ATM Statement for Earth Day: Filipinos should assert their right in protecting the environment
April 22, 2014
‘Ganansya ng iilan, disgrasya ng mamamayan’— As the world celebrates Earth Day, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) a coalition of more than a hundred environmental and anti-mining groups continues its cry for a more sustainable future, not just for the environment but for the people of the Philippines.
“When it comes to environmental issues, there are just so many things to deal with. There is deforestation, destruction of biodiversity and of course destructive and irresponsible mining, among others. The issue even extends to human rights violations and the abuse of rights of our Indigenous Peoples” said Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator.
“But these issues are not hopeless. International and local groups from different sectors are doing their best to resolve these problems. The question however, is how willing are we to open our minds and assert our rights for a clean and safe environment. As long as we let the dysfunctional system and the culprits behind these environmental atrocities do what they do, we can continue to fight for 50 years or more and not even make a dent to save the Earth.” Garganera added.
ATM and other environmental organizations and sectors urge the public to take part in preserving the environment. Filipinos must use their right as a power against the environmental offenders especially now that climate change is threatening to intensify ‘disgrasya ng mamamayan’.
“We do not have to look so far behind our history to recount instances when our vulnerability as a nation was intensified by mining, coal plants operations, deforestation and other acts and operations that are clear desecration of our environment. 19 years ago, the Mining Act of 1995 was enacted and it has brought an imbalanced development but inconsiderate extraction of our national resources, destruction of our environment, health risk to the people and a long list of mining disasters that have left irreversible consequences to the affected communities. Just 5 months ago, Yolanda struck us and look how deforestation and mining contributed to the devastation it brought” Garganera stressed. Truly, the social, environmental and political costs of mining far outweigh its supposed economic benefits.
According to the most recent climate change report released by the United Nations last march 30, the intensifying global warming will gravely affect countries that rely on agriculture and fishery, and linking it to the booming population that is estimated to become 9.7 billion by 2050, worldwide hunger has been foreseen.
The Philippines, which mostly depends on agriculture and fishery as livelihood resources is bound to suffer more as climate change aggravates. The effects of mining and other activities that are considered detrimental to environmental services – such as vast deforestation and coal plant operations – do not help in averting the climate crisis that we are facing. The contradicting policies on addressing climate change and mining and other development projects are going to lead us nowhere. For this, ATM is calling upon citizens of our country to stand up against these environmental atrocities because ‘Ganansiya ng iilan’ has to stop, otherwise, hope falls short for the rest of the Filipino people.
“Environmental organizations, other concerned sectors even the government, can only do so much if we do not fight against these environmental aggressors. Moreover, let us fight the biggest aggressor, which is the apathy that we have when it comes to environmental concerns. Protecting our environment starts in our homes, the way we think, the way we act. Let us make Earth Day not a one day event, let us celebrate it every day of our lives. ” Garganera concluded.
Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of Executive Order 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and passage of the AMMB.
For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0917) 549.82.18, firstname.lastname@example.org
Check Zabala, ATM Media and Communications Officer, (0927) 623.50.66 email@example.com