April 21, 2008
PRESIDENT Arroyo and Environment Secretary Joselito Atienza on Saturday were named "worst polluter and environmental destroyer" by environmental groups.
"Under PGMA, ang isyu ng basura, depletion ng marine resources, libreng pagpasok ng commercial fishermen, liberalization ng investment with equal national treatment, patuloy pa rin ang pagkasira sa kalikasan," said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan Peoples Network for the Environment.
Bautista said Arroyo has prodded legislators to fast track the approval of the JPEPA (Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement while belittling claims that the country would be a dumping ground of toxic wastes from Japan .
"No deal JPEPA," a broad coalition of non-government organizations, cited the urgency of opposing the ratification of JPEPA which they said would degrade the environment.
Atienza had assured the Asia Mining Congress in Singapore that government efforts to attract mining investors are being matched with environmental safeguards in the aftermath of the Rapu-Rapu island mine tailings disasters, but anti-mining groups remain cynical.
TAKDER Cordillera Peoples Alliance said adverse effects would be replicated in Abra, one of the country’s mining hotspots.
At present, there are 14 exploration permit applications being processed, three approved Mineral Production and Sharing Agreements and one Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement application.
The Earth Island Institute, an international NGO which develops and supports projects that counteract threats to the biological and cultural diversity that sustain the environment, warned that in a span of less than two decades, marine life and land mammals would become endangered species due to environmental neglect.