COMMIT TO THE ENVIRONMENT! COMMIT TO HUMAN RIGHTS!
October 12 to 16, 2015
To our aspiring government leaders,
Today, as you file your candidacy, we ask you to think about our environment – our rivers, seas, our forests, our mountains, our home; we ask you to think about our rights – our food, our water, our security, our future. Like the great appeal of Pope Francis in his Encyclical, Laudatu Si, let us protect our common home and upholds the integrity of creation.
The past administrations and all the previous platforms for good governance including the Tuwid na Daan of President Benigno Aquino III were tainted with a lot of issues and challenges on natural resources management, environmental protection, and human rights violation. Although there had been several recognitions about the defiling state of the Philippine environment, there had been some inconsistencies with the government’s aspirations to conserve to the actual deliveries of project.
The country’s experience during Typhoon Haiyan and its aftermath can be considered as a great demonstration on how the country should value and prioritize biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. However, after Haiyan, many things remained as is, as if nothing happened. The government seemed to continue the aggressive promotion of development projects that in turn destroy our ecosystem, a number of protected areas remained at the mercy of mining and other destructive activities, while policy reforms that could have set better direction for the conservation of the environment had slow progress in the legislative department.
We, civil society organizations and our partner communities affected by mining, believe that the degradation of the environment compromises and most often leads to the violation of our human rights. Violence and repressions committed against human rights defenders and community leaders is rising in the country. Worst, killings and direct assault to people, who were just protecting their land, community, forest and people, are also becoming more apparent, among them are the string of killings in Tampakan in the past years and the recent lumad killing in Surigao del Sur. We also believe that the destruction of our environment will lead to the diminishing capacity of our water sources, food supply, and resiliency of our communities against natural disasters and the impact of climate change.
As you aspire for positions in the government, we want you to bring rational change in the mining industry in the country, secure the protection of our environment especially those that had been already declared as protected areas, help address cases of human right violations, defend human rights, respect the rights of our indigenous peoples communities, and promote sustainable development.
In the coming days, we will be watching you. This is part of our commitments to make our leaders accountable to our environment and our future. Because today, more than ever, we need leaders that value ecology over economy, human rights over profit.
Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc.
Alyansa Tigil Mina
Philippine Movement for Climate Justice
Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples
Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance