Green groups demand President’s environment agenda
Call for passage of 3 environmental bills
“GAWING luntian ang tuwid na daan,” environmental supporters urged President Benigno Aquino 3rd days before his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
“In his Social Contract, PNoy envisioned a government that will encourage the sustainable use of our natural resources. But he has yet to pronounce his green agenda aside from proclaiming the logging moratorium and launching the National Greening Program,” the Campaign for Land Use Policy Now!, Sagip GUBAT and SOS-Yamang Bayan networks said in a statement.
“He has to take more concrete steps this year towards realizing this vision, starting with the three green bills,” they added, referring to the National Land Use Act (NLUA), Forest Resources Bill (FRB), and Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB).
The three networks held a “Green Parade” around the Quezon Memorial Circle on Saturday to celebrate the country’s natural resources and to call for the passage of the three environmental bills.
Representatives Kaka Bag-ao of Akbayan party-list and Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr. of Ifugao and at least 2,000 other supporters, including indigenous peoples, church-based groups, urban poor, farmers, fisherfolk and students joined the parade.
The networks added that the three bills need to be passed immediately, and the importance of our resources recognized, to ensure that these resources continue to provide “ecological services” such as food, water and clean air.
“Our environment ensures food and water security and climate change resilience. We must in turn ensure that these and other ecological services benefit not only the present but also the future generations of Filipinos,” the networks said.
The NLUA builds on decades-long efforts toward the rational allocation of land resources while considering its effects on society and the environment.
In relation, the FRB emphasizes the importance of forest ecosystems not only for their timber but also for the ecological services—such as providing food, storing water and trapping carbon—which they provide. It also promotes the establishment of tree plantations to address timber needs.
The AMMB, on the other hand, is intended to replace the 1995 Mining Act. It particularly seeks the equitable distribution of benefits from our mineral resources while prioritizing the development and protection of local communities.
Both the NLUA and FRB are pending in the House of Representatives and the Senate, while versions of the AMMB have been filed in the Congress.