Findings of the Environmental Investigation Mission (EIM) on the Impacts of the Philex Mining Corporation (PMC) Mine Tailings Pond 3 Failure

Center for Environmental Concerns(CEC), Kalikasan People's Network
for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE), and Advocates of Science and
Technology for the People (AGHAM)

with

Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Amianan Salakniban, KATRIBU
Indigenous Peoples Partylist, RDC Kaduami, and Bantay Amianan

Summary

The PMC TP3 breach that occurred in August of 2012 caused environmental destruction that continuously threatens the lives and livelihood of the immediate communities surrounding the mining operations as well as the communities that are dependent on the watershed ecosystems affected by the pollutants coming from mining. The following are the summary of the findings of the EIM conducted last October 26-28, 20012 with the objective of determining the immediate impacts of the mine tailings spills to the environment and the communities:

Precautionary Principle

The Court of Appeals’ (CA) Special 13th Division issued a writ of kalikasan last May to stop the field trials of Bt Talong that was being undertaken in different parts of the country. In a decision penned by CA Associate Justice Isaias Dicdican, and concurred with Associate Justices Myra Garcia-Fernandez and Nina Antonio-Valenzuela, the appellate court enjoined the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other agencies to stop the trials.

As recounted in a forum held by the petitioners belonging to the group RESIST, the CA decision pointed out four grounds in ordering the stop of the field trials. First, the court upheld the main argument of the opponents of the field testing that the field testing is characterized by “serious scientific uncertainty with regard to its health and environmental effects.”

Author: 
Maria Finesa Cosico

Prism and the Cybercrime Act

in

Last week the US National Security Agency (NSA) was forced to admit it has been conducting covert collection of information on both US citizens and foreigners since 2007. This came out after news reports revealed the existence of a program called Prism, which reportedly enabled the NSA to access information from service providers and telecommunication companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Verizon. Edward former NSA employee, admitted that he leaked information about Prism to media sources after he realized its implications on civil liberties.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang

Patterns and Perception

in

Many studies show we humans are experts at finding patterns. We see patterns even in the seeming random occurrences around us such as stars forming constellations, clouds forming familiar shapes or numbers lining up to our visual delight. We cannot resist toput the familiar into what we perceive through our eyes and other senses.
One has to dig deeper beyond perception in order to validate the existence of such patterns. The constellations that we form in the night sky turn out to be stars that are separated by millions of kilometers away from each other that only look to line up with each other when viewed from the Earth. Worse, these constellations change as these stars move ever so slowly relative to our solar system. What is the North star for us right now, Polaris, would not be at that position in a few hundreds of million of years as it was not the North star a few hundreds of millions of years past.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang

Ratios, transparency and lemons

The recent buzz on the supposed 60:30:10 party ratio found in the midterm senatorial elections has generated various reactions from different sectors and spawned data analysis by IT experts and other academics. The said pattern was initially observed by former Comelec IT officer Ernie del Rosario and was demonstrated by Ateneo Prof. Lex Muga in a Facebook post.

An explanation for the observed pattern was later given in terms of the law of large numbers. Since the Comelec reports posted in the transparency server aggregates the data at a national, and therefore large, numbers, the said explanation is an acceptable one. One should also appreciate that when we talk of percentages in this election, one percent of the total number of registered voters is already a number that is just a bit larger than half a million.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang
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