Sunday, August 17, 2008


August 14, 2008



When a consensus through a resolution was made by various scientists under the Philippine Association of Marine Science against the operation of JAPEX in Tañon Strait a couple of months ago, the debate on the destructive impacts of off-shore mining in our archipelagic water has ended.

Their resolution validated and affirmed by various scientific facts from the global community, helped catapult the campaign against the rape of our patrimony, destruction of environment, food security and dislocation of hundreds of thousands of fisherfolks.

It is sad that DOE became a willing lackey of profiteering corporations. It is even more revolting to know that they have become more rabid in promoting off-shore mining after the strong solidarity between various sectors under STSCM kicked-out Japan Petroleum Exploration Inc. out of our protected seascape.

DOE, their corporate cohorts and the National Government failed to learn a very important lessons after the people defeated them in Tañon Strait when they prod NorAsian to pursue their activities in Cebu Strait.

They refused to acknowledge that the people are now taking back their constitutional power to resist projects that are anti-environment and anti people, and weild the power of choosing developmental models that is responsive to their welfare and interests, as a people and as a nation.

The lies and deception of DOE and NorAsian that their project will develop our local and domestic economy, will cost us not just with irreparable damage to our fishing grounds, marine biodiversity, food security, and dislocations, but with our lives and our future.

At the end of the day, NorAsian and their collaborators, after extracting profit from our misery will pack-up and leave. At the end of the day the community stays with whatever is left after being ravaged by DOE and NorAsian.

The only way to stop this pillage is to replicate the victory of people’s resistance in Tañon Strait and bring meaningful change.

The tragedy in Tañon Strait is enough to stop Off-shore mining.

In the era of climate change, development of fossil fuel is reckless and irresponsible, we should not allow the acts of these agents of disaster to play Russian roulette with our lives.

For Reference:

Vince A. A. Cinches

Executive Director


Co- Convenor - STSCM

Monday, August 4, 2008

Group, barangay chiefs oppose new oil exploration

Group, barangay chiefs oppose oil exploration
The Freeman
Monday, July 28, 2008

The Save Tañon Strait Citizen’s Movement, the group that strongly opposed the oil exploration in Tañon Straight, has shifted its focus to Argao, the site of the new oil exploration in Cebu .

This after NorAsian Energy Limited, a subsidiary of Australian-based Ottoman Energy Ltd., has chosen Argao for its oil exploration project.

With the site surveys set for next month, representatives of NorAsian have initiated consultations with the different barangays in the municipality.

Vince Cinches of STSCM said they will be filing a case against NorAsian and other individuals involved in the “environment- destructing oil exploration project” for allegedly violating existing laws.

Argao has a marine protected area of 108.35 hectares.

The town’s officials said the site survey is for the anticipated oil exploration, which would reportedly start January next year.

Two board members of the Association of Barangay Captains in Argao have already expressed opposition to the drilling project.

Barangay Langtad Captain Ariel Saragena said he does not trust NorAsian’s scheme, because it allegedly failed to deliver complete details of the project, such as its environmental impact once drilling starts.

Saragena contended that the reason why many others in the town have not issued statements on the issue is because they have not been adequately informed.

The consultations with barangays were reportedly useless because NorAsian representatives allegedly could not directly answer some questions like the procedures in compensation.

Saragena said oil drilling is not necessary because only foreign investors will benefit out of it.

He said that instead of accommodating these investors, government should focus on programs that would boost the fishing industry in Argao, which is one of the main sources of livelihood of town residents. — Jessica Ann Pareja/JMO

Original article here.

Earth Day Green Voting Campaign

Green Manifesto

We are young citizens conscious of our primordial rights to life, good health and a healthy environment.

We are aware that these rights require us to perform the corresponding obligation to protect the environment and maintain an ecologically sustainable lifestyle for the benefit of all, young and old, humans and non-humans, including those yet to be born.

We are committed to assist in the eco-literacy campaign to help stem the tide of ecological devastation rapidly taking place in Cebu, the Philippines and the world.

We are very much concerned with the growing global crisis called climate change, it being due to anthropogenic factors such as our continued dependency on fossil fuels and the rapid rate of deforestation and biodiversity destruction taking place all over the world, including Cebu which is “one of the most degraded areas in the country and a conservation priority.”

We are aware of the destructive effects of climate change that have and will destroy our dwindling resources and habitats, and victimize millions of our brothers and sisters in this archipelago, especially those without the knowledge, capacity and resources to adapt to and mitigate the adverse impact.

We are alarmed that this grave “planetary emergency” faced by humankind is met with silence by the stakeholders, especially the public sector. The time for talking is NOW, and not when disaster again revisits the islands.

We are calling on the national and local government leaders to prioritize the issues of climate change, environmental protection and sustainable, not purely economic, development. Both share the responsibility of ensuring the constituents’ rights to life and a healthy ecosystem, to obey the Constitution, enforce the environmental laws and dispense with the culture of patronage that has enveloped and weakened our political institutions and the ensuing negative consequences that have so degraded our environment.

We are resolved to choose only the leaders who have the political will to steer this country and Cebu to an ecologically sustainable tomorrow, and who will ACT NOW, before it is too late.

Signed this 22nd day of April, 2008, Cebu City, Philippines.

Victory in Tanon Strait

Negros Oriental Vice Mayors Stand vs
Oil Exploration in Tañon Strait

The growing Visayas-wide campaign against oil exploration in the Tanon Strait Protected Seascape, which lies between Negros Oriental and Cebu, got a boost with the recent approval by the Negros Oriental Vice Mayors’ League of a resolution opposing any extension of oil drilling or any oil exploration at the protected seascape.

Vol. VIII, No. 13, May 4-10, 2008

The growing Visayas-wide campaign against oil exploration in the Tanon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS), which lies between Negros Oriental and Cebu, got a boost with the recent approval by the Negros Oriental Vice Mayors’ League of a resolution opposing any extension of oil drilling or any oil exploration at the protected seascape.

In a statement sent to Bulatlat, lawyer Gloria Eztenzo Ramos of the Save Tañon Strait Citizens Movement (STSCM) said the resolution is the first collective expression of opposition by ranking local government officials against the oil drilling at Tañon Strait, and may provide a “tipping point” in the citizens’ campaign to stop the oil exploration at the seascape.

“The League and the proponent, Bindoy Vice Mayor Valente D. Yap, have exhibited the much-needed political will to protect the environment, including the migratory species in the protected seascape, as well as the general welfare of the hundreds of thousands of constituents and their families who are dependent on Tañon Strait for their sustenance,” Ramos said.

Ramos said that Tañon Strait is considered one of the ten richest fishing grounds, and the feeding, breeding and nursery grounds, and migratory path of 14 out of 27 species of cetaceans in the Philippines.

“The unprecedented resolution effectively demolishes the claim of the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) and the DoE (Department of Energy) that the local government units were consulted and that the approval of the respective Sanggunian of the estimated forty local government units in the TSPS was obtained prior to the controversial oil drilling,” Ramos added.

Vince Cinches, co-founder of STSCM and executive director of the Cebu-based Fishermen’s Development Center (FIDEC), said that the resolution is “commendable and the kind of politics Cebuano leaders should emulate – one that is devoid of decisions based on patronage and corruption.”

“With this, there is still hope with these kinds of leaders and this should inspire advocates to pursue more fervently our campaign to save Tañon,” Cinches said.

The country’s foremost marine mammal expert, Dr. Lemnuel Aragones of the University of the Philippines (UP) Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology, welcomed the move saying, “Tañon Strait is a unique natural heritage which has local, national and global significance; this action is an indication, for him that “the local government units of Negros Oriental have awakened and realized that their future and the fragile environment are at stake, from the oil exploitation, since Tañon Strait is very narrow.”

STSCM members attended the stakeholders’ dialogue at Bindoy, Negros Oriental last month and assailed the DENR-led TSPS protected area management board’s membership as anomalous, and contrary to the provisions of the Constitution and existing laws. Bulatlat


For the Cebu Daily News article, click here or read below:

NegOr vice mayors oppose extension of oil exploration
Cebu Daily News
First Posted 01:46pm (Mla time) 04/10/2008

THE Vice Mayor's League of the Philippines (VMLP) in Negros Oriental approved yesterday a resolution urging the national government to stop the oil drilling and exploration activities in Tañon Strait.

Bindoy town Vice Mayor Valente Yap, who sponsored the resolution said he oppose any extension to the oil drilling after scientists observed that there were lesser whales and dolphins in the area during the exploration.

“Okay ang oil exploration but we are dealing with a protected seascape. Dili unta ma-endanger ang whales og dolphins,” said Yap. (Whales and dolphins should not be endangered.)

The vice mayor of Bindoy town said that he believes in the findings of marine scientist Lemnuel Aragones who reported that the sounds generated by the oil drilling and exploration activities have driven out whales and dolphins from the area.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued a permit to the Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. Ltd. (Japex) to conduct exploratory oil drilling. This was extended to 41 days after JAPEX claimed that they had technical problems associated with the drilling.

Bindoy, 70 kms north of Dumaguete City, is one of 41 municipalities and cities that surround Tañon Strait. The Strait is a deep, narrow navigable body of water between the islands of Negros and Cebu and serves as their conduit between Bohol Sea and Visayan Sea.

The vice mayor also said that if the first seismic survey did not show that Tanon Strait is a site of natural gas and oil then the activities should be stopped.

Lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos, who together with lawyers Rose-Liza Eisma-Osorio and Ben Cabredo filed a case at the Supreme Court in behalf of dolphins to stop further offshore explorations by Japex, lauded the move of the Bindoy executive.

“For me, the tipping point is reached when local government units start to assert their autonomy and to protect the constituents and the environment,” said Ramos. /Reporter Ma. Bernadette A. Parco