Save Tañon group wants GMA to stop oil drilling


LEADERS of the Save Tañon Strait Citizens Movement (STSCM) celebrated their first anniversary as a group yesterday and urged President Arroyo to stop oil drilling in the waters of the Visayas.

Lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos said that as an early Christmas gift to Arroyo, they will send her a book entitled “Go Easy on the Sea” with confidence that once the President reads it, she will realize that preserving the sea is more important than oil drilling.

“Why would government insist on an oil drilling project when it pollutes the environment and adds to the greenhouse gas, which causes climate change? Let us do our share as member of the global community in reducing carbon emission” Estenzo-Ramos said.

She hopes the government will listen to them, considering that the country is a signatory to different international conventions affirming our mission and help to attain sustainable development.

Committed

Estenzo-Ramos said the Philippines is also a member of a group of nations that is committed to support the Millennium Development Goals to reduce poverty by 50 percent by the year 2015.

“We have only seven years to go but we are contributing to the displacements of fisherfolk. So how can we possibly attain this goal of reducing poverty and promoting ecological sustainability? That is why government officials must listen to the grievances of the people”, Estenzo-Ramos said.

Seismic survey

As this developed, the fisherfolk of Argao and Sibonga towns, who are supported by STSCM, have vowed to fight against oil drilling in the Cebu-Bohol Strait. The seismic survey was recently conducted by Nor-Asian Energy Limited.

Lawyer Benjamin Cabrido said the govern-ment’s oil drilling encroaches on the livelihood of the fishermen. This violates their first Bill of Rights, which is the right to life.
“That cannot be bargained away. They are taking away the livelihood of the fisherfolk in Argao and Sibonga,” he said.

He said that there are two conflicting interests in the Argao-Sibonga project. Whether the life and livelihood of the fisherfolk take precedence over national projects—the so-called independent energy development program of the government—is now a legal issue.

“Enough is enough for protests. It is now high time to elevate this issue to the court, especially the Supreme Court, to resolve whether a government project will prevail over the right to life,” Cabrido said. (EOB) (Sunstar)

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