Groups pan govt failure to ‘green’ MTPDP

Published by rudy Date posted on April 3, 2011

ENVIRONMENTAL groups expressed their dismay over the recently approved 2011 to 2016 Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) in a media briefing on March 29 in Quezon City.

“Where are the principles of sustainability and reform?” the Caucus to Green the MTPDP asked. The caucus is a coalition of environmental nongovernment organizations and civil society groups convened by development organization La Liga Policy Institute.

“We are concerned over the ever-increasing vulnerability of our country to climate change and disasters even as we are already experiencing its ill effects. Any plan for the country’s growth and development will unfortunately be an exercise in futility if it does not integrate concerted, extraordinary and urgent actions on climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and on our strategic transformation to a low carbon economy,” the Caucus said in a statement.

The approved MTPDP draft included the pending Forest and Resources Management Bill in its legislative agenda and also called for the sustainable management of forest resources through the implementation of existing national plans as well as international commitments. However, the Caucus emphasized its lack of agenda on “a) food self sufficiency based on sustainable, ecological and organic agriculture; b) disaster risk and reduction management; c) improved ecosystem, soil and water management; and, d) sustainable off grid, decentralized, community based, efficient and new renewable energy systems.”

Furthermore, a “Green Audit,” which was originally included in the draft MTPDP chapter on environment and natural resources to evaluate the environmental impact of development plans, was omitted on the final draft.

Another consideration is the apparent change in context of some sections through editing that seems to favor vested interests. An immediate example is the replacement of the word, “exploitation” with “development and utilization” when specifying the extractive nature of the mining industry.

The Caucus referred to the past administration as a lost decade in terms of conservation and sustainable development. To cite one circumstance, the revitalization of the mining industry went in full swing and former President Gloria Arroyo was even awarded as the first “Ang Minero” by the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association because of her “opening the door to equitable growth and enlightened investment.”

Under the new leadership, the group is hoping for radical changes that will pursue conservation, protection and rehabilitation of our environment. They stressed, “The environment is the social security system of the poor, and without environment sustainability, millions of Filipinos would be denied the opportunity for sustainable growth.”

The Caucus to Green the MTPDP includes Action for Economic Reforms, Alternative Budget Initiative-Environment Cluster, Angkan ng Mandirigma University of the Philippines Diliman Chapter, Asia Intercontinental Networks of Organic Farmers, Batas Tomasino, University of Santo Tomas, Bluewater Consultancy, Convergence for Community-Centered Area Development, Earthday Network Phils., EcoWaste Coalition, Education for Life Foundation, Go Organic! Phils., Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Haribon Foundation, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, Institute for Philippine Cooperative and Social Enterprise Development, Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers Organizations, Interface Development Interventions Inc. of Davao, Mindanao, KAAKBAY, Movement for the Advancement of Sustainable Agriculture, One Organic Movement, Partido Kalikasan, Partnership for Clean Air, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, RESILIENCE, Nurturing Disaster Ready Cities and Communities, Rice Watch and Action Network, Saganang Buhay sa Liga ng Bayan Foundation Inc., Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society Inc., Sibol ng Agham at Technolohiya Inc., Sierra Tourism Consultancy, Social Watch Philippines, World Wildlife Fund Philippines and Zero Waste Recycling Movement of the Philippines. –Aira Simon Haribon Foundation

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