DAVAO CITY – An environementalist group laid out 12 immediate actions for the environment as their challenge to the incoming President Rodrigo Duterte.
Clemente Bautista of the National Coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (PNE) said their 12 proposed actions are “doable and achievable.”
“Tough-talking Digong Duterte can and should rise above traditional politics and walk his talk, especially on these urgent environment issues,” Bautista said.
“It’s time to draw the line: is change really coming for the people and the environment?” he added.
These are “12 immediate actions” challenged by the Kalikasan PNE to Duterte on his first hundred days or less on his administration:
1. Order the stoppage of large-scale mining in environmentally critical and agricultural areas;
2. Order the banning of chemical aerial spraying nationwide;
3. Return the Canadian toxic waste illegally dumped into the Philippines;
4. Impose a moratorium on the expansion of agro-industrial plantations;
5. Reconsider the new regulations on GMO crop usage and reinstate the ban on its use until a sufficiently robust regulation is put in place;
6. Impose a moratorium on the construction of new coal-fired power plants;
7. Junk the already once failed Laguna Lake Expressway Dike Project reclamation;
8. Deliver immediate recovery assistance to all recent typhoon and El Niño victims and lay down a disaster risk management plan on the incoming El Nina phase;
9. Rescind the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and suspend joint military operations especially in sensitive ecosystems declared as ‘agreed locations’ such as Palawan;
10. Investigate the unsuccessful P5.9 billion reforestation program of DENR and prosecute corrupt high government officials in DENR.
11. Jail and immediately prosecute suspects in killings of environmental activists, particularly the cases of the Dr. Gerry Ortega assassination, Kananga Three massacre, and the Lianga killings.
12. Resume peace talks with rebel groups and prioritize discussion on the joint management of our remaining natural resources;
But, the group said that they did not see any substantial policy platform on the environment during Duterte’s campaign trail up to the present.
“We know Mayor Duterte was an unapologetic supporter of Aboitiz coal-fired power plant project in Davao City. He also welcomed the establishment of vast tracts of agri-industrial plantations,” Bautista said.
“Mayor Duterte rationalizes that these would bring progress to Davao City and would outweigh the negative environmental impacts, a justification used time and again for various forms of ‘development aggression’,” he added.
Bautista also said that they already have a doubt upon learning who are closest in Duterte’s circle.
“Worse, when the economic team of Duterte laid out their eight-point agenda, it reiterates that it will continue to give more privileges to foreign corporations to entice them to invest in the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, indigenous people (IP) leader Datu Mintroso Malibato, in a press conference Friday, said that Duterte should implement mining ban not only in Davao City, but nationwide.
Malibato is an IP leader of Karadyawan from Kapalong, Davao del Norte who are now staying in a church compound here after being displaced in their community.
“The city of Davao, mining companies are banned. We are hoping banning of entry of mining companies is not only in Davao,” Malibato said.
He added that it is not only Davao City that will be affected of large-scale mining but all the people.
Last May 2015, An Ordinance Closing off the City of Davao to Mining Operations was approved by the City Council here.
The said ordinance, authored by councilors Danilo Dayanghirang and the late Leo Avilla III prohibits any person or company from initiating mining operations in the jurisdiction of the city. (davaotoday.com)