Friday, August 31, 2018

Environment groups blast gov’t on mining ‘turnaround’

by: - Correspondent / @melvingasconINQ
/ 09:10 PM August 31, 2018
Environment groups on Friday blasted the plan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to issue more mineral reservations in the country as a “reversal” of Duterte government’s supposed anti-mining policy.

In separate statements, the Center for Energy, Environment and Development and the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment scored the DENR for its failure to live up to its mandate of safeguarding country’s natural resources.

“If this (proposal) pushed through and gets affirmed by the President, this will then be a clear signal of the blatant reversal of anti-mining pronouncements of the President during his Presidential campaign and his past (State of the Nation Addresses),” said CEED Gerry Arances, executive director.
The DENR, in a news release on Thursday, announced it was set to declare more mineral reservation areas throughout the country “to help provide equitable access to mineral resources and generate additional nontax revenues for the government.”

The announcement came on the heels of the 2017 Commission on Audit report, which questioned the Mines and Geosciences Bureau’s failure to collect some P2.7 billion in royalties from existing mining operations.

The government’s economic managers also blamed the lackluster performance in the mining and quarrying industry for the “slow” growth of the economy, dropping to 6 percent in the second quarter.

Lawyer Analiza Rebuelta Teh, DENR undersecretary for mining concerns, said the declaration of mineral reservations shall allow government to collect royalties—something it cannot do with the present mining operations.

But the DENR must approach its newest tack with caution, Arances said, as the government’s control and management of declared mineral reservations remain “plagued by various issues”.

“It has been clear in many studies that no amount of increase in share and royalties from mining can outweigh the devastating impacts to watersheds, forest cover, climate resiliency and many others,” he said.

For Kalikasan PNE, the planned expansion of mineral reservation areas is “unsurprising”, as the Duterte administration has been known for “successive reversals” amid the President’s “tough-talk” on mining policies.

Leon Dulce, Kalikasan national coordinator, cited the impending reversal of the closure and suspension orders for 24 of the 28 mines sanctioned by former Environment Sec. Regiina Paz Lopez, and the recent lifting the two-year mining exploration ban.

He dismissed the newest DENR move as one for fiscal equity, but a “clear attempt to further wholesale” mineralized lands in the country.

Opening up more lands to mineral reservations is part of the “more business as usual” scenario which the Duterte government is pursuing, he said.

“The fact that this peacocking to foreign mining investors when outstanding problems in environmental and social regulations remain unaddressed runs contrary to the promise of cracking down on destructive mines,” Dulce said.   /kga

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Firm plans to save Pasig River through blockchain tech

Entrepreneur and environmentalist Mariano Jose Diaz Villafuerte IV, chief executive officer of CypherOdin Inc. and cryptocurrency BOTcoin, said blockchain technology can solve the problem and clean the 27-kilometer river.
Miguel De Guzman/File
Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - August 13, 2018 - 12:00am 
MANILA, Philippines — A cryptocurrency company is trying to convince the Pasig River Rehabilitation Council and other attached agencies to rehabilitate Pasig River using blockchain technology.

Entrepreneur and environmentalist Mariano Jose Diaz Villafuerte IV, chief executive officer of CypherOdin Inc. and cryptocurrency BOTcoin, said blockchain technology can solve the problem and clean the 27-kilometer river.

“We first came up with the idea of showcasing how blockchain technology can clean up the environment, using Boracay as an example. However, the government shut the island down in April, so we looked at (Pasig) instead as the next most important body of water in the country,” Villafuerte said.

He said his company plans to install internet of things (IoT) devices in the river to monitor water quality or tide levels and other relevant data to track and monitor their progress in real time.

This will enable them to generate and analyze the data produced, which will serve to create the impact they are looking for toward solving the plastic and garbage problem that silts the river. 

Villafuerte said CypherOdin would be using drones to map the plastic using lidar detection system on a microscopic level.

“We will collect all the data we gather from these IoT and process them so we will have comprehensive information on where the plastics and garbage are coming from, how they are moving, among others. This would allow us to analyze and come up with recommendations on how to best to clean up the river,” he added.

Villafuerte said they also plan to launch a massive information drive, particularly with communities along the riverbanks and near the river, about the importance of proper garbage disposal and environment protection.

The communities, he said, would be given incentives with BOTcoin cryptocurrency for a certain amount of garbage they collect from the river and for not throwing plastics into it. 

“This would encourage the community also to respect the river because they will be earning something from it,” he said. – Rey Galupo

Saturday, August 4, 2018

DENR widens clean water scope

By Kuhlin Ceslie Gacula-

Two river systems in Metro Manila and one in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) were declared by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as water quality management areas (WQMA) recently.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. Cimatu signed three separate administrative orders designating the Malabon-Tullahan-Tinajeros and the Las Piñas-Parañaque river systems in the National Capital Region and the Iyam-Dumacaa river system in Region 4A (Calabarzon) as WQMA.

These new WQMA bring to 37 the total number of water bodies nationwide under stringent policies for protection from pollution.

The administrative orders aim to protect and improve the water quality of the three river systems—which are important sources of livelihood to local residents—pursuant to Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

“Their designation as WQMA will ensure clean water in these rivers for present and future generations. Water is vital to irrigation, livelihood and water supply,” Cimatu said.

According to Cimatu, designating WQMA will enable concerned officials both in the national and local levels to take focused interventions on specific water quality issues relevant to a particular locality.

“The WQMA is a significant tool in enforcing the Clean Water Act. It aims for the improvement of water quality to meet the guidelines under which they have been classified or to improve their classification so that it meets its potential use,” Cimatu said.
Under the RA 9275, the DENR in coordination with the National Water Resources Board is mandated to designate certain areas as WQMA using appropriate physiographic units such as watershed, river basins, or water resources regions to effectively enforce its provisions and improve the water quality of water bodies.

The law seeks to provide a decentralized management system for water quality protection and the improvement of rivers.

Likewise, the DENR is tasked to create a governing board for each WQMA, which is chaired by a regional director of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). Its members include the mayor and governor of the concerned local government unit and representatives of relevant national government agencies, duly registered non-government organizations and business and water utility sectors.

Under the WQMA, the DENR and stakeholders address the water quality problems, sources of pollution and the beneficial use of the receiving water body. They also determine what control measures to institute to effectively achieve water quality objectives or improvements.
There are now 19 WQMA in Luzon, eight in Visayas and 10 in Mindanao.