Majority of Filipinos continue to reject moves to amend the Constitution or charter change (Cha-cha), according to the results of the latest IBON nationwide survey. BY IBON FOUNDATION Posted by Bulatlat Majority of Filipinos continue to reject moves to amend the Constitution or charter change (Cha-cha), according to the results of the latest IBON nationwide survey. Of the 72.4 percent of respondents who answered that they were aware of the Arroyo administration’s moves to amend or change the 1987 Constitution, 77.4 percent said they were not in favor of such proposals. This is a significant increase from the April 2008 survey round where 68 percent said they were not in favor of Cha-cha, and from the 74 percent in October 2007. Meanwhile, 18.4 percent said they were in favor of Cha-cha, down from 25.7 percent in April 2008. The latest IBON survey was conducted nationwide from October 1 to 10 with 1,494 respondents from various sectors. The survey used a multi-stage probability sampling scheme with a margin of error of plus or minus three percent. Below is the tabulation of results of people’s perception on Charter change. Do you know that the Arroyo Administration has a proposal to amend or change the 1987 Philippine Constitution? Are you in favor of the proposal of the current administration to change the constitution? Posted byBulatlat.com


Citing the Philippine government’s lack of a genuine program to address climate change and mitigate its impact on the Filipino people, and the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, a newly-formed alliance called the Philippine Climate Watch Alliance is calling on developed countries and TNCs to reduce their carbon emissions by 50 to 90 percent in the next three decades. It is also calling on the Arroyo government to stop its mining revitalization program, the fossil fuel development projects, and other highly extractive industries that compound the problem of climate change. In stead it proposes for a massive forest rehabilitation and protection program, and a strategic energy plan.

BY RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat

A newly formed alliance of grassroots organizations, scientists and environmental groups was recently launched to combat global warming and climate change.

The Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines, Kalikasan – People’s Network for the Environment, scientists from AGHAM (Samahan ng mga Nagtataguyod ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Sambayanan) and computer experts from the Computer Professionals’ Union joined together to form the Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA).

Meggie Nolasco national spokesperson of the PCWA said that the Philippines is among the developing countries that is most vulnerable to the impact of global warming, citing the global scientific consensus and the recently-released Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).


Willy Marbella (R) of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas speaks during the launching of the PCWA. Beside him is Dr. Helen Mendoza (Photo by Arkibong Bayan)

Established in 1988, the IPCC is an intergovernmental scientific body set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its task is to provide decision-makers and others interested in climate change with an objective source of information.

Climate change is defined as a long-term significant change in the “average weather” that a given region experiences. Average weather may include average temperature, precipitation and wind patterns.

“The recent tragedies caused by super typhoons that have killed thousands of people and the record-breaking temperature extremes during the past ten years are deemed part of the effects of global warming on the Philippines,” said the PCWA in its unity statement.

Ill-equipped

Nolasco, however, said “..the present government and its agencies are making our country ill-equipped to respond to the impact of climate change by not pursuing comprehensive policies and programs to respond to the problem.”

Nolasco said that the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) continue to increase emissions of national green house gases (GHG) by implementing programs and projects, which result in unprecedented pollution and environmental destruction.

She cited as examples the mining revitalization program, the fossil fuel development projects, and other highly extractive industries that compound the problem of climate change.

The PCWA slammed the Arroyo administration for the absence of a genuine program to mitigate the impact of climate change and to help the Filipino people to adapt to the effects of global warming.

Kyoto Protocol

The Conference of Parties (COP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP) is nearing its final leg of negotiations for the establishment of a post-Kyoto Protocol global agreement on climate change. The COP 14 will be held on December 1 to12, 2008 in Poznan, Poland.

The Kyoto Protocol, a landmark international agreement on climate change, came about in 1998. It targeted to reduce global carbon emissions in 2012 by 5.2 percent compared to 1990 levels. It also introduced market-based and profit-oriented mechanisms such as carbon trading and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to reduce carbon emissions of countries and corporations.

The PCWA said that after a decade of implementing the agreements, the Kyoto Protocol still failed to reduce global carbon emissions. The alliance maintained that private corporations, most especially transnational corporations (TNCs) have manipulated such mechanisms to continue emitting GHG to the environment.

Most affected

In its unity statement, the PCWA noted that the impoverished populace who has no means to adapt to the environmental changes that global warming induces has suffered most.

Felina Mendres, leader of Amihan, a national peasant women’s federation, said the poor, particularly in the rural and coastal areas would be most affected by climate change. “Rising sea level, landslides, prolonged drought, and extreme weather patterns are highly felt in our communities,” she said. “We are suffering twice, we are displaced by anti-people policies and by the environmental consequences of extractive projects,” she added.

In a statement, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP or Peasant Movement of the Philippines) said climate change affects the peasants’ source of livelihood: agriculture.

Willy Marbella, KMP deputy secretary general, said that rivers and other sources of irrigation are drying up. He said that large-scale mining results to siltation, erosion and destruction of forests.

Demands

Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of AGHAM said, “Since the Philippine Government has no concrete program to contribute to global initiatives to address the problem of climate change, the PCWA would put forward a strong demand to developed countries to reduce from 50 to 90 percent their carbon emissions in the next three decades, and for the Philippine government to develop a participatory roadmap to respond to global warming and climate change.”

Tapang further said, “We believe this is doable and justifiable to avert a global temperature rise of two degrees Celsius.”

He said that according to the scientific consensus, an increase by more than two degrees Celsius in the mean global temperature would have serious irreversible consequences leading to catastrophic events beyond any human experience.

Dr. Helen Mendoza, a climate change activist, called on the COP to establish a climate fund to ensure the judicious use of resources for people’s adaptation to climate change impacts and the installation of effective mitigation measures.

“…[I]ndustrialized nations such as the United States, European Union and Japan which are historically responsible and culpable for global warming should primarily contribute to this climate fund,” said Mendoza.

The root cause of global warming, the alliance said, is rooted in the ‘unsustainable, wasteful and profit-oriented production in the global economy.’ “Under this set up, industrialized countries and their TNCs continue to extract, produce, and consume carbon-based fuels in an unsustainable and detrimental level,” said the alliance.

The PCWA called on the Philippine government to ban commercial logging and mining activities, which destroy the country’s natural forests. It also urges the Arroyo administration to launch a massive forest rehabilitation and protection program that utilizes native forest species.

The alliance proposes that a strategic energy plan be formulated. The plan, they said, should genuinely promote and harness locally based clean energy resources with the objective of achieving energy independence and self-sufficiency. (Bulatlat.com)

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