22april 2009 Pr Address Climate Change Not Charter Change
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
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22 April 2009
Earth Day protest message: Protect the environment,
Address Climate Change not Charter Change
Several hundreds of environmental activists, Church people, indigenous peoples,
peasants, fisherfolks, and scientists from Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog and Central
Luzon commemorate Earth Day 2009 by having a People's Parade and Caravan for the
Environment that started from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
(DENR) and ended in front of the House of Representatives (HOR) in Quezon City.
The said Earth Day activity paraded colourful and creative floats symbolizing emerging
and important environmental issues such as the climate change, Bataan Nuclear Power
Plant, large-scale mining, commercial logging, large dams and garbage landfills. A giant
effigy of Mother Earth burdened and devastated by nuclear plants, coal power plants,
denuded forests, chainsaw and mine tractors serve as the central float of the parade.
quot;This symbolizes how the Philippine environment is experiencing massive plunder,
degradation and pollution brought about by the policies and projects of the government
that allows unsustainable and commercial extraction of our natural resources by private
and foreign corporations,quot; says Clemente Bautista Jr. of environmental activist group
quot;The devastation of our forests, mountains, rivers and seas has led to an environmental
crisis that further impoverishes and threatens the survival of the people. Yet, given the
country's dismal environmental situation, the Arroyo government remains defiant to
reverse its policies and programs in the extractive industry of mining, logging and
energy that are proven detrimental not only to our ecology but also increases the
vulnerability of our people in coping with global warming,quot; explained Mr. Bautista.
The Philippines has been called by some environmental experts as a global biodiversity
disaster area. This is because of the very fast rate and high biodiversity loss in the
country. The country also has been identified as one of the most vulnerable tropical
countries to the impacts of climate change.
quot;Worst in the eve of Earth Day, the Arroyo government and its allies in Congress are
brazenly railroading the deliberation of charter change in Congress. They are courting
more environmental disasters through Cha-Cha which will allow foreigners to own lands
in the country. This will give foreign companies more control to profit from our natural
resources and ravage our environment. This we have seen and experienced under the
Mining Act of 1995 which gave foreign transnational mining companies to own thousands
hectares of our mineral lands,quot; Mr. Bautista remarks.
By the beginning of 21st century, the Philippines has already lost more than 93% of our
original forest which has been describe as one of the most rapid and massive in the
world. Most of the deforestation sshas been caused by the extensive operations of
commercial logging and mining. Forest denudation compounded by the effects of climate
change resulted to the worst environmental disasters and tragedies in the Philippines
such as the 1991 Ormoc flashflood, 1996 Marcopper mine spill, 2004 Aurora- Quezon
landslide and 2005 Lafayette mine spill.
quot;For the sake of our mother earth and our people, the government should address
climate change and not charter change. It must halt and reverse its destructive
programs and projects on mining and logging,quot; ends by Mr. Bautista. ###