Indigenous peoples score DMCI on World Environment Day

Source: 
KATRIBU News Release
Date of publication: 
5 June, 2015

MAKATI—Indigenous peoples from KATRIBU Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas along with environment activists conducted a protest action at the office of D.M. Consunji, Inc (DMCI) on Friday, June 5, on the commemoration of the World Environment Day. KATRIBU scored the construction corporation over issues of environmental destruction and human rights violations.

“Not only has DMCI have an abysmal environmental record, it also infringes on human rights by its use of a private army to eliminate its critics on the ground,” Piya Macliing Malayao, KATRIBU spokesperson said.

Recently, John Calaba, a 28-year-old Manobo activist and public information officer of local indigenous peoples’ organization KIDUMA (Kisasabanay sa Dulangan Manobo) went missing in his hometown of Sitio Salabantran, Brgy. Sabanal, Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat. Calaba was last seen on April 30, at around 9:00 AM in the company of DMCI guards. Gunshots were heard around the DMCI area around 10:00 AM, witnesses say. A vehicle was seen exiting the area afterwards, which left a trail of blood. Calaba remains missing, and is feared dead by locals and human rights organizations.

“We hold the DMCI guards and the Special Civilian Armed Auxiliary (SCAA) for his disappearance. We demand his immediate surfacing,” Malayao said.

Calaba was a known leader vocal in criticizing the environmental effects and land-grabbing of DMCI in the area and is seen as reason for his disappearance and possible extrajudicial killing.

According to KATRIBU, DMCI have driven away the Dulangan Manobo from their ancestral lands. Their farms planted with native and various crops were cleared out and then bulldozed. They have also been prevented from tilling their own lands, and are being harassed by company guards and are being compelled to pay for the company’s safe conduct pass.

Malayao also blasted DMCI’s use of a “legitimized private army” to threaten and harass the Manobo people.

According to Malayao, the Aquino government continued the formation of the Investment Defense Force (IDF), unveiled in 2008 by former President Arroyo to protect mining and energy investments. The IDF is a cooperation of private security groups and the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the charge of securing businesses.

“The creation and continuance of the Investment Defense Force is a direct attack against the people and an affront to human rights in general. Imagine goons, armed with the best weapons mining corporations and plantation owners could buy, trained by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and legitimized by the President, are going after indigenous people and ordinary citizens who are critical of projects and businesses. It is an abomination to democracy that corporations have an army under their thumb,” Malayao said.

DMCI guards in its operations in Sultan Kudarat are said to have been trained by the 38th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

“Paramilitary groups and other mercenaries on payroll by big businesses are terrorizing Lumad villages all over Mindanao. In his policy for retaining paramilitary groups and the Investment Defense Force, BS Aquino is responsible for perpetuating the reigning culture of impunity,” Malayao added.

KATRIBU is pushing for the revocation of Executive Order 546, that legitimizes the creation of collaborative defense force between the government and private security forces.#

References: Piya Macliing Malayao, 0917-3631576 Spokesperson; Lea Fullon, 0998-2972500, Public Information Officer


Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KATRIBU)
National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples Organizations in the Philippines
Room 304 NCCP Building, 876 Epifanio De Los Santos Avenue, West Triangle, Quezon City, Philippines
(02)412-5340 | kamp_phils [at] yahoo [dot] com | katutubongmamamayan.org

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On World Environment Day: Environmentalists protest DMCI’s Palawan coal-fired power plant, other ecological crimes

Kalikasan PNE Press Release

5 June 2015

MAKATI CITY, Metro Manila—Today on World Environment Day, environmental activists under the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) held a picket protest outside the office of DMCI Holdings denouncing its various environmental crimes and human rights violations in several biodiversity areas in the Philippines. The latest case is the railroading of the pollutive 15-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Narra Town, Palawan Province.

“The Filipino people must demonstrate on World Environment Day our commitment to protect our natural heritage and ecology by opposing DMCI’s coal-fired power plant in the globally-renowned ecological treasure that is the province of Palawan,” said Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

Kalikasan PNE noted that DMCI has an extensive track record of anti-people and anti-environment projects.

“DMCI’s group of companies has been extensively logging in almost 100,000 hectares of forest areas in Mindanao over the past three decades. They have been irresponsibly mining Nickel in Zambales that has already caused massive water pollution. DMCI’s coal-fired power plant in Batangas is a continuing air polluter that is among the 13 power firms to face legal action from the Energy Regulatory Commission for manipulating power rates,” explained Dulce.

Recently, DMCI’s Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAA) units, paramilitary guards pay rolled by the company’s logging firms in Sultan Kudarat, were suspected in the enforced disappearance of indigenous leader and environmental activist John Calaba. Calaba was an officer in the Manobo group KIDUMA, which opposed DMCI’s logging and mining projects in Sultan Kudarat.

“We must resist and not allow DMCI, which has a long record of environmental crimes, and Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez, who was a big commercial logger, to pollute and destroy the pristine environment of Palawan,” Dulce said.

Alvarez is one of the staunch supporters of the Palawan coal power project, and widely known as the one who denuded the forests in Northern Palawan.

“The expensive and dirty coal project of DMCI and Gov. Alvarez has no place in one of the world’s richest biodiversity corridors and hubs of cost-competitive renewable energy,” Dulce added.

The green group noted that there are cleaner yet cheaper sources of energy in the province. According to World Wildlife Fund-Philippines, a proposed hydropower project would sell electricity at P6.59 per kwh, as opposed to the DMCI coal power plant’s proposed P10.51 per kwh with value-added tax included.

“There are cleaner and even more cost-effective alternatives to coal in Palawan, especially if you factor environmental, health and social costs. In fact, Palawan does not need additional power supply from DMCI’s coal given that there is actually a surplus power supply of 16.7-MW in the province,” Dulce noted.

“We are calling for an independent investigation to look into the outstanding risks and negative impacts to the people and the environment by DMCI’s various operations. Government authorities must ensure that companies such as DMCI with such an atrocious environmental and social track record should not be allowed to handle environmentally critical projects,” ended Dulce.

Reference: Leon Dulce – 0917 562 6824

Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: +63 (2) 924 8756 | E-mail: secretariat [at] kalikasan [dot] net | Site: www.kalikasan.net

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Palawan Deserves Renewable Energy. A Coal Plant is Out of Place in the Country’s Last Ecological Frontier.

Palawan Alliance for Clean Energy (PACE) Press Statement

5 June 2015

As we celebrate World Environment Day today, June 5th, it is important to highlight Palawan’s continuing fight against the pursuit of coal power.

Contrary to the pretenses of some of our local officials in Palawan, coal is not the answer to the continuing power outages in the province. There is no lack of contracted capacity of power because the existing Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in Palawan has a contracted power capacity of some 54MW. The current peak demand in Palawan is about 33-35MW which leaves an excess of 20MW for reserve and back up.

What exists is the failure of these IPPs to provide the guaranteed dependable capacity based on their Power Supply Agreements (PSA) with the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO). Glaring is the fact that DMCI, proponent of the coal-fired thermal power plant had 9 diesel engines not functioning, and despite not being able to deliver a huge portion of the guaranteed dependable capacity based on its contract with PALECO, it has transferred some of its working units to stations in Rizal, Quezon and Taytay which are outside of the original contract area.

Following civil society’s engagement with government agencies last year, a masterplan for the energy development of Palawan was prepared and finalized. Based on the Palawan Island Energy Masterplan (PIEMP), the least cost option would be to utilize the renewable energy potential of the province. Potential hydroelectric projects in Palawan have an estimated capacity of 182.47 MW, which can provide energy of up to 959 GWh based on a 60% capacity factor. Integrating coal in the power mix will not result to the least-cost mix of Palawan within the planning period provided in the energy masterplan.

Since 2012 when PALECO entered into a power supply agreement with DMCI which provided for the establishment of a coal-fired thermal power plant, civil society groups and local communities have asserted to our local officials and the Department of Energy (DOE) that a coal plant represents a clear and present danger to the biosphere, the welfare of our citizens and the image of Palawan as the center of biodiversity and environmental conservation in the Philippines.

All we need to do is to look into the experiences of communities in Cebu and Quezon as well as in India, China, USA and Germany to know the adverse environmental, health and livelihood impacts of coal power plants. The true cost of coal power embodies high unpaid health liabilities which must ultimately be paid by our citizens and the government. It shortens lives, reduces labor productivity and is the major source of greenhouse gases leading to climate change.

Existing efforts in Palawan and in the national level to protect Palawan’s biodiversity and enhance its tourism value will be threatened by the environmental and health effects of coal power projects. Almost the whole province of Palawan is included among the 78 tourism development areas being implemented by the National Tourism Development Plan.

The superficial cheapness of coal should not be the only consideration for allowing a coal-fired power plant in Palawan because the risks it brings far outweighs the benefits it can provide to an ecologically rich and sensitive province.

We are disturbed by the efforts to politicize the processes and violate our environmental governance laws in order to expedite the clearances and approvals needed for the establishment of the coal-fired power plant.

We reiterate our call on every Palaweno to send letter-petitions protesting the mockery of our laws and processes to key national officials, the provincial governor, to all the government officials who sit in the PCSD, to the barangay officials of San Isidro, Narra and the municipal officials of Narra. We must continue the battle of the residents of Panacan, Narra and San Juan, Aborlan who resisted this dirty and harmful energy project, and ensure that a coal plant is not built in San Isidro, Narra and anywhere in Palawan.