The Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines (CEC) welcomes commitments on conservation efforts from the recently concluded Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) 12th Conference of Parties (COP 12) held in Manila, Philippines. However, we believe that Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu should be honest with its claims on the Philippine government’s effort in conserving and protecting migratory species and wildlife in the country.
“Secretary Cimatu’s statement on the PH government being a champion of migratory species’ protection and conservation is a false claim and contradicts existing policies that continuously worsen environmental situation in the country,” says Owen Migraso, CEC’s Executive Director.
Just a day after the CMS COP 12, Secretary Cimatu endorsed the lifting of the ban on open pit mining operations in the country that was issued by previous DENR Secretary Gina Lopez in the objective of protecting and conserving the remaining critical ecosystems that support different species of flora and fauna in the country.
“It is hypocritical of the Philippine government to say that they are champions of the environment and its wildlife since they are still allowing and implementing destructive activities such as large-scale mining, coastal conversions, mega-dams among others are rampant and are affecting not just the environment but the communities that depend on local natural resources for livelihood and welfare,” added Migraso.
The Philippines is listed among the most biodiverse countries in the world with around 52,177 described species, half of which are endemic in the country. However, rates of endangered species are also increasing due to disturbed and destructed ecological habitats, which are often areas of mine operations, dam constructions and other destructive activities.
“Existing PH policies on the environment as well as in the economy do not reflect the government’s efforts of conservation and protection, as seen in the Mining Act of 1995, that has liberalized and opened the most pristine mountains and forests to foreign and large-scale mining companies,” explained Migraso.
The CEC demands concrete and genuine actions from the Philippine government that’s beyond words and posturing on the issue of protection and conservation of the country’s flora and fauna and natural resources towards national development.