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Green group urges Duterte to declare climate emergency

December 9, 2019

GREENPEACE has launched an online petition asking President Rodrigo Duterte for a Climate Emergency Declaration following the report citing Philippines as the second most affected by climate change in 2018. Citing the 15th Edition of the Global Climate Risk Index released earlier by an environmental watchdog, the Greenpeace said the Philippines also ranked fourth among the long-term climate-impacted countries (1999-2018). Speaking from Madrid, Yeb Saño, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said: “The writing on the wall is clear: the Philippines is in a climate emergency. We have been in a state of climate emergency for decades now, and the situation is not getting any better–and it will not get any better unless the world leaders gathering for the COP25 in Madrid show concrete commitments towards the promises they made in Paris. We also call on the Philippine government to formally acknowledge this emergency situation and act with the utmost urgency and defend the interests of its people in the face of climate injustice.” “We need urgent action if we are to address the root causes of the climate crisis and achieve climate justice for our people,” said Saño adding, “This would only be possible if tackling climate change and its impacts on the lives of Filipino people is given top priority by government and placed at the center of policy- and decision-making on local and national levels. He said Greenpeace is therefore calling on Duterte to issue a Climate Emergency Declaration and, as an immediate next step, hold fossil fuel companies accountable for the harms to Filipino people brought on by their activities that are driving the climate crisis. He added:“In recognition of this climate emergency, the Philippine government should lead the demand for industrialized nations to ratchet up their emissions reduction ambitions in order to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.” “Our own government must also ensure the country’s rapid and just transition to a climate-friendly development through a massive uptake of renewable energy solutions, the phase-out of coal-fired power plants and a stop to all coal and fossil fuels expansion,” he said. Climate emergency After Typhoon Tisoy ravaged Southern Luzon early this week, sudden massive flooding from non-stop rains is now sweeping Northern Philippines, devastating cities and municipalities across Tugegarao, Isabela and Cagayan, some of which are just recovering from similar floods early last month. Greenpeace Philippines Country Director Lea Guerrero said: “These two disasters that have happened in just one week highlight the Philippines’ extreme vulnerability to severe weather and its impacts. Greenpeace is repeating its call for the Philippine government to declare a climate emergency and hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in driving climate change.” Guerrero: “Filipinos are constantly under threat from extreme rainfall, storm surges, flash floods, lahar flow and landslides. For every disaster we count our dead loved ones, displaced families and destroyed crops and livelihoods. But confronting the root of the climate crisis we are suffering–the irresponsibility of fossil fuel corporations–is still not on the table.” She said: “President Duterte must issue a climate emergency declaration in order to mobilize the urgent action needed to address this crisis. As a first step, the Philippine government must hold accountable fossil fuel companies who have contributed the most to this climate crisis. These carbon majors include some of the world’s largest and richest companies, such as Shell, BP and ExxonMobil, who continue to expand their harmful operations at the expense of communities and future generations. It is time that they are held responsible for what they have done.” President Duterte’s Climate Emergency Declaration must: • Put climate urgency at the centre of all policy decision-making from a local to national level. • Hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in driving climate change and inflicting harm on the Filipino people. • Demand other countries, particularly industrialized nations, to enhance their emissions reduction ambitions in order to meet the Paris Agreement’s aim to limit global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius. • Ensure the Philippines’ rapid and just transition to a low-carbon pathway through a massive uptake of renewable energy solutions. • Phase-out coal, and stop all plans for future coal and fossil fuel investments The call coincides with the start of the UN climate talks in Madrid, and ahead of an expected announcement by the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines following its investigation into the responsibility of 47 fossil fuel corporations for human rights impacts resulting from climate change. Open letter The Philippines has been in a climate emergency for decades now — with millions across the country left to suffer the catastrophic effects of extreme weather, made stronger and more deadly by climate change. Year after year, Filipinos are identified among the most impacted globally by this crisis, an emergency situation made worse by the big polluters who have lied and covered up about their contribution, protecting their businesses and profits. Everyday Filipinos have been leading the way in exposing the big fossil fuel corporations most responsible for the emissions heating up the planet, but now it’s time for our government to formally acknowledge this urgent crisis and declare a climate emergency. 1,055 To sign the petition online, log on to: act.gp/climateemergencyph. source: greenpeace.org

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Moreno issues EO 195

December 7, 2019

* Creates City Cemetery and Memorial Park Board CAGAYAN de Oro Mayor Oscar S. Moreno has issued Executive Order 195 creating the City Cemetery and Memorial Park Board (CCMPB) to ensure the maintenance of order and compliance with environmental sanitation standards at the Bolonsori public cemetery in Barangay Camanman-an. Headed by Engr. Almarco C. Brito with City Councilor Edgar Cabanlas as vice chairman, the Board recently conducted an ocular inspection at the site and reviewed the design for the redevelopment of the cemetery, including the resettlement of some settlers who are currently residing within the property. The plan also covers the proper interment of human remains to prevent possible contamination of water sources within the cemetery and nearby areas. The board’s membership consists mostly of leaders in the private and civic sectors in keeping with Mayor Moreno’s development agenda of inclusive governance. Other members of the Memorial Park Board include Camaman-an Punong Brgy Pedro Arda;  City Civil Registrar Evangeline Tapangan; Ramir Balquin of the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO); Oliver Egypto of the Office of Community Affairs; Dr. Adrian Suba-an of the Department of Health-10 (DOH 10); Environment Management Board (EMB)Region 10 Director Reynaldo Digamo; Mohammad Gondarangin of the Muslim Association of Cagayan de Oro; Abdul Nasser Masorong of the Commission on Muslim Affairs 10; Msgr. Perseus Cabunoc of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro and Engr. Benjamin Nunag Jr. and Arc. Adolph Vincent Vigor and the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP), with the City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office (CLENRO). Public consultation Meanwhile, the City Council committee on Subdivision and Landed Estate chaired by Cabanlas will be holding a public consultation at 8 a.m. on December 10 at the City Tourism Hall. (ACM)

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Magno's heroic deed is powerful act: Priest

December 7, 2019

INITAO, Misamis Oriental--Hundreds of residents, fellow policemen, government officials and friends occupied the streets of Initao, Misamis Oriental from St. Francis Xavier Parish Church in Barangay Poblacion to a private cemetery in Barangay San Pedro to pay their last respect to a hero cop up to his last resting place. Police Senior Master Sergeant (PSMS) Jason Magno was buried nine days after he was killed in a grenade blast inside Initao College in Barangay Jampason on November 28. A powerful act Reverend Father Lyndon Zayas, parish priest of St. Francis Xavier Parish Church in Initao, said Magno’s heroic deed is a very powerful act that he sacrificed his life for the safety of others. Magno’s body inside the casket is already a strong message for everybody that “there is no greater love that man can give than to give up his life for others”. “That is what we see in the life of Jason. That was not only a single act of heroism but that was a product of many situations of heroism in his life. We heard a lot of good deeds about him. What he did (in Initao College) was not the first time,” Zayas said in his homily. Hero cop indeed Capatain Arlyne Ranario, chief of Initao police, describes Magno as a kindhearted person and a service oriented police officer who does not know how to rest from work. “When there is wanted person arrested and he learned that the family of the suspect is poor, he will provide the needs of the family. If there is arrested person for a very light crime and cannot afford to post bail even if it is a very small amount, he will offer to lend some amount for the bail. A month before he died, he even shouldered the hospital bill of a neighbor who was hospitalized because of dengue,” Ranario, a classmate of Magno when they got into the PNP in 2000, said. Ranario added: “He is a very dedicated government worker… a very rare service-oriented. I cannot remember him complained whatever assignment given to him. He is the police officer of participates in all our events. But he still managed to give time to his family.” Zayas hopes that the public will look and reflect on Magno’s life and will be encouraged and inspired to live a meaningful life “not only for our self but also for others”. “Until we cannot practice living for others, we cannot experience a genuine happiness and we don’t have satisfaction in life. Jason showed to us that our life is meant to others just like Jesus Christ who died on the cross, not for himself but for us,” Zayas said. Heroic deed Magno and his colleague, PSMS Alice Balido responded to a distress call at the Initao Community College because there was a man, later identified as Ibrahim Bashir, who was brandishing a grenade. Magno scuffled with Bashir for control of the explosive but when the grenade, already without safety pin, fell to the ground, he attempted to grab and throw it away from the people. The blast wounded Balido and other 16 students but police said there could have been more people hurt if not for Magno’s heroic deed. Medal of Valor On Thursday, Magno’s family received from President Duterte the posthumous Medal of Valor during the President’s visit to his wake at his mother’s residence in Purok 11, Barangay Poblacion. The benefits of this award include lifetime survivorship pension to the wife with an additional P75,000 every month. In case the kids would like to enter the Philippine Police Academy, Gamboa said they don’t have to take an entrance exam as they will get in immediately. From Magno’s wake, the President visited Balido in a hospital in Cagayan de Oro City, where she was given the Order of Lapu-lapu Kampilan Medal, a watch, a cellular phone and a new firearm.

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Suspect in beheading tries to disarm police, shot dead

December 7, 2019

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The 23-year-old suspect in the beheading of an unidentified woman in the municipal town of Talisayan  in Misamis Oriental was shot dead while attempting to disarm the police escorts. Loyd Supera Bactong, reportedly tried to grab the side arm of the police escort while on their way back to Talisayan after an inquest in the regional court here Friday. Lt. Col. Mardi Hortilloza, the spokesman of the regional police in Camp Alagar here said that said that the police patrol car has a flat tire on their way home midway in the town of Jasaan prompting the police to alight and fix the tire. Hortilloza said that the suspect reportedly grabbed the sidearm of one of the police escorts after the handcuffed was unlocked to allow the suspect to relieve himself. The hands of the suspect were handcuffed in the back, but the handcuffed was unlocked to be transferred to the front allowing when the incident took place. Hortilloza said that the police and the suspect grappled for the gun, attracting the attention of the two other police escorts who were fixing the flat tire. He said that the suspect reportedly succeeded in disarming the escort and fired the gun prompting the other police escorts to fire back. Luckily, the police was not hit, but the suspect sustained a gunshot wound in the shoulder and three other gunshots on then breast.   Hortilloza said that the police brought the suspect to the Jassan Community Hospital, but the attending physician declared him dead on arrival. To recall, the suspect beheaded a woman in Talisayan Thursday for unknown reason and dumped the headless body near the town’s cemetery. Police said that the law enforcers immediately search for the suspect after a resident reported the headless body Thursday morning. Police investigators located the suspect’s whereabouts while allegedly in the act of “consuming” the brain of the victim. The suspect reportedly confessed to beheading the unidentified woman after he was allegedly angry of the woman for speaking “English.” The suspect then informed the police of the location of the severed head whose brain was already taken out. Until now, the identity of the victim remains unknown since nobody has claimed the cadaver while no relative of the suspect has come out. Provincial governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano has ordered a complete background check of the suspect to determine the motive of the beheading and to identify the family of the suspect.

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Group calls on gov't to ratify Mercury treaty

December 4, 2019

ENVIRONMENTAL justice group BAN Toxics called on the Philippine government to ratify the Minamata Convention to protect the people and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury exposure. The group participated at the recently concluded 3rd Conference of Parties of the Minamata Convention in Geneva, Switzerland and co-released the ZMWG report on skin-lightening creams. The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty that is designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. “The Duterte administration must follow through on its promise to protect the health of every Filipino by ratifying the Minamata Convention. This will ensure that we are protected from the dangerous effects of mercury, especially from those that are coming from human activities,” said Reynaldo San Juan, executive director of BAN Toxics. Testing throughout 2019, the report revealed 95 of the 158 products purchased in the 12 sampling countries exceeded the legal limit of 1 ppm (part per million), with mercury levels ranging from 40 ppm to over 130,000 ppm. More than two-thirds (65 of the 95) of those were bought online from such internet marketers as Lazada, Amazon, eBay, BidorBuy, Daraz, Flipkart and Jumia. In the Philippines, BAN Toxics also revealed that mercury-laced products were also available in Divisoria and are also being sold by online sellers on Facebook. The Philippines is one of the 128 countries that signed the Minamata Convention in 2013. According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the instrument for the ratification of the Minamata Convention was already transmitted to the Office of the President awaiting his signature. The Convention came into force in August 2017. Human activity contributes to the largest portion of mercury release. Every year, as much as 9,000 tons of mercury are released into the atmosphere, in water and on land. The largest source of mercury emissions is artisanal and small-scale gold mining, followed closely by coal combustion, non-ferrous metal production and cement production. Everyday items, such as cosmetics, some fluorescent bulbs, some batteries and dental fillings also contain mercury and mercury compounds. Poisoning occurs most often by ingestion of contaminated fish and inhalation – liquid mercury, once commonly used in thermometers, evaporates at room temperature. According to the Philippine Minamata Initial Assessment report, released by the DENR this year, the primary anthropogenic sources of mercury in the country is the extraction and use of energy sources. This is followed by the production of primary or virgin metal, which includes mining and gold processing, and the production of other minerals and materials with mercury impurities. At least five bodies of water in Luzon and Mindanao and several mining sites all over the country have rising levels of mercury. The bodies of water and sites suspected to have high concentrations of mercury include Manila Bay in Metro Manila, Meycauayan River in Bulacan, Mambulao Bay in Camarines Norte, Lumanggang Creek, and Naboc River, both in Davao region, the abandoned Palawan Quicksilver Mines in Puerto Princesa City, Mabuhay Vinyl Corp. in Iligan City, a chlor-alkali producer, and mining and gold processing sites in Camarines Norte and Masbate.

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Youth to govt: Hold major carbon emitters accountable

November 29, 2019

YOUTH climate strikers and civil society organizations are calling on the government to hold major carbon emitters responsible as they march in Manila for climate justice on Friday. The march is part of the Global Climate Strikes Movement, which takes place ahead of the UN climate conference in Spain next week. Youth groups are taking to the streets in several other cities, including Davao, carrying a common message of justice for climate-impacted Filipino communities. “Filipino youth refuse to inherit a dying planet and a sunken country. We are demanding climate justice,” said Mitzi Jonelle Tan, lead convenor at the Youth Advocates for Climate Action in the Philippines. Tan said: “We are fed up with the willful ignorance of multinational companies and world leaders of countries that are contributing the most to environmental degradation and the climate crisis. We will not stay in our classrooms when the threats to our country and to Filipinos are so clear and apparent.” Ahead of the climate strikes, young Filipinos are also hopeful that the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will release a favorable resolution on its investigation into the responsibility of 47 of the world’s biggest investor-owned fossil fuel companies for human rights impacts resulting from climate change. The inquiry is the first of its kind in the world and its resolution is expected to become a precedent for future climate litigation in the Philippines and in other countries. “For the future of our children and the coming generations, we remain steadfast that the CHR will announce a resolution holding fossil fuel companies responsible for human rights violations,”  said Katherine Culaba, Education Officer at Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO). “The climate crisis can be addressed, but only if we hold the culprits responsible for the damage they’re inflicting.” Greenpeace is supporting the call for climate justice and is demanding that companies most responsible for the climate crisis be held accountable for climate harms. “The Philippines is in a climate emergency—corporations most responsible for this crisis should not be allowed to continue operating business-as-usual with impunity,” said Marian Ledesma, Greenpeace Philippines coordinator for the Climate Justice Campaign. “Today’s young people are relentless in their efforts to demand solutions to the climate crisis. Greenpeace honors these young Filipinos who are at the forefront of the call to bring justice to people whose rights to shelter, food, livelihood and a dignified life are being violated by fossil fuel companies who put profit over people. They are not just fighting for themselves, but for everyone," said Ledesma. Source: Greenpeace Philippines

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