Open Letter to PRRD: PH Ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury

Photo by Lino Santos, MST

10 August 2017

Rodrigo Roa Duterte
Republic of the Philippines

Alan Peter S. Cayetano
Department of Foreign Affairs

Roy A. Cimatu
Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Alfredo Cusi
Department of Energy

cc: Geri Sañez, DENR-EMB; Amy de Guzman, DOE-ERTLS

Dear President Duterte, Secretary Cayetano, Secretary Cimatu and Secretary Cusi,


We, concerned groups and citizens, respectfully request your offices to work for the immediate ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and to secure the required Senate concurrence to its ratification prior to the First Conference of Parties (COP1).

The Minamata Convention on Mercury, a globally-binding treaty that seeks to protect human health and the environment from mercury emissions and releases, will enter into force on 16 August 2017 and will have its COP1 on 24-29 September 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. 

While the Philippines through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has already signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury on 10 October 2013, the government has yet to ratify this historic treaty named after the Japanese city that suffered heavily from decades-long mercury poisoning disaster.  To date, 74 governments, excluding the Philippines, have ratified the convention.

For the record, the Philippines actively and meaningfully participated in the mercury treaty negotiations from 2010-2013.  Also, our country has been pursuing progressive policies and programs to combat mercury pollution, including phasing out mercury-based medical devices in 2010 (DOH A.O. 2008-21), banning mercury use in mineral processing in artisanal and small-scale gold mining in 2012 (E.O.  79-2012), introducing extended producer responsibility for lighting products containing mercury in 2013 (Joint DENR-DOE A.O. 2013-09-0001),and prohibiting  over 135 mercury-laden skin whitening cosmetics since 2010 to date (various FDA advisories).

Ratifying the Minamata Convention on Mercury will further strengthen our nation’s efforts to prevent, if not eliminate, threats of mercury pollution as this will allow the Philippines to effectively engage in the treaty processes, address gaps in existing regulations, and gain access to financial resources and beneficial technology transfer and capacity-building opportunities. 

In line with Executive Order 459, Series of 1997, we, therefore, request the DENR to endorse the treaty to the Department of Foreign Affairs, which shall then transmit it to President Duterte for his ratification.  Upon ratification, the DFA shall then submit the treaty to the Senate for concurrence.

Your earnest support and firm resolve will ensure that the Philippines will attend the COP1 as State Party to the Minamata Convention, and not as a mere observer.

We thank you very much for your swift action.

Sincerely yours,

Eileen B. Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition

Endorsed By:
Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition
Fr. Max Abalos, Action for Nurturing Children and Environment, Inc.
Dr. Maricar Limpin, Action on Smoking and Health – Philippines
Bon Labora, Agimat
Dr. Leah Paquiz, Ang Nars
Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina
Bobot Madjos, Baganga Alumni Association, Davao Oriental
Ines Fernandez, Arugaan
Gerard Seno, Associated Labor Unions – TUCP
Michael Mendoza, Associated Labor Unions – TUCP
Doy Medes, Bahayang Pag-asa - Cavite
Joey Papa, Bangon Kalikasan Movement
Ronnie Royo, Bayay Sibuyanon Inc.
Joy Reyes, Better Country Community Foundation
Francis Manucdoc, Brotherhood Christian Businessmen and Professionals
Noli Abinales, Buklod Tao
Ghie Relova, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino – National Capital Region
Ochie Tolentino, Cavite Green Coalition
Owen Migraso, Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines
Fr. Robert Reyes, Center for Environment Network
Rei Panaligan, Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology
Elsie Brandes de Veyra, Citizen Organization Advocating for Philippine Environmental Sustainability
Rene Pineda, Consumer Rights for Safe Food
Alice Topacio Diocesan Ministry on Ecology - Cavite 
Abigail Bagnes, Earth-UST
Heidi Pandoy, Eco Marino
Antonio Claparols, Ecological Society of the Philippines
Marlon Pareja, Environmental Resource Management Center, DLSU-Dasmarinas
Roberto Del Rosario, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines
Merci Ferrer, Friends of the Environment Negros Oriental
Froilan Grate, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives - Philippines
Dr. Angelina Galang, Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy
Yeb Saño, Greenpeace Southeast Asia
Pablo Sanchez, Gulayan People's Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Ramon San Pascual, Health Care Without Harm – Asia
Milagros S. Serrana, Hills of Maia Alta Homeowners Association
Cris Parungao, Integrative Medicine for Alternative Healthcare Systems
Chinkie Pelino, Interface Development Interventions, Inc.
Mitos Rivera, Institute for Reproductive Health Philippines
Dr. Lillian Lasaten Ebuen, International Association of Oral Medicine & Toxicology- Philippines
Manny C. Calonzo, IPEN
Evelyn Galang, Kapatiran Komunidad People's Coalition
Corazon Javate, KASAMA Cooperative
Betty Cabazares, Kinaiyahan Foundation, Inc.
Neneng Jocson, Krusada sa Kalikasan
Rosario Pareja, Lasallian Community Development Center
Victor Sumampong, Jr, Ligdung Sumbanan alang sa mga Kabataan sa Sugbo
Abet Gavino, Mascara GSF
Nancy Carlos, Ministry sa Pangangalaga sa Kalikasan – Divine Mercy
Aurea Gotopeng, Mother Butler Mission Guild
Sonia Mendoza, Mother Earth Foundation
Edith Capule, Nueva Ecija Development Exchange
Rodolfo Mendoza, Nueva Ecija Person With Disability Cooperative
Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos, Oceana Philippines
Felina Delfin, Outreach Philipiines, Inc.
Palawan NGO Network Inc. (PNNI)
Atty. Girlie de Guzman, PANLIPI-Tanggapang Panligal ng Katutubong Pilipino
Vicky Segovia, Partnership for Clean Air
Dr. Romy Quijano, Pesticide Action Network – Philippines
Yolly Esguerra, Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc.
Mercy Donor, Piglas Kababaihan
Annie Geron, Public Services Independent Labor Confederation
Nipomoceno Bibon, ROTCHNA Daycare Center Inc.
Analyn Enungan, SACARBEMCO, Compostela Valley
Ben Galindo, Sagip Pasig Movement
Bro. Martin Francisco, Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society
Joyet Castor, Samahang Muling Pagkabuhay Multi-Purpose Cooperative
Angelito Ferreras, Samahang Muling Pagkabuhay Multi-Purpose Cooperative
Delia Camacho, Sarilaya Cavite
Rogelio Salgado, Save Maragundon River – Cavite
Armin Olores, Save Water of Indang Movement - Cavite
Josua Mata, Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa
Ma. Luz Antiga, Tanglaw Mindanao
Benjo Basas, Teachers Dignity Coalition
Rodne Galicha, The Climate Reality Project Philippines
Atty. Raymond Mendoza, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines
Jose Angelito Palma, World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines
Vicky Martires, Zero Waste Recycling Movement of the Philippine Foundation, Inc.
Orly Gallano, Zone One Tondo Organization
Sister Arnold Maria Noel, SSpS
Former Senator Nene Pimentel
Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan