12 Key Environmental Issues Not Mentioned In Duterte’s Final SONA, Group Says – Manila Bulletin

Pro-environment activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) said Tuesday (July 27) that there were 12 major omissions in President Duterte’s sixth and final State of the Nation (SONA) address on this regarding environmental issues.

A recent clean-up operation on Manila Bay Dolomite Beach. (Ali Vicoy/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Issues not mentioned have been listed as follows:

1. At least 39,498 hectares (ha) of reclamation in Manila Bay and other coastal areas of the Philippines remain in place despite Duterte’s claims to stop corrupt reclamation projects. The figure includes an increase of 1,498ha during Duterte’s tenure, which began in 2016.

2. 250 billion pesos, or 50 billion pesos per year for the past five years, is the estimated value of poached wildlife.

3. 33 billion pesos is the estimated annual loss due to coral damage in the Western Philippine Sea (WPS) from 2016 to 2019. The figure has skyrocketed to 1.3 trillion pesos per year by 2020.

4. There are 26 mine closures and suspensions to be reversed, plus 26 new mining projects opening in 2021. On top of that, there are 100 new mining applications filed as a result of Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) 130.

5. Minerals worth 1.1 trillion pesos were allegedly looted and shipped for the benefit of foreign markets, not the local economy.

6. The Philippines has the third highest air pollution related deaths in the world.

7. The Philippines is the second largest polluter of marine plastic in the world.

8. The Philippines has moved from fifth to fourth place among the world’s most long-term climate-vulnerable countries.

9. The country suffered 41 billion pesos in agricultural and infrastructural damage from Typhoons Rolly in Ulysses, which affected three million people. However, the affected aid accounted for only a third of the damage.

10. Four gigawatts of approved coal power projects are still underway despite declared moratorium on greenfield coal projects

11. A total of 186 environmental defenders were killed between 1 July 2016 and 30 December 2020. Available data showed that for every defender killed, 124 others suffered other human rights abuses.

12. These defenders represent 6.2 million hectares of landscapes and seascapes and provide ecosystem services estimated at 1.1 trillion pesos annually.

President Duterte delivered a nearly three-hour SONA on Monday afternoon, July 26 at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City.