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Monitoring of oil drilling must be pursued
« on: December 19, 2017, 01:04:21 AM »
Monitoring of oil drilling must be pursued - Alcala

FORMER environment secretary Angel C. Alcala emphasized that monitoring of the activities relative to the plan offshore drilling of oil deposits along Tañon and Bohol Straits must be pursued by stakeholders.
Department of Energy and NorAsia Energy Ltd, an Australian company had already conducted the seismic survey to find oil deposits along Bohol-Cebu channel a couple of months back.
 
The said survey has generated a howl of protests by people’s organizations especially the fishermen and non-government organizations for lack of transparency and environmental reasons. The project has taken toll to fishermen and tourist operators alike.

Alcala, chairman of PATH Foundation Philippines Incorporated (PFPI), a non-government organization espousing the integration approach of population and coastal resource management led discussants of the PFPI-sponsored National Dissemination Forum Integrated Population and Coastal Resource Management Initiative held at MetroCenter last week.

This developed as the Justice and Peace Center (JPC) of the Divinity School, Silliman University, Dumaguete City joined the growing protests over the oil exploration and eventual offshore mining along the Visayan Sea that includes Bohol Strait.

In its letter-request addressed to Vice-Gov. Julius Caesar Herrera, national president of the League of Vice-Governor’s of the Philippines (LVGP), JPC coordinator Engr. Trelly A. Marigza urged the league to pass a Resolution to investigate the impact of offshore mining in Visayan Sea and for an “end to these destructive activities.” JPC’s letter dated September 18, 2007 was received by LVGP through its secretary-general Jose Baldado, vice-governor of Negros Oriental during the LVGP seminar workshop in Waterfront Hotel, Cebu City the other week.

Alcala, who talked on Why Link Population and Coastal Conservation, was quoted in said letter as saying that, “Which are more important for the people in the long run, biologically replenishing (and sustainable) marine and coastal resources or limited, exhaustible, non-replenishing oil resources, if any?”

The inventory of marine or fish stock in certain marine protected areas in Bohol is useful in monitoring and eventually evaluation whether stocks are diminishing or not when or after the start of the oil drilling, he said in an exclusive interview.

And this could be used as evidence to file charges against the company or any agency directly involved in the oil mine operations.

JPC, quoting Constitutional provision Article II, section 6 that says “The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthy ecology in accord with rhythm and harmony of nature.”

It also call on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Energy (DoE) to protect the natural resources from entry of destructive development aggression instead of being liberal in giving environmental clearance certificate ECC) and certificates of non-coverage (CNC).
Herrera welcomed the request but said they have yet to tackle the issue of oil exploration and subsequent mining operations.

He said the issue may not be decided by the league as a whole but it will be considered soon by the vice-governors of region 7 composed of Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental and Siquijor.

Former DENR Sec. Heherson Alvarez described it this way: “What does it gain a nation to short-sighted and merely think of money when an irreparable damage to the environment will cost human lives, health, and livelihood capacity of our farmers and fisherfolk endangering the food security of our people,” said the letter.

JPC cited a case in point that like in the past multi-national corporations paid their taxes not where the extractables are taken but to where their offices are located like in Makati City. These companies, after the area is drained of resources, would just left to destroy the endangered area and the people will be holding the empty bag.

JPC pointed out that it is not against development but development must be obtained in responsible manner and ensure sustainability of resources and the future of the country’s children.

“We stand opposed to destructive forms of development and progress that regards the short-term influx of investment and employment. We stand opposed to a development and progress that disregards and neglects the long-term negative impact of such development on both the environment and humanity.”

JPC wanted the government to find for an alternative for “black gold,” such as bio-fuel and ethanol production, that are renewable, sustainable and could reduce the dependency on oil but can accelerate the economic development.

It was learned that Bureau of Fishery and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) placed Tañon Strait in top 10 major fishing grounds in the country, producing quality fish stocks such marlin and tuna. The area is also known for dolphins that attract tourists. It is an important source of food of millions living nearby and home of 60 marine sanctuaries and 80 others along Bohol-Cebu Strait. (RVO)

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