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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Anti-mining groups condemn the violent incident in Sibuyan


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Two Sibuyan residents were hurt when mining trucks of Altai Philippines Mining Company carrying nickel ore pushed their way through the barricades put up by the community as they demanded the suspension of mining operations to protect their island’s ecosystems.

Sibuyan residents tried to prevent the trucks from passing through but unfortunately failed as the trucks, aided by the police, forced their way through the human barricade and left two injured.

“We strongly condemn this violent incident. We strongly condemn the connivance of the mining company and the Philippine National Police including local politicians,” said Rodne Galicha, Executive-Director of Living Laudato Si.

“Hinahanap naming ang tunay na batas sa Sibuyan. Bakit ang mga tumutulong para maipatupad ang batas, lalo na ang pangangalaga sa kalikasan ay siyang tinuturing na kalaban?” said Elizabeth Ibanez, Coordinator of Sibuyanons Against Mining (SAM).

Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina, said “the violent incident involving the police no less, is a direct affront to the will of the Sibuyan residents.”

“The police should have ensured a peaceful protest and respected the position of the Sibuyan people against the mining company. They have no business taking the side of the mining company, especially that the Altai mining have no necessary permits for their operations,” he said.

Galicha also said “this act of protecting the mining company is unacceptable knowing that there are violations and deception from the very start, from when they first stepped foot on our island.”

“This calls for status quo and multi-sectoral and transparent investigation,” he said. “We urge the municipal mayor and the provincial governor to issue cease and desist order by virtue of the general welfare close of the Local Government Code of 1991. We urge the House of Representatives and the Senate to conduct an immediate hearing in aid of legislation, and for the Commission on Human Rights to be present on the ground. We demand that a national team of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources come to Sibuyan Island within the week to address all issues and concerns.”

#IAmOneWithSibuyan #notomininginsibuyanisland #notomininginsibuyan

Monday, February 6, 2023

Philippine Agencies Unite to Combat Wildlife Traffickers


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Over forty officers from eleven Philippine enforcement agencies underwent joint specialized training in Palawan to identify and dismantle organized crime networks that are targeting the country’s wildlife. Officers also received training in how to care for wild animals that they seize from traffickers.

“Because criminals are working together across borders to make money from trafficking wildlife species, so too must law enforcement agencies band together and intensify their cooperation and collaboration to stop the looting and exploitation of endangered plants and animals,” said Katherine Custodio, Executive Director of WWF-Philippines, which co-hosted the event.

“We go to great lengths to protect and conserve nature and biodiversity, especially because we are part of the Coral Triangle, a globally-recognized center of marine biodiversity. Organized transboundary wildlife trafficking needs to be disrupted and dismantled while rescued animals have to be handled properly so that our conservation efforts do not go to waste,” she added.


 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) estimated that the total cost of the illegal trade is around P50 billion per year in the Philippines alone. This amount already includes the losses to damaged habitats from poaching and loss in potential ecotourism revenues.

Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, in the Southeast Asian archipelago, have been facing challenges related to the illegal wildlife trade of threatened species such as pangolins, marine turtles, and sharks, among others. Enforcement of laws on wildlife trafficking has been difficult given the wide marine borders in the Sulu and Celebes Seas and the lack of strong cooperation between the countries’ security and intelligence agencies.

A U.S. government-sponsored project called TRIPOD (“Targeting Regional Investigations for Policing Opportunities and Development”) conducted instructional sessions in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, that improved the cooperation between law enforcement agencies. Topics of the training focused on sharing of critical, actionable intelligence, building holistic interagency approaches between police, judicial, anti-corruption, and financial crime agencies, and teaching of analytical tools that help in identifying criminal supply chains. The next step in TRIPOD is to help convene Philippine agencies with their counterparts in Indonesia and Malaysia to share information and agree on ways to target cross-border illicit supply chains that are trafficking marine turtles, pangolins, sharks, and many other species.

Developed by WWF’s partner, Freeland, the “CTOC” (Countering Transnational and Organized Crime) training course was held from January 16 to 20 with 30 participants from law enforcement agencies including DENR, PNP, NBI, PCG, BFAR, Anti-Money Laundering Council, Philippine Ports Authority, and Philippine Center on Transnational Crime. Local NGO Tanggol Kalikasan provided technical support.

The second training session, Care for Confiscated Wildlife (CCW), with partner International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), was held from January 23 to 26 with 29 participants (half staying on from the first session), including enforcement agencies, wildlife rescue agencies, veterinarians, and animal experts.

“Seizures of live animals are particularly challenging for enforcement agencies combatting wildlife crime. Trafficked animals are discovered in poor condition and require urgent attention. Animal handling techniques are essential to ensure the safety of personnel and to safeguard animal welfare” said Lois Lelanchon, Wildlife Rescue Program Manager at IFAW.

As part of this training, WWF, LAMAVE, University of the Philippines and Department of Environment and Natural Resources led a session on ShellBank, a marine turtle trade traceability toolkit. ShellBank brings together multiple organizations, nations, and communities to collectively develop a global repository for marine turtle genetic data to enable trade to be traced back to poached turtle populations. “Extracting DNA from seized items can pinpoint the nesting origin of the turtle killed and enable authorities to crackdown on poaching hotspots” said Chris Madden Hof, WWF’s Global Marine Turtle Conservation Lead.

The TRIPOD project is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), and is implemented by Freeland together with WWF and IFAW. The DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau-Wildlife Resources Division serves as the primary government partner of the project. An INL statement on the program added: “We are pleased to support this initiative, which was designed in response to the Philippine partner agency’s requests for capacity building that would foster and enhance both the analytical skills of participants, as well as interagency cooperation.”

“With the improved capacity and collaboration of our partner law enforcement agencies, criminal syndicates looking to profit from endangered wildlife species will think twice before they target the rich flora and fauna in the Philippines and neighboring countries,” said Custodio. Steven Galster, Founder of Freeland, agreed and added: “Law enforcement networking and training is a low cost-high impact approach to deterring and dismantling organized wildlife crime.”

Sunday, February 5, 2023

No To Mining In Sibuyan, Protect The Environment and the People




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Sibuyan Island, called the “Galápagos of Asia” is now in danger of environmental destruction because of the current push to mine the area. It was called the “Galápagos of Asia” because it is isolated from the Philippine archipelago. The volcanic islands of Galápagos, which lie 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, are famous for a wealth of unique plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.

The unique biodiversity in Sibuyan Island is impacted enough to declare the island as a protected area and uphold the Rights of Nature and stop the current nickel mining operation in the area. It is sad that despite of this during the past few days we are seeing an escalation of tensions and the victims are the people of Sibuyan who are opposing the mining operation and the beautiful environment of the island, both of whom the government should be protecting in the first place.

We, the Green Party of the Philippines is opposing the mining operation in Sibuyan Island and are hereby stating the following:Sibuyan Island should be declared a permanent protected area.

Mining operations on the island should immediately be stopped.

The company that is conducting the mining operation should be penalized and asked for damages.

Any public official found guilty of connivance with the mining operation should be immediately dismissed and held accountable and liable.

Revoke the Exploration Permit of Altai Philippines Mining Corporation (APMC) and cancel their Mineral Production Agreement (MPSA).

Vox Populi, Vox Dei.

We demand the government to listen to the voice of the people standing against the mining operation. We are now experiencing a climate crisis and destroying the natural and beautiful biodiversity of Sibuyan Island is not in anyway helping us prepare for this crisis.

Let us protect and sustain our environment, it’s now or never.

This is an OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF THE GREEN PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES, written by David D’Angelo, National President. Endorsed by the National Executive Committee of the Green Party of the Philippines (GPP-KALIKASAN MUNA) on February 4, 2023. [Download copy in PDF]

For Media Contact:DAVID D'ANGELO National President, Green Party of the Philippines +639988830735 | greenpartyphilippines@gmail.com


Additional Resources:Altai Philippines Mining Corporation (APMC) Proposed Nickel Project – Project Description for Scoping filed with EMB of the DENR
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Tags:climate actionenvironmentgreen governanceofficial statements


Written by David D'Angelo
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