Environmental groups led by Kalikasan- People’s Network
for the Environment held a Float Protest Parade in Quezon City
to celebrate Earth Day last April 22.
A big float presenting the state of the Philippine environment,
effigies, and giant stilts representing the people’s environmental
struggles were the highlights of the protest parade.
The group projected the effects of globalization policies and
programs to the environment and challenged all presidential candidates
to put forward their environmental platform this coming May 10
Kalikasan, a HEAL Toxics member, is among the environmental groups
in the Philippines who recently formed EnviVote (Vote for the
Environment Now Alliance) to push an electoral platform for the
environment. Other members of EnviVote include AGHAM, Center for
Environmental Concerns, Haribon Foundation, Pamalakaya, Rural
Missionaries of the Philippines, Bangon Kalikasan Movement, Earth
Island Institute, KAMP, PFEC, and Searice.
In a statement, Kalikasan said that the policies and programs
of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo implemented during her 3-year
term failed to improve the state of the Philippine environment
and contributed to the fast depletion of the country’s natural
In 2003, Arroyo formed a policy shift from “tolerance”
to “promotion” of mining operations in the country,
becoming more lenient in approving mining applications of transnational
Thus, the government allowed mining companies into protected
areas, such as the Bauxite Mineral Resources in Samar Isalnd and
the Candian-owned Crew Minerals Corporation in Mindoro Island.
The government is also challenging a Supreme Court decision declaring
that 100% ownership of mineral resources by foreign companies
is unconstitutional and violates Philippine sovereignty.
As experiences in countries such as Indonesia and Papua New Guinea
show, the most devastated environments can be found in communities
where there are mining operations fully owned by TNCs, Kalikasan
EnviVote is lobbying for a genuine program to rehabilitate and
protect the environment, and is calls for the presidential candidates
to vouch for the following calls:
1. Ban commercial logging until sufficient rainforest cover for
the country has been achieved. Proppagate indigenous tree species.
2. Stop the commercialization of genetically-engineered products
until they are proven safe.
3. Repeal the Philippine Plant Variety Protection Act. Stop bio-prospectig
4. Promote native agricultural varieties and indigenous agricultural
5. Ban the land-use conversion of agricultural lands and natural
ecosystems like mangrove areas.
6. Enforce a ban on incinerator plants.
7. Declare a moratorium on the construction of coal-fired power
8. Amend the Clean Air Act by instituting mechanisms that will
not allow oil companies to pass on the burden of paying for cleaner
oil products to consumers.
9. Stop the construction of large dams.
10. Rehabilitate and protect watershed areas.
11. Immediately rehabilitate biologically dead rivers.
12. Immediately upgrade, expand, and develop a national sewage
13. Promote environmental programs such as the Ecological Solid
Waste Management and community-based programs; ensure state subsidies
that shall promote the success of such programs for the benefit
of the people.