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Philippine News Digest 133

October 15, 2007 · 

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Contents:

  • 3 million expected to ‘Stand Up, Speak Out’ against poverty
  • Sustainable agri practices could amply feed the world
  • Atienza suspends tree-cutting permits of Sibuyan mine firms

3 million expected to ‘Stand Up, Speak Out’ against poverty
By Tina Santos, Kenneth del Rosario, Vincent Cabreza
Inquirer
Last updated 05:22am (Mla time) 10/18/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Some 2,000 Filipinos, including government officials, teachers, students and soldiers, Wednesday joined a global campaign to end poverty by standing up and making a symbolic pledge at the Rizal Park in Manila.

They pledged to reject not only excuses that allow 50,000 people to die every day because of extreme poverty but also the growing gap between the rich and the poor.

They also urged government leaders to govern fairly, fight corruption and fulfill human rights.

Many of them wore white wristbands with sketches of multicolored human figures.

Organizers in the country expected three million people to stand up and make the pledge — in parks, government and private offices, schools, hospitals, restaurants — around the country from 5 a.m. to midnight Wednesday night.

An auditing firm will do a head count and hopefully, a record of sorts will be established for possible submission to the Guinness Book of Records, Agnes Aleman, UN national information officer, said.

The “Stand Up, Speak Out” pledge is part of the UN campaign to promote the Millennium Development Goals that include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education and ensuring a sustainable environment by 2015.

“Hopefully, this will encourage our leaders to fulfill their promise,” said Aleman.

Sustainable agri practices could amply feed the world
Manila Bulletin
Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sustainable practises in agriculture including respect for Mother Nature and all inherent in her bounty could save the world from hunger, poverty and want.

We call on the government to stop the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides as the symbiotic relationship between nitrogen fixing bacteria and host leguminous plants is essential in fixing atmospheric nitrogen, Antonio M. Claparols, president of the Ecological Society of the Philippines said as he reiterated his plea to the Arroyo Administration to respect the Law of Nature.

Claparols cited the studies made by the Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Oregon and the Center for bioenvironmental Research, Environmental Indocrinology Laboratory at the Tulane University in New Orleans which cited that pesticides reduce the symbiotic efficiency of nitrogen fixing rhizobia and host plants.

The environmental consequences of synthetic chemicals comprising symbiotic nitrogen fixation are increased dependence on syntheticnitrogenous fertilizer, reduced soil fertility and unsustainable long term crop yields, the ESP chief said.

We have seen all around how most of our fields have gone unyielding to traditional food and cash crops because of the intensive application of these synthetic materials and chemicals, he said.

By using traditional, non-polluting agricultural prctises, we can adequately feed our people and the rest of the world, Claparols said.

Atienza suspends tree-cutting permits of Sibuyan mine firms
Wednesday, October 17 2007 (www.philstar.com)

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza has suspended the tree-cutting permits issued to small-scale mining companies in Romblon’s Sibuyan Island amid alleged “illegal” and “doubtful” operations of small-scale miners there.

This move virtually overturned the cutting licenses earlier issued by former DENR Secretary Angelo Reyes to Sibuyan Nickel Properties Development Corp. (SNPDC), All-Acacia Resources Inc., and Sun Pacific Resources Philippines Corp. under the name of a certain Gregorio Tabuena, consultant for all three small-scale mining firms.

Atienza suspended a total of five cutting permits – three for SNPDC, and one each for All-Acacia and Sun Pacific.

The suspension, he said, will take effect immediately and until the mining companies are able to justify “anomalies” in their small-scale mining operations.

In a press briefing the other day, Atienza questioned the permits granted to these firms to cut trees when these supposedly entail only the so-called artisanal method, or what is commonly known as mano-mano, using mere tools like crowbars, hammers and picks.

Atienza has also ordered a review of all existing tree-cutting permits granted to small-scale miners nationwide and directed his officials to stop issuing such permits to small-scale miners. – Katherine Adraneda

updated October 18, 2007

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