Cec feedback03


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Cec feedback03

  1. 1. Official Publication of the Center for Environmental Concerns Philippines Helping communities address environmental challenges September-December 2010 ISSN 0117-0864 Contents 2 Justice 3 Human rigHts, food security top concerns in cec educational discussions 4 leonard co: Bringing knowledge of tHe forests to tHe people 8 encountering tHe trutH: tHe kananga 3 killings 11 a Bloodstained History: tHe 19tH iB’s record of rigHts violations 13 renew training Bares environmental proBlems of urBan poor communities 14 tHe envicore engagement: save tHe world, take tHe crasH course 17 anti-slapp Bill of 2010 campaign kicks-off witH cultural nigHt 17 cec pilots first luzon-wide envicore training 18 asia-pacific environmental educators, activists unite on gloBal warmingLeonard Co 20 education for cHange and sustainaBle people’s development 22 give it a facedecember 29, 1953-november 15, 2010 24 landlessness and carper, culprits in world ‘foodless’ day
  2. 2. EdItorIal Justice I t is a simple word, yet one most elusive in these troubling times. On November 15, 2010, the Philippines lost one of its most respected experts in ethno-botany and taxonomy: Leonard Co. Along with farmer Julius and common sense at the very least. It is unaccept- Borromeo and forest guard Sofronio Cortez, Co was able to just write off the killings as a tragic aber- gunned down by troops in the forests of Kananga, ration. As human rights groups pointed out, the Leyte while on fieldwork. The 19th Infantry Battal- killing of Co and his team is not an isolated case, lion, instead, blames the deaths of Co and his team a freak accident. Many other educators, teach- on an encounter with rebels, denying their culpa- ers, researchers, and health workers who have bility in the incident. Yet, as facts on the case con- set aside opportunities for career and monetary tinue to unravel, more and more evidence and testi- advancement to work in rural communities have monies point out to the military as the sole culprit been falsely accused of being terrorists, harassed, responsible for the killing. illegally detained, and even killed. Many farmers It is ironic that one of our best experts on have been gunned down by soldiers on mere suspi- forest species and biodiversity conservation was cion of being rebels. More ominously, other envi- killed during this juncture of two globally envi- ronmental advocates have been deliberately tar- ronmental events: 2010, the International Year geted by death squads in the past few years. of Biodiversity and 2011, the International Year There is no justice if we allow this climate of A country is only of Forests. The statement of the Philippine Native impunity to fester. Co’s killing fits into a lengthy list Plant Conservation Society, an organization that of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) over the past ten years, as wealthy as its Co was very much a part of, underscores a chill- crossing over two Presidential administrations. ing truth: How can this champion of conservation Co’s killing is one of the first EJKs to occur resources and its suffer at the hands of his supposed guardians? under the new Aquino administration. The thou- There is clearly no justice in that, and no jus- sands of deaths and killings that have occurred people. In this tice in the way that things have been. with disturbing regularity are not incidental; there There is no justice in letting environmental is a system that is responsible for the regular recur- era of vanishing advocates be slaughtered. A country is only as rence of impunity, for the continuous bloodshed. natural resources wealthy as its resources and its people. In this The challenge now, not just for Co’s family, peers, era of vanishing natural resources due to plunder and colleagues but also for all Filipinos, is to pursue due to plunder and destruction, the killing of scientists and envi- justice on both a case to case and policy-wide basis: ronmentalists like Co are crimes doubly heinous. seeking accountable the hands that pulled the trig- and destruction, Those who stand by the protection of the envi- ger to the masterminds who imposed policies that ronment and people’s welfare are also the first to have turned military troops into a mercenary, mer- the killing of be felled in the face of ignorance and impunity. ciless army, considering civilians as mere expend- There is no justice in mere forgetting and sim- ables. There will be more like Co, Borromeo, and scientists and ply accepting the lack of accountability in the kill- Cortez unless these realities are addressed.environmentalists ings of the Kananga Three. The killing of Co, Cor- We must pursue Co’s killers and hold them tez and Borromeo is a blatant violation of basic accountable for the crime. And we must do what like Co are crimes human rights, international rules of engagement we can to help change this climate of impunity and the treatment of civilians by armed forces, prevailing for nearly a decade. Only then can jus- doubly heinous. elementary security protocols, and even humanity tice be truly served.
  3. 3. NEwSHuman rigHts,food security top concerns in cec “KA DANING” explains how genu-educational discussions ine land reform can address food insecurity (left), while a protester warns that killings will continue for as long as impunity reigns (right).rog amoN From January 21, 2001H uman rights and food security were among this quarter’s topics in Talakayan sa Kubo, CEC’s monthly educational discussions. to June 30, 2010 which Danilo Ramos, Secretary-General of the December’s Talakayan sa Kubo zoomed is the end of Arroyo’sKilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) dis- in on the issue of the Human Rights Situa- intensely repressive rule,cussed Food Security and the Philippine tion in the Philippines. Thaddeus IfurungPeasant Situation in the October session of of Karapatan said that President Aquino’s a total of 1,206 peopleTalakayan sa Kubo. Ramos said that the Phil- Daang Matuwid is not a far cry from GMA’s have been victims of EJK,ippines’ agrarian and agricultural policies con- blood-stained regime. A statement from 153 of whom are womentinue to drag citizens into deeper poverty and Karapatan reads, “We see no glimmer ofhunger. The country is the world’s number one change and his straight path is marred by the and 475 are human rightsrice net importer and the National Food Associ- blood of victims of political killings.” defenders. There are aation merely acts as a trader for imported rice. “There were 18 victims killed during the total of 206 victims of Instead of offering solutions, the Aquino last six months of Macapagal-Arroyo. Theregovernment has recorded violations of peas- are now at least 25 victims of extra-judi- enforced disappearance,ant rights that tolled 13 victims of extrajudicial cial killings (EJK’s) barely five months after 31 of whom are womenkillings (EJK) last year, 2 enforced disappear- Aquino took over (July 1 – November 30,ances and five accused of trumped-up charges. and 68 are human 2010).” Aquino’s government has been deaf KMP reported that 80% of farmers at the to the insistent call for the immediate release rights defenders. Moreprovince are landless and are systematically of 43 health workers much less to the clamor than 2000 have beensubjected to exploitative conditions such as for justice for the death of the country’s tophigh land rent, usury, underpricing, low wages botanist Leonardo Co and his two compan- arbitrarily arrested forand even harassment brought about by mili- ions. In spite of the dispiriting culture of their political beliefs.tarization. The persistent oppression of our impunity, it is the people’s responsibility tofood producers coupled with unpredictability defend human rights, justice and democracyof weather patterns caused by climate change and end the horrors of continuing state vio- - Karapatan Monitor,aggravates the country’s food insecurity. lence and repression,” Karapatan said. July- September 2010
  4. 4. FEaturES leonard co: Bringing knowledge of tHe forests to tHe people lISa Ito-tapaNg T hey did not realize it then, but when the military fired upon the team of Leon- ardo L. Co in the forests of Kananga, Leyte, they felled one of the most pas- sionate scholars and protectors of our country’s forests, one among a rare and endangered breed of scientists for the Filipino people. An ethno-botanist and plant taxonomist, the year old daughter, Linnaea Marie, was named 56-year old Co was in Kananga as a consultant after Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist known on biodiversity for a reforestation project. At as the father of modern taxonomy. the time of his death, Co was also serving as a museum researcher and lecturer for the Univer- filipino-cHinese Heritage sity of the Philippines Institute of Biology (UP Leonardo Legaspi Co was born in Manila on IB). He is married to Glenda F. Co. Their eight- December 29, 1953. His father, Lian Sing Co 4
  5. 5. immigrated to the Philippines from mainland ural Science Research Center-Ministry of NaturalChina as a young man and married Emelina Resources. Leaving Manila soon after this stint,Legaspi from Taguddin, Ilocos. Co continued his research and immersion with Co was the eldest child and the sole son in a grassroots communities in the mountains of theChinese-Filipino household. He grew up in Caloo- Cordillera region.can City, learning Fookien and Mandarin in addi-tion to English and Filipino. Joaquin Sy, in his people’s scientist and professortribute, recalls the young Co as one who excelled In 1981, Co and other advocates founded ain Chemistry at the Philippine Chinese High Baguio-based NGO, named Community Health,School, becoming involved in the student council Education, Services and Training in the Cordil-and the student paper, where he wrote a column lera Region (Chestcore), a community healthunder the pen name Siling Labuyo. group working across six provinces. Chestcore Co entered UP in 1972 as a Chemical Engi- was able to document 122 medicinal plants in theneering major, but later on shifted to Botany. This region, complete with their scientific and com-was perhaps a result of his taking on an interest mon names, descriptions, illustrations and theirin plants (particularly ferns) and started trek- nutritional and medicinal values. They workedking and mountain hiking. His colleagues recalled with indigenous peoples communities to “system-that Co was inspired by his high school biology atize the knowledge of the masses about medici-teacher, Benito Tan, who became an internation- nal plants for basic health care,” Casambre said.ally-recognized moss taxonomist. Co offered his knowledge of traditional Chi- nese and herbal medicine and scientific expertiseBotanist for tHe masses to the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera, whose It was at UP where Co pursued his passion for remote and poor communities have been neglectedscience and service to the people. He would be for most part by the national government. Theinvolved in organizations which merged his vari- Cordillera Peoples Alliance and the Tongtonganous interests, such as the UP Botanical Society, Ti Umili said in separate statements that Co wasthe Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral sa Pilipino and a “great scientist who devoted his life to practicingthe UP Mountaineers. science and health for the people,” enduring “diffi- Rey Casambre, Director of the Philippine cult travel along rocky mountain roads, even trek-Peace Center, recalled that Co also “belonged then king up many steep trails on foot to reach commu-to a group of bright and dedicated activists” who nities where government health and social serviceswere undergrad majors or graduates of botany did not reach” and training local health workers onor zoology. The group was part of a network of the use of medicinal plants and the practice of acu-Filipino scientists who were “committed to using puncture, so that they could attend to their com-their scientific and technical knowledge and skills munity’s health needs.”to serve the Filipino people, resisting the Marcos By 1989, Co and Chestcore published a bookdictatorship, and struggling for an independent, entitled “Common Medicinal Plants in the Cordil-genuinely democratic and just society.” lera Administrative Region: A Trainor’s Manual to CALL FOR JUSTICE GROWS: Among the group’s projects was a survey of Community-Based Health Programs (CBHP),” as a Some of the 40 native trees plantedPhilippine medicinal plants. For at least five resource book for upland communities seeking by the Co family and supporters ofyears, Co and this team dedicated their time to more accessible sources of medicine for common the Justice for Leonard Co Move-completing this study. By 1977, they compiled illnesses. Dr. Eleanor Jara, director of a national ment marking the 40th day of his death.and published this wealth of material, through health NGO, wrote that this book eventuallythe UP Botanical Society, into a 193-page illus- served as an “invaluable reference to more thantrated publication entitled “A Manual on Some 50 CBHPs nationwide” and “paved the way forPhilippine Medicinal Plants.” As many rural Filipi- the documentation of medicinal plants in CBHPnos did not have access to medical services and areas.”goods—a reality prevailing up to the present—such research helped promote the use of local and legendary plant taxonomistreadily-accessible herbal medicines by grassroots Upon returning from the Cordillera, Co con-communities. It is now considered a pioneering tinued to work in the field of biodiversity conser-and seminal work. vation, establishing himself as a top-notch plant From 1976 to 1981, Co also served as a taxonomist and among the best in his field.research assistant for an inventory of endangered In 1988, he became a pharmacologist at theand rare plant and animal species by the UP Nat- Acupuncture Therapeutic and Research Center in
  6. 6. TREE OF HOPE. Bereaved parents Lian Seng and Emelina Co, expect no less than the fruits of justice from what they have planted. Together with Co’s wife, Glenda, they recently filed murder raps against 38 soldiers of the Philippine Army. Manila. Afterwards, he worked as a field botanist its hidden order and where one would see just for Conservation International-Philippines (CI) endless green, he would expound on the complex and as a freelance consultant for various environ- interrelationships between one living thing to mental impact assessment projects. At CI, he con- another; He possessed firsthand knowledge that ducted biodiversity monitoring in the forests of can never be found in any literature,” the PNPCSI Sierra Madre, Palawan, and Eastern Mindanao. attested in a statement. In 2000 to the last few months of his life, Co He also engaged government as a represen- became involved as the principal investigator for tative of the CSO sector, becoming part of the a 16-hectare biodiversity research facility project Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau’s Philippine in Palanan, Isabela by the UP IB, CI, Arnold Arbo- Plant Conservation Committee (responsible for retum of Harvard University, and the Center for compiling the national “Red List” of threatened Tropical Forest Science of the Smithsonian Tropi- plants) in 2004 and National Wild Flora Council cal Research Institute. He later on co-authored a (a technical body for policy-making related to the book related to this in 2006, entitled “The Forest sustainable use of plant resources) in 2008. He provided a Trees of Palanan, Philippines: A Study in Population Co did not finish his Botany degree in UP Ecology.” until 2008, 32 years after he entered the Univer- glimpse into its Co joined many other environmental and pro- sity. Yet this delay in attaining complete academic (forests) hidden fessional organizations, such as the Wildlife Con- servation Society of the Philippines and Laksam- credentials never deterred him from becoming one of the major experts in his field. From 1977 order and where buhay Conservation, Inc. In 2007, he founded the Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society, Inc. to 2009, his researches led him to co-author six books and 13 articles in peer-reviewed publica-one would see just (PNPCSI), an NGO devoted to the conservation tions, including researches on the Rafflesia auran- of indigenous Philippine plants and their natu- tia (Rafflesiaceae), vaccimium (Ericeae), Xanthoste- endless green, he ral habitats. Through this, he was able to mobilize mon fruticosus (Myrtaceae), and Philippine ferns. many plant enthusiasts to support the cause of Dr. Perry Ong, Director of the UP IB, describes would expound biodiversity conservation and pursue the practice Co as “a world-class plant taxonomist bar none.” on the complex of taxonomy. “Few can realize the herculean task that Leon- “He might not have had the formal appointment as a professor but people considered him one because interrelationships ard Co set out to undertake. He spent a lifetime exploring and gathering precious data on the rap- of their recognition of his scholarly outputs...His swordplay with the living greats in plant taxonomybetween one living idly diminishing forested regions of the country; is legendary wherein he was able to argue with No one understood our native forest dynamics these icons and they could only nod in agreement thing to another. the way that he did; He provided a glimpse into and accept his analysis..[The international commu- 6
  7. 7. nity] expressed that Leonard’s death is a great lossto the world of plant taxonomy,” Ong wrote in an leonard co’s companionsarticle for the Philippine Star. Co’s expertise was such that fellow scientists W hen he set out to accomplish his survey within the forests of the EDC complex Leon- ard Co was accompanied by a four-man team team composed of forester Ronino Gibe, forest guard Sofronio Cortez, and peasant guides Policarpio Balute and Julius Borromeo.had a plant named after him: the Rafflesia Leon-ardi, discovered by an Agta native in Cagayan Val- When the military started shooting at their group from the ridge, Gibe and Balute man- aged to take cover behind some trees; Cortez and Borromeo were killed along with Co.ley, in 2008. With large orange-red flowers, it isone of the eight endemic species of rafflesia in Julius Borromeothe Philippines. A member of Tongonan Farmers Association, Julius Licayan Borromeo was the only breadwinnera nation’s loss and a father of six children, the youngest being only Co was felled at a time when his life’s work six years old.was beginning to see fruition, at a point when He was among the contractual guides and assis- tants commissioned for Co’s five-day fieldwork. Hiredhe was in a position to accomplish even greater by the EDC for P200 ($4.46) a day, Julius’ income forthings. His killing on November 15, 2010 this particular job order was the highest that he wouldabruptly cut short his work to document and save be supposedly bringing home, a Bulatlat.com interviewthe country’s remaining forest resources and bio- with Estelita Bayo, Borromeo’s godmother, revealed.diversity from extinction, plunder, and destruc- Teresa, Borromeo’s widow, recalled in that interviewtion. Yet his spirit persists in the resolve to carry that Borromeo left home early at 7 o’clock on Novem-on with what him and his peers have set out to ber 15, forgoing breakfast as he carried an umbrellaaccomplish. and sack for gathering leaves. Unknown to them both, A person is remembered by the way he has Borromeo’s first day on this job order would be the very last day of his life.changed the lives of others. I did not have theprivilege of meeting Leonard Co when he was still sofronio cortezalive. But witnessing the flowing words and tears Sofronio Cortez worked as a forest guard and was aof his peers, his students, and his loved ones leaves regular employee of EDC for the past 26 years. The 50-me with the conviction that our country has lost year old Cortez and his wife, Arsenia, have three chil-a person most extraordinary: an uncompromis- dren: Sonny Arnan and Sheryl Ara Mae finished collegeing scientist who purely and passionately pursued while Sam Ariel was in his last year of high school.the love of knowledge, a mentor who fired up peo- On the morning of November 15, Arsenia recalledple with a passion for taxonomy and a wonder for in a media report, Cortez left his home in his usual uni- form—a long-sleeved polo and a raincoat with the EDCwhat the earth has to offer, and a teacher whose logo—which he always wore whenever he worked indepth and breadth of expertise and commitment the forest within the EDC complex. His last text mes-inspired many others to follow in his footsteps. sage to his wife was sent at past nine in the morning, An iskolar ng bayan (scholar of the people) in a few hours before the incident. The couple would havethe very real sense of the word, the example of celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on JanuaryCo’s life again redefines our understanding of 19 this year.honor and excellence, the University’s motto: references:honor in serving the people and protecting our • Umil, Anne Marxze D., Widows of other victims in Kananga Murders call for justice. 4natural wealth; integrity that foremost defines December 2010. http://bulatlat.com/main/2010/12/04/widows-in-kananga-murders-the standards of excellence and distinction on call-for-justice/one’s own terms and not that of others. • Gabieta, Joey A. “Wife of slain forest guard seeks justice”, Leyte Samar Daily Express http:// During the wake, the elder Co shared that he leytesamardaily.net/2010/11/slain-forest-guard-widow-seeks-justice/tried to impart to his son two valuable lessons: • Gabieta, Joey A. “Kin of farmers killed with botanist demand impartial probe,” Philip-a passion for books, and helping his fellowmen. pine Daily Inquirer, http://services.inquirer.net/mobile/10/12/04/html_output/xml-Looking back at his short but fruitful life, one can html/20101120-304322-xml.htmlsay that the younger Co imbibed a fervor for learn-ing and a firm commitment to share that wisdomwith others and spent his life practicing this in the yet comprehensive manner that the student can-classroom, the communities, and the forests. not help but imbibe the same passion,” the PNPSCI His colleagues described Co best. “A teacher at said of Co. That is perhaps the best honor that oneheart, he imparted knowledge freely. He taught can give to a mentor: affirming how one’s words,intensely, convincingly, provocatively. He knew ideas, and practice have lit the fire of learning andand loved his subject with ardor and conviction change in other’s minds and hearts.and taught in an intrinsically colorful, even poetic, (continued on page 15) 7
  8. 8. encountering tHe trutH: tHe kananga 3 killings lISa Ito-tapaNg O n November 15, 2010, the Philippines lost one of its finest ethnobotanists and taxonomists, Leonardo Co and his teammates, forest guard Sofronio Cortez and farmer Julius Borromeo, to a hail of bullets in the forests of the Manawan-Kananga Watershed in Leyte province. This article recounts the ordeal of Co and his team, as reconstructed by previous media reports and by the November 26 independent fact-finding mission led by Agham and the Justice for Leonard Co Movement. AT RISK. Map showing the forested area of Kananga, Leyte, where the At the time of his death, Co and his team food and tools. The team had just finished mark- killings took place. Declared by the were in the area to collect specimen seedlings of ing a mayapis, syzigium and tanguile tree when a local government in 2009 as an endangered trees as part of a reforestation project area where “forest resources and heavy rainshower prompted them to stop. They wildlife habitat are at risk,” the case for the Lopez-owned Energy Development Corp planned to go back to the nursery of the geother- of Co, Borromeo and Cortez proves (EDC) in the Leyte Geothermal Production Field, mal plant facility and texted driver of the EDC that even environmental defenders the world’s largest wet steamfield. Katungod service vehicle to fetch them. face even deadlier risks. Sinirangan Bisayas, a local human rights organi- They were still waiting when the rain abated zation, said that the incident happened within at around 11:15 a.m; Co decided to resume the the vicinity of the EDC-PNOC, of the Mahi-aw survey. The fourth tree that they set out to iden- Plant where there are camps of a special Citizens tify was an interesting case, and the five men Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) unit gathered all around it for a closer inspection. and a 19th Infantry Battalion (IB) team. That was the last tree that Co, Cortez, and Borromeo would ever survey. At around three co and company: fieldwork in kananga’s forests in the afternoon, their three lifeless bodies, rid- Co arrived at the EDC in Kananga, Leyte on dled with bullets, were carried by soldiers back to November 9. As a biodiversity consultant for pad 403 and later on transported to the V. Rama EDC’s reforestation project, it was Co’s respon- Funeral Homes by the EDC. Balute and Gibe, sibility to identify and collect rare seedling spec- shaken from their ordeal, were brought to a hos- The fourth tree imens along with his team. From November 10 to 13, Co and his guides were able to conduct pital in Ormoc City. that they set out their fieldwork in three different pads within military: casualties of a “crossfire” the EDC territory. A pad is an area where geo- Initial media reports later quoted the local to identify was an thermal steam is piped from the ground to the police and army as saying that the killings of EDC plant. Co’s team and his guides took the interesting case, day off on November 14, the day of Manny Pac- the three men was the “unfortunate” result of a “legitimate military operation” in the forest area, and the five men quiao’s successful boxing bout against Antonio Margarito. where troops reportedly sighted and pursued New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.gathered all around On the early morning of November 15, Mon- day, Co and four of his team mates left the geo- According to the police blotter of the it for a closer thermal plant staff house to resume fieldwork in Kananga Police Station, 38 troops from the pad 403, reportedly a choice site for collecting 19th IB troops, led by First Lieutenant Ronald inspection. That forest samples. Odchimar and 2nd Lieutenant Cameron Perez, They reached the pad at around 9:30 a.m. was the last tree and started their survey. It was a small, efficient reportedly engaged in a firefight with around ten persons with long firearms, at Sitio Mahiao, that Co, Cortez, team: Co and Cortez would examine trees and their leaves to identify their species. Policarpio Barangay Lim-ao. In the course of clearing oper- ations, the troops “found out (sic) three dead and Borromeo Balute, a peasant guide, measured their diameter. Ronino Gibe, a forester, was in charge of record- bodies.” The military also reportedly received intelligence information about NPA sightings on would ever survey. ing the data observed. Borromeo brought their November 12 and subsequently communicated 8
  9. 9. this to the EDC. The 19th IB supposedly started out and saw soldiers in camouflage approachingconducting operations in the vicinity on Sunday, them from both sides. He broke cover and raisedNovember 14. his arms. In a press statement on November 17, 19th IB “May isa pa palang buhay dito (There is oneCommanding Officer Federico Tutaan said that more here alive),” a soldier ordered him to cometheir troops observing the area spotted around out at gunpoint. Crying and shaking in fear, Gibe“seven men carrying high-powered firearms,” pleaded for medical help for his companions. Cowho opened fire upon sensing the government and Cortez lay motionless while Borromeo wastroops around 30 meters away. A ten-minute moaning in pain.exchange of gunfire reportedly ensured, wound- “Wala na, ‘di na aabot sa ospital kasama moing “an determined number” of rebels and reach- (It’s gone, your companion will not make it to theing the civilians “incidentally located within the hospital),” another soldier told Gibe.line of fire.” A soldier asked Gibe about his other two “armed” companions and asked the latter to show AN INDEPENDEN T FACT FINDING MISSION led bysurvivors: we were tHe only ones tHere his weapons. Gibe denied that he or any other scientists’ group Agham concluded However, doubts quickly surfaced as to member of his team were armed. that no crossfire took place,whether a crossfire indeed occurred. Testimo- contrary to what the militarynies by Co’s surviving crew, as well as subsequent “P...ina, natalay tayo!” one soldier exclaimed. claims, and demanded a speedy and impartial investigation byinspections of the area, pointed out otherwise: Gibe was ordered to lie down on the ground while government authorities.that Co’s team was alone in the area and was the troops took away his cellphone and GPS unit.never caught in a clash between government and Gibe identified himself as an EDC employee,rebel forces. explaining his group’s purpose and activities in the area and the identities of Co and Borromeo. Balute, a farmer who served as one of the Gibe was instead further interrogated about theteam’s local guides, recalled how they were closely equipment he had on hand, including his notesstudying the fourth tree when a rapid burst of and the map the team had, as well as his contactsgunfire from unseen shooters erupted around 30 from the EDC. He again asked for help for histo 40 meters behind the team. companions. By this time, Borromeo was already “Doon lang galing sa may itaas lahat at isa bleeding, telling Gibe that he was hit near thelang ang direksyon, (All shots came from one heart. Gibe pleaded to the soldiers to help Bor-direction, which is from above)” Balute was romeo.quoted as saying. He denied hearing any exchange “Wag kang maingay! Ligtas ka na! (Don’t beof shots that indicated a gunfight between oppos- noisy! You’re already saved!),” another soldiering sides. told Gibe to shut up. It was around one in the Co and his team mates dropped to the ground, afternoon.with only tree branches and roots for cover. They Gibe remained lying face down for about twopleaded for the shooting to stop. “Maawa kayo, hours while the troops met and talked amonghindi kami kalaban! (Have mercy, we are not themselves from a disance. He was then asked TREE CRIES EVIDENCE: The fact finding team examines the largeenemies),” the survivors recalled Co pleading for to stand up and answer the same questions they tree from where Gibe took cover.mercy. He was already crying out in pain, having asked him earlier. The soliders asked Gibe if he Six bullet marks were found, theirsustained a shot in the back. knew about the military’s operations in the area, trajectories coming from the van- “Dia lang diay mo!” (“So there you are!”), saying that it was impossible for Gibe’s group tage point where the military posi- tioned themselves.someone from the group that fired at Co’s team to miss the three armed men the soldiers wereshouted back. They were continously assaulted by observing for thirty minutes. Gibe said that hisrapid gunfire and big explosions. group did not see anyone and again asked for Balute decided to flee the site because he was held for Borromeo.positioned at the back of a big tree; the four were The troops then gave first aid to Borromeo,still lying face down on the ground. Gibe, mean- and called his condition peklat (scar). At thiswhile, managed to creep towards another large point, Gibe asked for his cellphone and called histree and hide behind its buttress. Gibe dared not superiors from EDC to relay details of the inci-peep out of his hiding place for fear of being shot. dent. He was then ordered by troops to proceedHis companions were no longer responding to his back to pad 403. It was around two in the after-calls; one by one, they fell silent as gunfire riddled noon.the ground for around twenty more minutes. The walk down was the last time Gibe saw When the firing finally stopped, Gibe peeped Borromeo alive. Borromeo was laid on a sack and
  10. 10. brought down by the soldiers. At around three despite Gibe and Borromeo’s repeated requests, in the afternoon, an EDC service vehicle arrived the 19th IB troops likewise failed to provide imme- to send Gibe to a hospital in Ormoc. He later diate medical attention and hospital treatment to learned that Borromeo died while at the pad. Borromeo, which prolonged his agony and ulti- mately led to his death. The culprits scientists: no signs of a crossfire Around ten days after the killing, an inde- The FFM team recommended specific actions related to the 19th IB and the EDC. All military accountable pendent citizens fact-finding mission (FFM) was personnel connected to the chain of command organized from November 26 to 28 to gather tes- related to the shooting must be included in the for the crimes timonies and other relevant information on the investigation and filing of charges, their firearms case. Led by Agham-Advocates of Science and secured and surrendered to the proper authori- have to be made Technology for the People and the Justice for ties. The liability of the troops who failed to give accountable for Leonard Co Movement, the 33-member team composed of scientists, experts, environmental Borromeo immediate medical attention and evac- uation must also be pursued. The EDC, on the this transgression advocates, human rights workers, and journalists gathered testimonies, documentation and obser- other hand, must fully cooperate into clarifying their communication, security coordination pro- of human rights; vations from people involved in the incident, the tocols. All documents that would further shed local police, the 19th IB, and the EDC staff. The light on the truth must be made available.the truth should be team documented the findings from their inter- The case has just began, but life will never views. be the same for the loved ones of the “Kananga pursued up to the They went back to the site of the killing and Three,” after that fateful morning on November very end. to the ridge where the soldiers supposedly shot it out with rebel troops. Among the significant 15. Borromeo and Cortez were both laid to rest on November 25 by their families in Leyte. They observations noted in the site was that the direc- left behind six and three children, respectively. Co tion of the bullet marks on the trees originated was cremated on November 23 in Quezon City. from a vantage point on the ridge above Co and Part of his ashes have been scattered over a dita his team. The direction of the bullet marks was tree at the University of the Philippines, home bearing downwards and mainly concentrated in to Co’s humble yet beloved herbarium. His only the area where Co’s team was standing. child, still a young girl, will have to learn to love Tree number four, where the group gathered the trees of this country without her father. Their around for one last time, was hit three times. The families and colleagues continue to seek answers large tree that saved Gibe from certain death had to the unresolved questions behind their deaths. six bullet marks on it. In contrast, the team did The full extent of circumstances that have led to not observe any bullet marks on the trees from the 19th IB’s killing of Co, Cortez, and Borromeo the ground looking up to the ridge or from any have yet to be affirmed by the government bodies side. tasked to investigate the case. The only consistent explanation for these key Grief can know no closure without truth and observations, the team concluded, would be that justice. The culprits accountable for the crimes the military was positioned on top of the ridge have to be made accountable for this transgres- and firing towards Co’s team. There was no indi- sion of human rights; the truth should be pur- cation of any crossfire. By waiting for at least an sued up to the very end. Only then can we begin hour before bringing Co’s team down to pad 403, to overcome the impunity that killed three good Kananga. men, one rainy morning in the silent forests of references: • The Report of the Fact Finding Mission on the Killings of Leonardo Co, Sofronio Cortez and Julius Borromeo in Kananga, Leyte, December 8, 2010. • How It Happened: Death of a Botanist (Talk of the Town), Philippine Daily Inquirer, 25 December 2010, http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/talkofthetown/view/20101225-310935/Death- of-a-botanist • Pazzibugan, Donna. ‘Bullets did not come from soldiers,’ says AFP commander on crossfire casual- ties”, Philippine Daily Inquirer. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20101117- 303787/Bullets-did-not-come-from-soldiers-says-AFP-commander-on-crossfire-casualties • http://www.energy.com.ph/our-projects/geothermal/?pTab=operations • Roa, Elvie. “Slain botanist heard begging for mercy.”, Philippine Daily Inquirer. 11 November 2010. 10
  11. 11. a Bloodstained History: tHe 19tH iB’s record of rigHts violationsU nknown to many, the army unit involved in the killing of Leonard Co, Sof- ronio Cortrez, and Julius Borromeo has been dubbed by human rights groups as the “Massacre Battalion’ for being implicated in at least three previous mass killings of civiliansin Region 8. The 19th Infantry “Commando” Battalion (IB) By July 1, 2002, the 19th IB transferred to its newwas activated during the Marcos dictatorship on headquarters to Brgy. Aguiting, Kananga, Leyte.31 October 1973, at the height of the secessionist Camps and strategic detachments were later onmovement. It was assigned to combat operations established throughout Northern Leyte.in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Buluan andMariano Marcos, and Lanao del Sur, before being tHe first kananga massacretransferred to Northern Samar in 1985. The 19th In between five to six a.m. on April 16, 2003,IB is currently under the jurisdiction of the 8th residents of farming communities in Brgy. SanInfantry Division (ID) of the Philippine Army in Isidro and Brgy. Bagabao, Kananga awoke to aEastern Visayas (EV). volley of gunfire emanating from a hill in Sitio A closer scrutiny of the 19th IB’s track record Mahayhay, San Isidro. Farmers sent their wivesin Northern Samar also reveals that there were and children to the nearby sitio to avoid being hitat least two more massacres perpetuated by ele- by stray bullets.ments of this battalion against civilians, where Farmers Allan Collarte, Roy Collarte, andvictims were either similarly written off as being Mateo Tequilla were discussing the situation There were at leastcaught in the crossfire or were suspected rebels. when they were approached by soldiers in a rice field, who shot at them after they sensed danger two more massacresmassacre in nortHern samar and ran away to safety. Tequilla was left behind The earliest documented massacre happened and forced at gunpoint to be interrogated and perpetuated byin January 28, 1999, when patrolling elementsstrafed the house of a peasant family in Sitio accused of being a rebel. Other residents who were left behind in the sitio overheard cries of elements of thisMogus, Brgy. Capacungan, Palapag, NorthernSamar. Ermito Nuguit, 52 years old, was killed people—including a woman and a child—plead- ing or in pain, followed by gunshots. battalion againstalong with his pregnant wife, Delia, and their When the firing stopped at around 9 a.m., res- civilians, wherethree sons. The army later claimed that it was an idents and barangay tanods approached the inci-encounter with New People’s Army (NPA) rebels. dent site and collected the bodies of nine civil- victims were either ians from the army troops in the place. The deaddeployment to nortHern leyte included a pregnant woman, four minors, and a similarly written off In November 2001, the 19th IB moved fromNorthern Samar to Zamboanga City and Jolo in former barangay councilor who was the chairper- son of the local farmers association. The bodies as being caught inorder to augment military operations against theMNLF. Returning to EV in March 2002, the 19th were brought to the Kananga Municipal Hall at 1:30 p.m. Injuries indicated that the victims were the crossfire or wereIB established temporary base in Ormoc, Leyte. shot at close range and sustained contusions, suspected rebels. 11
  12. 12. burns, and bludgeoning by hard objects. breakfast in a hut near the contested rice lands A preliminary inquiry was initiated by local when they were shot at by men in bonnets andhuman rights organizations on April 18 and a ski masks. The farmers shouted that they werenational fact-finding mission was held from May civilians but were still attacked with gunfire and30 to June 3, 2003 on the incident. These inves- hand grenades. When the firing stopped, armedtigations concluded that victims were civilians men in military gear ordered the survivors to liebelonging to people’s organizations who “sum- down and admit that they were rebels. Their pleasmarily executed despite their immobility and for immediate medical attention were ignored.helplessness.” These also concluded that the 19th Local police were prevented from responding toIBPA Command undertook armed military oper- the incident.ations in any area of their choice without the Col. Louie Dagoy admitted that the 19th IBrequired coordination and courtesy accorded to was responsible for the attack but claimed thatthe concerned local officials and also committed this was a legitimate encounter between theother HRVs against residents and witnesses. army and the rebels. The army also filed criminal charges of illegal possession of firearms and ille-under tHe ‘ButcHer’ gal assembly against the surviving farmers. Eight The 8th ID was among the army units placed farmers were detained pending resolution of thedirectly under Major General Jovito S. Palparan, court cases and have reported receiving deathknown among activist groups as the “Butcher” threats during this period. One died in jail. Thedue to his record of racking up human rights vio- charges of illegal possession were dismissed inlations in areas where he was deployed. Palparan 2006 while the other case continues in court.served as the Commanding General of the 8th ID This massacre was included in the list offrom February 10 to August 25, 2005, and has charges filed by HUSTISYA, Desaparecidos,been credited for “reducing the insurgency prob- SELDA, and BAYAN against the administrationlem in Samar by 80 percent.” of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the Permanent People’s Tribunal second session intHe second massacre in palo, leyte the Philippines held at the Hague, The Nether- Shortly after Palparan’s stint in EV, the 19th IB lands in March 2007.was implicated in the November 21, 2005 massa-cre of eight civilians in Palo, Northern Leyte. The prelude to tHe tHird massacrevictims were among the 50 farmers participating In 2007, Lieutenant Col. Henry Bumiltac,in a “balik uma” (back to farm) activity after hav- commanding officer of the 19th IB declared theing successfully won a landgrabbing case filed by towns of Kananga, Palompon, Tabango, Matagob,members of the San Agustin Farmer Beneficiaries Isabel and Merida, as well as some parts of OrmocMulti-Purpose Cooperative with the Department City as “completely free” of the insurgency. Mediaof Agrarian Reform against landlord Pedro Mar- reports in 2008 and 2009 cited Army officials’gallo. statements that they were winning the campaign At around 5 a.m., the farmers were preparing against insurgency.references:• 19th (MASSACRE) Infantry Battallion Strikes Again. Press Statement by KATUNGOD-Sinirangan Bisayas-KARAPATAN, 18 November 2010.• History of 19th IB. http://www.8thinfantrydivision.org/19thHistory.html• KARAPATAN Fact-finding reports and documentation on the Kananga and Palo massacres.• Press Statement by the 19th Infantry Battallion “Commando” on the 3 civilians killed in the crossfire. 17 November 2010. http://www.samarnews.com/news2010/nov/a698.htm Accessed• Repression and Resistance: Permanent Peoples Tribunal Second Session on the Philippines. IBON Books, 2007.• Profile of the 19th ID, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/phillipines/19in.htm• Jovito S. Palparan, Jr. www.gmanews.tv, 23 February 2007, http://www.gmanews.tv/story/31867/ Jovito-S-Palparan-Jr• Gabieta, Joey A. “Leyte free of communist rebels by yearend—military”, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 21 November 2007. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view/20071121-102312/ Leyte_free_of_communist_rebels_by_yearend--military. Accessed 19 December 2010.• 19th IB blogsite, http://19ib.blogspot.com/• 8th ID blog site, http://8idphilarmy2.blogspot.com/ 1
  13. 13. NEwSrenew training Bares environmental proBlems of urBan poor communities ChE domINguEz aNd lISa ItoP ollution-triggered diseases, flooding, lack of viable housing projects, and un- safe and unsanitary relocation areas remain as major environment-related concerns among the Philippine urban poor sector, revealed a recent Restora-tion Ecology Workshop (RENEW) training by the Center for Environmental Con-cerns-Philippines. RENEW is CEC’s basic environmental educa- • Lack of basic social services: These include ser-tion course. This RENEW training was co-orga- vices related to health, sanitation, water, andnized with the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahi- waste collection and segregation services. Imple-hirap (Kadamay), a national federation of urban mentation of public projects, such as seweragepoor organizations. It was held last November 13 systems, is inefficient and defective. Social ser-to 14, at the Bahay Daluyan of St. Theresa’s Col- vices are scarce and often commercialized.lege in Quezon City. • Food insecurity: Food has to be purchased com- The RENEW workshop gathered 21 partici- mercially due to lack of areas to grow or foragepants, mostly community and youth leaders from for food.urban poor communities in Quezon City, Caloo- • Impacts of land use conversion: Agriculturalcan City and Montalban, and Kadamay national areas are increasingly being converted intostaff members. relocation sites or other non-agricultural Through the course workshops, participants uses, displacing already landless peasants andshared the environmental situation of urban poor increasing the rural poor diaspora into urbancommunities, stressing the persistence of the fol- centers.lowing realities: • Culture of commercialization: Consumption• Problems related to housing woes: Some relo- of non-essential goods is encouraged and also cation areas, such as Montalban, are located in contributes to the increase of domestic and geohazard sites, deforested and landslide-prone plastic waste. areas, or near large dam projects vulnerable to • Diseases arising from exposure to pollution: flooding. Housing projects are already congested Including air, water, and noise pollution. There and face problems related to sanitation, spread is widespread incidence of communicable and of pests such as rats, mosquitoes, and fleas as infectious diseases (such as dengue) due to well as lack of access to medicinal plants. urban congestion, flooding, and lack of sani-• Flooding of urban poor communities due to riv- tation services. Some areas are also concerned ers, creeks and waterways clogged with waste. about the impacts of improper infectious waste• Disaster unpreparedness: Urban poor commu- disposal of hospitals. nities are vulnerable to disasters related to the • Lack of occupational safety: Employment is rare impacts of floods, landslides, earthquakes, fires, and often comes in the form of dirty and dan- heat waves, and lack of water services. There is a gerous jobs. lack of a comprehensive and effective flood control • Lack of educational opportunities program and disaster preparedness programs. • Constant threat of demolitions 1
  14. 14. NEwS Timed with Int’l Human Rights Day anti-slapp Bill of 2010 campaign kicks-off witH cultural nigHt ChEamSoN BooNgalINg T o strengthen its advocacy and criticisms against any initiative of the former. lobby work, CEC explores various Currently there is no comprehensive anti- forms of educating and mobilizing SLAPP mechanism in the Philippines, whether supporters in comprehensive yet enter- in the country’s substantive and procedural law. House Bill (HB) 3593 or the Anti-SLAPP Act of taining ways. “SLAPP Us Not! A night of 2010, aims to define SLAPPs, prohibit the fil- art and music in defense of the environ- ing of such harassment suits, and provide mea- ment and human rights” was a venue to sures for its dismissal. It was introduced in the showcase such creativity from artists, 15th Congress by representatives from partyl- poets, and musicians who gathered to ists Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela Women’s support the Anti-SLAPP Bill of 2010. Party, Kabataan and ACT Teachers and was filed last November 2010. Recent years have seen the rise in number of The event held on December 7 in Vinzon’s Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation Hall, UP Diliman was attended by a diverse audi- or SLAPP cases initiated by influential entities ence from students to urban poor community against non-governmental organizations, peo- members. In time for the international human ple’s organizations, local community groups, and rights day on December 10, the event under- individuals in an attempt to intimidate the latter scored that environment protection is not sepa- into discontinuing their protests, opposition, or rate from the defense of human rights. cec pilots first luzon-wide envicore training ChE domINguEz C EC-Philippines kicked off the Lu- and sharing sessions on campaign, research and zon leg of its pilot Environmental networking strategies. Cadres Course (EnviCore) from Participants welcomed the opportunity to be October 11 to 16 at the Women and Ecol- oriented with different aspects of environmen- ogy Wholeness Farm in Mendez, Cavite. tal education, research, and advocacy work (see related article, The EnviCore Engagement). Participants of this second batch included Among the recommendations of participants representatives from the Computer Professionals was the affirmation of the EnviCore solidarity Union, Scientists and Technologists for the People night and the various workshops as a venue for (Agham), Agham Youth, the Cordillera Develop- learning, the need for video-documentation of the ment and People’s Center, Cordillera Peoples Alli- training, tackling of more case studies for discus- ance, Bukal Batangas, and Save the Valley Serve sions, and the dissemination of written presenta- the People chapters in Isabela and Cagayan Val- tions by the resource speakers as materials for re- ley. echo sessions among the graduates’ organizations EnviCore was conceptualized and developed and communities. as a second-level course and a response to the The first EnviCore training was piloted by need to develop the capacity of environmental CEC from June 29 to July 4 at the Maryridge cadres and workers of CEC and its network part- Convent and Training Center, Tagaytay City. Par- ners. Its modules include updates on the national ticipants from the pilot batch came from eleven and global environmental situation, reviews of national environmental and sectoral organiza- basic ecological concepts, frameworks of analysis, tions, representing urban poor, peasant women, use of research tools and environmental investiga- fisher folk, indigenous peoples, women, and tive missions, introduction to environmental laws, youth. 14
  15. 15. FEaturES CEC shares the reflections of one of EnviCore’s graduates: a piece on how today’s youth and professionals can learn about and contribute to environmen- tal awareness and advocacy.tHe envicore engagement:save tHe world, take tHe crasH course“[S]aving humanity and saving the earth. You can’t expect to achieve one without the other, and neither is pos-sible under the existing system.” – John Bellamy FosterBy lEoN dulCEH old up a flashcard with the word “environmentalism” to a high school class and ask them what it means. You will hear the usual motherhood statements of saving Mother Nature and caring for the environment. Ask them to giveconcrete examples of environmentalism, and you’ll get just about the same broadstrokes: proper waste segregation and disposal, tree-planting, coastal clean ups, andliving a more eco-friendly lifestyle. EnviCore was Having never accepted the approach of pro- member regional organizations hailing frommoting individual lifestyle changes made popu- Bicol, Marinduque, and other regions. We decided conceptualizedlar by mass media, every encounter I had withthe environmental movement was always with to conduct a big forum on the biggest concerns of their hometowns, which through consultation and developed as aa doubtful look and taken with a grain of salt.It was only in the later parts of my stint as an were identified mainly as the practices of ram- pant deforestation and mining. second-level courseactivist in the University of the Philippines did In search of resource speakers who have a and a response toI encounter a different brand of environmental genuine understanding of the situation in theactivism, one that I would discover later to be of grassroots communities, we came upon the Cen- the need to developthe principles, concepts and strategies embodied ter for Environmental Concerns – Philippinesin the Environmental Cadres Course (EnviCore) (CEC Phils) and the Kalikasan People’s Network the capacity oftraining course I would be taking years later (seerelated article on page 14). for the Environment. The presentations were a refreshing break from the beauty pageant proc- environmentalfirst encounter lamations we usually hear: presented was a com- prehensive overview of both quantitative and cadres and workers We were organizers then in the Student Alli- qualitative data on our natural resources and its of CEC and itsance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights exploitation by big transnational corporations.in UP, and we were helping to consolidate our It was the first time we were exposed to the network partners. 1
  16. 16. economic and political ramifications of these their capacities in organizing effective and sus- environmentally destructive practices, and the tainable campaigns and developing projects on first time we were presented with a concrete array environmental issues and concerns. of solutions both in the long-term and short- Excited for a closer encounter with the con- term. The discourse looked at the issues from the crete methodologies of progressive environmen- perspective of poor and vulnerable people and tal advocacy, and hoping to finally be its imple- communities: the impacts, after all, primarily mentor in the sector of ICT, I embarked with affected the economically marginalized. other delegates from around Luzon to an eco- farm in Cavite for a focused, if not bordering on fast forward hermetic, study. Envicore here we come! We were Onwards to 2010, I am now working in the a mixed bunch of youths and students, indig- Computer Professinals’ Union (CPU), a non-gov- enous people’s leaders, scientists and develop- ernment organization of information and com- ment workers, but all were involved to an extent munications technology (ICT) professionals, in environmental activism. Coming as an ICT students and advocates. We serve as a bridge activist, I was easily one of the participants who between the ICT community and the broad mass weren’t your usual fold of environmental advo- movements in the Philippines, mobilizing its cates. members and volunteers to provide technical We were trained in basic ecological concepts services to its network of non-government and to have a sufficient scientific framework as basis people’s organizations, as well as to have a direct for the setting of our guiding principles in our involvement in their campaigns and other activi- campaigns, projects, training and education. The ties. national and international environmental situa- CPU has long worked with other progres- tion was also imparted to give participants the sive science technology organizations, includ- social contexts that have shaped modern trends ing those involved in environmental advocacy. It in the environmental movement. We were also started to have a deeper engagement in the envi- given specific inputs on climate change science ronmental movement beyond providing techni- and policy trends. cal services in its participation in the national It was in here that I fully appreciated the grassroots conference on climate change orga- people-oriented perspective that environmental nized by the CEC–Phils and the Philippine Cli- activism should subscribe to: nature is no mere mate Watch Alliance (PCWA), which we officially wonder, but a resource that the majority of Fili- joined shortly thereafter. pinos rely on for their survival and livelihood. As It was in here that Leading the operations of multimedia docu- mentation and serving as technical partner in ecologist John Bellamy Foster puts it, the more effective advocates of environmental sustain- I fully appreciated PCWA’s different involvements, CPU finally ven- ability in the world are the ones with a pro-peo- tured into its own environmental project with ple principle under their belts, such as Bolivianthe people-oriented the Global Green Grants Fund-supported Green- socialist President Evo Morales. bot Philippines, a project that aims to produce an perspective that online web portal that documents case studies of for tHe people environmental environmental issues around the nation, starting with the particular cases of coastal ecosystems in With the framework down pat, delegates were then equipped with skills and tools in the day- activism should Bohol, Sorsogon and Negros, and a manual for environmental activists on useful online tools for to-day operations of an environmental advocacy organization: there were sessions on legal work,subscribe to: nature their campaigns, education and organizing. policy advocacy, networking, issue profiling and research, and planning campaigns. Despite dele- is no mere wonder, for tHe environment gates having different campaigns, activities and Then the opportunity came for CPU to finally projects appropriate to their own lines of work, but a resource that get its formal training in the area of environmen- everyone still benefited from understanding how the majority of tal advocacy and education: CEC Phils invited us to participate in their second Environmental the entire operation works. It enabled us to see the context where our ICT projects fit in the bigFilipinos rely on for Cadres’ Course (or EnviCore for short) for Luzon- based organizations. It is a comprehensive six- picture of the Philippine environmental move- ment, for instance. their survival and day course that aims to integrate environmental One would realize after going through Envi- perspectives in the work of advocates from dif- Core that everything is connected when it comes livelihood. ferent sectors of society. It also aims to develop to environmental advocacy. Every human activ- 16
  17. 17. ity, after all, has an impact on and is affectedby changing trends in the environment. For usICT activists, the dream of having a competitivedomestic software and hardware manufacturingindustry has a stable and modernized agricul-ture as its prerequisite. Where else will we get theraw materials for production and the operationalrequirements such as food, health care and shel-ter if our agricultural production remains stuntedand import-dependent? On the flipside, every sector can also contrib-ute to the struggle for the people and the envi-ronment. We can help cause-oriented organiza-tions and campaigns related to the environment can help popularize campaigns through engagingbe more efficient by providing them with appro- visual communication. Business graduates canpriate computer tools and technologies, and help generate resources to help sustain projectstraining them in its optimal usage. Scientists can and campaigns.help concretize studies and investigations on dif- The possibilities that we must make possibleferent environmental impacts. Cultural workers are endless. Leon Dulce is the new media coordinator of the Computer Professionals’ Union. He pursues his interests indesign, writing, technology and activism online and offline, all in service to the people’s struggles.Leonard Co(continued from page 7) Sustained by sheer passion and sharpened intense taxonomist who played the harmonica,through practice, the value of Co’s vast and the humblest of musical instruments, and whoalmost encyclopedic expertise was that it did not considered the hymns of struggle and nationalremain lodged in repositories or libraries, com- liberation as music to the ears.fortable in being proprietary and profitable. We Losing Leonard Co to a hail of bullets is ashall always be grateful to Co and his colleagues great injustice, an irreparable loss to his family,who labored during the days of the dictatorship the University and the country.to make health and knowledge an attainable real- The following days will be filled with battlesity for the most dispossessed of communities, against forgetting, against apathy and againstand who continued to pursue the protection of injustice. By engaging in these struggles, we canour national patrimony in the years thereafter. fully honor a National Treasure and a true scien-We shall always recall with respect the quirky, tist for the people.references:• Curriculum Vitae of Leonardo L. Co (as of November 3, 2010)• Sy, Joaquin. “Si Leonard Co aka 许 许 许,” 21 November 2010• Casambre, Rey Claro. “Remembering Leonard Co.” Pinoy Weekly, 18 November 2010. http://pinoy- weekly.org/new/2010/11/remembering-leonard-co/• Jara, Dr. Eleanor. “The Special Place that CBHPs had in Leonard’s heart.” Letter to the Editor, Philip- pine Daily Inquirer. 14 December 2010. http://www.inquirer.net/specialfeatures/theenvironmen- treport/view.php?db=1article=20101214-308825•Barcelona, Julie. “Rafflesia Leonardi—Honoring an Unsung Hero of Philippine Botany” http://juliebarce- lona.blogspot.com/• Picana, Thom. “Cordillera NGOs mourn Co, salute him as a ‘scientist of the people.’” www.gmanews.tv, 21 November 2010,• Vigil, Lorna. “The Last Dodo of Botany” http://www.upibalon.com/story/up%E2%80%99s-plant-man- extraordinaire-0• Ong, Perry S., Phd. “The genius of Leonardo L. Co: The people’s scientist and professor,” Star Science, The Phil- ippine Star http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=639525publicationSubCategoryId=75• Umil, Anne Marxze D. “Leonard Co: Scientist for the People.” Bulatlat. 20 November 2010.http://bulatlat.com/main/2010/11/20/leonard-co-scientist-for-the-people/ 17
  18. 18. NEwS asia-pacific environmental educators, activists unite on gloBal warming lISa Ito-tapaNg E nvironmental educators and representatives of non-government and peoples organizations from the Philippines, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, South Korea, Japan, and Uzbekistan gathered in Manila for the first Forum on Climate Change and Environmental Education in Asia-Pacific: Building Capacities for Sustainable People’s Development in the Region from December 14 to 15, 2010 at the Bayview Park Hotel, Manila. Literacy is not just The event was organized by the Climate Change Learning Initiative Mobilizing Action for a platform for solidarity and sharing of learning resources among educators and grassroots orga-reading, writing, and Transforming Environments in the Asia-Pacific nizations across the region. (CLIMATE Asia-Pacific) and hosted by the Center Dr. Jose Roberto Guevara, President of theso on. We now should for Environmental Concerns-Philippines (CEC- Asia-South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Phils), with the support of DVV International. Education, and former Executive Director of CEC, be able read the new The conference also included an exhibition of stressed the need to advocate for a “different edu- world: the climate environmental education materials and solidar- ity night among participants. cation in a ‘climate changed’ world.” “Literacy is not just reading, writing, and so changed world. The forum emphasized the relevance and urgency of Education for Sustainable Devel- on. We now should be able read the new world: the climate changed world. It is understanding opment (ESD) in the context of addressing the the complexity of climate change, beyond the challenges and impacts of global warming, par- technical and scientific focus, beyond adaptation ticularly on the poor and marginalized sectors in and mitigation. It is to understand the need for the Asia-Pacific region. In December 2002, the justice and political focus that informs our action United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared and empowers us to act,” Guevara said. the years 2005 to 2014 as the UN Decade of Edu- “Transformation is the end goal: not just of cation for Sustainable Development, designating the self but of the society and the system that has UNESCO as the lead agency. brought us to this situation. We must not be vic- tims, forced to adapt to climate change. We must esd in a ‘climate-cHanged world’ understand and challenge the root causes of cli- CEC-Phils Executive Director Frances Quimpo mate change and demand just responses,” Gue- introduced the CLIMATE Asia-Pacific network as vara concluded. 18
  19. 19. “It’s the urgency that’s new,” Guevara stressed, to the Convention on Biodiversity, a non-binding“We have a decade to focus on ESD, but do we treaty ongoing since 1993 which, like the Kyotohave a decade to act?” Protocal, has yet to be signed by the United States. Elenita Dano, Program Manager of theevolving definition of esd and development Erosion Technology and Conservation Group, The conference’s keynote speaker, ACT Teach- presented updates on the climate negotiations iners Partylist Representative Antonio Tinio, also Cancun, Mexico, summarizing the developmentsemphasized the role of education in the current as a continuation of Copenhagen, which providedenvironmental crisis. Tinio and Guevara both the foundation for the current climate regime.acknowledged the changing definitions of ESDand sustainable development, considering these common tHreadsas a tool that could work for or against the peo-ple’s welfare. The afternoon panel focused on ESD case studies and the regional challenges of these Transformation is Tinio cautioned that powerful multilateralorganizations have historically played a major efforts. Yuka Ozawa, Program Officer of the Edu- cation Cooperation Division of the Asia-Pacific the end goal, notrole in appropriating the term ‘sustainable devel- Cultural Center for UNESCO in Japan, shared just of the self butopment’ and aligning it with neoliberal policy their experiences in coming up with the Tokyoagendas. These, he said, were reflected in the Declaration of Hope and the “HOPE” (holistic, of the society andcountry’s privatization of the educational system ownership-based, participatory, and empower-and the liberalization of investments that have ing) evaluation approach as a learning process. the system that hasseverely depleted natural resources. “We educators should critically address the Teresita Vistro of the Asia Peasant Women’s Network focused on agriculture and ESD, dis- brought us to thisconcept of sustainable development: who sus-tains it? What kind of development? Develop- cussing the impacts of climate change on regional agriculture and rural populations, especially situation.ment for whom?” Tinio said. women. She articulated their education agenda as supporting farmers knowledge, sustainablegloBal context of climate cHange policies adaptation and mitigation practices, the need to The morning of the conference featured a address destructive farming practices, buildingpanel on updates in environmental situations and resilience of communities, and integration withcontexts. Dr. Giovanni Tapang, AGHAM Chair- broader issues of human rights and social justice.person, highlighted the impacts of global warm- Dominic D’ Souza, Associate Director of Laya ining in the Asia-Pacific region, stressing that it has Vishakhapatnam, India, discussed forestry andworsened the existing impacts of globalization, ESD, spanning fundamental concerns related toespecially among the most vulnerable or margin- science, political economy, ethics, and action.alized segments of the population. Atty. Elpidio Peria, legal consultant for experience sHaringthe Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of The second day of the conference featuredthe Department of Environment and Natural two simultaneous panel sessions on case studiesResources, shared updates and agendas related (continued on page 23) 1