Gina Lopez, open pit mining and water

I would say this Gina Lopez is a force of nature. You have to see it to believe it. I attended a session she had with a number of bloggers last week. Lopez had a number of things on her mind, Outside of government circles Lopez is battling moves to lift the ban on open pit mining. The ban was imposed by Lopez before she was rejected as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary by the Commission on Appointment,

It seems that the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) has asked the DENR to consider lifting the ban.

Lopez strongly expressed her concern over the impact of open pit mining in the Philippines and abroad. This included but not limited to the negative effect it has on the human community and its environment — the flora, fauna and including the other resources of the Philippines. At this point I remember the film the Big Short.

Big Short is a film about the world economic crisis that happened after the crash of the US real estate market. The film tackles the corruption and con (yes con) that led up to collapse and continued with the cover-up and bail-out. It also covered the impact it had on the people affected by the crash. But tempting as it is to draw similarities to the story and open pit mining there is something that stood out for me. In the end of the film, One the protagonist; the one who predicted the crash abandoned trading and speculating on all commodities except for one water.

The Philippines is a water rich country. As such in the coming years water is going to be one of the most precious resource for humanity. We cannot do without it and the practice of open pit mining which will have negative effects on our water tables will effectively poison our water resources.

Cursing the country in effect making a water rich nation into a water starved nation. And that my friends is my fear on what might happen.

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CHR: Good luck or bad luck? Who knows

The on-going discussion, debate and ad-hominems resulting from the House of Representatives decision to give the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) a 1000 peso budget reminds me of an old tale called the Farmer’s Story , which I first heard at a sermon during mass and was mentioned in the film Charlie Wilson’s War where it was told by Philip Seymour Hoffman to Tom Hanks who played Charlie Wilson. Anyway, It seem somewhat appropriate for what is happening now.

In the Philippine Constitution the CHR was created to be independent but had NO POWER TO PROSECUTE and ADJUDICATE. — Good luck bad luck? Who knows

In 2017 the House of Representatives voted to give the CHR a budget of 1000 pesos — Good luck bad luck? Who knows

In 2017 the Senate voted to give the CHR its 600 ++ million budget — Good luck bad luck? Who knows

There were those who warned there would be a reckoning come election time. I guess a number of people would have to change their address to punish the representatives they hate — Good luck bad luck? Who knows

The Bicameral Committee will decide how much the CHR will actually receive — Good luck bad luck? Who knows

Meanwhile on the net a set of new issues will come and go — Good luck bad luck? Who knows

Speaker Alvarez has said they would restore the CHR budget if CHR Chairman Gascon resigns — Good luck bad luck? Who knows

President DU30 has said its Gascon’s fault — Good luck bad luck? Who knows

Who is Gascon? We should know — Good luck bad luck? Who knows. we should know

Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon a known human rights lawyer was appointed Chairman of the CHR by former President PNOY. He replaced Akbayan’s Loretta Ann Rosales and will serve until May 5, 2022 — Good luck bad luck? Who knows

Gascon was Director General of the Liberal Party from 2008-2011 and Political Director of its the party’s 2010 National Electoral Campaign. — Good luck bad luck? Who knows

Gascon claims he has disengaged from the Liberal Party — Good luck bad luck? Who knows

Gascon is also known and perceived as one of the top critic of this government — Good luck bad luck? Who knows

Would it help if in the future appointees to the CHR and other Commissions have a history of being independent from political parties? Will it help? Perhaps, who knows.

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The Awardees of the 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award

This bit of news and information is worth mentioning since there seems to be little mention of this on traditional and new media.

Ten biodiversity conservation advocates from varied sectors of society — the grassroots, government, academic, and business sectors — were awarded during the 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award. The ceremony was held last August 7, 2017 in Manila, Philippines as part of the celebration of ASEAN’s Golden Anniversary.

The ten recipients of the 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity — a program designed to recognized outstanding individuals from the Asean region who have given significantly to biodiversity advocacy efforts and biodiversity conservation were:

Mr. Eyad Samhan, Former Field Supervisor, Tasek Merimbun, Brunei Darussalam
For significant contributions to research on fauna and flora in Brunei and in the region

Mr. Sophea Chhin, Government Official, Department of Biodiversity, Cambodia For sparking interest in wildlife research among Cambodians

Mr. Alex Waisimon, Conservation worker, Indonesia For protecting Papua’s forests for future generations

Mr. Nitsavanh Louangkhot Pravongviengkham, President, Union Development Agricole Import-Export Public Company (UDA Farm), Lao PDR
For promoting environment-friendly agricultural production and protecting migratory species

Prof. Zakri Abdul Hamid, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Malaysia For making a lasting impact on analysis and assessment of global biodiversity and ecosystem services

Dr. Maung Maung Kyi, Chairman, Rakhine Coastal Region Conservation Association, Myanmar
For effectively promoting community participation to conserve various habitats

Dr. Angel C. Alcala, Professor Emeritus, Silliman University, National Scientist, Philippines
For championing coastal resource management and terrestrial biodiversity conservation

Prof. Leo Tan Wee Hin, Professorial Fellow and Director (Special Projects), Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore — Source

For championing biodiversity outreach and education

Dr. Nonn Panitvong, Founder and Webmaster of
Thailand Biodiversity Conservation Group, Director, NakornPhet Sugar Limited and other companies

For raising public awareness of biodiversity through taxonomy

Prof. Dang Huy Huynh, Vice Chair, Viet Nam Association for Conservation of Nature
and Environment

For fostering the exchange of knowledge and solutions to conserve Viet Nam’s biodiversity

Links and end notes

ASEAN awards ten conservation advocates as biodiversity heroes. ASEAN.ORG. Date Accessed: August 25, 2017.

Ten conservation advocates receive 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award. Date Accessed: August 25, 2017

Ten conservation advocates receive 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award. European External Action Service. Date Accessed: August 25, 2017.

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