Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment and Center for Environmental Concerns Phils discussed the state of the Philippine environment and their evaluation of almost a year of Aquino’s regime on natural resource management and environmental conservation on Thursday morning at Balay Kalinaw in UP Diliman participated by a few environmental groups from the different regions of the Philippines.
Quick loss of forest cover with the present deforestation rate of 157,400 hectares per year (2000-2005), continuing degradation with 1,136,959 hectares of land under mining and another 1,422,190 hectares under logging permits, increasing reliance on and removal of dirty fossil fuels, high rate of biodiversity loss in which the Philippines ranked fourth with the highest number of warned species in 2008 and lastly, chronic human rights violations of environmental proponents, these are among the findings presented by Kalikasan in their study of Philippine forests.
Aside from that, the talk also imparted to the audience the different impacts of climate change to the poor such as, extreme weather events, decreased in fisheries production, crops contamination, health impacts and vulnerability to more disasters.
After discussing the issue, an open forum has been organized, while the main theme of the forum is forestry, the participants were keener to ask and present their concerns on mining in different parts of the country.
Ms. Marjorie Pamintuan, spokesperson of KALIKASAN said that environmental defenders are not free from harassment and violence, in fact, the SLAPPS (Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation) is a law used to harass and threaten environmental activists.
The group also denounced the killings of Leonard Co, Sofronio Cortez and Julius Borromeo who were killed while doing biodiversity research work in the forest of Kananga, Leyte.
Pamintuan also noted that for ten months of Aquino being president, there are already a total of six environmental defenders who were killed yet the government keeps mum and the cases remain unresolved.
The talk entitled 2011: State of the Philippine Environment reviewed the different environmental issues under PNoy’s administration.
By: Yannah Maria Cuz/Tudla Productions