Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Relocation opposed

Tempo published this article on September 2, 2012. It can also be accessed at: 

MB Research

Manila, Philippines – Kalikasan Partylist, a progressive political party protecting the environment and defending the people’s welfare, believes that relocating informal settlers along Pasig River will not help in effecting rehabilitation efforts for the “biologically dead“ waterway.

“Urban residents along the Pasig River need not be displaced. The development plan for the river should integrate development of poor communities’ areas with other proposed development,“ said Kalikasan’s Public Information Officer Lisa Ito-Tapang in an interview with MB Research through email.

Kalikasan’s stand on relocation directly opposes one of the primary objectives and solutions of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) in saving Pasig River.

Kalikasan views Pasig River as a place where urban settlers are forced to stay despite risks that go with it. Pasig River currently receives wastewater and sewage from 367 barangays and over 30 industries.

In Metro Manila, 58 percent of pollution comes from domestic waste while 42 percent comes from industries. Air, solid waste and water pollution pose serious hazards to people’s health.

More alarmingly, only 33 percent of the country’s river systems are left clean and safe.

The party-list also pointed out that the lack of employment and livelihood opportunities in the countryside caused the urban pull migration in the metropolis to get out of control.

“Since employment creation fails to match the fast influx of people, urban poverty remains high, as other problems arise-congestion, housing shortage, and the old issue of waste collection mismanagement,“ explained Tapang.

In December 2011, the National Solid Waste Management Commission reported that local government units still fail to fully comply with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Only 360 out of 1,000 cities and municipalities have longterm plans for solid waste management.

Alongside fighting for easy access to basic social services, jobs and housing opportunities, the central idea of the green party’s pro-poor development strategy is strengthening the local capacity of the urban poor.

“They should not be simply seen as eyesores but as stakeholders and beneficiaries,“ Tapang added.

Kalikasan’s main programs are continuous campaign for the reversal of water services privatization, pushing for a review of laws related to solid and water wastes, and the Clean Water Act, among others.

It also crusades for the establishment of an affordable mass transport system in the PasigMarikina river network, while advocating for vulnerability reduction among informal settlers.

Aside from organizing trainings on solid waste management and community-based disaster response, Kalikasan is also proposing that “communities must first be made aware of the risks and hazards in their local areas.“

A public map of the vulnerable areas in their vicinity can be made, as well.

Decades of unsustainable development destroyed the ecosystem and contributed to the increasing frequency of disasters, according to the group’s General Program of Action.

Kalikasan calls for salvaging the country’s seas and inland waters, and immediately protecting coastal, riverine areas and lake systems, which are continuously damaged by development aggression and other destructive practices. (TO BE CONTINUED)

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