Iligan, N. Mindanao join Earth Day celebration

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews/22 April) — Environmentalists in this city and other parts of northern Mindanao joined with the rest of the world for Earth’s Day celebration with various activities.

Today, Iligan government employees, with the city environmental office, planted mangrove propagules along the coastal areas of Bayug Island of
barangay Hinaplanon, an area considered as the worst hit during flashfloods as it is along the path of the Mandulog River.

This was followed with a ground breaking ceremony for major components of the Solid Waste Management project at barangay Bonbonon graced by Mayor Lawrence Cruz, Vice Mayor Henry Dy and city councilor Chonilo Ruiz.

Melvin Anggot, city information officer, said that this project consists of compost bins, riprapping, installation of street lights and power
transformers and construction of a special hazardous waste facility.

Anggot bared that private sector groups and other civic organizations also conducted a city-wide clean-up drive.

In Marawi city, civil society groups conducted a cleanup drive in the middle of town, in a place called Kilometer Zero, an important landmark from where all distances in Mindanao are measured.

Amenoddin Cali, executive director of Kalimudan Foundation Inc. (KFI), a non-government organization focused on environmental protection and agriculture, said that they also paraded around town starting at 6 a.m. and picked garbage along the way.

Joining KFI were the Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao of the Mindanao State University, MSU’s College Bound Program (CBP) enrollees, Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative (Lasureco), 350 Ranaw, and Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS).

In Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon, Katribu party list celebrated Earth Day with a protest and ritual condemning the alleged anti-lumad and
anti-environment policies of the present administration.

Jomorito Goaynon, a Higaunon and Katribu regional coordinator, commented that the present administration liberally allowed mining, logging,

plantations, construction of megadams and other anti-environment projects in Northern Mindanao.

The group condemned the pollution from the coal-fired power plant in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental; the megadam project in Pulangi V in Bukidnon that marginalized indigenous communities and caused polarization among them; the bio-ethanol plant project in Bayanga and Mambuaya in Cagayan de Oro; the expansion of Dole and Del Monte’s pineapple and banana plantations; the massive land conversions like the Hanjin Shipyard in Misamis Oriental; and the unmitigated entry of large mining corporations in the forests of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental, including Cagayan de Oro.

“The Mining Act of 1995 was the government’s ticket to continually plunder our flora and fauna at the expense of the lives of thousands of indigenous peoples in the region. Arroyo has only shown that she is indeed anti-Lumad and anti-environment, contrary to her persistent claim to being pro-poor and pro-environment,” Goaynon said.

Katribu expressed concern that Bukidnon, dubbed as the food basket of Mindanao, is now controlled by multinational corporations utilizing over
70,000 hectares of land for their plantations. “These plantations destroyed forests to give way to high-value crops. The soil eventually becomes unproductive due to the heavy chemical treatment of the land,” the group said. They noted, too, that 43,000 hectares of mostly

upland areas where many lumads live have now become mining areas.

“In this Earth Day, we express our repugnance to this administration for environmental destruction, dislocation and alienation of our people,” Goaynon said.

Meanwhile, a number of environmentalists from Mindanao joined other advocates in Manila in forming a coalition that will advocate for “climate

Judy Pasimio, executive director of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Kasama sa Kalikasan (LRC-KsK) said that the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), a network of various people’s and non-governmental organizations, marginalized communities, social movements and basic sectors, organized a forum and tackled “Make-shift for Climate Justice.”

“It is imperative that the government make that shift – away from the short-sighted, profit-driven, extractive and destructive development path,” said Pasimio. (Violeta M. Gloria / MindaNews)