100,000 families along the lake so Malacanang could proceed with the reclamation of 5,000 hectares in Taguig, Pateros and Muntinlupa, where an international airport glamorized with high rise condominiums and first-class hotels will be constructed,’ the fisherfolk group said.

Pamalakaya also blamed the widespread reclamation in Laguna Lake as culprits to the sudden increase in the water level of the lake for the construction of road and dikes from Taguig to Taytay (9.8 kilometers), Bicutan to Taguig (9.5 kilometers), Sta. Rosa to Calamba City section (28 kilometers) Bay to Sta.Cruz in Laguna (32 kilometers), Siniloan to Kalayaan section (28 kilometers) and Tanay section (10 kilometers).

Pamalakaya also said aside from road and dike construction, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the LLDA will proceed with the additional reclamation of lake waters in Taguig (3,000 hectares), Muntinlupa (5,000 hectares) and Los Baños in Laguna (500 hectares), which the group said will further worsen the flood problem in the National Capital Region and nearby towns of Laguna and Rizal provinces because these reclamation projects will serve as obstruction to the natural flow of waters in the lake.

Pamalakaya theorized that LLDA chair Manda is using the calamity situation as trick to really evict lakeshore folks since that has been Malacanang and the authority’s grand design which is to remove lake people to prepare Laguna Lake for the grand takeover of big businesses, who are planning to set up big infrastructure projects like high rise condominiums and posh hotels along the lake’s coastlines. (with a report from Billy Javier Reyes)

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Fishers ready to face off with execs on Laguna Lake flooding

SENATE HEARING ON OCTOBER 9
Fishers ready to face off with execs on Laguna Lake flooding

By Billy Javier Reyes, Gerry Albert Corpuz and Rey Manangan

Binangonan, Rizal- Leaders of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) will come in full force on October 9, the date the Senate Committee on Environment chaired by Senator Jamby Madrigal will conduct an investigation on the alarming water level in Laguna Lake and the mass flooding surrounding Asia’s 3rd largest lake.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap will lead the 15-man fisherfolk team who will act as resource persons for Laguna Lake and Manila Bay who will talk on the connection of reclamation projects in Laguna Lake and Manila Bay and their direct link to the mass flooding in Metro Manila and nearby provinces and the critical water level in Laguna Lake.

Aside from Hicap, other Pamalakaya leaders who will act as resource persons are Pamalakaya vice chairperson Pedro Gonzalez who will represent the Laguna side of Laguna Lake, Romy Antazo of Pamalakaya-Rizal and Save Laguna Lake Movement, Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice chair for Luzon and scores of local fisherfolk leaders from Rizal, Laguna and Cavite.

The Pamalakaya leader said his team is expected to raise the issue pertaning to the closure of Napindan Hydraulic Control Structures (NCHS) in Laguna Lake, which he blamed for the recent rise in the water level of the lake and the mass flooding of Metro Manila and lake town parts of Rizal and Laguna provinces.

The NHCS was built in 1983 to prevent or lessen the increase of salinity from Manila Bay and pollution from the Pasig River from entering Laguna de Bay during times of reverse flow. The NHCS is found on the confluence of Marikina and Pateros-Taguig rivers with Pasig River. This confluence is also the downstream endpoint of the Napindan Channel, which is the upper part of Pasig River that connects to Laguna de Bay.

Aside from preventing the reverse flow of Pasig River, the NHCS is also used for flood control. During the rainy season, most of the flooding along the Pasig River area is due to the increased water flow coming from Marikina River. The Manggahan Floodway in Pasig City was constructed to divert much of this water from Marikina River directly into Laguna de Bay. By also closing the NHCS during times of rain, the water is effectively dammed in Laguna de Bay preventing it from flooding the downstream portions of Pasig River.

Hicap said LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda and Environment Secretary Joselito Atienza are complicating the situation by endorsing the forced eviction of 100,000 lakeshore residents mostly small fishermen and poor people who have been living in Laguna Lake surroundings for generations.

“The forced relocation of 100,000 people is not the solution. The best thing to do is to open the NCHS, which has been closed by LLDA for years now. This is the best and most logical explanation why the water level in Laguna Lake is now at an alarming level. The situation merits the opening of NCHS and let the excess waters pass through Pasig River on its way to Manila Bay,” he said.

The Pamalakaya official said LLDA chair Manda and Atienza should exercise common sense in dealing with the flood problem in connection with the rising water level of Laguna Lake, instead of displaying extreme act of paranoia and going hysterical all over the public.

“What it takes is simple science and basic logic. Right now, the water level in Laguna Lake is higher than Manila Bay, and its only logical therefore, to allow it to be disposed on its way to Manila Bay by opening the NCHS,” Hicap explained.

In a press briefing yesterday at the headquarters of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), LLDA chair Manda said typhoon “Pepeng” will dump half of the rains that tropical storm Ondoy brought to the National Capital Region on Sept.26, the water level of Laguna Lake may break its all-time record of 14.62 meters, possibly sinking more coastal barangays in Metro Manila and Rizal province.

The LLDA chief made the projection to justify the removal of some 100,000 residents, specially those residing on the shorelines of Taguig, Cainta, Pasig, Taytay and Muntinlupa, in response to the preemptive evacuation called by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

According to Manda, the waters of Laguna Lake cannot easily pass through the Napindan Channel in Taguig into the Pasig River and then to Manila Bay because of some 25,000 informal settlers blocking the passageway. He specifically identified a community of about 25,000 families in Sitio Lupang Arenda—straddling Taguig, Taytay and Cainta.

However, Pamalakaya said the people of Laguna Lake should not be deceived by the latest escapade of LLDA general manager that his recommendation is meant to spare people’s lives from the wrath of typhoon Pepeng.

“Since he assumed the LLDA general managership, what Mr. Manda really has in mind is the forcible removal of 100,000 families along the lake so Malacanang could proceed with the reclamation of 5,000 hectares in Taguig, Pateros and Muntinlupa, where an international airport glamorized with high rise condominiums and first-class hotels will be constructed,’ the fisherfolk group said.

Pamalakaya also blamed the widespread reclamation in Laguna Lake as culprits to the sudden increase in the water level of the lake for the construction of road and dikes from Taguig to Taytay (9.8 kilometers), Bicutan to Taguig (9.5 kilometers), Sta. Rosa to Calamba City section (28 kilometers) Bay to Sta.Cruz in Laguna (32 kilometers), Siniloan to Kalayaan section (28 kilometers) and Tanay section (10 kilometers).

Pamalakaya also said aside from road and dike construction, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the LLDA will proceed with the additional reclamation of lake waters in Taguig (3,000 hectares), Muntinlupa (5,000 hectares) and Los Baños in Laguna (500 hectares), which the group said will further worsen the flood problem in the National Capital Region and nearby towns of Laguna and Rizal provinces because these reclamation projects will serve as obstruction to the natural flow of waters in the lake.

Pamalakaya theorized that LLDA chair Manda is using the calamity situation as trick to really evict lakeshore folks since that has been Malacanang and the authority’s grand design which is to remove lake people to prepare Laguna Lake for the grand takeover of big businesses, who are planning to set up big infrastructure projects like high rise condominiums and posh hotels along the lake’s coastlines.

Pamalakaya said Laguna Lake fisherfolk and residents living along the shorelines are survivors. Despite the abnormal rise in water level of Laguna Lake caused by typhoon Ondoy, small fishermen in 9 towns of Rizal and 18 towns of Laguna continue their day-to-day fish catch activities, leaving their families inside flooded houses and designated evacuation centers.

The group said there are 18,000 small fisherfolk families in Laguna Lake and they are found in 9 coastal towns of Rizal and 18 towns of Laguna Lake, excluding towns and cities in the National Capital Region like Pasig, Pateros, Muntinlupa and Taguig. The group said over 500,000 lake folk population are affected by typhoon Ondoy. #

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Asian Women’s Quilt on Climate Change: Climate Talks for People’s Needs, Not Corporate Greed!

Threading together the calls for climate justice of Asian women and
grassroots organizations

Asian Women’s Quilt on Climate Change: Climate Talks for People’s Needs, Not Corporate Greed!

We, women, environmental, and indigenous people’s organizations from the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan—today unite by unfurling a giant collaborative quilt on the impacts of global warming on Asian communities and the people’s responses to these problems, in front of the United Nations ESCAP building for the ongoing United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change intersessional meeting.

Quilts are cultural symbols of unity, creativity, and diversity. This
collective work threads through testimonies and sews together stories of how global warming is negatively affecting the lives of the most
marginalized sectors within Asia’s poorest countries. It is a work of
solidarity by the sectors who feel the various ecological and economic
effects of climate change firsthand and who stand for climate justice,
accountability, and the people’s needs.

Asian grassroots communities are now calling for action on climate change and its impacts. The colorful images and symbols in the quilt aim to articulate the following points:

– Climate change and global warming will impact more gravely and harshly on the lives of the marginalized and poor sectors. Millions of poor Asian farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, women and children, and all those who are directly dependent on our environment and natural resources for their livelihood are the most vulnerable to the impacts of extreme weather events, climate-related natural disasters, rising sea levels, rise of climate-sensitive diseases, and the like. These sectors should be foremost supported in terms of capacity-building, technological support, climate change awareness, and access to basic social services such as education and health.

– Deep and drastic cuts by the largest greenhouse gas emitters are needed now. Accountability to pay for past emissions and reduce future ones must be demanded from Annex I countries, and especially the United States, the single largest country emitter of greenhouse gases. Their time of procrastination, profit-taking at the expense of the environment and the people, and evasion of global responsibilities to cut emissions is coming to an end. Action to ensure clean and clear cuts must be pursued now.

– The people’s needs, not corporate greed, should be the focus of the
ongoing UN climate talks: We urge the UN negotiators and government
delegations to heed the Asian grassroots calls for climate justice and
people’s welfare above elite corporate interests in the ongoing climate
negotiations. Focus should be redirected away from corporate greenwashing and false solutions and steered towards protecting the people’s needs and welfare, reducing existing vulnerabilities from the local to the regional levels, and reviewing and repealing policies, frameworks and programs which contribute to the cumulative effect of reducing people’s capacity to adapt to climate change impacts.

*About the Project*

The Asian Women’s Quilt on Climate Change project is a giant collaborative quilt on the calls of Asian grassroots communities affected by climate change, aiming to visually present the stories and symbols of the people most affected by the serious impacts of climate change – the grassroots sectors in Asia.

The quilt hopes to contribute to the global efforts to craft strategies
for the people’s engagement in the issue using traditional and new media: the handmade quilt is to be made globally accessible through a web-based gallery.

The quilt project was spearheaded by the Center for Environmental
Concerns-Philippines (CEC-Phils), Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF) of Thailand, Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA) and the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD).

It is among the activities comprising the People’s Action on Climate
Change (PACC), a week-long series of events by Asian grassroots
organizations calling for accountability, climate justice, and people’s
needs over imperialist and corporate greed. #

Reference:

Meggie Nolasco, spokesperson, PCWA
Tomoko Kashiwazaki, Programme Officer APWLD

Meggie Nolasco
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
No.26 Matulungin St. Bgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines 1100
Tel. No. +63-2-9248756
Fax No. +63-2-9209099
Email: kalikasan.pne@gmail.com
Website: http://www.kalikasan.org

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UN told: Climate policies should be responsive

UN told: Climate policies should be responsive
By Vince Cinches in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand- Philippine based rural groups under the People’s Action on Climate Change appealed to officials of the United Nations, who are gathering here for the intersessional conference to combat global warming, to ensure that genuine and binding climate policies – that is responsive to rural people’s needs and rights.

In a joint statement signed by leaders of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Amihan peasant women federation, the PACC asserted that climate change is not only jeopardizing the rural people’s future, but the advocacy is being used by multi-national and trans-national corporations (TNCs) who are the main contributors to global warming to rake in more profit from our miseries. ” It is a known fact that these climate culprits are the main reason why we are experiencing massive hunger and poverty is continuing with its plunder and environmental destruction in an unprecedented manner,” according to PACC statement furnished to The Pamalakaya Times.

According to the Fourth Assessment Report of the UN-IPCC unprecedented concentration of global warming gasses is causing the decline of our harvest.

“It is a known fact, that even without vast tracks of agricultural lands around the world are being controlled and converted by plunderers into cash-crop plantations such as biofuels and other corporate schemes that alienates and forcibly driving us out from land,” the PACC said.

The PACC said large tracts of forests have been lost in Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia due to conversion of forests to oil-alm plantations for biofuels export. This drive for the export market makes countries like the Philippines to embark more biofuel plantations at the expense of food production and to the detriment of farmers and the environment. The destruction of the world’s forests also lead to the conversion of agricultural plantations for export oriented crops, farms fo cattle raising and monoculture tree plantations.

” It is alarming that these land grabbers and climate culprits are talking about climate change as another scheme to strengthen their hold over land resources. Also, upland farmers and indigenous peoples that depend on the forests are displaced. Further defeating any moves of the grass roots for food security and healthy environment,” said PACC signatory and KMP national auditor Antonio Flores.

Flores who represented the farmer group in the parallel conference sponsored by the PACC and the Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA) said the land is being degraded with the use of agrochemical products lik pesticides and fertilizer. These chemicals run on fossil fuels largely contributing to the GHG emissions and increasing the threats to our lives and livelihoods. “The TNCs are robbing us of our lands, our health, our lives and the future of our generations,” ina statement read before hundreds of environmental activists from countries in Asia and the Pacific.

Amihan spokesperon Zen Zoriano said rural groups from all over South East Asia are urging UN and other country representatives to make the ongoing UNFCCC intersessional meeting here in Bangkok becoming more responsive and should lead to an international agreement that will genuinely address climate change and environmental degradation in the region.

“UN should not entertain false solutions that pushes business as usual scenario and rescind any agreements that promotes the control of large corporations on our lands and resources, the degradation of our environment and impede the genuine development of our nations. Biofuels, land use conversion, deforestation, use of agrochemicals and other anti-people and anti-environment practices that do not address the problems of climate change should be rejected,” Soriano said.

PACC said climate negotiation should always put first the needs and rights of poor people like the farmers in Southeast Asia and not the interest of northern rich countries and their big business. National governments of third world countries should learn from its experience in pursuing globalization policies like liberalizing and privatizing our land does not lead to economic development but widespread poverty and devastated environment. #

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