__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Privatization of natural resources -  real cause of water and energy crises,

say green groups during a picket outside DENR
 

Quezon City

 

March 3, 2010

 

 

   

 

ndigenous peoples, scientists and environmental activists demand the cancellation of water permits of large-scale mining corporations and foreign energy operators in the country in a protest action in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The action was timed during the 15th anniversary of the passing of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and the increasing tensions and impacts of the El Nino, environmental destruction, water and energy crises currently besetting the nation.

"The cancellation of water permits of private and foreign mining companies is a step forward in the proper management and efficient utilization of our water resources. Instead of being distributed to the majority of households, agricultural lands and Filipinos, most of our water resources are allocated by the government to private corporations, particularly energy and mining companies," said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

 

--- From KALIKASAN statement

 

   
/p

/p
Photos courtesy of KATRIBU Partylist and KALIKASAN
           
           



3 March 2010

Green groups protest outside DENR, blame privatization of natural resources as real cause of water and energy crises

Indigenous peoples, scientists and environmental activists demand the cancellation of water permits of large-scale mining corporations and foreign energy operators in the country in a protest action in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The action was timed during the 15th anniversary of the passing of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and the increasing tensions and impacts of the El Nino, environmental destruction, water and energy crises currently besetting the nation.

"The cancellation of water permits of private and foreign mining companies is a step forward in the proper management and efficient utilization of our water resources. Instead of being distributed to the majority of households, agricultural lands and Filipinos, most of our water resources are allocated by the government to private corporations, particularly energy and mining companies," said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

Mr. Bautista also remarked, "Mining corporations are automatically given water rights under the mining liberalization policy of the government. Mining companies can use any water resources inside their mining concession area for their operations. In Surigao del Norte, one of the mining capitals in the country, mining companies such as Surigao Consolidated Mining Co., Pacific Nickel Phil Inc., and Manila Mining Corp., control the water supply of major rivers in the province. While in Bukidnon province, more than of the 98% water allocated from surface water are controlled and being used by few power corporations."

Kalikasan PNE cited the 2007 water permits issued by the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) totaled to 19,695 with a total volume of 60,164,70.752 liter per second (lps) from surface and underground water resources. The power sector takes up much of the water, with a volume of 3,432,133.193 lps or 57% of the total volume granted to all the water permit holders, while other sectors receive much less such as irrigation (35%) and domestic (3%).

The power sector gets the lion's share of the volume of water allocated by the government but it only has 235 water permit grantees or just 1% of the total number of grantees. On the other hand, irrigation has the biggest number of grantees 10,329 (52%), followed by domestic 6,447 (33%), industrial 1,403, fisheries 482, commercial 343.

"The policy of the Arroyo government of privatizing our natural resources such as minerals and water resulted in the foreign control, poor management and depletion of these resources. Take for example the case of Mindanao, there so much energy and water resources but the region is reeling from supposedly lack of water and electricity supply," Mr. Bautista added.

AGHAM chairperson Dr. Giovanni Tapang cautioned the National Grid Corporation (NGCP) in blaming the El Niño phenomenon as the cause of the supposed critical power supply situation in Mindanao.

The Arroyo government through the Department of Energy (DoE) and the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), the private operator of the country's transmission network, blame low water level in Agus and Pulangi hydroelectric power plants for the Mindanao energy shortage.

"The El Nino phenomenon does not automatically mean drought for all places in the Philippines. In fact, according to records of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Mindanao in general has been experiencing normal to above normal rainfall up to January 2010. The receding water levels in Agus could be due to siltation and less from the El Nino," Dr. Tapang explained.

According to PAGASA, up to January 2007 Mindanao experienced above normal rainfall. In the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Region X rainfall amount were 81% to 160% of the normal condition. All of the large hydroelectric dams in Mindanao namely Agus II, Agus II, Agus IV, Agus V, Agus VI, Agus VII and Pulangi IV dams are located in ARMM and Region X.

"The El Nino phenomenon has been used by government officials to justify different things: from emergency power to construction of new dams. The public should be wary of these pronouncements. The El Nino is a quasi-periodic-- recurring-- phenomenon. Instead of using it as scapegoat, the government should have prepared for this. It had several years to do it and dreaming of emergency powers cannot correct decades-long mistakes of privatization and liberalization of our natural resources," Dr. Tapang said.

"While it is true that the country is in the midst of a water shortage, this is mainly due to the government's misappropriation and mismanagement of our resources that favor the big businesses and corporation while leaving the majority of the people begging for this precious and basic resource," ended Mr. Bautista.

* By kalikasan at 2010-03-04 08:25
*
 

     
     
     
           
     
     
     


2 March 2010

Government urged to review and cancel water permits of huge corporations to ease water crisis and El Nino

Environmental groups slammed the government's inadequacy in addressing the on-going drought and water shortage and urged the government to review then cancel the water rights and permits of big businesses who wastes and pollutes water, such as mining projects and golf-courses.

Sectoral and progressive organizations under the Water for the People Network (WPN), with Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment identified privatization and the unequal distribution of water resources in the Philippines as the real causes of the water shortage in the the country.

"Much of our water resources such as rivers, springs, waterfalls and underground water are being controlled and used by big foreign and private corporations through their water permits. Water is primarily treated as an economic good to be distributed, controlled and profit from by big business and the government. Water as a basic right and basic public service such as for irrigation and community water supply are only secondary" said Mr. Clemente Bautista Jr., national coordinator of environmental activist group Kalikasan PNE.

According to the 2007 summary of water permits granted by the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), 19,695 entities were the granted permits to a total volume of 60,164,70.752 liter per second (lps) that may be used for any of the following purposes: domestic, irrigation, power, fisheries, industrial, livestock, recreational and commercial.

The power sector takes up much of the water, with a volume of 3,432,133.193 lps or 57% of the total volume granted to all the water permit holders, while other sectors receive much less such as irrigation (35%) and domestic (3%).

The power sector gets the lion share of the volume of water allocated by the government but it only has 235 water permit grantees or just 1% of the total number of grantees. On the other hand, irrigation has the biggest number of grantees 10,329 (52%), followed by domestic 6,447 (33%), industrial 1,403, fisheries 482, commercial 343.

While water for irrigation and domestic supply were being used by the overwhelming majority of the population particularly the farmers and urban residence the two sectors only get 35% and 3% of the total volume of water extracted from surface and ground water sources

"Drought and lack of rainfall brought by the El nino phenomenon, does not cause the water crisis but in fact compounds the effects of the long-standing practice of our government of appropriating our resources and selling them to a few foreign and businesses instead of ensuring clean, cost-efficient water be available to the majority of the people."

According to Mr. Bautista the unequal distribution of water resources is also very pronounced in the provinces hit by long dry spell and water scarcity.

"In Region II (Cagayan Valley region which includes the provinces of Batanes, Nueva Viscaya, Cagayan, Isabela and Quirino) a total of 1,492 water permits were granted with 96% or 1,426 given to farmers/irrigators and only 2% (32) for power corporations. Yet it is the power generators who control and use 78% (1,054,306 lps) of the total water volume in the region while the majority of the farmers and irrigators only get 22% (297,347 lps)."

In Isabela province, the permit holder with the largest volume of water is the National Power Corporation. In Benguet province, mining company Benguet Corporation is the holder of several big water permits.

"We call on the government officials to review and cancel the water permits of big private and foreign corporations who are wasteful and pollutive. A moratorium on issuing water permits to big private corporations should also be implemented. Water allocations given to these corporations should be immediately channeled for public consumption and benefits such as irrigation and domestic supply. But more importantly, the Arroyo government should stop and reverse its policy of water privatization which is the reason why our water resources are not efficiently used and managed," Mr. Bautista ended.

* By kalikasan at 2010-03-04 08:23
*
 

     
           
     
     
     
=          
==          
     
     
           



26 February 2010

Indigenous peoples and environmentalists to San Miguel Corporation:
Forgo the Laiban dam project

Environmental activists and indigenous people under the Network Opposed to Laiban Dam (NO to Laiban Dam) held a protest action in front of the main office of Danding Cojuangco-owned San Miguel Corporation (SMC) denouncing the efforts of the company to push through with the controversial Laiban Dam project in Rizal province.

"If integrity and social responsibility, San Miguel Corporation's supposedly company values, mean anything to SMC, then they should withdraw their proposal to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems (MWSS) for the joint development of the Laiban Dam project, " said Meggie Nolasco of Kalikasan PNE and convenor of NO to Laiban Dam alliance.

Ms. Nolasco expressed that, "The Laiban Dam project, aside from being very expensive and environmentally dangerous, does not and will not have a social license to operate. The indigenous people Dumagat and Remontados, local government officials and environmentalists will relentlessly oppose the project because we believe it will do more harm than good to our communities and the environment."

The government already expended around Php755 million pesos for feasibility studies and the pre-construction phase of the said dam since 1970's. However, the US$ 1 billion project has been postponed several times already by different administrations because of issues on social impacts, corruption, lack of funding, technicalities and strong local opposition.

While indigenous people, environmental and other groups have long expressed their opposition to the project, local government units and officials in the municipalities of Real, Nakar and Infanta in Quezon and Tanay in Rizal provinces have also signified their disapproval through municipal resolutions.

"We are confident that the Laiban dam project will again be deferred such as what happened in the past and will not push through under the Arroyo administration, an added indication for SMC to abandon the project completely," said Ms. Nolasco.

Kalikasan PNE, along with several affected residents, NO to Laiban Dam, Katribu Partylist, Water for the People Network (WPN) and other groups held a dialogue with MWSS and DENR officials last February 19 and 25 to register the arguments and position against the dam's construction and gather firsthand the status of the project.

According to Ms. Nolasco, "Based on our dialogue with MWSS Administrator Diosdado Jose Allado, there will be able no contract signing with SMC during the first quarter of this year, contrary to what was reported in the news. In addition to the lack of funds, MWSS is still in the process of completing the requirements and studying the proposal submitted by SMC."

One important requirement that is still lacking is the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) as disclosed by DENR Assistant Director for Public Affairs Office Hiro Masuda in another dialogue. Joan Jaime spokesperson of NO to Laiban Dam stated that there is still no ECC issued to MWSS regarding the Laiban Dam project since the DENR denied processing it in 2008.

Jaime insisted that, "There are alternatives to Laiban Dam to solve the growing water demand in Metro Manila. By just improving existing water infrastructures and services we can already provide more than 1,000 million liters per day (MLD) which is more than the projected water needs in the next five years. Several studies also cite that the Laguna Lake and Wawa Watershed Area can provide more than enough of our water supply in the coming decades."

"Water has become more costly and inaccessible since the government's response to the water crisis is to let profit-driven companies like San Miguel Corporation take control over our water resources. Privatization resulted to exorbitant water rates, poor services, massive retrenchment of water district workers and displacement of marginalized sectors in their communities," Jaime said.

"We demand that SMC pull out from the Laiban dam project and that MWSS fulfill its mandate of providing clean and economical water to Metro Manila residents, but not at the cost of the environment and the right of the residents and indigenous people to their ancestral lands."

* By kalikasan at 2010-03-04 08:17

 

====================================


4 March 2010

Environmentalists welcome SMC Laiban Dam project cancellation, challenge presidential bets to totally abandon the project

Multisectoral alliance Network Opposed to Laiban Dam (NO to Laiban Dam) and environmental group Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment welcomed the decision of Metropolitan Water and Sewerage System (MWSS) to terminate its joint venture with Danding Cojuangco-owned San Miguel Corporation over the Laiban Dam Project.

"This is a tactical victory for the indigenous peoples, local communities and the groups who campaigned against the project. The termination will offer a temporary respite from the threats and damages that the controversial large dam pose," said Clemente Bautista of Kalikasan PNE and convenor of NO to Laiban Dam.

The group maintained that it is but correct for the MWSS not to pursue the project as it is environmentally dangerous and socially unaccepted by the indigenous people and local governments in Rizal and Quezon provinces.

Like in the past administrations, the Arroyo government and MWSS failed to get consent from communities and funding for the said project. The government has already expended around Php755 million pesos on the Laiban Dam project since 1970's but it has been postponed by different administrations because of issues on social impacts, corruption, lack of funding, technicalities and strong local opposition.

Highly contested issues include the displacement of about 10,000 residents, including Dumagat communities and the disturbance on 27,800 hectares of ancestral and agricultural lands.

"We call on MWSS officials to focus more on improving the water system and facilitate the construction of more environmental friendly water solutions rather than pursue the Laiban project. More importantly, to resolve the water and energy crises that continually plague the nation, the government should reverse its water privatization policy which put our water resources and facilities to the hands of foreign and private corporations that result to poor services, massive wastage and higher water rates," said in the statement of NO to Laiban Dam.

NO to Laiban Dam, Katribu Partylist and indigenous people from Rizal conducted a month-long protest camp out in front of the DENR and held actions at MWSS from January to February this year to oppose the Laiban Dam project of SMC.

"We remain vigilant. We will continue our opposition as the MWSS continues to seek out partners and funding for the controversial Laiban Dam project. We also challenge all the presidentiables and vice presidentiables in May 2010 election to stand with us in opposing the project. If they are truly for the interest of indigenous people and protection of the environment, opposing Laiban Dam project should be one of their environmental agenda," said Mr. Bautista.

* By kalikasan at 2010-03-04 08:28
 

     
     
           
     
     
     



16 February 2010

Green groups challenge presidential bets to take a stand on critical environmental and social issues

Environmental groups under Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) noted the presidential candidates who expressed opposition against the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Plant (BNPP) in a forum held on Monday but challenged the presidential bets to express their stand on other environmental and social issues as well.

"Opposing the revival of the BNPP is a popular position to take, especially since the news of the revival of the BNPP has caused a stir among the general public who for some time already believed that given its environmental and economic issues, the BNPP have long been laid to rest. It would be good to also hear their position on such popular calls as to junk the Mining Act of 1995, stop the construction of new coal-fired power plants, cancel commercial logging permits, and the closure of the Laiban dam," said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of the Kalikasan PNE.

"These issues and calls have been the demand of communities and the basic sectors on the issue of the environment. If they truly represent the interests of the people then they would correctly align with them and oppose any national policy or project that is detrimental to our people and the environment's welfare." expressed Mr. Bautista.

The junking of the Mining Act of 1995 for one is persistent call of environmentalists and mining affected communities as it legalizes the liberalization of our mining industry and permits 100% foreign corporations to utilize and profit from our mineral resources. Commercial and large-scale mining has brought nothing but poverty, environmental degradation, economic and physical displacements and countless human rights violations to our communities.

"Yet the people should also remind themselves that such positions will stand to be realized only if the presidentiable’s background and track-record also shows clear environmental and pro-people position," said Clemente Bautista.

Sen. Benigno “Noynoy" Aquino III , Sen. Richard Gordon, Sen. Jamby Madrigal , Bro. Eddie Villanueva , JC delos Reyes, Nicanor Perlas and Gilberto Teodoro Jr. were the presidential aspirants who stated opposition against the said nuclear power plant.

"A candidate must not just actively promote pro-people and pro-environment policies but also a kind of governance different from our current one. The national policies pushed by President Arroyo have brought massive environmental degradation and poverty to our people. To speak favorably on certain issues is one thing but to represent the corrupt administration is a grave contradiction to the interests of the people," expressed Mr. Bautista

The group criticized Gilberto Teodoro Jr. of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, who is standard-bearer of the Arroyo administration’s party and also the cousin of Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuanco, the main proponent of the BNPP revival.

"Mr. Teodoro is sure to push for and implement the same policies of the current administration and favor the interests of his clan over the people despite what he claims," said Bautista.

Bautista furthered, "We have seen how power hungry Mrs. Arroyo is and she would utilize all means for her to remain in power. A presidential candidate or any politician who is a known ally and associate will be a sure adversary of the people and environment."

The group insists that for candidates to be considered pro-environment, they must have a clear stand on other social issues such as corruption and extra-judicial killings and must genuinely condemn the current anti-people and anti-environment regime.

* By kalikasan at 2010-03-04 08:14

 

     
           
     

BONUS TRACKS

Katribu Partylist national convention in Baguio City

From the Facebook account of Joel Aquino Capulong

     
     
     
ELECTIONS 2010
           
           
 
     
       
   
 
   
   
   
 

Makabayan Senatoriable Ka Satur Ocampo's Online Q&A

   
   
Songs and campaign jingles
     
■    Satur Ocampo - Liza Maza Campaign Jingle ■    Satur Ocampo Jingle ■    Liza Maza Jingle
     
■    JIngle in Cebuano ■    Jingle in Ilongo ■    JIngle in Tagalog
     
■    Sasaturn na tayo

 

 
           
**          

 

 
 

Google