Apr. 16, 2017: Lopez vows continued help to Limay coal ash victims
Environment Secretary Gina Lopez has vowed not to let up her efforts to help residents living near a coal-fired power plant operating inside the refinery of oil giant Petron Corp. in Limay town in Bataan province.
Lopez made the assurance after Limay residents trooped to the DENR central office in Quezon City to complain anew of the ash residue of SMC Consolidated Power Corp. (SMCCPC) which made some of them ill.
“Trust me, I’m not gonna let you down,” Lopez told the residents during a dialogue held inside her office.
Officials of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), Petron and SMCCPC were also present during the dialogue. Both Petron and SMCCPC are subsidiaries of San Miguel Corp., one of the country’s most diversified and biggest conglomerates.
The residents complained of water pollution, dust, foul odor and noise coming from the refinery complex. They also traced the frequent respiratory illnesses suffered by many of them to the coal plant within the complex.
According to the residents, their health conditions have deteriorated since coal plant started operation in 2013. They averred that their cough, colds and asthma have become persistent despite regular checkups and medications.
The residents also cited a study by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources on the presence of hazardous substances like cadium and mercury in the fish caught in the coast of Limay.
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Apr. 15, 2017: Championing peace by making Canadian corporations accountable
A five-member delegation from the Philippines toured Canada from March 20 to April 5 to speak with Parliamentarians and Canadians about the impacts of Canadian mining on their communities. Two members of the visiting delegation were Indigenous Subanen women from Mindanao. They allege that Canadian mining operations in their communities have led to contaminated drinking water, an increase in gender-based violence, and none of the economic benefits that were promised to their communities.
When representatives from Canadian civil society groups visited Mindanao in 2014 as part of a KAIROS-led learning tour, they reviewed credible evidence of numerous human rights violations allegedly associated with Canadian mining operations on the island, including kidnapping, arrest, torture displacement and loss of livelihood.
After reviewing evidence and listening to testimonies from affected communities, members of the tour called on the Philippine government to investigate these claims and cease all mining operations until the safety of the local people, including those opposed to the presence of large scale mining, can be assured.
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