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Be a TRUE Iskolar ng Bayan! (The Undelivered Graduation Speech)

Note: This is the unabridged version of the speech for our graduation protest last year, 2013. I was to deliver the shortened version (shortened due to time constraints) but to no avail because we were blocked by the marshals from our way towards the stage. Nonetheless, SR Arguelles did his job well by delivering a speech, instead, though the microphone was turned off while he was speaking (watch video clip below). Translated version is available right after the manuscript below. This speech was originally posted at: http://www.facebook.com/notes/kristian-jacob-casas-abad-lora/be-a-true-iskolar-ng-bayan-the-undelivered-graduation-speech/10151448980789794. It was also published at Pinoy Weekly: http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2013/04/be-a-true-iskolar-ng-bayan-the-undelivered-speech/.

 

Original copy of the video clip can be accessed via this link: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151697266722652

 

May we request everyone to offer a moment of silence,respect and prayer for our fellow Iskolar ng Bayan Kristel Tejada on her 40th day after her death last March 15 and for all Filipino youth, as well, who have been deprived of their fundamental right to quality and accessible education.

 

Usa ka mapula ug taas-kumong pagsaludo kanatong tanan, mga Iskolar ng Bayan, sa atong mga magtutudlo ug kawani, ug labi na sa atong mgaginikanan ug sa uban pang mga nagpaskwela kanato labi na ang masang katawhan.

Sa katapusan, kita ni-graduate na jud human sa upat ka-tuigo labaw pa, di lamang bahin sa acads kon dile apil na ang pagraduate nato sa mga ginaproblema sa usa ka Isko ug Iska susama sa pagpangita’g mga paagi aronmakakwarta para ibayad sa matrikula; ang paghulat sa taas nga linya sa STFAP Application arun ipamatuod nga probe pa ta’s tanang pobre; ang pagbalanse sa pagtuon, trabaho ug panlawas para sa mga working students; ang pagpasar-pasar sa pagkaon aron makatipid; ug uban pa.

Sulod sab sa upat ka tuig o labaw pa, kita nagkauban sa atong mga pakigbisog alang sa atong mga katungod ug kaayuhan ug nagkauban sabkita sa pag-ani sa mga bunga aning atong mga pakigbisog sama sa padayon ngaoperasyon sa UP High, dugang nga badyet sa UP ug sa State Universities andColleges (SUCs), pagpahawa sa usa ka undemocratic dean, pagpaabli sa duha kagates, pagpatukod sa mga tambayan, ug uban pa.

Pero bisan pa’g kita nakakab-ot ug mga kadaugan, padayon gihapon ang bulok nga sistema sa pagpig-ot kanato nga mga estudyante ugkabatan-unan. Bisan pa ma’g gipanghambog sa administrasyong Aquino ang pagdugang niya sa badyet sa UP ug SUCs, aduna gihapo’y 17B pesos nga pagkaltas sa proposed budget sa SUCs para karung tuiga. Padayon gihapon ang pagsaka sa mga matrikula ug uban pang balayrunon sa mga publiko ug pribadong tunghaan ubos sa komersyalisado nga sistema sa edukasyon. Gani, kita nakasaksi sa giunsa pagpatay sa bulok nga sistema gamit ang mga mekanismo niini susama sa Tuition Increases, STFAP, Student Loan, ug uban pa, ang atong kauban nga Iskolar ng Bayan nga si Kristel Tejada ug ang pagpatay sa mga damgo sa tanang mga kabatan-unang gihikawan sa ilang katungod sa edukasyon.

Isip graduates, makaingon kita nga luwas na kita aningmga problemaha. Apan dili. Ig-gawas nato aning Unibersidad, labi na sa pagpanarbaho nato, kita na usab ang makasinati sa mga kalisdanan sa atong mga ginikanan ug sa katawhan — kita na usab ang masakitan sa kamahal sa mga palalitunon, sa kalisod sa pagpangita’g trabaho ug ang pag-abuso sa mga employers, sa kamahal sa plete kay dile na man kita pwede makaingon nga “estudyante, Nong, estudyante”, ug sa kalisod sa pagpangita’g kwarta aron igasto sa pagpa-eskwela sa atong mga anak puhon. Dinhi na gayod nat omakita ug mapamatud-an nga ang mga problema sa mga estudyante, dile gayod hilayo sa mga problema sa katilingban sa kinatibuk-an. Sulod ug gawas man sa tunghaan, kitang tanan apektado sa mga kontra-katawhan nga polisiya sa Daang Matuwid ni Aquino nga tataw kaayo nga para lamang sa imperyalistang US ug sa mga tuta niining mga lokal nga adunahan.

Mga Iskolar ng Bayan, ig-gawas nato ngadto sa atong katilingban, aduna lang kita’y duha nga mga kapilian: ang mutrabaho ug muserbisyo sa mga namig-ot o sa mga gipig-ot? sa mga nang-abuso o sa mga gipang-abuso? sa mga nanghimulos o sa mga gipanghimuslan? sa Daang Matuwid o sa Tamang Daan? sa pagpabilin sa kasamtangang kahimtang o sa pagduso og kabag-uhan?

Nan, nasayod ang tanan nga kita ganahan og kabag-uhan saatong katilingban. Apan, labaw pa sa atong partisipasyon sa umaabot na eleksyon pinaagi sa pagpili sa mga makabayan ug makamasang lider, mahitabo lamang angtiunay nga kabag-uhan kon kitamusalmot sa nasudnong-demokrasyang kalihukanalang sa pagbag-o sa katilingban. Atong ihiusa ang atong mga kusog sa kusog sa masang katawhan.

Isip mga Iskolar ng Bayan nga gipa-eskwela sa katawhan, responsibilidad nato nga ubanan ang katawhan sa pagpangita’g tiunay nga hustisya ug kauswagan. Responsibilidad nato nga ubanan sila:

  • sa pagduso sapag-apud-apod sa yuta ngadto sa atong mga mag-uuma sama sa mga mag-uuma sa Hacienda Luisita ug Aloguinsan;
  • sa pagduso sa dugang nga suweldo ug benepisyo sa atong mgaginikanan ug sa tanang mga mamumuo;
  • sa pagduso sa dugang ug sakto nga badyetalang sa edukasyon, healthcare, housing ug uban pang mga batakang serbisyo;
  • sa pagprotektar sa atong mga kababayen-an ug kabataan;
  • sa pagprotektar sa soberanya sa atong nasod gikan sa mga langyaw ug imperyalista; ug,
  • sa pagprotektar sa atong kalikupan alang usab sa mga musunod nga kaliwatan.

Kay kita, dile lamang Iskolar para sa Bayan. Kita, gitawag nga mga Iskolar NG Bayan kayKAUBAN dapat kita sa katawhan sa pakigbisog alang sa katungod ug kaayuhan sa tanan ug alang sa tinuod nga kagawasan ug demokrasya sa atong nasod Pilipinas. Ug ang masang katawhan ang mao’y katapusang hukom kon kita, matinud-anon ba sa atong paka-Iskolar ng Bayan.

Busa, ang dakong hagit sa ato-a, bisag asa man kita maadto o muadto: be a true Iskolar ng Bayan!

 

Mga Isko ug Iska, humayo’t gamitin ang talino at husay at ialay ang buhay sa paglilingkod at pagtatanggol sa sambayanan!

Para sa tunay na demokrasya’t kalayaan!

Mabuhay tayong mga Pag-asa ng Bayan!

Serve The People!

 

 

*******************************

 

[Translation – Filipino]

 

May we request everyone to offer a moment of silence, respect and prayer for our fellow Iskolar ng Bayan Kristel Tejada on her 40th day after her death last March 15 and for all Filipino youth, as well, who have been deprived of their fundamental right to quality and accessible education.

 

Isang mapula’t taas-kamaong pagsaludo sa ating lahat, mga Iskolar ng Bayan, sa ating mga guro at kawani, at lalo na sa ating mga magulang o kung sinu-sino man ang nagpaaral sa atin, lalo na ang masang Pilipino.

Sa wakas, tayo’y nagtapos din matapos ang apat na taon o higit pa di lamang sa usaping akademiko kundi pati na rin ang pag-gradweyt natin mula sa mga suliraning kinakaharap ng bawat Isko at Iska gaya ng paghahanap ng mga paraan para makapera pambayad sa matrikula; ang paghihintay sa mahabang linya ng STFAP application upang patunayan na tayo’y mahirap pa sa lahat ng mga mahihirap; ang pagbalanse sa pag-aaral, trabaho at kalusugan para sa mga working students; ang sobrang pagtitipid sa pagkain; at iba pa.

Sa loob din ng apat na taong ito o higit pa, tayo’y nagsama-sama sa ating mga laban para sa ating mga karapatan at kapakanan at nagsama-sama rin tayo sa pag-ani ng mga bunga ng mga labang ito gaya na lamang ng patuloy na operasyon ng UP High, dagdag na badyet sa UP at sa mga State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), pagpatalsik sa isang undemocratic dean, pagpabukas ng dalawang UP gates, pagpatayo ng mga tambayan at iba pa.

Subalit, kahit nakasungkit tayo ng mga kapanalunan, patuloy pa rin ang bulok na sistema sa pagsupil sa atin na mga estudyante at kabataan. Kahit pa man na ipinalalandakan ng administrasyong Aquino ang dagdag na badyet sa UP at SUCs, mayroon pa ring 17B pesos na pagkaltas sa badyet na ipinanukala ng mga SUCs sa taong ito. Patuloy pa rin ang pagtaas nga mga matrikula at iba pang mga bayarin sa mga publiko’t pribadong paaralan sa ilalim ng komersyalisadong sistema ng ating edukasyon. Sa katunayan, atin pong nasaksihan nitong Marso kung paano pinatay ng bulok na sistema, gamit ang mga mekanismo nito gaya ng Tuition Increases, STFAP, Student Loan at iba pa, ang ating kapwa Iskolar ng Bayan na si Kristel Tejada at kung paano rin pinatay nito ang mga pangarap ng mga kabataang ninakawan ng kanilang karapatan sa edukasyon.

Bilang mga gradweyt, inaakala nating tayo’y ligtas nga sa mga sularining ito. Subalit, hindi. Sa paglabas natin mula sa Unibersidad na ito, lalo na sa ating pagtatrabaho, tayo na naman ang makakaranas ng lahat ng mga paghihirap ng ating mga magulang at ng sambayanan — tayo na naman ang masasaktan sa pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin, sa kahirapan sa paghahanap ng trabaho at pang-aabuso ng mga employers, sa mahal na pamasahe dahil di na tayo pwedeng magsabi ng “estudyante po Kuya, estudyante po“,  at sa kahirapan sa paghahanap ng perang pantutustos para sa pag-aaral ng mga magiging anak natin. Dito na natin makikita at mas mapapatunayan na ang mga problema ng mga estudyante ay tunay na di hiwalay sa mga problema ng lipunan. Nasa loob o labas man ng paaralan, tayong lahat ay apektado sa mga kontra-mamamayan na mga polisiya sa Daang Matuwid ni Aquino na klarung-klaro na para lamang sa imperyalistang US at ang mga tuta nitong nanggagaling sa naghaharing-uri ng ating lipunan.

Mga Iskolar ng Bayan, sa paglabas natin patungo sa lipunang ating ginagawalan, tayo ay may dalawang pagpipilian lamang: ang magtrabaho’t maglingkod para sa mga nanunupil o sa mga sinusupil? sa mga nang-aabuso o sa mga inaabuso? sa mga nagsasamantala o sa mga pinag-sasamantalahan? sa Daang Matuwid o sa Tamang Daan? sa pagpapanatili ng status quo o sa pagsulong nga pagbabago sa lipunan?

At alam naman ng lahat na gusto natin ng pagbabago sa lipunan. Datapuwa’t, mas higit pa sa ating partisipasyon sa darating na eleksyon sa pamamagitan ng pagboto sa mga makabayan at makamasang lider, magaganap lamang ang tunay na pagbabago kung tayo ay lalahok sa pambansang demokratikong kilusan para sa pagbabago sa lipunan. Ating ipagsama ang ating mga lakas sa lakas ng masang Pilipino.

Bilang mga Iskolar ng Bayan na pinag-aral ng taumbayan, responsibilidad natin na samahan ang taumbayan sa pagkamit ng tunay na hustisya at kaunlaran. Responsibilidad natin na samahan sila:

  • sa pagsulong ng pamamahagi ng mga lupain sa ating mga magsasaka gaya ng mga magsasaka sa Hacienda Luisita at sa Aloguinsan;
  • ang pagsulong ng dagdag na sahod at benepisyo sa ating mga magulang, guro at sa lahat ng mga manggagawa;
  • ang pagsulong ng dagdag at saktong badyet para sa edukasyon, healthcare, pabahay at iba pang mga batayang serbisyong-panlipunan;
  • ang pagtatanggol sa ating mga kababaihan at kabataan;
  • ang pagatanggol sa ating soberanya mula sa mga dayuhan at mga imperyalista; at,
  • ang pagtatanggol sa ating kalikasan mula sa mga pang-aabuso para sa mga susunod na henerasyon.

 

Sapagka’t tayo ay hindi lamang mga Iskolar para sa Bayan. Kundi, tayo ay tinaguriang mgaIskolar NG Bayan dahil tayo ay KASAMA ng taumbayan sa bawat laban para sa karapatan at kapakanan ng lahat at para sa tunay na kalayaan at demokrasya sa ating bansang Pilipinas. At ang masang Pilipino ang silang huling maghuhusga kung tayo ba ay tunay ngang mga Iskolar ng Bayan.

Bagkus, isang malaking hamon sa ating lahat, kahit saan man tayo mapunta o pumunta: be a true Iskolar ng Bayan!

 

Mga Isko ug Iska, humayo’t gamitin ang talino at husay at ialay ang buhay sa paglilingkod at pagtatanggol sa sambayanan!

Para sa tunay na demokrasya’t kalayaan!

Mabuhay tayong mga Pag-asa ng Bayan!

Serve The People!

 

UP Cebu graduates, together with Staff Regent Jossel Ebesate, Student Regent Cleve Arguelles, some teachers and non-graduates, raised placards and held a streamer calling on the graduates to Serve The People who funded their education.

May naka-capture pala sa naganap na pag-harang sa’tin ng Graduation Marshals at guards nung Grad Protest. Si Franel ata naka-capture nito. Ito yung time na hinihila ako ni SR Cleve para makatuntong ako sa stage at ideliver ang pinaghandaang grad protest speech. May video file din courtesy of te Jade: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151697266722652

 

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Statement of concern on the RP-US Agreement on Enhanced Security Cooperation (AEDC)

“The agreement apparently aims to increase and prolong the presence US troops in the country, and as government has already announced, allow the US access to Philippine bases, the prepositioning of US arms, military supplies and equipment as well as the construction and maintenance of US military facilities inside these Philippine bases.

Given these apparently new features, there is valid concern that the new pact may be going beyond the scope of previous military agreements. That contrary to the negotiators’ claims, this is not a mere implementing agreement of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement nor the periodic arrangements on mutual logistics and support. The AEDC as reported by media threatens to reverse the historic Senate vote that removed the US bases in 1991.”

Teddy Casiño

The following is the statement issued by former senators Guingona, Saguisag and Tañada plus several lawyers and concerned citizens regarding the military agreement to be signed between PH and US officials this morning.

We express our grave concern over news that a new military agreement called the Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation (AEDC) will be signed between the Philippines and the United States during next week’s visit of US President Barack Obama.

The agreement apparently aims to increase and prolong the presence US troops in the country, and as government has already announced, allow the US access to Philippine bases, the prepositioning of US arms, military supplies and equipment as well as the construction and maintenance of US military facilities inside these Philippine bases.

Given these apparently new features, there is valid concern that the new pact may be going beyond the scope of previous military agreements. That contrary to…

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Madalas na mga tanong hinggil sa China at US

FAQs on why we, leftist activists, consistently oppose U.S. “military” presence in the Philippines and Asia-Pacific.

“Sa pag-unlad ng ekonomya, magkakaroon tayo ng barko at iba pang gamit para depensahan an gating teritoryo. Magagawa lang ito kung tunay na independiente tayo. Hangga’t umaasa tayo sa mga dayuhang kapangyarihan tulad ng US, mananatili tayong mahina. Estratehiya yan kasi ng US, yung panatiliin tayong nakaasa para madali nila tayong nadidiktahan. [Kailangang] kumawala tayo sa anumang dayuhang dikta, mula sa China man o sa Amerika.”

like a rolling stone

  1. Bakit ba kayo tutol sa presensyang militar ng US? Hindi ba sila makakatulong laban sa panghihimasok  ng China?

Tutol tayo sa presensyang militar ng US dahil labag ito sa soberanya natin, magdudulot ito ng maraming problema, at porma ito ng panghihimasok ito sa ating bansa at tanda ng hindi pantay na relasyon. HINDI ito makakatulong sa atin laban sa China, tulad nang hindi nakatulong ang US Bases para gawing moderno ang AFP matapos ang mahigit 40 taon. Hindi nakatulong ang mga US bases noon kaya nga hindi na pinalawig ang mga ito mtapos ang 1991. Di rin naging moderno ang AFP matapos ang 15 taon ng VFA at mga Balikatan exercises. Ilusyon lang na tutulungan tayo ng US. Pati yung armas at barko na nakukuha natin sa US ay mga pinaglumaang gamit na sobrang magastos ang maintenance. Sa huli, ang pinoprotektahan ng US ay ang sarili nitong interes at…

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Capitalism: Profit Over Humanity (On the Recent Demolition in Agham Road)

Umiiyak si Nanay habang dine-demolish ang kanilang mga kabahayan sa may Agham Road, Sitio San Roque, Quezon City. Photo credits to Reuters/Erik de Castro

This is what happens under a system known as Capitalism that prioritizes and cherishes profit (of the few elites) over humanity.

Two days ago, the residents of an urban poor community in North Triangle faced demolition of their homes “to give way to the 11.3-meter road widening project along Agham Road in Quezon City.” However, “the residents believe that the demolition is meant to give way for the Quezon City Central Business District, a 256-hectare project” of the Ayalas. “…similar reason was given to former residents along EDSA but instead of road-widening, a high rise condominium is now being constructed.”

“No demolition order. No dialogues. Just pure brazen violence. And the police even nabbed the already harassed residents. This is impunity, this is injustice in its rawest and steeliest form,” said Terry Ridon, KABATAAN Partylist representative and a lawyer. – Read more at: http://bulatlat.com/main/2014/01/27/north-triangle-residents-lose-homes-to-demolition-decry-overkill/#sthash.07yes4lm.dpuf

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Everytime news articles about demolition of informal settlers are being posted online, I always see comments from netizens condemning the poor settlers saying, “they deserve it”, “they are poor because they are lazy”, “they are hindrances to our country’s development”, etc.

Sadly, we usually condemn the poor, criticize them, belittle them and demolish their homes that we tend to forget the fact that our food, our clothes, our gadgets, our school and office supplies are produced by them, by their calloused hands. These things that we enjoy are the fruits of their sufferings – being exploited, abused, underpaid, and harassed.

We are now very blinded by the developments that we enjoy that we do not see the plight of the majority of the people in our society. Remember: Development is made for Humanity, not Humanity for Development of the few.

Doon po sa amin,
Bayan ng San Roque
May nagkatuwaang
Apat na pulubi –

Nagsayaw ang pilay,
Nanood ang bulag,
Kumanta ang pipi,
Nakinig ang bingi.
– Philippine Folk Song

PS: Hindi lang si Vhong ang nangangailangan ng hustisya. HUSTISYA para sa mga urban poor ng Sitio San Roque! HUSTISYA para sa masang-api!


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The Power to Impeach vs. The Power to Oust

The people’s power to impeach the President or other impeachable high-ranking officials is like any consumable item in DOTA — it is LIMITED.

Under our 1987 Philippine Constitution, impeachment proceedings can only be initiated ONCE a year. Considering that Aquino’s Liberal Party and its allies still dominate the Congress, more likely, this complaint recently filed will NOT PROSPER. After it fails, the people will have to wait for next year to file again. Thus, this is a wrong, unprepared move, I believe. We must not forget our lessons in the past when we failed many times to impeach Arroyo.

BUT, we, the people must not forget that we have some UNLIMITED powers: the collective power to massively storm the Malacañang and have Aquino OUSTED and the collective power to overturn the social pyramid and CHANGE the  System — the former is merely for reform, the latter is for genuine change.

NEWS: Impeachment complaint laban kay PNoy, ikinasa na

http://n5e.interaksyon.com/top/D4857691BBCB4DF/1001/impeachment-complaint-laban-kay-pnoy-ikinasa-na

 

NOTE: Only the Members of the House of Representatives can initiate an impeachment. Nonetheless, the citizens can file an impeachment complaint but such must be endorsed by any Member of the House of Representatives (Sec. 3, Art. XI, Phil. Const.).


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Letter to the Government: On the Recent Oil Discovery in Aloguinsan, Cebu

Days ago, I posted on my Facebook that I was done writing a letter principally addressed to the Cebu Provincial Government. It was about my concern on the oil exploration/discovery in Aloguinsan, a municipality in Cebu south. Last Sunday, Atty. Gloria “Golly” Estenzo-Ramos asked my permission for her to publish my letter on her Sunday column in Cebu Daily News; I answered affirmatively.

Taken from Atty. Golly’s Facebook account.

As what Atty. Golly told me, Part II of her column, which, I believe, will contain the continuation of my letter, will be published next Sunday. But for those who do not have access to CDN newspaper, allow me to share the full text of my letter:

January 17, 2014
Hon. Gov. Hilario Davide, III

Hon. Vice-Gov. Agnes Magpale

Hon. Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cebu:

Hon. Raul Alcoseba
Hon. Julian Daan
Hon. Christopher Baricuatro
Hon. Peter John Calderon
Hon. Alex Binghay
Hon. Grizelda Sanchez Zaballero
Hon. Joven Mondigo, Jr.
Hon. Sun Shimura
Hon. Miguel Antonio Magpale
Hon. Jude Thaddeus Sybico
Hon. Arleigh Sitoy
Hon. Thadeo Ouano
Hon. Celestino Martinez III
Hon. Carmen Remedios Mecca

Provincial Capitol, Cebu City, Cebu

Hon. Mayor Cynthia Moreno
Hon. Vice-Mayor Augustus Caesar Moreno
Poblacion, Aloguinsan, Cebu City, Cebu

 

Dear Sirs and Mesdames:

Warm nationalist greetings!

As a concerned resident of Cebu, I would like to express my deepest concern about the oil exploration and discovery in Aloguinsan by Australian firm Gas2Grid Ltd. which I have read in the newspapers, lately.

Oil, a fossil fuel, is one of the major contributors to climate change. The continued incessant burning of oil and other fossil fuels has dumped billions of tons of carbon into our atmosphere. Four years ago, when I sent a letter to the Cebu Provincial Government to stop the operations of coal-fired power plants in Toledo and Naga, the global concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was still at 390ppm (parts per million). 350ppm is the upper safety limit. Now, it has reached 400ppm. What does it mean?

To quote Dr. Annmarie Eldering of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)[1]:

Reaching 400ppm is a stark reminder that the world is still not on a track to limit CO2 emissions and therefore climate impacts. We’re still on the ‘business-as-usual’ path, and adding more and more CO2, which will impact the generations ahead of us. Passing this mark should motivate us to advocate for focused efforts to reduce emissions across the globe.

We know that higher concentration of carbon in the atmosphere results to global warming, which also warms our oceans. High temperature in our oceans fuels storms; hence, stronger storms or hurricanes such as Super Typhoon Yolanda and more to come, as scientifically predicted.[2] Also, global warming, that contributes to rapid climate change, has now been linked to the hazardous polar vortex happening right now in North America.

As scientists emphasize, there is a reason why fossil fuels are underneath the Earth’s crust. In digging fossil fuels to burn it for energy supply, we are bringing carbon from underneath to our atmosphere and if we do not stop doing so, with the CO2 concentration increasing from time to time, it will be hotter on Earth as on Venus.

It may be true that the oil drilling (in the commercial stage of the project), should it push through, may bring benefits to the people of Aloguinsan, to Cebu and to the country. But, these benefits are merely transient yet its adverse effects will last long. When the oil runs out, since oil is merely a non-renewable energy resource, Gas2Grid will no longer have business in Aloguinsan. Consequently, it will lead to a massive lay-off of workers therein. It will also leave long-term adverse effect to the aquatic ecosystem near the drilling area, which will be disturbed while drilling is going on. The effect will be worse if oil spill will happen due to negligence or lack of high-quality equipment such as what happened recently in Manila Bay[3]. As a result, it will gravely affect the livelihood of the fisherfolks living near the shore for a very long period of time since it takes time for the environment to regenerate itself.

Hence, as oil is not a sustainable source of energy, it is not, as well, a sustainable source of livelihood and development. Negative effects will outweigh the transient positive effects over the long term.

It must be noted, also, that Aloguinsan is part of the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS). “The TSPS, which lies between the islands of Negros and Cebu, is among the country’s major fishing grounds where about 26,000 fishermen operate. It is also an important migration corridor for whales, dolphins and other marine mammals…”[4]

In relation to that, there are still two cases pending in the Supreme Court on the offshore drilling as to its impacts to the environment and to the affected communities. These cases were filed in response to the offshore oil exploration in the TSPS by a Japanese firm seven or eight years ago. I believe that while these cases are still pending, the government should not entertain or allow any oil exploration in the TSPS.

On the other hand, I would like to request that a public consultation be held on the matter at hand, not just inviting the people of Aloguinsan but all constituents of the Cebu Provincial Government since it will also affect the entire Cebu province. Our laws mandate all local government units (LGUs) to involve their constituents in making policies and decisions that will affect the latter.

Sirs and mesdames, I speak not just in behalf of my generation but also of the generations to come. I would like to remind you that no other than the Constitution guarantees the inherent right of every citizen to a “healthful and balanced ecology”[5] – a right to which even the unborn citizens are entitled. Hence, in the landmark case of Oposa v. Factoran,[6] the Supreme Court stressed out that this right imposes our correlative duty to refrain from impairing the environment, simply termed as inter-generational responsibility and justice. Moreover, the Local Government Code[7] mandates all LGUs to “enhance” the said right. Such duty involves educating the constituents on participatory governance, environmental protection and sustainable development, among others, instead of encouraging them to allow, tolerate or support activities that are detrimental to the environment and to their livelihood for the pursuit of short-term benefits.

There are still so many things to do in protecting and preserving the environment for our survival and for the survival of our children and our children’s children. With that, Philippine Climate Change Commissioner Naderev Saño, in his speech during the UN Climate Talks in Warsaw, Poland right after Yolanda struck our country last year, reminded everyone of us to stop procrastinating in addressing climate change.[8]

The recent Yolanda tragedy, which cost the lives of more than 6,000 fellow Filipinos, is a result of either our procrastination on climate action or our inability to look at the long-term consequences of our decisions and actions or both. When will we ever learn? When will we ever begin to act in addressing climate change? When will we ever start in changing our ways and policies towards sustainable development?

 

With high respect,

 

(Sgd.) KRISTIAN JACOB ABAD LORA
Student, University of Cebu – College of Law
Co-convener, Task Force Batok Mina
kjalora92@yahoo.com

cc: Office of the President of the Philippines
Office of the Vice-Chairperson, Philippine Climate Change Commission
Office of the Secretary, Department of Energy
Office of the Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Office of the Secretary, Department of Interior and Local Government
Office of the Chairperson, Commission on Higher Education


[1] NASA scientists react to 400 ppm carbon milestone, Global Climate Change, NASA.gov (online), n. d., http://climate.nasa.gov/400ppmquotes/

[2] Emanuel, Kerry A., Downscaling CMIP5 climate models shows increased tropical cyclone activity over the 21st century, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), July 8, 2013, http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/07/05/1301293110.abstract

[3] Quismorio, Ellson, Solon seeks inquiry on Sulu Sea oil drilling, Manila Bulletin (online), October 28, 2013, http://www.mb.com.ph/solon-seeks-inquiry-on-sulu-sea-oil-drilling/

[4] Villanueva , Rhodina J., Biodiversity in Tañon Strait to be protected, The Philippine Star (online), July 29, 2013, http://www.philstar.com/good-news/2013/07/29/1024041/biodiversity-tanon-strait-be-protected

[5] Const., Art. II, Sec. 16.

[6] G.R. No. 101083, July 30, 1993.

[7] Sec. 16, RA 7160, The Local Government Code.

[8] Saño, Naderev, Typhoon Haiyan: we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action, The Guardian (online), November 11, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/11/typhoon-haiyan-philippines-climate-change

Meanwhile, Atty. Golly is a co-founder of Phil. Earth Justice Center (PEJC). PEJC, together with Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and Central Visayas-Farmers Development Center (FARDEC) also sent a letter to the Cebu Provincial Government.

Sending letters is our first step. We’ll see what happens next.

PS: Since we’re talking of climate change and energy resources here, I would like also to invite everyone to an upcoming national climate convergence entitled Sulong: Power Shift Pilipinas to be held in Cebu City on March 28-31, 2014. For more info, visit the page: http://www.facebook.com/PowerShiftPHL

We are gathering more than 200 passionate and committed youth leaders and activists from across the country to push the climate movement in the Philippines forward. If you believe this generation can make a difference, join us! Apply now: http://world.350.org/philippines/sulong-power-shift-pilipinas/


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UNITE AND FIGHT: JUSTICE for UP Tacloban Students!

It has been a long time since my last WordPress blog post. My schedule in Law school has been so hectic. No wonder many law professors told us at the outset that Law school is a “jealous mistress”. But, despite the hectic schedule, I could not help but post, for the first time this year 2014, a call for justice for University of the Philippines (UP) Tacloban Students, which I also posted on my Facebook account, to inform the WordPress/blogging community about this URGENT issue.

 

UNITE AND FIGHT! Calling all UP alumni, students, teachers, REPS and staff from all UP campuses to UNITE with UP Tacloban students in demanding for justice.

Main issue is about STFAP (Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program) where many of the students left in UP Tacloban campus were only re-bracketed to B or C despite the glaring fact that those who remained in UP Tacloban campus are desperately needing financial assistance after being ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda last November 2013. Meanwhile, in other campuses, many UP Tacloban students who cross-enrolled were re-bracketed to E1 or E2. Under Brackets E1 and E2, a UP student is granted FREE TUITION, with stipend (under Bracket E2).

There are other issues that need to be resolved. For more, read the Report prepared by the UP Tacloban Student Council: http://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8XKvG3vzJlIV09KMWJTWmFJLUU/edit
 
So far, UP Tacloban students and UP students coming from E. Visayas who are in Diliman had just a meeting this evening to plan for collective actions in demanding for justice. We will just keep everyone updated.
 
In the meantime/At the very least, change your FB/Twitter profile pic into this one:
Image

Sa sama-samang pagkilos at pakikibaka, MAY TAGUMPAY! UP Fight! Padayon!