PMPI National Coordinator, Yolanda Esguerra explains the Rights of Nature to various civil society organizations and their partner organizations. Photo by Kale Luaton, PMPI.
Faith-based Social Development Groups Launch the Rights of Nature PH Network,
Marches to Batasan to Ask the President Not Sell the Philippines to China,
Protect its Citizen and Ecosystems, and to address Climate Emergency
The delegates of the just concluded People’s Congress on the Rights of Nature organized by the Philippine Misereor Partnership (PMPI) with NASSA/Caritas Philippines will march to the Batasang Pambansa today to ask the President to protect not only our fisherfolks but the aquatic and marine resources of the Philippines from China’s onslaught.
In its statement, PMPI urges President Duterte “to take a decisive political action to reverse the continuing environmental degradation and impending destruction of specific ecosystems and displacement of people brought by its own development programs and the national and foreign policies it has adopted (or the lack of it).”
The group calls out on President Duterte for its unpatriotic and cowardly stance on the West Philippine Sea issue. It criticized the Duterte government for its stance on the Chinese aggression to Filipino fisherfolk and said that “the blatant acts of aggression of China against Filipino fisherfolk at the West Philippine Sea despite the favorable UN arbitral award to the Philippines remained uncontested by the Duterte Administration, has put the fisherfolks in harm’s way and open up the fishery resources to Chinese unbridled exploitation.”
Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Executive Secretary of NASSA/Caritas Philippines said that the President should take a tougher stand against the Chinese government more than to his critiques whom he suspect as plotting his ouster. What is at stake here is not only the right of our fisherfolks to fish in our territory, but also the rights of other species in these ocean, corrals, fishes and other faunato thrive and flourish.
The People’s Congress on the Rights of Nature gave birth to a bigger network, the Rights of Nature PH. The network will push for a bill that will recognize the rights of nature making it a rights bearing entity that can protect itself by filing a case against the violators.
“If juridical persons or corporations have legal entity, why not nature and ecosystems?” opined Yoly Esguerra, National Coordinator of PMPI. We need a legal framework and a bill that would provide another layer of protection to Mother Nature. The current existing laws and legal framework are insufficient to address the current environmental crisis despite the Philippines being hailed as among the countries having the best environmental laws. In a climate emergency, projects such as the Kaliwa Dam and Manila Bay Rehabilitation, mining and coal plants which will further aggravate environmental crisis should be stopped”, Ms. Esguerra stressed.
The Rights of Nature PH network will push for a passage of the Rights of Nature Bill in the 18th Congress and engage government institutions and communities to adopt a new paradigm in relating to nature. It will strive to create a new awareness that respects the inherent rights of Mother Nature and the symbiotic relationship of all creation.