Environmental groups renew call for sustainable dev’t paradigm in PH

Environmental groups renew call for sustainable dev’t paradigm in PH

Environmental Coalition Green Convergence held the 353rd installment of the monthly Kamayan Para sa Kalikasan Forum about the pressing environmental concerns that the Philippines is facing on August 16, 2019 (Friday) at Kamayan Restaurant, EDSA, Mandaluyong City.

“There are programs of the government which Filipinos should be deciding on. But in the recent past, we are suddenly confronted with actions of China and with intrusions of the Chinese who are putting up or will be involved in mega projects in our country,” asserts Dr. Angelina Galang, President of Green Convergence.

Galang mentioned (1) the absence of a national land use policy, (2) large-scale reclamation activities especially in Manila Bay, (3) the construction of large dams especially the Kaliwa Dam, and (4) the division of Palawan into three separate provinces as actions of the government that are of urgent environmental concern.

These are also topics to be discussed in the upcoming annual State of Nature Assessment (Green SONA) with the theme “Pilipinas, Paraisong Nanganganib” to be held on August 27, 2019 at the Hue Hotel, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, she explained.

The repercussions of large-scale reclamation to the country’s environment was further discussed by Rodrigo Narod Eco, a researcher from UP Diliman.

“There is no such as a natural disaster,” Eco asserted, “a natural phenomenon only becomes a disaster if it intersects with human activities,” implying that reclamation in Manila Bay will lead to disasters.

If reclamation activities continue in Manila Bay, “Dagdag harang sila sa tubig! ([Reclaimed lands] are added barriers to the flow of water!),” he remarked. This is especially dangerous if a 4-meter high storm surge hits the area.

Biodiversity in Manila Bay will also be negatively affected, considering that fish eggs and larvae of major fish species for food can be found in its shallow waters. Proposed land reclamation projects are exactly in these areas which could endanger the metropolis’ food security.

Eco called for rehabilitation of the Manila Bay, not reclamation for it will not only affect the marginalized communities in the area, such as the fisher folks and the urban poor, but also the entire metropolitan populace.

On the other hand, No Burn Pilipinas Regional Campaigner Ruel Cabile presented the myths of waste-to-energy through incineration and provided suggestions to achieve sustainability by properly managing municipal wastes.

A tribute to environmental champion and founder of Concerned Citizens Against Pollution (COCAP), the late Ester Perez de Tagle was also given. Perez de Tagle advocated against the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) in 2006 and for the promotion of the Euro-4 fuel in the country.

Since March 1990, Kamayan Para Sa Kalikasan Forum has become an institutionalized platform that enables NGO and government representatives, the media, students, teachers, church groups, and concerned citizens to discuss pressing environmental issues in the country. This month’s forum is organized by Green Convergence and is supported by Kamayan Restaurant EDSA with the assistance of the Forest Foundation Philippines.

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