Aquino overlooked environmental issues in SONA – group

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MANILA, July 31, 2015 – A group of environmentalist expressed frustration over how President Benigno Aquino III’s skipped reports on some key environmental issues during his last State of the Nation’s Address on July 27.

Edel Garingan, PMPI project officer, said “what the country really needs is ecological rehabilitation and and conservation, and this is almost impossible with the Philippine Mining Act and the poor implementation of our current environmental policies.”

The President should push pro-environment projects to mitigate climate change, said Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI) convener Sr. Cres Lucero. According to her, Aquino should also establish concrete measures to safeguard communities from disasters and devastating effects of mining.

Aquino “has forgotten his responsibility to take the lead in protecting the Philippine’s rich biodiversity and natural resources,” Lucero added.

Past and most recent major environmental destruction has been associated with mining, said Yolanda Esguerra, PMI national coordinator.

“After the release of the Executive Order No. 79 in 2012, up to this time, what we have are categories for No-Go Zones for mining but still no specific area or province has been declared as such in a policy or legal paper even at least on the part of the President,” she said.

The House of Representatives has approved eight bills declaring eight areas in the country as mining-free zones. But these bills still require the concurrence of the Senate.

Esguerra noted Aquino still has time to address the country’s environmental concerns.

Lucero also asked Aquino to consider Pope Francis’ call to hear the cry of the poor and of mother earth. (Oliver Samson/CBCPNews)

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