Friday, December 5, 2008

Environmentalists support the demands of small islands countries on global carbon emissions

Philippine Climate Watch Alliance

#26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City

Tel.: +63 2 9248756 fax: +63 2 9209099 email:philclimatewa tch@gmail. com

Press Release

December 5, 2008

Environmentalists support the demands of small islands countries on global carbon emissions

Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA) support the demand of the 43 small islands states, the Philippines included, for industrialized nations to cut their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and by more than 95 percent by 2050.

"It is a positive thing that the Philippine delegation to Poznan is united with other developing nations on the level of GHG emissions reduction industrialized nations should take, " said Meggie Nolasco, spokesperson of the Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA).

The alliance is comprised of representatives of people's organizations, non-government organizations, community organizations, scientific community and environmental groups that seeks to address and discuss the issue of climate change here in the Philippines.

According to Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of the militant scientist group AGHAM and co-convenor of PCWA, "Achieving more than 40% global carbon emission cut below 1990 level by 2020 may avert the feared 2 degrees Celsius increase of global temperature, which many scientists believed will be catastrophic if not prevented. It is a realistic goal and the world has no choice if we want to avoid global disaster."

In a statement of PCWA , they urged the 43 developing countries, especially the Philippine delegates, to hold their ground as developed countries, especially the US, have tried to evade responsibility in the past.

The US, the largest emitter of GHG in the world, is the only industrialized country, which did not sign the 1998 Kyoto Protocol. Its President-elect Obama promises to reduce their carbon emission down to their 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% below 1990 level by 2050. The European Union is negotiating a 20% cut below 1990 levels by 2020.

"It should be expected that industrialized countries, particularly the United States, will impose smaller carbon emission reduction in the pre-text of protecting their economies, as they have done in the past. They might also claim that higher carbon cut targets are unrealistic," Nolasco warned.

The alliance held that industrialized nations would want to continue to exploit and consume fossil fuels in their greed for profit. This is in view of the fact that industrialized nations were the ones historically and primarily responsible in the emission and rise of greenhouse gases (GHG).

Although developed countries already gave their word to cut back on emissions, Nolasco insisted that, "Cutting back on emissions is not enough. Any genuine move to resolve the problem of global warming must critically recognize and address the larger socio-economic context in which it occurs."

"As we criticize the policies and offenses of industrialized nations, especially the US, as exacerbating the problem of global warming, the Philippine government also lacks genuine policies and programs to mitigate climate change and help communities adapt to its impacts." Nolasco pointed out.

She further expressed that, "The position of the Philippine government in the Conference of Parties in Poznan contradicts the policies of the Arroyo administration in relation to carbon emissions. The Arroyo government's economic policies such as in mining and energy, agriculture and forest is geared towards in producing and consuming more carbon-based fuels such as large-scale mining projects, coal-fired power plants, oil and gas extraction projects."

"The solution to global warming goes beyond carbon emission reduction. We should address the root cause of it, which is the unsustainable extraction and use of our natural resource particularly of fossil fuels. For a start, we can address the problem if we can oppose and stop the globalization policies of the Arroyo administration which is putting our country and people more at risk and vulnerable to climate change," Dr. Tapang ended.

Reference: Meggie Nolasco, PCWA spokesperson, 09163733275

support fishersfolks' fight against off-shore mining

Dear friends,

Warm greetings!

On 20th – 23rd October 2008, an international fact finding mission (IFFM) was organized by PAN AP, PCFS and FIDEC in Central Visayas, Philippines to look into the effects of off-shore oil and gas exploration. The IFFM team was composed of various organisations' representatives from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

The findings of the IFFM team prove that off-shore mining activities have destroyed the marine ecosystem and have greatly affected the lives and economic activities of the communities, who are greatly dependent on the marine resources for their daily existence.

As a result of the IFFM, the team recommends for the government to immediately stop the off-shore oil and gas exploration activities. According to their joint manifesto, these extractive activities violate the economic, social, and cultural rights of the Visayan people, especially the right to food and food sovereignty.

A full documentation of the IFFM is published in the Speak Out and can be downloaded from .

A photo essay can be viewed at .

We urge everyone to support the struggle of the Visayan fishing community by signing on to the online petition letter found at This letter will be automatically sent to the concerned offices and individuals.

Thank you for your support.

PCFS Secretariat


Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is a global network working to eliminate the human and environmental harm caused by pesticides and to promote biodiversity based ecological agriculture. PAN Asia and the Pacific is committed to the empowerment of people especially women, agricultural workers, and peasant and indigenous farmers. We are dedicated to protect the safety and health of people, and the environment from pesticide use and genetic engineering. We believe in a people-centered, pro-women development through food sovereignty, ecological agriculture and sustainable lifestyles.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Garcia halts survey to find oil after firm fails to consult LGUs

Garcia halts survey to find oil after firm fails to consult LGUs

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Garcia halts survey to find oil after firm fails to consult LGUs
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Sunday, November 30, 2008 - 23:32
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THE order temporarily halting an Australian-based firm’s oceanographic survey on possible presence of oil and natural gas off the seawaters of Argao and Sibonga towns stays, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said.

“They (firm officials) failed to coordinate with the local government units. They failed to apply for an efficient, quick and transparent system of compensation to fisherfolk,” Garcia told a recent press conference.

She also said that no clear consultations were done with the affected residents.

NorAsia Energy Ltd. launched exploratory surveys in Argao and Sibonga September this year.

But fisherfolks, cause-oriented groups, and environmentalist lawyers have strongly objected to its activity, which they said put to risk marine life and the livelihood of fishermen.

Sibonga Mayor Lionel Bacaltos and Argao Mayor Edsel Galeos both refused to sign the draft memorandum of agreement presented to them by the Department of Energy (DOE).

The agreement was aimed at conciliating with the two southeastern town mayors, who also objected to the seismic surveys.

Bacaltos said he would not sign the agreement until the DOE deletes a provision stating that “proper consultation were conducted” with the affected residents and fisherfolks.

He said NorAsia has not conducted any public hearing on its plans.

Galeos, on the other hand, said he has yet to read the agreement, adding that he will make sure the fisherfolks’ concerns will be addressed.

Garcia had issued an executive order (EO) suspending NorAsia’s seismic survey.

She said it was insufficient for the firm to simply furnish her and the two concerned town mayors a letter informing them of the activity.

DOE 7 Director Antonio Labios and NorAsia representatives, who paid her a courtesy call recently, had assured her that the firm will address all concerns.

“But as of now, the EO stands because I had requested them (NorAsia) to come up with an agreement on how further exploration should be done, especially on the
compensation of affected fisherfolk,” said Garcia. (GMD)

For Bisaya stories from Cebu. Click here.

(December 1, 2008 issue)
Write letter to the editor.Click here.

Green Vote, Now!

Agreement signed for peaceful elections
Updated November 28, 2008 12:00 AM

CEBU - The Commission on Elections has signed a memorandum of understanding with lawyers group, deans of colleges and universities offering law courses, student’s organizations, non-governmental organizations and civic groups for the holding of honest and peaceful elections in 2010.

Comelec Commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento led the signing of the memorandum yesterday with Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu City Chapter represented by lawyer Briccio, Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu province chapter headed by lawyer Noel Adlawan, University of San Jose-Recoletos Faculty of Law represented by lawyer Jonathan Capanas, University of Cebu College of Law represented by dean Baldomero Estenzo, University of Cebu Law Students Society headed by Mark Anthony Gaviola, Lex Circle headed by Kirk Repollo, Save Tañon Strait Citizens Movement headed by lawyer Gloria Estenzo Ramos, Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center, Inc. headed by Vince Cinches.

Sarmiento told reporters that the signing was very historical because it was first of its kind in the Philippines.

According to Sarmiento, it was a welcomed development for the Comelec because of the active participation of different sectors in Cebu in educating the public on the importance of the next political exercises. Ramos, on the other hand, said there is a need for them to work hand in hand for the good of the country, especially during elections.

The Comelec issued Resolution No. 8514 for the resumption of the registration of voters from December 2, 2008 to December 15, 2009.

IBP and other groups have offered their services to Comelec to help effect a more efficient, widely participated and systematic registration for voters during the registration period.

They are also willing to harness their individual resources to be the Comelec partners in the voter’s education program. — Jose P. Sollano/LPM (THE FREEMAN)

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) and various groups yesterday signed a memorandum of agreement to wage a campaign on voter education.

Several civic and academic institutions and non-government organizations and the Comelec entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to “help effect a more efficient, widely participated and systematic” registration of voters, which officially starts on Dec. 2, 2008 to Dec. 15, 2009.

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the move is a “milestone” for the poll body since it is a show of concern among private and civic sectors who realize the need for an efficient registration of voters.

“We welcome this development and I am looking forward for other groups to also enter into a MOA with Comelec,” Sarmiento told reporters after signing the agreement at the Cebu Grand Hotel.

“This (signing of MOA) is a milestone since this will encourage the youth to register and vote and make a difference in the 2010 elections,” said Sarmiento.

Parties who signed the MOA include the provincial and city chapters of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in Cebu, several law schools and non-government organizations.

“The Comelec is doing its best in initiating electoral reforms with the help of the public so that we’ll have credible elections,” said Sarmiento.

The Comelec recently announced that the continuing registration of voters nationwide for the 2010 presidential election, except in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), shall resume on Dec. 2, 2008 until Dec. 15, 2009.

In a resolution promulgated in Nov. 12, 2008, the Comelec en banc ruled to adopt the use of biometrics technology for the purpose of “establishing a clean, complete, permanent and updated list of voters.”

But Sarmiento said his office is yet to receive a recommendation from the advisory council on what technology will be used in the 2010 poll.

He said the next election will certainly be automated as a compliance with the law.
“We are waiting for Congress to approve our proposed budget of P21 billion,” said Sarmiento.

Under the agreement, Comelec will provide its partner institutions with available information, materials, and paraphernalia to help educate registrants and voters.

During the registration of voters, the resolution said that applicants should personally file their applications at the Office of the Election Officer in their respective cities and municipalities during office hours on the above dates.

The resolution also stated that the persons who may register to vote for the upcoming 2010 elections must have the following requirements: (1) At least eighteen (18)
years of age; (2) A resident of the Philippines for at least a year and in the place wherein he proposes to vote for at least six (6) months on or before the day of the election; and (3) Not otherwise disqualified by law.

The resolution also provided that persons who have not yet turned 18 or have complied with the residency requirement during the period for registration, but will possess the same on or before the day of election (May 10, 2010 National and Local Elections), may register as a voter. (GMD)

For Bisaya stories from Cebu. Click here.