Kamayan para sa Kalikasan





 J O U R N A L



77th Issue.

July 2008


                               NEWS SECTION (right below)          OTHER SECTIONS (click here)

Humankind has done without tools for convenience. It has not been reported anywhere in history to have done without enpough water that is fit to drink. But greed for profit and convenience has been holding us all hostage to environmental, nay planetary destruction. that has threatened our collective survival as a race, as a species. We have also been taking other life forms in this suicidal mode, making us willing accessories to the complete decimation of nature's life-sustaining systems, including watersheds! Enough people should see the light and act together to stop this madness!

 FORUM ECHOES           
'Spray no more toxics
on kids, on people!'

Forum participants decide to help Community-LGU struggle in Davao

THE CITY'S ORDINANCE was very soft as formulated, merely demanding that the pesticides being sprayed by banana plantation owners in Davao on their crops no longer use airplanes that spray the same on the people as well. The toxic rain was stopped. But over even just that the plantation owners association decided to "fight City Hall" in court. They lost.

   The story did not end there, however.

full story

 FORUM FOCUS         
Kanlaon Watershed in Grave Danger

 Old trees to be killed  

for profit, 'hot air'

DECLARED A NATURAL PARK by Republic Act No. 9154 in 2001, due to its “diversity of its biological resources and its aesthetic, socio-cultural, economic and ecological importance to the Island of Negros,” Mt. Kanlaon is being menaced for more that a decade now by the Philippine National Oil Corporation-Energy Development Corp. (PNOC-EDC) with plans for forest-clearing and geothermal energy exploration operations in 12.5 hectares of Kanlaon’s hectares of strictly protected zone.

    The plans entail altering the natural landscape, including destroying the forest and further endangering the watershed. No less than 4,213 trees are to be felled to make way for roads and other infrastructures for the geo-thermal plant.

full story






Perpetual Forests

Stakeholders and Supporters Task Forces

Paradise About to be Lost


     “The race to address global warming issues is intense, and we must all find ways and means. But in our speed, can we please choose the least destructible path? Our natural forest is sacred place where Nature’s spirit resides. We have already raped Nature. Should we continue to kill her?

          -– JEANNIE JAVELOSA, writer (as published in Philippine Star)


    Salika Ka!

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The Provincial Government of Negros Occidental believes so and Gov. Isidro Zayco has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Philippine National Oil Company-Energy Development Corp. (PNOC-EDC) for the latter to cut old-growth trees in a so-called “buffer zone” of the Mt. Kan- laon Nature Park, earlier declared as a protected area. Considering the present state of the environment, including global warming more frequent floods, Nature has another view. And it is not in favor of profits for a few. [map compu-grafic by Ding Reyes



 Perpetual Forests !!!

NOW WE KNOW. Those forests which greedy people have destroyed were meant to be there forever, for the health of planet Earth. They were part of the planet’s anatomy performing a vital function in the sustenance of life. The consequence of the loss of the greater percentage of the earth’s forests has belatedly surfaced as the frequency and virulence of climate disasters escalate.

    The accumulation of greenhouse gases, the bigger percentage of which is CO2 has, over time, been abetted by the absence of forests. Forests are the main consumers of CO2. Forests convert CO2 into fresh oxygen which all living things need. With less of this conversion, the rate of CO2 accumulation naturally accelerated, triggering what we now experience as climate change.

    Moreover, forests are the storehouses of water, the other vital component that sustains life. With the loss of forests, the watersheds are no longer the abundant reservoirs they are meant to be. With damaged watersheds, the rivers and lakes dry up. With the scarcity of water, the lands dry up. Less food can be grown. But when the rains and now more violent storms come, floods and mud slides rampage down denuded mountains, causing harm and devastation in ever greater scales.

    The loss of forests brings along another greater loss. The loss of biodiversity. Did past generations not know that by destroying the forest they would be tampering with the balance of the ecosystem, destroying the very foundations of life? Have the warnings come too late? Or they have been there but not heeded. Now, with the climate disasters battering the earth relentlessly, the forests are of enormous importance. They have a perpetual function; they are meant to be left alone.

    Is it now too late to remedy the situation? Some say the second forest cover, if given the chance, can slowly bring back the forests. But this will take a very long time and the inclement whether has to be reckoned with. The primal growth with the continuing natural replacement over the centuries can no longer be recreated. Common sense dictates that deforestation worldwide has to stop immediately, so that the remaining forests cover can make whatever contribution it still can.

    But the greedy will never heed this call. And the indifferent will never lift a finger for it. For, in truth, something else has been lost to humanity, which is the deeper reason for the loss of the forests. And this is the loss of the sense of responsibility for the common good. It is this sense of responsibility that needs to be restored, or the forests will continue to go. Will the new and coming generations recover this sense of the common good?

    Only if we and the next generation restore and accept this responsibility (for the common good) and sustain it in perpetuity. Proof of that is if we and they, after us, devote our energies to recreating perpetual forests. For such forests are clearly part of the common good, just as their loss confronts us and the next generations with common catastrophe. People have to see this clearly if we are to survive as a race. And we have to see it in cases like the Mt. Kanlaon watershed that we do have to save. (A.C.)

Stakeholders and Supporters’ Task Forces

ALL THESE YEARS, in the more than 18 years’ history of Kamayan para sa Kalikasan forum, we have been hearing agitations now and then from some participants to “stop the talk and start the action.” We would patiently explain that the forum project is an instrument for coming together for participants to agree on many points, and it is up to the participants among themselves to make plans after the forum on what they think they ought to do.

    We would realize that many of those who would criticize loudest on this “all talk, no action” observation would be the least ready to heed calls for action, while many others do not let their impatience distract them and others from listening and participating fully in the discussions for this is what a forum is all about.

    Last month, right after the forum session on the aerial spraying of pesticides being perpetrated by banana plantation owners in Davao City, putting in serious jeopardy the health of nearby communities, we did something new -- upon the suggestion of one of the panel speakers and with him becoming the first volunteer member, later coordinator, we formed a task force from among volunteering forum participants to actively support the ongoing struggle of the Davao communities and city government.

    This became the first Stakeholders and Supporters’ Task Force (SSTF) directly resulting from a Kamayan Forum session, under the auspices of the forum’s convenors, CLEAR and SALIKA. And it has spun off to become an active component force of the Davao campaign. Proud as we are of this, we will surely form others.


  FORUM FOCUS         

Kanlaon Watershed in Grave Danger
‘Old growth trees to be cut for profit, hot air’--Oppositors

DECLARED A NATURAL PARK by Republic Act No. 9154 in 2001, due to its “diversity of its biological resources and its aesthetic, socio-cultural, economic and ecological importance to the Island of Negros,” Mt. Kanlaon is being menaced for more that a decade now by the Philippine National Oil Corporation-Energy Development Corp. (PNOC-EDC) with plans for forest-clearing and geothermal energy exploration operations in 12.5 hectares of Kanlaon’s hectares of strictly protected zone.

    The plans entail altering the natural landscape, including destroying the forest and further endangering the watershed. No less than 4,213 trees are to be felled to make way for roads and other infrastructures for the geo-thermal plant.

    But to provide enough water for drinking and irrigation, Negros needs a total of 30-40% forest cover. As of 20 years ago, only 5% remained. Kanlaon now accounts for half the remaining forest cover of the island, acting as the watershed for several cities and towns. It sequesters carbon, holds rainwater and is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, including rare and endemic species (see boxed item).

    It surprises no one, therefore, that many environment-conscious Negrenses have come together in a network called Green Alert-Negros to criticize and oppose the plans. But PNOC-EDC has its own sympathizers among the populace, especially now with repeating increases in the prices of petroleum and energy in general. For this reason, the organizers of Kamayan para sa Kalikasan monthly environmental forum chose to focus on this topic its 221st session on July 18. Invited to attend the session are Gov. Isidro Zayco, who was asked to come or send a representative, Bishop Vicente Navarra, the Bacolod City-based Green Alert and the PNOC-EDC. Also sent an invitation was Sen. Pia Cayetano, due to her role in asking Zayco to hold in abeyance the implementation of the MOA cited previously. Manila-based oppositors of the tree-cutting plan, like Ms. Mara Pardo de Tavera and Ms. Desiree Segovia were also asked to come.

    None of these had confirmed attendance as we prepared this issue of KFJ. Kamayan para sa Kalikasan is an 18-year-old monthly forum held at the Kamayan Restaurant, EDSA (near Ortigas Ave.), Mandaluyong City, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 3rd Friday of every month, thru free lunch served by Kamayan-EDSA, its full sponsor since March 1990.



  FORUM ECHOES           

Echoes From June Forum  

‘Spray No More Toxics on People!'

Forum Participants Decide to Form Task Force

THE CITY'S ordinance was even considered very soft as enacted, merely demanding that the spraying of pesticides by banana plantation owners in Davao on their crops no longer be aerial, for that had been spraying the same on people as well. The toxic rain was stopped. But over even just that the plantation owners association decided to "fight City Hall" in court. They lost.

    The story did not end there, however. Determined to prevent any reduction of their profit from having to build access roads for ground-based spraying vehicles and equipment where profit-bearing banana plants now stand, the banana growers sought a reversal of the Davao Regional Trial Court’s ruling by the Court of Appeals branch based in Cagayan de Oro City.

    They surely got more than they had bargained for: a temporary restraining order was issued by the CA, later making this an injunction order, against the City’s ban ordinance while the case was being settled. Deadline for the CA’s ruling is on July 28. The case is expected to be elevated further to the Supreme Court.

    Among the resource persons in that session were Atty. Marlon Manuel, coordinator of the Alternative Law Groups (ALG), whose member-group Saligan has been the lawyers association handling Davao’s case before the Court of Appeals; Rene Pineda, president of the Concerned Citizens Against Pollution (COCAP), and Atty. Gerry del Mundo, a lawyer for environmental and fisheries cases.

Close to the very end of the forum session, panel member Pineda called for the formation of an active support group for the Davao struggle from among the forum participants, with him as the first volunteering member. A number of other forum participants followed his lead and the Stakeholders and Supporters Task Force to Ban Aerial Spraying of Pesticides was formalized in a post-forum meeting with Pineda as coordinator. The group immediately slated some activities to drum up more support for the Davaoeńos cause, including radio, television and live-forum guestings, and joining demos wearing banana costumes.


   BOXED FEATURE          

About to be sacrificed for Hot-air Energy:

Paradise to Be Lost

The biodiversity of Mt. Kanla-on is recognized worldwide because of its high endemism and presence of rare and endangered species of flora and fauna. One of the 10 priority sites for conservation (out of 342 sites), the following may be said of the Natural Park: It is one of the Endemic Bird Areas of the world according to Birdlife International w/ one species, the Negros Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus arcanus), a globally-endangered species found only in Mt. Kanla-on; It is one of the 18 Centers of Plant Diversity in the Philippines due to its species richness and endemism; It is part of the national patrimony being a National Park since 1934 and is one of the most important protected areas in the Philippines;

    Discovery of a very rare and important species of flora •Rafflesia Speciosa. The world's largest flower is classified as threatened species to extinction in the wild. The specimen was found within the 169 has. declared MKNP buffer zone for geothermal development.

    In the 169 has. set aside by law for PNOC-EDC's geothermal development we find:

    --> At least 69 species of flora which have not been identified to the species level

    --> lowland dipterocarp forest and mixed second growth forest"

    --> discovery of very rare and important species, Rafflesia Speciosa

• 3,192 large woody trees in the way of the proposed road system

• 4,734 trees at the proposed well pads

• 10 most important species of trees are found in the area

• 124 species of fauna (54 endemic in the Philippines and 8 in the Negros-Panay geo-regions) were documented in the area

Ecological Significance: Our Moral Obligation to Defend

Maunsell Philippines' biodiversity study of the 169-ha Buffer Zone of the MKNP (commission-ed by the PNOC-EDC), affirms the need to protect the declared buffer zone of MKNP from any form of destruction. The 169 hectares are high in biological diversity with valuable and priceless species of flora and fauna, some of which face severe threat of extinction in the wild. The findings of the study (commissioned by PNOC-EDC) serve as concrete scientific data that the buffer zone should be reclassified as strict protection zone. The study reveals that the buffer zone is a critical wildlife habitat to numerous endemic species of flora and fauna (many of which are threatened to extinction in the wild!). There are highly threatened species with global significance. These flora and fauna have other ecological functions that are socially, culturally and economically beneficial to the island of Negros.

PNOC-EDC's project inside the park is inconsistent with the very purpose of Mount Kanla-on as a protected area. The project runs counter to the guidelines of the DENR for threatened plant species. Cutting of naturally growing trees in protected areas and their buffer zones is supposedly prohibited. This is especially true with respect to threatened species such as Almaciga. Giving PNOC-EDC cutting permits has serious policy implications. It also demoralizes our forest warden volunteers (Task Force Ilahas and Kanlaon Green Brigade) The establishment of the buffer zone for PNOC is contrary to the concept and objectives of a buffer zone as defined in the NIPAS Act. The PNOC project threatens the watershed capacity of MKNP and would directly affect four river systems in the area through cutting of ecologically valuable trees. Allowing the PNOC to encroach in the park for energy development will jeopardize the integrity of MKNP as one of the Conservation priority areas of the Philippines. The Wildlife Resources and Conservation Act of the Philippines (RA 9147) prohibits destruction and /or disturbance of known critical wildlife habitats. We have a shrinking forest and our discussion should be on how to reforest rather than deforest. The argument of responding to the energy crisis in the future is valid, but what about the argument of responding to the watershed and environmental crisis today?





Sali ka! Sa pipiliin mong larangan at kaparaanan, tuluy-tuloy kang magpakahusay bilang aktibong may-taya sa mabisang pangangalaga at muling pagpapanumbalik ng buháy na Kapaligiran. 


Sumali kang talaga, huwag mag-‘salimpusa’! Gawin mo para sa sarili mong kapakanan, at gawin nating lahat para sa sama-samang kapakanan nating lahat.


Salika at itayo natin ang pinakamahigpit at inakamabisang pagtutulungang kaya natin.  Planuhin at isagawa mo ang pag-impluwensya, sa lahat ng kaya mong mpluwensyahan,

upang gawin na rin nila ang ginagawa mo.


Sali ka! Ipalaganap mo ang panawagang ito; katawanin mong ikaw mismo ang panawagang ito!



Come, join us! In the field and in the manner of your own choice, do well and do ever better as an active stakeholder in effective environmental conservation and restoration.

Join us, and do join us really, for real and not just token participation. Do it for your own sake; and let’s all do it together for our own collective sake. Join to build the closest and most efficient teamwork that we can.

Plan and work to influence as many people as you can to do likewise.

Come, join us!  Spread this call! Be  this call!



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All are invited. to the  Kamayan para sa Kalikasan Environmental Forum held regularly, since March 1990, on the 3rd Friday every month, 10:30am-2pm at the Kamayan Restaurant along EDSA, Mandaluyong City. It is convened jointly by the Communicators’ League for Environmental Action and Restoration (CLEAR) and Sanib-Lakas ng Inang Kalikasan (SALIKA), fully sponsored by Kamayan.  



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