Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Fisherfolk calls Cimatu’s order on protected areas “anti-environment”
Manila, Philippines – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has earned the ire of the activist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) over the resumption of the special use agreement for protected areas (SAPA), saying this opens the floodgates for environmental destruction to the country’s pristine protected areas.
SAPA allows protected areas such as strict nature reserve, natural park, natural monument, wildlife sanctuary, protected landscapes and seascapes to be used for agroforestry, ecotourism, communication and power facilities, irrigation canals, aquaculture, and for weather and other scientific monitoring facilities.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in 2011 suspended the issuance of SAPA.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Fernando Hicap said the lifting of the suspension of SAPA lays open our preserved areas such as forest and marine zones to corporate activities that pose environmental disaster.
“With the resumption of issuance of SAPA, protected areas will be more vulnerable to various forms of corporate plunder embedded with environmental destruction. It will further the conversion of preserved marine areas into mere ecotourism zones and private aquaculture farms,”
Fisherfolk, environmentalists trooped DENR to protest Boracay closure, construction of casino
Manila, Philippines – Two days before the 6-month closure of Boracay, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) and environmental activist KALIKASAN People’s Network for the Environment (PNE) staged a joint picket at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to oppose the total closure and the impending construction of a 23-hectare casino in the country’s top tourist island.
President Rodrigo Duterte slammed Boracay as a “cesspool” and ordered its temporary closure to pave way for rehabilitation. But the order of rehabilitation comes into conflict with the reports that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) had approved the construction of a $500-million integrated casino-resort proposed by Macau-based casino giant Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. together with its local partner Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC).
“It is clear that the rehabilitation effort of Duterte is only a vehicle for clearing small businesses and opening Boracay to big-time developers that will intensify the exploitation of the island. We will oppose this grand sellout and corporate takeover of our natural resources at all cost,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Aside from the Macau-type casino-resort, a certain DoubleDragon Properties Corp. has expressed its interest to build the country’s largest hotel by room count dubbed as the Hotel101 Resorts in Boracay.
Fisherfolk trooped DENR to protest gov’t’s “grand sellout” of Ph waters
Manila, Philippines – The progressive fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday trooped the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to protest the national “clean-up” campaign of the country’s top tourist spots such as the Boracay Island, Panglao Island in Bohol, Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro, and Coron, Palawan.
The group said the clean-up drive is actually to facilitate, attract, and open doors to foreign investors, especially those coming from China who are seeking multi-billion dollar investment ventures in the country. In Boracay, a local developer Leisure & Resorts World Corporation (LRWC) has already bought 23-hectare property in the island for the $300-M to $500-M integrated casino resort in partnership with the Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group.
While in Coron Island, Palawan, a group of Chinese magnates is eyeing to invest aquaculture farms for high-value species of groupers (Lapu-lapu). DENR has declared that Coron’s waters are already contaminated with bacteria coming from both domestic and infrastructure wastes. They admit that the clean-up drive includes displacement of informal settlers and removal of illegal structures situated within the 3-meter easement zone of the bay.
A likewise trend, the local government of Panglao Island in Bohol which is the government’s next target for clearing up has also welcomed Chinese investments in agriculture, tourism, and technology.
“What happened to the P500-M research fund?” – PAMALAKAYA to DENR
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) what happened to the P500-million budget allotted to the agency for marine biodiversity research of the Philippine Rise (formerly known as the Benham Rise).
The group learned that Senator Loren Legarda in the early part of 2017 excised P500 million from the DENR’s National Greening Program (NGP) to the research purpose of Philippine Rise to tap the resource-rich underwater plateau’s marine potentials.
But the group said the DENR has yet to release to the public any result of the research or if the budget was spent properly.
“The DENR has been keeping silent on the issue of Philippine Rise despite the government pronouncement that the Filipino scientist could not afford to conduct research due to lack of funding. The budget allotted to the agency is enough for research because according to scientists, it will only take at least P300 million for the research on Philippine Rise. Now with that big budget allotted to the agency, who is to say that we still need foreign countries like the China, U.S., and Japan to conduct research in our own yard?” PAMALAKAYA Chairperson Fernando Hicap said in a statement.
“Total ban, not higher excise tax on giant mining” – fisherfolk to Cimatu
Manila, Philippines – The newly confirmed Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu has earned the ire of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) for favoring on higher excise taxes on mining instead of total closure to the industry, saying the higher tax directive would not totally halt the destructive operations of giant mining companies, but will more legitimize the plunderous activity.
“For Cimatu, it has always been money over the environment. Instead of issuing a total ban policy on all large-scale destructive mines, Cimatu resorts to lighten the verdict by imposing a higher excise tax which big-time mining firms would hardly endure,”
“No amount of billions of revenues could rehabilitate the devastated mountains and contaminated seas caused by destructive mining. Moreover, no amount of “fair government revenue” could provide social justice to farmers, fishers, and other rural people who will be displaced from their livelihood in exchange for mining operations,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The group said the higher excise taxes on mining could barely paralyze the industry because of its billions worth of mineral resources plundered through our land.
Instead, the group demands to pursue closing of destructive mines that devastate our delicate environment and pose heavy burden to the socio-economic rights of the people, and push a responsible mining that would foster our local industries and beneficial to the Filipino people. ###