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February 2, 2013

Occupy SM Baguio, Game Over?

If the United States has Occupy Wall Street, Philippines has Occupy SM Baguio. If Occupy Wall St goal is to stop wide income disparity, Occupy SM is trying to stop cutting of trees, they have one thing in common though, fighting corporate greed. For those who are not familiar with SM, SM is the largest shopping mall and retail operator in the Philippines. SM has several branches spread across the Philippines and the subject of protest is their branch in Baguio City, the summer capital of the Philippines and famous for its pine trees.

Occupy SM was established due to SM City Baguio's plan to cut or uproot trees to give way to their expansion project. With this expansion project 182 trees are possible to be cut or uprooted. Occupy SM held several rallies protesting SM City Baguio's expansion project. This was attended by more than 5,000 people, comprising of Baguio’s residents and environmental group. Environmental complaints were also filed against SM Baguio by some environmental group to stop them from uprooting trees.

Sadly, it seems that the expansion project is already a done deal since Court dismissed the case vs. SM Baguio. Judge Antonio Esteves found no irregularity in the issuance of the amended Environmental Compliance Certificate, tree cutting and earth balling permits, building permit and zoning clearance. This should not be the end of the protest though, we can still continue our protest by boycotting that SM branch and not voting the government official who supported it or did not do anything to stop to it. By doing this, SM and some government officials will realize that by doing harm to the environment their earnings and career will be affected. We should not stop making noise until SM and some government official stops doing something that is harmful to the environment. We should not adapt the ningas kugon attitude because we will give the SM management and City Officials the impression that they all need to do is wait a little and the objection to their questionable activities will automatically subside.

September 11, 2012

The Incoming Threat

Why giving China the disputed island is dangerous to the environment and to us?

During the most recent SONA of PNoy, he mentioned that he received some advice that in order to avoid conflict with China we can just give them the Scarborough shoals and other disputed reefs, islets, atolls, cays and islands in Spratly. Luckily the president did not agree to that suggestion.

Why do you think it is bad to the environment if China will occupy this island/shoal? The islands provide important habitats for many seabirds and sea turtles. Some sea turtles inhabiting these islands are critically endangered. The sea turtle is a symbol of longevity in Chinese customs, and their shell is a traditional decorative ornamental material used in Japan and China , so expect that there will be a big declined on their numbers once China fully occupied this island. Most recently the Philippines' navy have caught Chinese fishermen illegally entered the Philippines territory then collected giant clams, live sharks and other endangered marine species in violation of local laws. This incident resulted to the increased tensions in the West Philippines Sea . China has passed the U.S. to become the world's biggest energy consumer, while remain as the number 2 oil consumer. This country's big demand for energy and oil will mean an over exploited Spratly and Scarborough.

There will be a lot of disadvantages to us Filipinos if China will have the Spratly and Scarborough. China has big demand for food because of their more than one billion populations. Because of their big population they will be forced to do heavily fishing to support their big demand for food. China 's heavy commercial fishing in the region will deplete our already scarce sea food supply and Filipino fishermen can no longer fish on this area once it became the territory of China . Once the supply of fish and other sea foods become scarce, the price of this commodity will surely skyrocketed thus hurting our pocket even more. In terms of national security, China's present just few mile from our region mean a jittery Philippines, with a bully and militarily powerful nation within your doorstep, it will need for an investor to have a heart of stone for not to get nervous and wary in investing in the Philippines.

Whether we care for the environment or not, we should be in one voice in condemning this China 's bullying because this will not only have a negative effect on the environment but on our security and livelihood as well.