Tag Archives: Kalikasan

Lumad tribal chief wins award for environment

contributed to The Pamalakaya Times

Manila, Philippines- A tribal chieftain of the Ata-Manobo Lumad group in Talaingod, Davao del Norte is this year’s recipient of the Gawad ng Bayani ng Kalikasan Awards, according to a news release issued by the environmental group Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment.

Datu Guibang Apoga won the recognition because of his courageous leadership of the Ata-Manobo lumads in their struggle to defend their ancestral lands and their right to self determination, a statement obtained by The Pamalakaya Times said.

“Were it not for Datu Guibang and the unity of the Ata Manobo people, the Central Cordilleras or the Pantaron Mountain Range has long been devastated by mining and logging operations as these ranges promise bountiful minerals eyed by foreign investors,” the same statement added.

Kalikasan and the environmental NGO group Center for Environmental Concern (CEC) picked the Ata-Manobo-Lumad chieftain for his sacrifices and resolute opposition against ALSONS, the Talaingod Hydroelectric Project and against the looming entry of Nestle Coffee plantations, against the Investment Defense Force led by the military, asserting that his heroic exploits as an environment defender has inspired many and should inspire the rest of the world to struggle with them, to fight against plunderers, to fight against institutionalized plunder.

“Indeed, Datu Guibang and the Ata Manobo’s struggle is a contribution to the worldwide struggle to defend the last frontiers of a critical part of the country’s environment as the world slowly disintegrates into destruction in the face of globalized plunder,” the organizers added.

Francis Morales, convenor of PANALIPDAN in Southern Mindanao region who nominated Datu Guibang for the prestigious award shared the pride and honor with people and other genuine advocacy groups.

” We continue to be awed and inspired by the examples led by this humble, yet, courageous, principled Indigenous Peoples rights and Environmental Rights champion,” Morales said.


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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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Expert wants San Roque dam operators, gov’t held accountable for Northern Luzon disaster

Expert wants San Roque dam operators, gov’t held accountable for Northern Luzon disaster

by Viva Regala-Alonzo.

Manila, Philippines- University of the Philippines (UP)-based expert and scientist Dr. Giovanni Tapang said the Philippine government, including private groups and operators of San Roque Dam in Pangasinan province should be held accountable for the massive flooding in the province and other parts of Northern Luzon.

Tapang and scores of scientists, environmentalists and social activists presented a study on the structural and managerial flaws of San Roque dam, that caused the severe flooding in several areas in Northern Luzon.

They also accounted for the country’s continuing disasters and the Arroyo government’s failure to provide a comprehensive, effective and adequate disaster response and prevention plan.

“The dams, particularly San Roque Dam, are supposedly designed and used to control floods. However, the floodings these infrastructures have brought us prove that they were not really designed for that function. These dams just brought profits for its proponents and more harm than benefit to the people,” said Tapang.

According to Dr. Tapang, the most devastated provinces of typhoon Pepeng are Pangasinan and Benguet provinces, as these are the areas where the large dams, that worsened the flooding, are situated. “Pangasinan is the catch basin of water coming from the series of large dams in the Agno River.

“Massive flooding in Pangasinan is caused and aggravated by the release of voluminous water from these dams,” explained Dr. Tapang.

Tapang asserted the three dams located along the Agno River are the Ambuklao Dam, Binga Dam and San Roque Dam. Based on National Power Corporation report a total maximum 6,000 cubic meters per second were being released by three dams as October 9 and is still continuing to release water today.

“The operators and owner of the dams should be held accountable. They have allowed the water to reach dangerously high levels and not acted on it sooner. Instead of releasing the waters earlier, gradually and in lesser volumes, they did it suddenly without adequate warning to the communities,” said Dr. Tapang.

Tapang theorized that the operators are probably thinking more of generating power and profits, they most likely have kept the water level as high as possible and have have not placed primary importance to their duty to give attention to the safety of the nearby communities.

San Roque Dam is the biggest of the three dams and designed as to produce energy, supply water and control flood. It is supposed to have a flood maximum design of 13,000 cubic centimetre or equivalent to floods occurring every 10,000 years. Despite protest in local and international level, San Roque Multi-Purpose Dam was approved in 1998. The dam construction was completed in March 2003 and became operational in May.

“If the dams were designed for flood control, then there should have been an alarm system in place or a protocol to warn the agencies and communities of impending disaster. However, the testimonies of the victims and the calamity that has occurred prove that the system was ineffective, if there was any,” he added.

“Communities and areas near large dam usually experience increase in frequency and more damages from flooding than other areas which are far from dams. After San Roque Dam operated in May 2003, 90% of Pangasinan were submerged in water in September 2004 and after that local communities frequently experienced flooding whenever there is a typhoon,” expressed Tapang.

“The extent of devastation that was caused by the presence of the dams and the deliberate disregard of the operators and owners to the communities in the area calls should lead to the decommisioning of the dams. Because as long as the dams remain, it is likely that the similar tragedies will occur in the future as it has done so in the past,” called Dr. Tapang.

For his part, Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE) said the proponents of the dam itself, headed by the government should also answer to the millions of victims that were affected by the floods.

“The hundreds of lives lost, millions of families affected and billions of pesos worth of damages show the absence of planning and infrastructure of the government to address disasters. President Arroyo and the National Disaster Coordinating Council have blamed mother nature and climate change, the unprecedented rainfall, squatters, garbage and lack of budget but will not admit its fault and ineptness in handling and preventing the disasters,” claimed Bautista.

“In addition, to lack of disaster preparedness, the Arroyo government still pursues policies and destructive projects such as large-scale mining and large dams that destroy our environment and make communities more vulnerable and at higher risk to floods, landslides and other disasters,” cited Bautista.

“Again, we appeal to our countrymen and the international community to extend the bayanihan spirit that we exhibited in the face of disasters, in addition to joining relief operations, we should link arms to demand and push for a government that will perform its mandate to truly serve, protect and answer to the needs of the people and denounce the current one who only aggravates the suffering of our people, “ ended Bautista.

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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. #


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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