Groups call on PNoy: Likas Yaman Depensahan, Karapatan Proteksyunan
Enact three green bills—NLUMA, FRB, AMMB
Days before President Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), at least five hundred advocates and activists marched to the House of Representatives in Batasan to call on the President and Congress to defend the Philippine’s natural resources and protect people’s rights through the enactment of three green bills.
Calling for the enactment of the National Land Use Management Act (NLUMA), Forest Resources Bill (FRB) and Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB) are the Campaign for Land use Policy Now! (CLUP Now!), Sagip GUBAT and SOS Yamang Bayan networks.
The “Green Groups” urged PNoy to recognize these urgent concerns in his SONA and to certify urgent the three “Green” bills that will not only address our environmental problems but also protect the rights of Filipino communities to a thriving environment and livelihood opportunities.
Erwin Quiñones, national coordinator of SOS Yamang Bayan explained: “Two years ago we asked the President: gawing luntian ang tuwid na daan. Unfortunately, he failed us. Now we call on the government again to prioritize these three environment bills that will address land use problems, deforestation and minerals management.
“Eventually, these legislative measures will contribute to the rehabilitation and stability of our eccosystems and will raise our capacity to fight the impacts of climate change and a growing population ,” he added.
Reps. Barry Gutierrez III of Akbayan Partylist, Teddy Brawner-Baguilat Jr of Ifugao, Jorge “Bolet” Banal of the 3rd Distict of Quezon City, and Kaka Bag-ao of Dinagat, who support these bills met the group as they arrived in Batasan. The group is composed of indigenous peoples, farmers and fisherfolks, urban poor, women, human rights advocates, environmentalists and students.
Rep. Gutierrez urged President Aquino to ‘paint’ his administration green and champion important laws to safeguard the environment.
“President Aquino during the start of his administration used the color yellow as a symbol in the people’s campaign to fight for transparency and end a corrupt past and then employed the color purple in the struggle for the passage of the Reproductive Health law. It’s just fitting that, in the remaining years of his presidency, he should also paint his administration green and push for the passage of laws crucial for the protection of the environment,” according to Gutierrez.
NLUMA already has the support of President Aquino which he mentioned in his SONA in 2010 and certified as urgent piece of legislation last Congress. However, the bill was derailed in the Senate after it was reverted back to the Second Reading with the motion of reconsideration at the last minute by Senator Marcos, Enrile, and Villar. NLUMA was also excluded in the list of agenda last 2 session days in the Senate ending its chances of being passed into law last 15th Congress.
Reps. Kaka Bag-ao, Teddy Baguilat, and Jorge Banal refiled the National Land Use and Management Act last July 1. In the Senate, Sen. Gregorio Honasan also refiled the National Land Use bill that will rationalize the holistic and just allocation and use of our country’s land and natural resources.
Rep. Banal, principal sponsor of NLUMA stressed “We have pushed for the enactment of a National Land Use and Management Law during the 15th Congress and we are steadfast in fighting for its passage.”
He also encouraged everyone to support this campaign for NLUMA for this will “ensure sustainability and ecological balance, distributive justice in the allocation of land and water resources”.
Meanwhile, re-elected Ifugao Rep. Baguilat eagerly refiled the Forest Resources Bill last July 1.
“I strongly believe it is imperative that Congress pass all three green bills because they address the lack of a proper framework for the use and management of our natural resources. Our lands, waters, forests and minerals are not just sources of raw materials to be exploited but are resources that should be wisely managed for the benefit of present and future stakeholders. We hope Malacanang will support all three bills as well and not just fiscal incentives for investments,” stressed Rep. Baguilat.
The three bills have been filed in both Houses of Congress as House Bill No. 108 and Senate Bill No. 63 (NLUMA), House Bill No. 95 and Senate Bill No. 45 (FRB), and House Bill 984 and Senate Bill No. 43 (AMMB), respectively.
Rep. Bag-ao promised: “In this 16th Congress, we will not let the opportunity pass to enact the NLUMA, AMMB and FRB into laws. These three environmental bills must be prioritized by this Congress to jumpstart the deliberations and debates towards the speedy passage of these laws. ”
The networks challenge this Congress to be “Green Heroes” and immediately tackle and pass these bills.
The Executive Branch led by President Aquino is also called on to support the urgent passage of these critical resource laws, together with promoting a better policy and fiscal environment for investments. .
For more information, contact:
Kim Alvarez, CLUP Now!, 0918-6545059 firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Dorente, Sagip GUBAT Network, 0922-8151938 email@example.com
Farah Sevilla, SOS Yamang Bayan Network, 0923-5122374 firstname.lastname@example.org