26 May 2008

Green Group Pushes for Junk-Free Students’ “Baon”

Quezon City. A public health and environmental advocacy coalition pushed for healthy and trash-free students’ “baon” as health personnel, nutritionists and educators gather to discuss the provision of health care and nutrition in the country’s schools.

In a statement released in time for the biennial “National School Health and Nutrition Congress” of the Department of Education (DepEd) on May 28-30, the EcoWaste Coalition drew the delegates’ attention to the urgent need to step up a nationwide campaign against foods high in fat, sugar and salt to combat obesity and trash.

“We expect the school health and nutrition specialists to take notice of obesity and diet-related diseases among children,” Ofelia Panganiban of the EcoWaste Coalition said, adding that “an animated year-round campaign on obesity should inform teachers, parents and students about its connection with junk food diet and the need to cut down on junk.”

“A DepEd-led campaign for junk-free ‘baon’ will ensure school community appreciation for healthy balanced diet and will definitely contribute in shaping mentally alert, emotionally equipped, physically fit and environmentally responsible students, while minimizing junk food trash like plastic wrappers and other disposable packaging materials,” the EcoWaste Coalition stated.

Health and nutrition experts have cautioned against a diet heavy on processed foods that tends to contain excessive fat, sugar and salt, which can lead to micronutrient deficiencies and obesity and badly affect a child’s concentration, learning capabilities and overall development. Junk-based diet can also set the foundations for high blood pressure and heart disease later in life.

A healthy and waste-free “baon,” explained the EcoWaste Coalition, should be packed in a clean and reusable container and should contain the essential nutrients that will help improve the child’s concentration, performance and learning such as complex carbohydrates for energy, protein for attentiveness, calcium for healthy bones and teeth, and vitamins and minerals from hale and hearty development.

Echoing the DepEd Health and Nutrition Center, the EcoWaste Coalition urged school canteens to serve affordable nutritious food, especially those fortified with micronutrients, since some parents may not be able to prepare home-made “baon” for their children and instead provide their kids with snack or lunch money.

Information obtained from Consumers International indicates that some 22 million children under the age of five worldwide are already overweight or obese, and that unhealthy diets are a major cause of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers in low and middle-income countries, including the Philippines.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376

22 May 2008

EcoWaste Coalition Offers Parents Green Tips to Beat School Opening Blues

Quezon City. With just a few weeks left before classes resume, an environmental group has made available some green tips that will help parents and their children deal with the usual back-to-school blues.

The green tips, explained the EcoWaste Coalition, are meant to provide parents with some financial relief amid the skyrocketing prices of fuel, rice and bread, while protecting the environment at the same time.

“With the recent fare increments, more families will feel the economic crunch as children get ready for the school opening,” said Rei Panaligan, EcoWaste Coalition Coordinator, adding that “parents will have to make smart choices to stretch the family budget.”

“We can fight the impact of escalating prices by making green choices. Going green will also help conserve precious resources while teaching our young consumers the benefits and economic value of judicious consumption,” Panaligan stated.

Green choices, the EcoWaste Coalition stressed, are creative eco-friendly decisions that will serve real needs without depleting our wallets or causing harm to human health and the environment.

“Even those who have money to spend should think and act with prudence, avoiding wasteful consumption that eats up far more resources than what is actually needed. Given the waste and climate crisis facing the planet, the EcoWaste Coalition urges consumers to shop with the Mother Earth in mind,” Panaligan said.

In a phone interview conducted by interns from St. Scholastica’s College with some members of the EcoWaste Coalition, respondents, mostly mothers and grandmothers, identified practical steps that can help parents deal with the hard times, while being kinder to the planet.

Providing the green tips, mostly targeted to elementary school pupils numbering 13,121,648 in the last school year, were the Buklod Tao, Children's Helper Project, EARTH UST, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Malayang Sining Community Theater, Miriam PEACE, Krusada sa Kalikasan, Sagip Pasig Movement, St. Joseph's Parish Ecology Ministry, Urban Poor Associates and the Secretariat of the EcoWaste Coalition.

1. Discuss with your kids about the beauty and importance of being simple and thrifty, and the need to cut back on wastes and toxins for a healthier and safer environment. Guide them to appreciating recycling and other green practices as essential and fun.

2. Make an inventory of leftover school supplies from the last academic year, collect all bits and pieces and use them up before thinking of purchasing new ones.

3. Hold off from buying new school supplies before classes start. Wait for instructions from teachers regarding the correct number and sizes of required notebooks, pens, art supplies and other materials to avoid buying needless items.

4. Wash old school bags and stitch them up if necessary; try making recycled carry bags for your kids from old denim pants or clothes or from fabric scraps.

5. Collect all clean notebook sheets, rewire or sew them together to make “new” notebooks.

6. Create scribbling or drawing pad from used quiz pads, notebooks and art papers.

7. Check if last year's set of uniforms, including shoes, still fits before getting your children new ones; have them altered or repaired if needed. Pass on outgrown uniforms to other kids.

8. Borrow textbooks and reference materials from friends or scour the second-hand bookshops to save on book expenses.

9. When buying new notebooks and paper supplies, choose those that are made of recycled paper.

10. Get rid of the plastic habit, cover notebooks, text books and exercise manuals with used magazines, newspapers or wall calendars.

11. Go for school supplies that can be reused, recycled, repaired or refilled to cut on waste, and “Buy Filipino” as much as possible.

12. Pay attention to product designs and labels, avoiding products that can be potentially hazardous to children.

13. Reduce the use of plastic bags by bringing a bayong or any reusable carry bag when you shop for back-to-school essentials.

14. To ensure better health and nutrition for your kids, choose only wholesome food such as homemade sandwiches, fresh fruits, boiled egg, or steamed saba, mais or camote. Avoid junk food at all times.

15. Pack your children’s snacks or lunches in reusable containers, not in single-use plastic wrappers or Styrofoam. Avoid unnecessary packaging all the time.

16. Provide your children with a reusable napkin or facial towel; refrain from pampering them with disposable paper napkins or throw-away 'wet towelletes.'

17. Get your kids durable water jugs and train them not to get hooked on bottled water and sugar-filled softdrinks and artificial juices in bottles, cans, foil or tetra packs.

18. Arrange car pool with your friends and neighbors to save on gas and reduce pollution; better still walk or bike with your child if possible.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376

18 May 2008

Citizens’ Responsibility to Keep Waterways Garbage-Free Pushed

Quezon City. With the onset of the rainy season, public safety, health and environmental advocates called on the general public to avert the usual flashfloods by keeping the waterways free of garbage and other obstructions.

Flashfloods are common sights in Metro Manila following heavy rains that can cause grave inconvenience or even lethal harm to pedestrians and motorists as well as considerable damage to business and property.

“Many places in Metro Manila are prone to flashfloods due to poor soil absorption of our heavily concretized urban communities and the inadequate or clogged drainage that cannot efficiently disperse the rainwater,” observed Ben Galindo, Chair of the Sagip Pasig Movement (SPM), a member of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“The simplest yet extremely crucial act that community leaders and residents can do together to minimize flashfloods is to stop dumping and keep the storm drains, esteros and rivers free of trash and other stuff that will get in the way of the rainwater,” he pointed out.

“In the interest of public safety, health and environment, we urge all citizens to abide by the basic tenets of ecological solid waste management (ESWM), which excludes all forms of open dumping and burning of discards,” Galindo stated.

ESWM is the environmentally-responsible way of managing discards through the combined application of innovative policies and techniques for waste prevention, reduction, separation at source, reuse, recycling and composting.

Galindo, who has eight-year experience in clean river advocacy, believes that ESWM plays a strategic role not only in flood prevention and control, but in the ultimate revival of the heavily polluted Pasig River and its tributaries.

“ESWM is a key element of SPM’s strategy of rehabilitating the Pasig River through the collaborative establishment of Clean River Zones (CRZs). By preventing the indiscriminate dumping of wastes and effluents from household, commercial and industrial sources through multi-sectoral cooperation, we will succeed in building CRZs and in restoring the health and beauty of our Pasig River,” he said.

Both the Republic Act 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act) and Republic Act 9275 (Clean Water Act) provide fines and penalties for the illegal dumping of discards in canals, esteros, rivers and other water bodies.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376

15 May 2008

Green Groups Bat for Innovations to Beat the Waste and Climate Crisis

Quezon City. Green groups pushed for “zero waste for zero warming” in a timely gathering of local government officials held in Quezon City, insisting that innovative solutions are available to break the wasting and warming cycle.

The three-day national conference organized by the Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) from May 13-15, 2008 delved on the theme “Out of the Box, Out of the Dumps: Innovative Solutions to Waste” and was graced by Sen. Pia Cayetano, Chair of the Senate Committee on the Environment, Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte, and Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio, with some 200 local government officials and other LGU representatives from Metro Manila and the regions participating.

The conference took place against a backdrop of growing public pressure to wipe out from the country’s landscape all illegal dumpsites that continue to thrive despite the explicit ban on open dumping under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

“Anyone who generates waste has the responsibility to make sure that the waste is dealt with in a manner that will not bring harm to humans or other creatures or the environment. It therefore does away with the old, discredited practice of garbage hauling and dumping which pollutes our air, water and soil and causes inestimable damage to our health and biodiversity,” Marie Marciano, MEF President, said.

“We need only to tap the creativity and resourcefulness inherent in the Filipino to achieve the healthy, waste-free and beautiful environment we all hope for. Look to the simple, low-tech, local and low-cost innovations in the grassroots, and watch your hopes grow,” she further said.

The conference rightly drew the participants’ attention to the oft-neglected linkage between wasting and warming.

Waste disposal, explained the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), directly contributes to the warming of the planet via the discharge of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide from incinerators and methane from dumps and landfills. The outmoded burning or burying of discards also drives climate change by depriving the economy of reused, recycled and composted materials.

Speaking before the conference, Manny Calonzo of GAIA and the EcoWaste Coalition affirmed that “a climate-positive alternative, known as Zero Waste, hugely reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the need for extraction, processing, and transport of raw materials, as well as avoiding emissions from disposal.”

As defined by the EcoWaste Coalition, Zero Waste is “the synergy of principles, cultures, beliefs, systems, methods and technologies that aims to eliminate wasting and ensure full and beneficial use of resources to restore ecological balance and provide for the needs of all creation.”

In her message to the conference, Sen. Cayetano expressed hope that the gathering would “help bring total consciousness on the environmental problems we currently face due to irresponsible waste disposal” to which the green groups agreed.

Among the recipients of the MEF’s “Out of the Box” Awards include the Northern Samar Provincial Government for issuing an official resolution to adopt the zero waste framework for the entire province; Caloocan City for being the first to employ the "citizen's suit" in its push for citywide compliance with R.A. 9003; Sta. Barbara, Iloilo for its municipal ban on plastic and promotion of earth-friendly alternatives; Teresa, Rizal for closing its dumpsite and taking steps to rehabilitate it; BarangayBagumbuhay, Quezon City for residuals management; and Mayor Belmonte for his unique incentive program of giving back to barangays 50% of garbage hauling costs saved by the city as a result of their implementation of ecological solid waste management, which diverts wastes from dumpsites.

For details, please contact Marie Marciano, MEF President, 09202735325

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376

12 May 2008

EcoWaste Coalition “Eyeballs” the DENR to Keep Up Pressure for the Closure of Illegal Dumps

"The people are watching."

Caring paper-mache eyeballs and a huge banner that says “the people are watching, tambakan ng basura, ipasara!,” members of the EcoWaste Coalition lined up outside the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to push for the closure, clean up and rehabilitation of all garbage dumps throughout the country.

The activists wielded giant eyeballs to signify the people’s intent to keep an eye on the long overdue closure of the country’s dumps, which should have been shut down in 2004, and to push for ecological solutions to the waste and climate crisis.

We have come here armed with eyeballs to let Secretary Atienza know that we are watching closely how the DENR and National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) will enforce the six-month ultimatum he gave for local authorities to shut down their illegal dumps,” Romy Hidalgo, Secretary of the EcoWaste Coalition, said.

There is no question about it. All dumpsites produce leachates and emissions that poison our soil, water and air. They are all major sources of greenhouse gases that cause climate change. We are taking government to task for not acting quickly enough in favor of public health and the environment,” Beau Baconguis, Toxics Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, stated.

Last week on 5 May, Secretary Atienza in a press release gave non-compliant local government units (LGUs) six months to close their open dumpsites or face legal consequences.

We will vigilantly monitor the action, or inaction, of the DENR, NSWMC and other concerned entities to ensure not only the closure of the dumps, but their clean up and rehabilitation as well for the good of the people and the environment,” the EcoWaste Coalition stated.

The EcoWaste Coalition recalled with much disappointment that in 2005-2006, under the watch of then Secretaries Michael Defensor and Angelo Reyes, the DENR issued some 780 Cease and Desist Orders (CDOs) to LGUs operating illegal dumps that were largely ignored.

The waste and pollution watchdog insisted for full public disclosure of all steps that will be undertaken by the DENR and the NSWMC to hasten the closure of all dumps even before the ultimatum set by Sec. Atienza’s on 5 November 2008, including posting on the DENR’s website all notices served against non-compliant LGUs and other relevant efforts to assist LGUs to switch to ecological solid waste management.

Section 37 of R.A. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act prohibits the use of open dumps for the disposal of solid waste after the law took effect in 2001. The same law directs the closure of open dumps on 16 February 2004 and that of controlled dumps on 16 February 2006.

The latest published information from the DENR shows that as of May 2008 some 826 open dumps and 359 controlled dumps continue to operate in brazen violation of the law.

Comparing the data with the NSWMC’s inventory in 2007, the EcoWaste Coalition noted that the number of open and controlled dumps increased, rather than decreased, from 677 and 343 for open and controlled dumps, respectively.

The above figures do not include the so-called “guerilla dumps” often seen in street corners, vacant lots and waterways.

While seeking the closure, clean up and rehabilitation of all dumps, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed for multi-sectoral cooperation that will prevent and reduce waste, and mainstream local and low cost community-based solutions such as the establishment of barangay-based ecology centers or materials recovery facilities (MRFs). The group further called for action that will address the need of informal recyclers, particularly, the waste pickers for humane, safe and secure livelihood.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium,
Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376


08 May 2008

EcoWaste Coalition Pushes for 'Real Action' vs Dumps

Quezon City. The waste and pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition welcomed Environment Secretary Lito Atienza’s long overdue directive to shut down all open dumpsites, albeit with a warning that it should not turn the Philippines into an open country for quick technological fixes that can further harm the people and the environment.

“The closure order is long overdue. We’ve heard that before from other bureaucrats and politicians. What we want to see is real action, and we’ll only start believing Sec. Atienza if we see parallel policies and investments in real solutions to the waste crisis,” said Romy Hidalgo, Secretary of the EcoWaste Coalition and concurrent coordinator of the group’s Task Force on Dumps/Landfills.

“It’s a good sound bite,” commented film actor Roy Alvarez, Vice-Chair of the EcoWaste Coalition, adding that “the closure order must be in black and white in the form of a Department Administrative Order, not a press release, that will also direct all local government units to enforce a self-reliant plan for ecological solid waste management towards the envisioned Zero Waste goal.”

The ecological solid waste management plan, the EcoWaste Coalition pointed out, should lay emphasis on community education and implementation of proactive waste prevention, reduction, segregation at source, recycling and composting through the establishment of people-driven ecology centers or materials recovery facilities (MRFs) and not rely on financially and environmentally costly “sanitary” landfills or “waste-to-energy” incinerators.

The EcoWaste Coalition expressed grave concern about the tendency of some government officials and personnel to equate dump closure with the setting up of landfills, or “glorified dumps,” and repackaged waste burners, asserting that R.A. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 calls for the adoption of best practices in line with ecologically sustainable development principles, excluding incineration.

From the perspective of public health, the environment and the economy, neither landfills nor incinerators provide ecological, socially just and sustainable solutions to the country’s garbage woes, the EcoWaste Coalition stated.

“Every time we engage with local government units that host dumping facilities, we are constantly confronted with the ‘wrong’ question: ‘where can we put the garbage being generated by our constituents and the institutions and industries in our jurisdiction if the dump is closed?”
Hidalgo said.

“Instead of putting their energy on finding communities that can be sacrificed to bear the brunt of our wasteful consumption, we believe that the LGUs and the National Solid Waste Management Commission should focus on holistic waste prevention, minimization and recovery policies and programs, including the adoption of clean methodologies for addressing the residuals that will not release harmful environmental pollutants such as dioxins and furans,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.

The EcoWaste Coalition further called on Sec. Atienza and the local government executives to ensure alternative livelihood for the informal recyclers such as the waste pickers who undertake the very dirty and hazardous job of foraging the dumps for recyclable materials that can be

“We stand for the integration of the waste pickers in the LGUs’ ecological waste management systems. They should be the first priority in the hiring, so as to afford them with humane employment that will provide them with basic health and social security,” the EcoWaste Coalition stated.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376

07 May 2008

Green Group Pushes for “Climate Positive” Fiestas

Quezon City. With the onset of the Santacruzan and fiesta season, an environmental coalition called attention to the waste and climate impact of our festive and vibrant community celebrations.

In a statement issued following the widely-celebrated feast of St. Joseph the Worker, the EcoWaste Coalition expressed concern over the wastefulness of community festivities and the long-drawn-out action of church and barangay officials to institute “green reforms,” especially in community fiestas.

Time and again, we bear witness to a grand display of an utter lack of ecological awareness and responsibility as fiestas are held with least consideration to how their negative impacts on our frail environment can be proactively prevented. Our problem with trash, for instance, becomes more noticeable and intense during our festive celebrations,” observed Manny Calonzo, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

Knowing that wasteful consumption and dirty disposal have a direct impact on climate change, we are called upon to upgrade our community fiestas so that they are in complete harmony with our quest to slow down the warming cycle,” Calonzo stated.

The EcoWaste Coalition pointed out that “greening” our fiestas and making them “climate positive” will mean minimizing the wasteful use of materials, electricity and water in order to reduce consumption of fossil-based energy which propels global climate change.

Our fiestas and all other human activities impact climate change because we use materials or products that involve processes such as resource extraction, manufacturing, transportation, marketing, consumption and disposal. Greenhouse gases are emitted at every step of that chain,” the EcoWaste Coalition said, stressing that minimizing the use of resources and the generation of waste will dramatically cut down the release of these environmental pollutants into the atmosphere.

Towards a “climate positive” fiesta, the EcoWaste Coalition identified 10 practical steps that will help protect the climate, while ensuring a festive -- yet guiltless -- celebration.

1. Substitute single-use plastic banderitas with smart alternatives that can be washed, stored and reused such as banderitas from fabric scraps.

2. Replace the politicians’ boring “happy fiesta” banners with creative neighborhood “arko” using biodegradable materials.

3. Use coco cloth and other natural materials for essential fiesta announcements instead of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tarpaulin.

4. Embark on a “balik-bayong” public awareness drive in the local market to encourage the people to opt for reusable carry bags instead of plastic bags. Initiate a “make your own bag” project.

5. Campaign against throwaway Styrofoam, plastic cups and cutlery and for biodegradable or reusable alternatives.

6. Enforce a “no segregation, no collection” policy to ensure that discards are properly sorted, to facilitate recycling and composting in the barangay ecology center or materials recovery facility (MRF).

7. Minimize the creation of waste by using the least possible amount of resources, and only for what may be deemed truly necessary in all fiesta events. Decorate with plants and other biodegradable stuff instead of synthetic ornaments.

8. Form “ecowaste patrols” to prevent littering and ensure observance of ecological practices in managing discards in fiesta activities.

9. Refrain from blasting firecrackers and fireworks to save on money and to prevent both air and noise pollution, which are bad not only for humans but for animals too.

10. Tap the roaming bands and the “ati-atihan” teams to raise community awareness on waste and climate.

The usual talent contests and street games that mark the festive occasions, according to the EcoWaste Coalition, can also serve as vehicles for environmental education. Friendly competitions on the proper sorting of discards, on the most innovative recycling of household “throw-outs,” on the best environment-friendly bags, on the most artistic costumes made out of residual waste, on environmental slogans and related endeavors are fun activities that can also teach love and respect for the environment.

The fiesta, being a central part of community life, can be a good platform to instigate a people-driven movement towards a Zero Waste barangay that will aim for zero dumping and burning of discards, comprehensive clean recycling of non-biodegradables, and intensive composting of segregated biodegradables,” the EcoWaste Coalition said, noting that “a Zero Waste barangay will be kinder and gentler to the climate.”

For a complete list of the EcoWaste Coalition’s guidelines for an eco-friendly fiesta, please log on to:

EcoWaste Coalition

Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376

06 May 2008

Government Urged to Speed Up Phase Out of NEAP

Quezon City. Community practitioners of ecological waste management pressed for the enforcement of a critical provision of the country’s waste law that is deemed essential for cutting the volume of residual waste that often gets burned or dumped.

In a dialogue held yesterday in Quezon City with Atty. Zoilo Andin, Executive Director of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), representatives of Buklod Tao and the EcoWaste Coalition decried the lack of progress in the process that will identify and phase out non-environmentally acceptable products and packaging materials, or NEAP, as directed by R.A. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

R.A 9003 directs the NSWMC to formulate a list of NEAP after due public notice and hearing. The same law prohibits the manufacture, distribution or use of NEAP as well as the importation of consumer products packaged in non-environmentally acceptable materials.

To emphasize the problem with NEAP, Buklod Tao brought to the attention of the Commission their problem with plastic wrappers, sachets and other packaging materials that are left behind once the more saleable recyclables are removed from the segregated discards.

We tried our level best for the last 10 years to sort, reclaim and recycle our discards to prevent them from being burned or dumped elsewhere. Instead of sending things that we can not reuse or recycle straight to the dump, we made special arrangements for them to be reprocessed,” Noli Abinales of Buklod Tao, a civic group based in San Mateo, Rizal and an affiliate of the EcoWaste Coalition, said.

In 2002, for instance, the St. Exequiel Moreno Recolletos Seminary received Buklod Tao’s segregated plastic residual waste, while in 2003, the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) accepted 20 garbage bags filled with plastic residuals from the group.

In our desire not to burden other communities with our trash, we have accumulated a stockpile of more than 100 sacks of plastic residual waste that many junk dealers refuse to buy. Finally, we went to the Trinoma waste market last April 25 with a truckload of plastic residual waste, but out of the 110 sacks only four sacks were accepted and bought for a measly P4.75 pesos,” Abinales lamented.

According to the EcoWaste Coalition, the problem with residual waste brings to the fore at least three issues that require urgent action from the government, industries and the consumers: 1) the need for the NSWMC to resume the process that will identify, list and schedule the phase out of NEAP, 2) the need to institute producer take back for products and packaging materials at the end of their useful life, and 3) the need to reform consumption choices that will minimize the purchase and use of materials that are hardly reused or recycled.

In his reply to the Buklod Tao and EcoWaste Coalition representatives, Atty. Andin explained that the Commission in May 2006 designated the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Science and Technology as co-chairs of the committee tasked to look into the provisions on NEAP in R.A. 9003. The committee met on few occasions, but the process was regrettably stalled.

Atty. Andin acknowledged that the classification and prohibition on NEAP is “the mandate of the law and should be pursued.”

R.A. 9003 sets tough punishment for violators of the law’s prohibition on NEAP. For first time offenders, a fine of P500,000 shall be imposed, plus an amount of not less than 5% but not more than 10% of the person’s net annual income during the previous year. Additional imprisonment of a minimum period of one year but not exceeding three years shall be imposed for second or subsequent violations.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376

05 May 2008

Citizens’ Groups Spurn Side Notes, Call for JPEPA Rejection Now

Pasay City. The planned exchange of diplomatic notes will not repair the injustice and irregularity innate to the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA). Rejecting the treaty now is pro-Filipino.

This is the unequivocal message of the EcoWaste Coalition and the Magkaisa Junk JPEPA Coalition (MJJC) as they peaceably assemble outside the Senate of the Philippines to campaign for the rejection of JPEPA now, and thwart what they view as a dubious scheme to “fix” the constitutional, economic and other infirmities of the treaty with side notes between the governments of Japan and the Philippines.

To put their message across to the Senators and the public, the youth volunteers of the EcoWaste Coalition acted out the people’s anguish over the social, economic and environmental injustice coming out of the badly negotiated agreement and the inadequacy of the side notes to rectify the gross injustice.

Dressed in the colors of the Philippine flag, “Inang Katarungan” (Lady Justice) raised a symbolic scale of justice showing the uneven gains of the contracting states with Japan profiting heavily from JPEPA, a sad fact that a mere exchange of notes, stressed the protestors, cannot remedy.

We seriously doubt if band-aid measures like the side notes can set right a discredited pact that has dismally failed to serve and protect the sovereign interests of the Filipino people, including our right to a just development and a toxic-free environment,” said Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.

According to Atty. Golda Benjamin, lead counsel of the MJCC, “We were generous even where we had cause to be stingy with the Japanese. Fish, crustaceans and mollusks are excluded from the WTO Uruguay Round commitments of member countries because developed countries refused to reduce their export subsidies especially those on fishing vessels. Despite this the Philippines still bound its tariffs at the WTO, albeit at very high rates. Japan did not.”

The MJJC complained that of the 200 tariff lines for fish products in Japan’s JPEPA schedule, 59 are forever excluded from duty-free treatment; 15 are for deferred market access negotiations; 72 for phased tariff removal; and, 25 duty free from year 1. Of the 114 in the Philippine schedule, 46 will enjoy duty-free treatment from year 1 while the remaining 68 are subject to phased tariff removal.

Both the EcoWaste Coalition and the MJJC denounced the evident deficiency of the side notes being crafted by the two governments to correct the economic inequities and what they described as “the ultimate form of a national sell-out that is extremely tilted to favor Japanese interests.”

The approval of JPEPA in its current form will not only cause us to miss the boat but also to drown in a sea of negotiation mistakes. Two wrongs do not make one right. The only choice left for the Senate is the pro-Filipino choice: reject JPEPA now,” the groups asserted.

After the creative protest, the EcoWaste Coalition representatives trooped to the Senators’ offices to provide the lawmakers with the MJJC’s summary of the balance of commitments of the contracting parties that substantiate the groups’ vehement rejection of the lopsided treaty.

Among the groups represented in the latest peaceful protest against JPEPA were the Buklod Tao, Cavite Green Coalition, Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services, Mascomthea, Mother Earth Foundation, Sagip Pasig Movement, Sanib-Lakas ng Inang Kalikasan and Zero Waste Philippines.

Media Contact: Atty. Golda Benjamin, 0917-3141016; Manny Calonzo, 0922-8286343.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376