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La Carlota entries bag over-all winners

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La Carlota City winners (fr l-r) first place, Claudette Marie A. Leonidas of La Carlota North Elementary School; second place, John Paul C. Plohinog of Ferlou Elem. School; and third, Ma. Angela P. Delacruz of Pax Catholic Academy. 

The newly concluded Negros Occ. Junior Green Artists Inter-city Painting Competition with the theme “Climate Change in the Eyes of a Child” yielded a very interesting result. Nine winning entries from La Carlota, Kabankalan and Himamaylan Cities who were the top three winners in their respective citywide competitions were presented during the first day of the SM City Exhibit for judging to determine the over-all winners.

Judging was held at 3:30 pm last April 22, shortly before the 4:00 pm Earth Jam at the Northern Transport Hub of the SM City Bacolod, in observance of Earth Day 2013. The winning pieces were displayed at random, without mention of the artists’ names nor their localities. Judges included Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources officials, PIO Ruby Arribas, FMS Chief Catherine C. Balasa, and Bacolod CENRO Edgardo M. Rostata; members of the Art Association of Bacolod, VP Nunistell Mae Fulo-Lee and Joan Honoridez; and May Castro, manager of SM City Bacolod’s public relations. Earth Day 2013 conveners and Greenwatch Phils officers did not participate in the over-all judging.

The judges were amazed at the way elementary pupils presented the gloomy side of climate change and the hope that goes with timely and positive interventions.After the judging, it was found out that the over-all winners all came from  La Carlota City in the same order of first, second and third places.Their respective coaches were Liezel S. Vinson, Rommel G. Tomonong, and Ms.Shiela de Pedro. The winners were announced during the Earth Jam ceremonies.

Congratulations to the over-all winners and kudos to all the Junior Green Artists who participated and won in their respective citywide competitions. The Kabankalan Citywide on-the-spot painting contest winners were Kenn Nombre of Binicuil Elem. School, first place; Walter Pafilla of Kabankalan Catholic College, second; and Lord June Caboctol of Hilamonan Elem. School, third. Coaches were Veronica Tibus, Skitter Jomer and Charlie Orcena. Himamaylan City winners were Paul Emmanuel Gavilanez of Himamaylan Central School, 1st place; Armand Kyle Abad of Himamaylan Central School, 2nd, and Mary Mae Peralet of Culban Elem. School, 3rd. Coaches were Gloria Duro and Raymund Pillada. You are all winners!

Indeed the works of art of the youth reveal their profound understanding of the issues surrounding climate change and can truly help in raising awareness in others. SM City Bacolod will tranfer the Negros Occ. Junior Green Artists’ Exhibit at the mall’s East Bridgeway up to April 26, Friday.

We thank all of our partners and sponsors who helped in making both the local events and the over-all judging and exhibit truly memorable experiences. Special thanks goes to La Carlota School Division Superintendent Portia Mallorca, Ph D and her team; Kabankalan School Division Superintendent Elisa G. Bronola, and Messrs. Salvador O. Ochavo, Jr. oic, ASDS, and Blas C. Tabayag, Jr. EPS 1, both of DepEd Kabankalan; the Kabankalan City Lions Club for judging and providing the prizes for the city’s winners; Himamaylan CENRO Armela E. Waldato, and Ronald. F. Trinio, in charge of the City Environment Office’s Upland Program.

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Press Briefing by Sec. Edwin Lacierda with PA for Climate Change Elisea G. Gozun, 04 April 2013

Published on Apr 4, 2013

Press Briefing Room, New Executive Bldg., Malacañang, | News Releases below | Audio | http://www.pcoo.gov.ph/pnoy/Briefing%… |

Philippines working hard to comply with the extractive industries transparency initiative standards

The Philippines is aggressively working to have an international standard that will ensure greater transparency and accountability in the payment and collection in the country’s extractive industries.

In a press conference in Malacanang on Thursday, Secretary Elisea Gozun, the Presidential Assistant on Climate Change, said the country is currently working to comply with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to make sure that companies engaged in extractive businesses pay the right taxes and revenues for the benefit of the people.

Under EITI’s compliance process, the Philippines has to sign up and an international board will evaluate the country’s application.

If the Philippine application is rejected, it can’t move to the next phase, according to Gozun. In the next phase however, if the Philippines is accepted, it will become an EITI candidate. Then, it will be required to prepare a report which will be reconciled and validated by an international validator accredited by the international board, she noted.

Presently, the Philippines is in the first phase—candidacy. There are four requirements under this phase. First, the government must issue an unevocable public statement of its intention to join EITI. The government complied with the issuance of the Executive Order 79, Gozun said.

The second requirement is that government must appoint a senior individual to lead the implementation. President Benigno S. Aquino III designated Gozun as the EITI Lead Senior government official.

The third requirement is the government’s commitment to work with civil society and companies on the implementation of EITI.

Among the remaining task that the government must fulfill are the establishment of a multi-stakeholder group that will oversee the implementation of the EITI and the crafting of a work plan that contains measurable targets, costs and timetable for the implementation of EITI.

To comply with EITI’s requirements, Gozun said they have met with Bantay Kita, a federation of non-government organizations (NGOs) all over the country, asking it to help the government with the country’s EITI application.

Gozun also said they met the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines and other large scale mining companies as well as the Petroleum Association of the Philippines for the oil and gas sector.

‘”Nag-outreach tayo starting off with the training of trainers and we actually had five regional consultations conducted in different parts of the country where mining is active. We also had a meeting with the indigenous people in areas where you have mining,” she said.

She also said her group met with the academe, as well as with the religious groups.

The Philippines will benefit from participating in the EITI by implementing an international-recognized transparency standard that will benefit the country’s commitment to reform and anti-corruption, which is all in line with the basic social contract of the President with the Filipino people, Gozun said.

“We hope that this will also lead to improvements to tax collection processes, as well as enhance the thrust and stability in the extractive industries,” she added.

EITI, launched by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2002 at the World Summit for Sustainable Development, is an international multi-stakeholder group that sets standards for transparency in extractive industry payments and receipts.

It aims to strengthen governance by improving transparency and accountability in extractive industries.

The first EITI international board was established in October 2006. Currently, there are 37 countries participating in the EITI, 20 of which are already compliant, and 17 are candidates, according to Gozun. PND (as)
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Joint Statement on the Philippine implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, April 4, 2013

Joint Statement of the Government of the Philippines, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, and Bantay Kita:
On the Philippine implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)

We welcome the Aquino Administration’s decision to implement the Extractive industries Transparency initiative (EITI) in the Philippines, indeed, greater transparency and accountability in the payment, collection, and utilization of taxes and other revenues from extractive industries will greatly contribute in ensuring that such will be used for the benefit of the country and its citizens.

In so doing, we must emphasize that at the heart of EITI is a paradigm for free, open, inclusive and sincere dialogue and collaboration between government, industry and civil society. We use EITI, an international standard for revenue disclosure, to achieve this purpose.

With this, the Government of the Philippines, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, and Bantay Kita, have agreed to link arms to implement EITI. We have formed an interim multi-stakeholder group that will steer all the necessary activities leading to the Philippines’ filing of an application for EITI Candidacy before the end of 2012.

The EITI International Board has promulgated five requirements for countries seeking to be an EITI Candidate, Three of which have been fulfilled: the government’s unequivocal public statement of its intention to implement EITI; its commitment to work with civil society and companies in this initiative; and the appointment of an EITI lead senior government official.

Two important tasks remain:

  • Establishment of a multi-stakeholder group to oversee the implementation of the EITI – we have drafted a terms of reference of the EITI Philippines multi-stakeholder group that will be formalized in an inclusive and consultative manner. Under this proposal, EITI Philippines will be composed of five representatives each from government, industry and civil society.

The industry and civil society panels will be selected by their respective sectors in a manner that is inclusive and independent from government. Meanwhile, the undersigned EITI lead senior government official, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines have initially been assigned to represent the government in EITI Philippines.

  • Crafting and publication of a work plan containing measurable targets, costs and a timetable for implementation of EITI – before the Philippines can attain EITI Candidacy status. We have drafted such work plan that will be implemented during the EITI Candidacy period. This draft plan targets the publication of the first EITI Philippines Report by the first half of 2014.

This work plan, together with the draft terms of reference of EITI Philippines, will be subjected to public consultations before it is formalized and implemented in 2013. A schedule of consultations to be conducted by the interim multi-stakeholder group is attached to this statement. These documents will also be uploaded in an EITI Philippines website, to be launched within this month, so that citizens may send their comments and engage the interim multi-stakeholder group online.

We, the members of the interim EITI Philippines, may happen to come from different perspectives and backgrounds. But today, we unite to push for greater transparency, accountability and open dialogue among stakeholders in the collection and payment of taxes and revenues from extractive industries.

(Sgd.) Secretary Elisea G. Gozun
Presidential Assistant II on Climate Change
and EITI Lead Senior Government Official

(Sgd.) Gerardo H. Brimo
Director
Chamber of Mines of the Philippines

(Sgd.) Cielo Magno
National Coordinator
Bantay Kita

GPI launches Negros Occ. Junior Green Artists Summer Competition

FBCOVERpainting-contestGreenwatch Philippines Inc. (GPI) launches its Junior Green Artists Summer Competition that aims to involve the youth in promoting environmental awareness within their ranks and the community at large. GPI aims to tap the artistic talents of the youth to create works of art that depict the perils of global warming and climate change.

This year will pit young artists from public schools in an inter-city competition. On-the-spot painting contests will be organized in Bago, La Carlota, Himamaylan and Kabankalan between April 15 to 18. The project is in cooperation with the provincial government, offices of the respective district representatives, city officials, school district superintendents, principals and the teachers concerned.

Prizes will be awarded to winners in the city level competitions. The winners and their respective coaches will receive Certificates of Recognition. The winning pieces in the city levels will be displayed at SM City Bacolod between April 20 to 22 as part of the provincial Earth Day 2013 celebrations, and over-all winners will be judged. Additional prizes and Certificates of Recognition will be awarded to the over-all winners and their coaches, who will be announced during the closing ceremonies of Earth Day 2013 celebrations at SM Bacolod on April 22. GPI is one of Earth Day 2013 Bacolod and Negros Occ. convenors.

The Junior Green Artists initiative is in line with GPI’s objectives to promote a Jr. Greenwatchers program to educate, encourage and provide opportunities for students to take an active role in protecting the environment; to hold poetry and poster-making contests among the students; to conduct letter drives to decision-makers in business and the government to think about how their actions will affect future generations; and work with other environmental groups and non-government organizations in other parts of the world, sharing information and participating in worldwide campaigns to protect Mother Earth.

GPI seeks the support of environmentally concerned citizens, civic organizations and the business community. It welcomes partners who can help in directing the creative energy of the youth into environmental awareness, and in moulding them to become responsible citizens. Interested parties may call (34)7045257 or send a text message to 09197777791.

GPI prexy introduces EITI at CEI forum

CEIForum 2013-03-22 006GPI President Don FlordeLiza (standing) explains EITI to members of the Center for Environmental Initiatives Forum held at the Governor’s Conference Hall, Provincial Capitol Bldg., Bacolod City, last March 22, 2013 (Photo by Salvie)

Greenwatch Philippines Inc. (GPI) introduced the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) at the regular meeting of the Center for Environmental Initiatives Forum held at 2:00 pm at the Governor’s Conference Hall of the Negros Occ. provincial capitol building, Bacolod City last March 22, 2013.

GPI President Don FlordeLiza made a summary presentation of EITI and invited everybody to participate in the planned EITI Provincial Conference, once the date is finalized.

The province-wide environmental body is convened bi-monthly by the provincial government, and is composed of some 86 members from local government units, national government agencies, non-government organizations, academe, media and the private sector. The March 22 meeting was scheduled to coincide with the 2013 World Water Day celebration.

GPI and the Fleur-de-Lis Centre for PEACE Inc. were invited by Olive Seruelo of the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO). Both organizations took the opportunity to express their intention to become regular members of the CEI Forum and were heartily welcomed.

Pros versus cons: used tires as artificial coral reefs refuted, defended…

The use of worn-out tires as artificial coral reefs was discussed at the NegOr Environmental Forum held at the Bethel Guest House in Dumaguete City last Thursday, July 5, sponsored by Uy Matiao Trading Corp. Negros Oriental Vice Gov. Jun Arnaiz is enthusiastically leading the systematic installation of thousands of used tires in various coastal areas in the province. Endorsed by various government agencies and LGUs, the project has generated both support and opposition from various sectors. Last Thursday’s forum was organized to provide the avenue for both sides to present solid bases for their positions and determine if it is really harmful to the environment. Vice Gov. Arnaiz presented actual underwater video footages showing thriving marine life where used tires were installed as artificial coral reefs. “We are building hotels and condominiums for the fishes,” he said. Participants presented their dissenting opinions.

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“We might be poisoning our people by poisoning the fishes that they eat,” warned James Hughs, an American expat who is also a local columnist and radio host. Underwater plants and fishes, he said, can thrive in polluted environment. We should look beyond immediate results and do more research, he added, because the harmful effects may show up in the long-term.

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Justice & Peace Centre’s David Dranchuk, a Canadian environmental advocate who is in town, accused the vice governor of “dumping tires into the sea because there is just no place to put them.” Arnaiz vehemently rejected the use of the word “dumping” explaining that they meticulously bore holes so that the tires will sink and attach them to each other so that they will not drift away. Professional divers “install” them properly deep in the bottom of the sea, he said.

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ENRO Project Dev’t. Officer Dick Encabo explained that while decomposing rubber has no effects on underwater plant life, it is harmful to zooplanktons or microorganisms belonging to the animal kingdom, and probably to fish fries. He also emphasized the need for more research and study on the use of old tires as artificial coral reefs. He warned of the scenario that Negros Oriental will be branded as “the country’s dumping site for used tires,” citing the need for legislation to regulate the influx of used tires in the province’s coastal waters. Sylvie Dales of FENOR also commented on the adverse effects of decomposing tires on marine life saying that there are available research materials about it.

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 “You cannot stop me!” the vice governor adamantly said; as he enumerated the benefits that obviously go with coral reef rehabilitation and growth. He further defended his project saying that actual results underwater, as shown by video footages they have gathered, provided promising results. “Dive with me and see for yourselves,” he challenged his detractors. He also emphasized the difference between his approach and that of theFloridaexperience, which is cited by his critics as one of the many bases for their strong opposition to his project.

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Greenwatch Philippines Inc. will try to develop the capability to gather scientific observation and data covering a sufficient area with ample time duration on the impact of using old tires as artificial coral reefs, based on the NegOr experience. If this is proven to be wrong, I told vice governor Jun, a fellow Rotarian, that I will be one of those who will strongly request him to stop the project’s implementation. Meanwhile, it also provides the very opportunity to come up with the above-mentioned intervention. This falls within our C.L.E.A.N. Campaign, which targets the impact of urban wastes on coastal waters and river systems. Commercially produced for millions of vehicle-owners, used tires is a by-product of unbridled mass production for the sake of profit. Human frailty, like greed, stands at the core of environmental degradation.

Negros Or. vice governor defends use of worn-out tires from critics

USED TIRES AS CORAL REEFS? James Hughs (UPPER LEFT PHOTO) warned that “we might be poisoning people by poisoning the fishes that they eat,” while Justice and Peace Centre’s David Dranchuk (LOWER LEFT PHOTO) accused Negros Or. Vice Gov. Jun Arnaiz (RIGHT PHOTO) of “dumping” tires into the sea “because there is no other place to put them.” Arnaiz rejected the accusation explaining that professional divers “install” the used tires properly as artificial coral reef formations in the bottom of the sea, bringing back a thriving marine life and showing promising results.

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