Unity Statement of the Save the Coconut Industry Movement


We, scientists, academics, coconut farmers, coconut processors, beekeepers, consumers, and other stakeholders of the coconut industry, including stakeholders of all other sectors directly and indirectly affected by the issue at hand, express our unity and solidarity to find long-term and sustainable solutions in order to address the Coconut Scale Insect (CSI) outbreak that is bound to affect 3.1 million hectares of coconut farm areas, 3.5 million coconut farmers and the 25 million Filipinos who are directly or indirectly dependent on coconut farming.

Despite being one of the top dollar earner industries in the country, the coconut industry has been neglected by the government. As a consequence, this sector is now suffering the negative effects of neglect and, specific to the moment, the potential long term effects of diseases and pests.

People’s Initiative by the numbers

Last Saturday, I was at the Mariners Hotel in Cebu City attending the People’s Congress on the People’s Initiative to Abolish Pork Barrel together with over a thousand other delegates. The historic convergence of church people from different faiths, artists, professionals, youth, students, workers, fisher folk and farmers is a reflection of the growing discontent at the inaction of the government on the pork barrel issue.

The movement that started around a year ago with the spontaneous expression of outrage of people in the Million People March against the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in the Luneta took another step towards removing pork in the budget altogether.
Even after the succeeding Ayala rallies against the pork, the explosive anomalies of Janet Napoles and Benhur Luy and the jailing of some senators and their aides, the pork still remains in the budget as lump sums and is still entrenched in the wheeling and dealing of the executive with the legislators.

Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

Convert the LRT/MRT into a real mass transport solution

Last week’s accident at the Taft station of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (Yellow line) was a reminder of the sorry state of mass transport in Metro Manila. While the Department of Transportation and Communication’s (DOTC) investigation pointed to human error as the main reason for the accident, the statements of DOTC Secretary Abaya on the accident raises more questions than the answer that he provided.

For example, why are the drivers in question still hired as contractual employees when they have been with the company for six years already? These employees would now be facing administrative charges and could possibly be removed from office due to the incident yet every six months (according to Abaya), they face the same problem whenever their contracts are being renewed.

Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

On anniversary of Japan atomic bombings: EDCA brings in threats of nuclear weapons to PH

AGHAM - Advocates of Science and Technology for the People joins the world in marking the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States.

The devastation that the twin bombings caused Japan and the horrors it showed the world is a constant reminder to all nations of the dangers of nuclear proliferation and US wars of aggression. Filipinos are constantly exposed to nuclear threats so long as US bases and military exercises are allowed in the country through the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

On August 6, 1945, US B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped a a single uranium-core atomic bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” over the city of Hiroshima, detonating 580 meters near the city’s center.

Three days after, on August 9, 1945, a second atomic weapon, “Fat Man,” equipped with a plutonium core, destroyed Nagasaki. The combined death toll from the two atomic attacks is approximately two hundred thousand.

Group reiterates call to halt Jalaur Dam Project implementation

Scientist group Agham Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (Agham) reiterates its recommendation that construction of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Phase II (JRMPP) be stopped on questionable social and geological grounds as revealed in the investigation missions conducted by the organization in 2012 and 2014.

In the July 2014 Agham study, it was confirmed that there were lapses in the conduct of Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) process, a requisite for development projects within ancestral domains of indigenous peoples. Also, risks and possible negative impacts were still not addressed and were not communicated to the stakeholders.

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