“It is high time to call a spade a spade: the Aquino government has demonstrated that it can no longer meet even the minimum demands of the Filipino people for environmental protection and the wise utilization of natural resources towards people-oriented development and industrialization.” – Kalikasan Partylist
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Nowadays, a mere low-pressure area can already submerge villages and even cause a landslide. In some towns in Bataan, Pangasinan and Bulacan, and in Metro Manila’s Valenzuela and Parañaque, for example, there are villages still flooded by rains brought about by a low-pressure area. “How much more if we had super-typhoons?” residents wading through flooded streets asked in fear.
Early this year, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that an unprecedented 1,257 Filipinos died from Typhoon Sendong in late 2011, while nearly 5,000 were injured. “Typhoon Sendong exposed the Aquino government’s lack of disaster plans,” said Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino.
In President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s State of the Nation Address last Monday, just six months after Sendong, Aquino boasted of supposed improvements in his government’s handling of disasters. He praised what he described as his administration’s improved capability at disaster response.
But in a forum led by Kalikasan Partylist held shortly before Aquino delivered his address, green groups found little to no trace of Aquino’s touted disaster response capability in his administration’s track record.
In fact, Filipinos are in greater danger today from environmental catastrophes than two years ago when Aquino started to rule. According to the Kalikasan Partylist, the Aquino administration has not addressed but worsened the environmental crisis with its policies and programs.
After two years as president, Aquino has shown a track record of “pursuing environmentally destructive policies,” said Clemente Bautista Jr., president of Kalikasan Partylist. These policies, he said, include the continued liberalization of mining industry under Aquino’s Executive Order 79, and the limited log ban in 2011.
Mining-related sinking in Benguet (Photo courtesy of Amianan Salakniban / bulatlat.com)
Under Aquino, the increase in large-scale mining is such that its gross production value rose in 2011 by P18.9-billion (US$448-m), while the contribution of metals to exports have increased from 3.8-percent to 5.6-percent, Bautista of Kalikasan Partylist said. But all these brought only “minimal contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (0.9-percent of almost P200-billion), and employment (0.6-percent),” added Bautista..... MORE