you may use this manifesto to gather support for our campaign against the destructive off-shore mining operation of Japan Petroleum Exploration Inc. in Tanon Strait.
WE are stakeholders conscious of our great responsibility to protect and conserve our natural resources, as stewards of the present and future generations, amidst the daunting challenge of climate change which threaten the survival of humankind and non-humans in this planet.
WE vehemently oppose the ecologically destructive and high carbon emitting oil drilling now conducted at the Tanon Strait Protected Seascape by JAPEX and the Department of Energy (the “Project”). It has no place in a protected seascape and in an era where countries all over the world are desperately looking for renewable sources of energy to reduce the effects of global warming.
WE condemn the process by which the otherwise dormant Tanon Strait Protected Seascape Management Board suddenly sprung into action and gave its authorization to the Project, without studying the actual state of Tanon Strait and the scientific evidence gathered by respected authorities on biodiversity. The entire process was undertaken bereft of transparency and cloaked with secrecy, lacked public participation and deprived the key stakeholders - such as the marginal fisherfolks, the people’s organizations and non-government organizations and even the scientists and the experts - of their constitutionally guaranteed right to be involved at all levels of decision-making process, especially in an environmentally critical area like Tanon Strait.
We fully support the stand of the 170 marine scientists in the country who called for the cancellation of the Project, since it destroys the marine ecosystem, deprives the marginal fisherfolks of their livelihood and threatens food security, Tanon Strait being one of the richest fishing grounds of the country.
This JAPEX Project is a blatant disregard of the provisions of the Constitution and its implementing laws such as the Fisheries Code which reiterates the state policy that fisherfolks have the preferential use of municipal waters. It mocks the integrity of the National Integrated Protected Areas System (for which funds and grants have poured in from multilateral institutions and foreign countries), and reveals our political leaders’ lack of commitment and sense of responsibility before the international community as a Contracting State in international conventions such as the Conventions on Climate Change, Biological Diversity, Agenda 21, Millennium Development Summit, and respect for international law principles.
WE should never forget that the State, under the 1987 Constitution, guaranteed the protection of “the rights of subsistence fishermen, especially of local communities, to the preferential use of the communal marine and fishing resources, both inland and offshore.” Now, ironically, the poor fisherfolks are suddenly displaced from their State-protected fishing grounds by the government agencies who are supposed to protect them and the environment!
Even our Medium Term Development Plan acknowledges that our coastal and marine ecosystem are highly degraded and we are considered a hotspot country in biodersity loss. An oil drilling at Tanon Strait Protected Seascape would only prove that we do not learn the lessons from our mistakes.
This nation is done with EMPTY RHETORICS and the whims and caprices of a few who might have been denied the benefit of wise counsel in understanding that the State-declared policies and principles and our laws are supreme, irrespective of who the holders of the public position might be.
Food security, biodiversity, resource conservation, a healthful and balanced ecology and human rights are not and will never be negotiable.
THE RULE OF LAW MUST PREVAIL IN THIS LAND. INSTEAD OF DISPLACING OUR FISHERFOLKS, AND DESTROYING OUR ECOSYSTEM, OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS MUST INSTEAD EXHIBIT THE MUCH-NEEDED WILL TO ENFORCE OUR ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS.
LET US WALK THE TALK. THE SENSELESS OIL DRILLING AT TANON STRAIT MUST STOP!