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STATEMENT ON THE PASSAGE OF THE
EXPANDED NATIONAL INTEGRATED PROTECTED AREAS SYSTEM
In recognition of dire need of the country to build more resilient communities and environment to face the adverse impact of climate change and natural disaster, PMPI through its Anti-Mining Campaign support the passage of the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENIPAS) with a few concerns on some provisions.
PMPI and its local partners from various mining-affected communities appreciated the policy that aims to enhance conservation efforts for unique, rare and threatened species of plants and animals and their habitat, thus ensuring the sustainable use of our natural resources and cultural diversity. We also like, more particularly its intent to increase the participation of civil society organizations and communities in the management of the declared protected areas.
As we anticipate the passage of the bill, we would like to appeal to our legislators to ensure that in consistency with the intent of ENIPAS that is to intensify the protection and conservation mechanisms of the protected areas, all existing permits, contracts or agreement entered into by the government for the utilization of natural resources, which are involve in acts prohibited in the protected area like the exploration and extraction of natural resources will NO LONGER BE APPROVED FOR RENEWAL.
On the “Transitory Provision”, it shall be clarified and expanded that not only land-use and resource permits will be subjected for review for consideration of its renewal; specifically it should also include related contracts and agreements on the utilization of the resources inside the protected area.
For PMPI, the immediate application of this bill will be in one of our Sites of Struggles in Eastern Samar, the Island of Manicani in the Municipality of Guiuan. Manicani Island is part of the 1994 Presidential Proclamation No. 469 declaring the Municipality of Guiuan as Protected Landscapes and Seascapes under the National Integrated Protection Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992.
Unfortunately, just before the proclamation, in 1992 a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement was issued to a mining company covering almost the entire island. However, up to this time, the project remained at the exploration stage and has not yet secured approval for its Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility (Source: letter of MGB to PMPI dated December 7, 2015). The said project was also suspended in November 2002 due to the insistent campaign of Save Manicani Movement, a People’s Organization in the island, with the support from the Diocese of Borongan, Eastern Samar.
With the suspension of the mining project and its failure to operate fully, and the realities presented by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, we would like to consider the following as good opportunities to assert the protection of the island and implement projects that will serve the purpose of Proclamation 469. We also see that the passage of ENIPAS, in prayers that existing agreement will no longer be renewed, will paved the way to the full protection and sustainable development of the island.
on Mamasapano and Mindanao
We remember with grieving the tragic event that took the lives of 5 civilians, 44 members of the PNP Special Action Forces (SAF) and 18 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other armed Moro combatants. Each life so suddenly ended and leaving families, communities, and our nation in lingering pain.
Despite investigations by both Houses of Congress and the Department of Justice, as well as by the PNP Board of Inquiry, the MILF, and the International Monitoring Team among others, the truth of the tragic event still has to be fully known. Unfortunately, the variations in the initial reports of these bodies indicate that the way to this truth will never be easy, and may not be helped by further investigation at this time when the electoral season has begun.
Sadly, looking back at the long history of conflict in Mindanao, there have been many incidents that still cry for truth and justice. These include the Jabidah massacre of 1968 that occurred on the eve of the Martial Law declared by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the massacre of 1,500 Moros in Tacbil Mosque in Malisbong, Palembang in September 1974, the killing of 124 soldiers on Pata Island in February 1981, with retaliation brought to bear on more than a thousand civilian victims, and the ‘burning of Jolo City’ in February 1974 wherein almost 10,000 were killed – Muslims, Christians and Chinese alike due to the ensuing armed hostilities. As a people, we still need to learn and understand the history of the peoples of Mindanao and undertake the necessary healing task of transitional justice.
Let us however strive to bring this healing now where we can, even as our efforts for justice need to continue. The families of the victims of Mamasapano should be supported in their basic and psycho-social needs. They should exemplify our efforts at healing, not division. We hope that small discreet initiatives for dialogue and reconciliation among these torn and suffering families and communities bear fruit and be allowed to grow.
Let us also realize that Mindanao and the country have had many stories, not just of conflict, but also of interfaith and intercultural dialogue and peacebuilding. Let us continue to nurture these national and local efforts to bring healing, restorative justice and reconciliation to individuals and communities affected by conflict and violence in Mindanao.
These countless decades of peace efforts and small steps taken collectively by a multitude of actors and communities, both here and around the world, have led us to celebrating the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), not too long ago.
We therefore appeal to all Filipinos, and especially our legislators, to find the will and the peace of heart, to support and pass a Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) faithful to the peace agreement and the aspirations it is founded upon.
For those who have fallen, and especially for the bereaved who face the future, let us grasp the peace that is at hand!
We invite everyone to MINESWEEPER: A Forum on Mining and Climate Justice on January 23 at the National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS) Auditorium, UP Diliman.
In an open letter to both the GPH and NDF panels, civil society network Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI) today urged the government and the rebels to “go back to the peace table and resume the talks until a just political settlement is reached.”
“We see that the best timing to publicly call for the resumption of the peace talks is today, in time for the International Human Rights Day, as the human rights not just of combatants from both sides but also of civilians whose rights are severely violated and abused because of this conflict," PMPI National Coordinator Yolanda Esguerra said.
Esguerra explained that the letter is a result of the network’s Peace Summit held last November 2015. PMPI has initially sent the said letter to the chairpersons of both panels and later decided to make its demands public to encourage response from both parties. Among the signatories of the letter are Sulong CARHRIHL, Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute, Balay Mindanaw, CBCP-NASSA, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, and PMPI partners across the Philippines.
(Download open letter from here)
The largest mobilizations for Climate Justice around the world has started.
The Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI), its partners in NCR, thousands of faith-based institutions, and environmentalists showed great force of unity amid Global Climate March ban in Paris due to security issues.
“We are in the throes of a historical juncture that is irreversible if we do not act now and acknowledge that each person and/or country has varied responsibility to the destruction of environment. It is therefore a must that those most responsible should commit greater to climate change causes and support those that are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change. This is not only about generosity or compassion. This is about justice,” PMPI National Coordinator Yolly R. Esguerra said.
The church, the academe, environment, and rights groups collaborate together to be part of unprecedented global climate mass mobilization on November 28. Series of mobilizations from all parts of the country and the world will follow.
"The holy father told us that he wants the church to go to the streets. We did. And we will do it again to show our care for our common home, to protect the environment we live in. This is the Laudato Si in action," said Father Edu Gariguez of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA).