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Also stop environmental crimes in 3-6 months, Duterte asked

12:08 AM June 11, 2016

During the campaign period, then presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte promised to solve rampant criminality and corruption in three to six months. He vowed to end the reign of drug lords, kidnap-for-ransom gangs, and other big-time criminal syndicates across the country.

Now that Duterte has been proclaimed as the country’s elected president, we implore him to take a closer look into the environmental crimes that are being committed with impunity. Environmental crimes are worse since they affect the present and succeeding generations, they are more costly in terms of social and economic impact, and they lead to the displacement of the poor and worsen the underdevelopment of the country.

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Foreign large-scale logging and mining operations, land conversion, propagation of genetically modified organisms, plastic pollution, plunder of marine resources, poaching and the killing of environmental defenders—these are some of the underreported crimes that, albeit not as sensational and visible as illegal drug use, pose a serious threat to the future of the Filipino people.

We believe that the national leadership should be committed to the protection of our fragile ecosystem to stop the rapid deterioration of our quality of life. The incoming administration should lead—in ending the plunder of our natural resources, in conserving our wildlife, and in upholding animal welfare. More importantly, the incoming administration must draft a national development plan which makes sustainable use of our resources for the development of the Filipino people.

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The many environmental crimes that are exacerbating the suffering of the poor can be addressed in three to six months by a government which has the political will to end the greedy, dirty and antipeople activities of monopoly firms, corrupt politicians and multinational entities.

We urge President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to work toward solving the country’s environmental crimes, and demand the following:

  1. Stop animal cruelty and illegal wildlife trade! Pass more laws protecting wildlife and strictly implement the amended Animal Welfare Act (Republic Act No. 10631) and the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of the Philippines (RA 9147).
  2. Stop large-scale logging, mining operations and land conversion.
  3. Stop reclamation! Scrap the national reclamation plan and terminate the Laguna Lake Expressway Dike Project.
  4. Stop the construction of new coal plants! Focus on renewable energy resources.
  5. Stop the persecution and killing of environmental defenders.
  6. Stop plastic pollution. Draft a clear plan for solid waste management. Strictly enforce the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (RA 9003).
  7. Stop propagating GMOs. Ensure food security.
  8. End impunity for environmental crimes. We demand justice for victims of mining operations, lumad killings, oil spills and coral reef destruction; and for the victims of state neglect in climate change response, like the farmers affected by El Niño and the “Yolanda”- stricken communities.

(Nilad is a network of environmental organizations all over Metro Manila fighting the reclamation projects along Manila Bay and Laguna Lake, while Earth Island Institute Philippines focuses on wildlife conservation, marine mammals and animal welfare.)

—RAYMOND “MONG” PALATINO, chair, Nilad; TRIXIE CONCEPCION, regional director, Earth Island Institute Philippines

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TAGS: crimes, environment, Rodrigo Duterte
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