Slap in the face

This is a clear slap in the face of the Malacanang occupant.

Three local government executives vowed to promote the conservation of Mt. Apo and protect its watershed and indigenous communities, clearly opposite the Palace’s idea of converting portions of the sacred mountain into a “special economic zone.”

Related posts:

Business Mirror

Ecozone at Mt. Apo?

(5:38 a.m.)

Rising of the seas

I gave a privilege speech at the City Council yesterday on the rising of the seas as a result of climate change. Please read it at my pbwiki.

I closed the speech with: The world leaders are currently doing their jobs in New York; we should do ours here. Now! 

(2:57 a.m.)

Sinag in solar car race

Oil prices jumped again to new highs yesterday. For the nth time we are again jolted to our senses on the urgent need to find alternatives to fossil fuel.

When I founded the Davao Green EAGLES (Energy Alternatives for Green Living and Economic Sustainability) in October 2005 (no offense for the pun to both Ateneo and La Salle), I thought people were resolved already in starting to give up on fossil fuel as it skyrocketed over $70 per barrel. Well, oil now costs more than $80 and the more we should accelerate finding and using alternative energy.

Unfortunately, we are slow on acting with no less than the national government having little political will except on the passage of the Biofuels Act.

Yet, there are plenty of other alternatives we should work on such as biomass, solar, wind, geothermal, etc.

I am particularly elated that finally on its 20th edition, a Philippine team is entered in the world famous World Solar Car Challenge in Australia on October 21-28. Our entry is the Sinag solar car from the Dela Salle University.

A Davaoeno, Isidro “Ingco” Marfori, is among the members of the team. He is the youngest son of our family friends Ding and Sylvia Marfori.

I wrote about this solar car race in my blog last year when Iran, an oil producing nation, took part in the race except that their vehicle got lost in the transit from Iran via Dubai.

A team from Latin America is also taking part for the first time. An entry by Chilean students is called Eolian which is made of wood, solar panels and an electric motor.

A 1996 movie, Race the Sun, immortalized the inspiring participation of the US team from Hawaii during the 1990 solar car race Down Under.

Update September 22 – Comment from visitor led us to this site on the South African Solar Car race in 2008. 

Business Mirror

My stand on the special economic zone at Mt Apo is the subject of today’s editorial at the national broadsheet Business Mirror -Another haphazardly conceived “incentive.”

(11:31 a.m.)

Ecozone in Mt. Apo?

With direct foreign investments down 16% during the first half of the year, the national government is devising new schemes to attract more business.

This particular idea is absurd.

Upon arrival in Davao City from the APEC Summit Down Under yesterday, the President signed an Executive Order declaring geothermal areas in the country as “special economic zones.” Through this, government expects to attract power-intensive industries like, prominently mentioned was electronics, but I personally suspect, mining.

One of these geothermal areas is Mt. Apo, which is a sacred place; far from any airport and seaport, not to count the peace and order problem.

Who would locate in such a place?

Moreover, this EO runs counter to environmental laws, preservation of lumad culture and in conflict with ancentral domain claims by cultural communities in the area.

Malacanang should rethink this strategy. The day the EO was signed in Davao, the Mayor of Kidapawan was invited to attend a seminar in Yosemite Park in California on natural park conservation and the Regional Development Council of Southern Mindanao affirming its resolution for the preservation of Mt. Apo Protected Areas (Mindanao Daily Mirror).

Here is a clear case of the right hand of government not knowing what the left hand is doing.

(7:37 a.m.)

Palm oil

The 5th National Palm Oil Congress was held in Davao during the weekend. I delivered the welcome remarks in behalf of Mayor Rody Duterte.

In my brief talk, I cited the growing importance of palm oil not only for domestic and industrial uses but as a source of biodiesel, an alternative fuel.

But I emphasized that expanding palm oil plantations must consider its social and environmental impacts.

Indonesia is poised to become the world’s top palm oil producer but at what price.

I remember the problems besetting Agusan del Sur when the first palm oil plantations were created during the 1970s at the height of martial law. Whole communities were displaced, many people, including lumads, lost their lands to a Malaysian company backed by the military regime under President Ferdinand Marcos.

Many people were arrested, tortured, massacred in the ensuing protests. Accounts of these were featured in the book Mindanao: The Bleeding Land, published by the human rights group Task Force Detainees of the Philippines.

(4:57 a.m.)

Walk for clean air

At about this time, the walk for clean air in Davao City must be underway from Freedom Park to Magsaysay Park.
Sorry that I cannot join the fun. At least four groups were I belong are joining – Clean Air Davao Coalition, Davao Green EAGLES (Energy Alternatives for Green Living & Economic Sustainability), Dabaw Kaisa Foundation, and the Ateneo de Davao clean air team led by Kristine Omar.

Godspeed to all participants! (6:11 a.m.)

Tap water

About two months ago, I wrote in my old blog how my wife, Evelyn, had been pondering that we stop the delivery of bottled water in the house.

She said she wants us to drink tap water again. Not because bottled water costs a lot but because she said tap water is much better than those “mineral waters.”

Well, it has been two weeks since we stopped the delivery of bottled water. And things are fine so far. We did not miss bottled water a bit.

Here is one reason my wife was absolutely correct. (11:45 a.m.)

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