Wednesday, December 23, 2009

LGUs need to address climate issues

LGUs need to address climate issues
By Garry A. Cabotaje

AN official of a fisher-folk group has lamented that most of the local government units (LGUs) in Cebu have not acted on the threat of climate change.

“The problems on climate change are already here, but most of the LGUs in Cebu have not done anything yet to cushion the impact of this global phenomenon,” said Vince Cinches, executive director of the Fisher Folk Development Center Inc.

Cinches participated in a climate change forum and workshop at the Talisay City Hall last Monday. The forum hosted by Talisay City is in line with the ongoing international conference on climate change in Copenhagen.

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Cinches recommended that the LGUs tie up with other sectors to implement programs aimed at minimizing the disastrous effects of climate change.

He said that local officials should not take lightly the effects of climate change because more than 100 state leaders have been discussing ways to address its worldwide ill effects.

Christine Homez, city planning and development coordinator, said Talisay City has to come up with measures as it is vulnerable to floods and landslides.

When typhoons and a southwest monsoon hit Talisay two months ago, more than 50 families in the coastal villages of Mohon and Poblacion were rendered homeless by big waves.

Homez said the storms served as a wake-up call for the city to initiate plans against natural calamities and disasters.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has declared some of the city’s upland villages as landslide-prone, while areas near the riverbanks are also prone to flooding based on past incidents.

Homez lamented, though, that the P500,000-budget for the City Planning and Development Office’s (CPDO) comprehensive land use plan (CLUP) was removed from the newly-approved 2010 budget of P437.6 million.

The budget, she said, was supposed to be used for the CLUP’s “climate change sensitive” program.

Homez, also the city disaster coordinating council officer, said her office needs to identify disaster-prone areas in Talisay to prepare them for any eventualities.

She said the CPDO needs devices like the global positioning system and a geographic information system for the disaster mapping project. The CPDO has requested the mayor’s office to provide funds for the project.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 20, 2009.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

FIDEC Inc. Won the Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan Award for Organizations

Awards for unsung environmental heroes launched

In its 20th year, the Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippine s launched the Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan and presented the awards to the seven remarkable individuals and organizations who have launched notable actions and programs to defend the environment, lives, and rights of Filipino people.

"Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan is our way of honoring the natural nurturers of the environment and promoting the kind of environmentalism that sees the oneness of the environment with the political, economic and cultural aspects of society." said Ms. Frances Quimpo, executive director of CEC-Phils.

The Gawad sa mga Indibidwal (Award for Individuals) are awarded to individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary ability and effort to uphold the environment and people’s welfare, whether in the form of advocacy, campaigns, education, research, technology development, community services, mass media or cultural work. The recipients of the awards are:

* · Datu Guibang Apoga of Davao del Norte, a tribal chieftain who united 83 Ata-Manobo villages within the Talaingod ancestral land to fight the commercial logging operations in their province.
* · Professor Margarita dela Torre-dela Cruz, an educator, researcher and development worker committed to the promotion of quality education, research and development, and community service.
* · Emmanuel Calonzo head of EcoWaste Coalition and promotes environmental justice in the country and helps communities to uphold their rights to a clean, toxic-free environment and future.

The Gawad sa mga Organisasyon (Award for Organizations) are awarded to top peoples' and community organizations and institutions that have demonstrated unity in upholding the welfare of the people and of the environment by exemplary actions and advocacy, campaigns, education, research, technology development, community services, mass media or cultural work. The recipients of the awards are:

* · Cordillera Poeple's Alliance (CPA), an independent federation of progressive peoples organizations, most of them grassroots-based organizations among indigenous communities in the Cordillera Region, Philippines that is committed to the promotion and defense of indigenous peoples’ rights, human rights, social justice, and national freedom and democracy.
* · Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center, Inc. (FIDEC) that was conceived and organized, with the primary role of assisting in the organizing process and alliance formation of fishing communities in the Visayas.
* · SEAMANCOR Eco-Devopers, Inc, manages a 112 hectare natural mangrove forest and rehabilitated another 267 hectares of mangrove plantations whose reforestation efforts contributed to the preservation of the natural flora and fauna of Sorsogon.

The Natatatanging Gawad (Most distinguished award) is awarded to either an individual or organization in recognition of being an inspiration and example to the Filipino people for offering time and talents for the defense of the environment and advancement of the people’s welfare. The award went to Eliezer "Boy" BIllanes, a staunch anti-mining activist in South Cotabato who was killed for his convictions and activities making him, the 20th anti-mining activist killed under the Arroyo administration.

The CEC-Phils also hopes to promote a strand of environmentalism that views environmental problems in the context of the struggles of communities for equal rights to the protection and wise utilization of the natural resources and the analysis that the current Philippine environmental crisis is just a reflection of the social inequalities that beset the nation.

"The Philippines has become a haven for massive natural resource extraction and toxic waste dumping by local and largely foreign corporations facilitated by our own government's economic programs without a solid blueprint on how this sale of our national patrimony will develop the country and improve people’s marginal lives. " Ms. Quimpo explained.

She furthered that hopefully through the GBK, people may be inspired to be heroes of the environment and the people and take part in the environmental movement whose ultimate vision is for the majority of the Filipino people to enjoy access and control of the resources and the fruits of their toil, instead of being enjoyed only by a few foreign corporations and the local elite.

A 2-day lecture series by the GBK awardees was held from December 8-9 at the UP Balay Kalinaw and capped by the awards ceremonies on December 10 at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani.

Reference: Frances Quimpo, Executive Director, CEC-Phils., 09178846325.