Scientists call for the release of physicist involved in disaster rehab work in Mindanao

International and local scientists reiterate their call for the immediate release of physicist Kim Gargar who is currently detained and facing trumped up charges in Mindanao. It has been more than three months since Gargar was arrested by the millitary in Cateel, Davao Oriental as he was working on a rehabilitation project in devastated areas hit by Typhoon Pablo.

“We, at Agham, finds Kim’s arrest and detention absurd and baseless. The military should be taught basic science and logic for hastily equating his presence in far-flung communities doing rehabilitation work as subversion and involvement with armed groups,” says Finesa Cosico of Agham Advocates and Science and Technology for the People.

Kim Gargar was found injured on a creek by the elements of the 67th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army last October 1, 2013 at Brgy. Aliwagwag, Cateel, Davao Oriental.

People Surge: ‘No-build zones’ to enrich the elite

Marking one hundred days after Yolanda (Haiyan) struck Samar and Leyte, members of People Surge trooped to Metro Manila to highlight their situation and bring their petition for financial assistance and a stop to the “no-build-zone” policy affecting many coastal communities.

People’s Surge was formed last January 24 to 25 in Tacloban City when more than 13,000 protesters mobilized in downtown Tacloban to demand government action on the plight of the affected victims in the region. That was one of the biggest mass demonstration seen in Eastern Visayas in recent years. One of their main demands was a demand for P40,000 financial assistance for families that were affected by the typhoon.

Dr. Giovanni Tapang

Data audit of scientist group Agham on DSWD Yolanda Report reveals survivors to be starving, without livelihood and decent housing

While DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman expresses high hopes for the Typhoon Yolanda survivors on its 100th day report, scientist group Agham Advocates of Science and Technology for the People concludes otherwise.

“A close look on the agency’s data reveals an embarrassing, if not outright appalling, response her agency and the BS Aquino regime took towards the disaster,” says Ms. Finesa Cosico, Secretary of General of progressive scientist organization, AGHAM.

The group AGHAM, with Computer Professionals’ Union (CPU) conducted a data audit of the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub, NEDA’s Rehabilitation Assistance for Yolanda and DSWD’s 100th day report to see how the current administration responded to the disaster and if it held its promise of transparency in the use of foreign aid.

The group found the following:

SBMA Chairman putting people and the environment at risk

The dumping of 50,000 MT of nickel ore by an Indonesian Cargo Ship, Pax Phoenix in a vacant lot near Subic Bay should be of major concern to the immediate communities. The ship was docked since August 2013. Almost entirely the whole community are already covered with reddish dusts.

The said ship was forced to dock at the Subic port and asked the permission of the Chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Robert Garcia to unload the nickel ore for drying. The dumping of the nickel ore has the go signal of the SBMA Chairman Robert Garcia explaining that the cargo ship has complete documents issued by the Bureau of Customs.

It seems that the Chairman is in need of basic environmental education to understand the potential threat of nickel when emitted as fugitive dusts to the environment.

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