Thousands of new marine animal species discovered in Philippines

This is a video about Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines.

AFP reports:

Rare marine species discovered in Philippines

A French-led marine expedition has discovered thousands of new species of crustaceans and mollusks in waters around the central Philippines, officials and scientists announced Monday.

The discovery was made by the Panglao Marine Biodiversity Project, which has been conducting “an intensive inventory” of the complex coastal ecosystem off Panglao island for the past two years.

Some 80 scientists, students and volunteers from 19 countries took part in the ground-breaking research.

“Numerous species were observed and photographed alive, many for the first time,” the scientists, led by Philippe Bouchet, of the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle in France, said in a statement.

“It is estimated that 150-250 of the crustaceans and 1,500-2,500 of the mollusks are new species,” the statement said.

“To put it in perspective, the whole decapod crustacean (shrimp or prawn) fauna of Japan barely exceeds 1,600 species.

“The Mediterranean (300 million hectares) has 340 species of decapods and 2,024 species of mollusks,” the statement said.

Some 50 species were presented to the Philippine National Museum on Monday.

Bouchet said data was collected using both academic and traditional methods such as dredging and trawling, diving and deep-water nets which Panglao fishermen traditionally use.

Bouchet said the international science expedition in Panglao is the most comprehensive coral reef mollusk survey ever undertaken worldwide.

To push the research forward, the French embassy has announced a five-year programme to explore the deep-water fauna of the Philippines titled “Census of Philippines Deep-Sea Biodiversity.”

The embassy said that, with a total of 80 participants from the Philippines, other ASEAN countries, Europe and the United States, the Panglao Marine Biodiversity Project was the most comprehensive survey of deep-sea invertebrates ever conducted anywhere in the tropics.

The physorg page where this AFP article used to be, also had “sponsored link” ads by Google.

One on Conservation in Thailand. Good.

But the next one is on “Shark Liver Oil”. Which is quackery, like shark cartilage ‘medicine’.

This quackery also threatens the survival of sharks.

Crown of thorn starfish in the Philippines: here.

9 thoughts on “Thousands of new marine animal species discovered in Philippines

  1. Between poverty and paradise

    By Paolo P. Mangahas
    Sunday Inquirer
    Last updated 09:04am (Mla time) 02/04/2007

    As I got ready to introduce my country to my German friend, I realized I did not know where to begin. After all, how does one explain poverty to someone who has never experienced it before?

    MANILA, Philippines — Last night, I had dinner with a German friend to talk about her planned trip to the Philippines. She had just completed an internship program in one of the law firms here in Malaysia and wanted to take a short holiday in a nearby country before heading off to Australia to finish her studies. She wanted to know more about the Philippines and asked me for tips on making the most of the two-and-a-half weeks that she had allotted for this vacation.

    We planned her trip between bites, armed only with a faded map of the Philippines that we had downloaded from the Internet. My goal was to identify all the “must-see” places in the country (her criteria being beaches and volcanoes), plot them according to distance and flight routes, and then cram them all in 17 days. A tall order indeed, especially for someone like me who has never had a sense of direction even in my own neighborhood. For the life of me, I could not spot where Boracay was on her map. So I took the easy way out and told her to go to Palawan instead.

    I carried on with the task like a diligent student trying to remember my geography, starting from the rice terraces in Banaue up north, moving down south to the Mayon Volcano in Bicol and the Chocolate Hills in Bohol. It was an embarrassing ordeal nonetheless as she could see that I was struggling to find all the other attractive destinations on the map, which in turn made me realize how little I truly knew about my own country.

    She was very excited about the trip and was eager to learn more about the country and its people. She imagined the Philippines to be an eternal fiesta of Spanish and Chinese Third-World flair, filled with warm and accommodating people who all speak with a clear American accent, where all men have the handsome earthy appeal of Jericho Rosales and women the heavenly mestiza charms of Kristine Hermosa (thanks to Filipino soap operas that have become so popular here in Malaysia).

    It was certainly one of the most honest cultural impressions that I have ever heard and quite amusingly, one shared by many. In my German friend’s opinion, the Philippines is one of the most open-minded countries in Southeast Asia. I found this view rather interesting, especially since it came from a European who has never stepped foot in the Philippines and whose only direct exposure to the country, was me.

    The funny thing about cultural impressions is that they often come from a place of both acute perception and blatant ignorance, split in the middle by what is painfully true. But they are what they are—impressions.

    Quite naturally, my friend and I have come to build our own impressions about Malaysia in the several months that we have been here. Malaysia is a beautiful country that seems to be in a hurry to develop economically, but is hampered by a palpable trace of social reluctance. It seems grounded on an age-old culture that simply does not mix well with progress, or at least the kind dictated and exemplified by the Western world. I find this true for most developing Asian countries, including the Philippines.

    My friend pointed out that she has never seen a beggar in the streets of Kuala Lumpur since she moved here and asked me if it is the same in the Philippines. As a matter of fact, she admitted that she has never seen a beggar up close in her whole life and asked me to explain how it is to live in a poor country like mine. She wanted to know more about poverty.

    Her question struck a chord in me because I realized that apart from Jericho Rosales, this woman had absolutely no idea about the country where she was going and how it was out there. Here was someone who came to me wanting to know more about my country and the best I could offer was a geographical representation of scenic destinations, which I hardly even knew myself.

    By this time, I had put down the pen I was holding, set aside the map, and got ready to explain to her details about my country. I did not know where to begin. After all, how does one explain poverty to someone who has never experienced it before?

    To make things more relevant to her, I started by comparing the Philippines to Malaysia. I told her that blue-collar workers in the Philippines did not have the same opportunities as the ones in Malaysia, who can afford to eat in the same restaurants where executives eat or even shop in stores where their own bosses shop. I told her that unlike the ones I have met in Malaysia, secretaries and administrative clerks in the Philippines will eat in posh restaurants only on very special occasions and can barely afford to travel to other countries.

    I then told her about the beggars, young and old, who parade the streets of Manila, the children who knock on car windows selling sampaguita, the mothers who have to forage for food in garbage landfills, and the unemployed fathers who waste their lives on drugs and alcohol. I told her about the shanties that bedeck highways and railroads, the unproductive traffic jams, the garbage-infested streets and sewers, and the regular typhoons that flood the country and exacerbate already poor living conditions.

    I told her that poverty in the Philippines unapologetically hits you in the face the very moment you step in. It is an open wound just waiting to be healed.

    My friend looked shaken, as if experiencing for the first time a world she has seen only on TV. That was when my tears started to fall. I could not help it. I have never cried in front of a semi-stranger before but for some reason, I cried this time because she was still not immune to these things. Her unawareness taught me to see poverty as if for the first time myself, which brought out a lot of pain. I have become so used to the pain that I have forgotten how it felt until I painted for her the sad face of poverty.

    I then found myself having to explain to her that despite all these, the Philippines is still a beautiful country and this you will also feel the very moment you get there. It is a beauty characterized by the indomitable human spirit of a people who have seen better days and yet still have the capacity to find a piece of heaven in their lives. It is a beauty defined by the untiring faith of a people who have learned to acknowledge their plight with reverence and yet have never lost the courage to dream big dreams. It is a beauty characterized by the painful history of a people who have been abused and pillaged through the years and yet still have so much of themselves to give.

    Now her tears were falling, smearing the map that I had earlier vandalized with circles and arrows. But I knew it did not matter anymore at this point. I realized that my friend had learned all she needed to know about my country and my people. She thanked me profusely, saying that she came to me wanting to know more about how poor the Philippines is but in the end, she learned how abundantly blessed Filipinos truly are.

    A beach is a beach and a volcano is a volcano anywhere in the world, but it is the people who make the difference. I learned in that moment that I may not know the geographical features of my country all too well, but I sure know its heart and its soul because it is who I am.

    The real poverty lies in not knowing this.

    Paolo P. Mangahas, 32, is currently working in Kuala Lumpur as Head of Communications for WWF-Malaysia (World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia). He won Honorable Mention in the 2003 Doreen Fernandez Food Writing Award for his piece “Adobo, I’m Home” and has published several essays on food, lifestyle, fashion, and social and environmental development.


  2. ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF Vanaf nu bent u ‘terrorist’

    From now on, you are a “terrorist”.

    How come you are on the terrorist list? And how come you are there? Six points.

    Imagine this. One day you find out that you can’t use your ATM-card in the supermarket because it is blocked. Later you are also told that you are no longer entitled to your welfare allowance and that you have to vacate your rented house. You have no idea what is happening.

    José Maria Sison has experienced all this. On Tuesday 13 August 2002. And to this day the 68-year-old Filipino political activist, who fled to the Netherlands 20 years ago, is still at a loss about how and why this came about.

    At the office of the Philippine opposition in Utrecht, he apologizes with a friendly smile. “You don’t see it perhaps, but I have been humiliated. They have robbed me of my dignity. I have been consigned to a civil death. And I am not even allowed to know why.”

    “They”, I mean the United States and the European Union, branded Sison as “terrorist”, by including him that August month on their so-called “public sanction lists”. On the list are names of persons and organisations suspected of terrorism or having contacts with terrorists.

    Sanctions in this case mean government-imposed financial isolation: no bank transactions, no bank cards, no insurance, no travel papers. “All of a sudden, I was rendered penniless, homeless, and deprived of my freedom of movement,” says Sison.

    For the last four-and-a-half years already, Sison, who describes himself as a Marxist, has been fighting against “civil death”. The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg is deciding today if he can obtain access to the secret documents that were used as basis for his inclusion on the European sanction list.

    The chance that Sison gets that access is minimal. The court has often ruled in the past that information held by secret services in this type of cases may remain secret. This is an issue of of giving more weight to public interest.

    But that is the side issue. The main issue, however, is whether Sison’s inclusion on the European sanction list followed the correct procedure. Or whether the Netherlands and the European Union made a mistake. It is on this that the European Court will decide shortly.

    What is a sanction list?

    Sanction lists for terror suspects are a relatively new phenomenon. The United Nations Security Council laid the basis for this in 1999 through resolution 1267, which obliged all UN members to freeze all financial dealings of the Afghan Taliban regime and to impose travel restrictions on its members. Later the Al-Qaida network of Osama bin Laden was added to the list. And after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US the sanctions were given more teeth and scope.

    After 9/11 the countries of the European Union decided jointly to issue a supplementary sanction list, with persons and organizations whose objectives are deemed suspect.

    The first European list dates back to 27 December 2001. On 28 December 2006, the Hofstad Group and the nine convicted members of the group under the leadership of Mohammed B., the assassin of Theo van Gogh, were added to the EU list.

    Does a sanction list make sense?

    Nobody disputes the importance of financial sanctions as a component of the war against terror. Terrorism costs money and if the flow of money can be stopped, terrorism will decrease, so goes the reasoning.

    But there is no guarantee for success. “Are we now going to discover the local butcher who exports large sums to (training camps in) turbulent areas?” wondered the researchers of the Radboud University in Nijmegen last year.

    Moreover, risks also exist. Financial isolation can promote radicalization. It hardly has any effect therefore.

    Finally, there are serious objections from rights advocates. For the usual “suspects” involve people and organizations that have been labelled by the secret services, often without concrete charge or complaint, due process, let alone any conviction by a judge.

    To register their objection, the suspects themselves have to prove that they have been wrongfully put on such a sanction list. The UN offers no legal recourse; for the EU, it is the European Court of First Instance, a branch of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

    Who decides over the sanction lists?

    At the United Nations, the so-called sanction committee decides over the composition of the terror list. Member-states nominate “candidates”, the sanction committee then deliberates and decides. All 15 countries who are also represented in the Security Council comprise the committee.

    Unanimity is required whether one is to be included on or removed from the list. The same also applies to modifications on the EU list, which is being decided upon by the Council of EU ministers.

    For the nine members of the Hofstad Group, it was made known how they ended up on the EU list. The previous year they were convicted of participation in a terrorist organization. But more often, it is not clear how and why an individual or a group is added to the list.

    Consider José Maria Sison. In 1987 he escaped to the Netherlands. The situation in his country of birth had become too dangerous for him, being the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). He did not get the status of political refugee in the Netherlands. But because his life would be in danger should he be sent back, he was “tolerated” and got financial assistance and housing.

    Up to that given day in August 2002, when the Netherlands put Sison on the national sanction list, a move that was adopted by the EU some months later.

    Sison is totally convinced that the United States was behind that decision. Washington, he says, was persuaded by the US-friendly regime of Philippine president Gloria Arroyo. Washington, in turn, persuaded The Hague. But Sison has no way of proving that because he is prevented from seeing the incriminating material.

    Sison’s lawyer, the Belgian Jan Fermon, describes it as a “mind-boggling, Kafkaesque experience”: “You want to prove that you did not do something, but you can’t figure out what that ‘something’ is.”

    How is one removed from the list

    Once you have been included in the sanction list, getting off is not easy. Sayadi Patricia Vinck and Nabil Sayadi from Putte, Belgium, know this too well. The Belgian-Lebanese couple, who has been in the UN list since 22 January 2003, went to a Belgian court. The judge ruled that the couple’s inclusion was characterized by a serious error. But all attempts initiated by Belgium to have Vinck and Sayadi removed from the list have come to naught for lack of unanimity in the UN sanction committee.

    The Afghan Abdul Hakim Munib seems to be another victim of such a game. As a Taliban, his name has been in the UN list since 25 January 2001, supposedly at the behest of Russia. But he is no longer a Taliban member after availing of the Afghan reconciliation program and was even named last year as the new governor of the Uruzgan province.

    Munib’s appointment was even welcomed by the diplomatic community in his country. Still, the Afghan government has failed to have his name removed from the list.

    In Europe one can go to the court

    Those who are on the European terror list can go to the European Court of Justice. The court does not review the political judgment of the EU countries in coming up with the list, but the question of whether a decent procedure has been followed and whether elementary rules of law have been observed.

    Jose Maria Sison is not the only one who has found the road to the European court. The Kurdish Labor Party (PKK), the Al-Aqsa foundation in Heerlen, and the Iranian armed organization Mujahedeen Khalq (MKO, Islamic warriors of the people) also went to Luxembourg to file an appeal.

    And not without success. Last month the judges ruled on the disputed listing for the first time. They quashed the freeze order imposed on the assets of MKO, because it, among others, violated the right to defense. The MKO was not informed immediately after their inclusion on the sanction list and was not given the opportunity to file an objection. No specific and concrete justification was also relayed to the MKO.

    “One can safely conclude that the court has blown the whistle on the EU member-states,” says lawyer and CDA Lower House member Hans Franken.

    How to go further

    The EU has started adopting a procedure based on the rules formulated by the court. Also being looked into are the consequences of the court decision on persons and organizations that are already on the EU list. Will they be again deprived of their right to avail of the principles that serve as anchor of the European Convention on Human Rights?

    The ruling could probably have consequences for the appeal filed by the Heerlen-based Al-Aqsa foundation questioning the reason for their being included on the list, which was they were supposed to be channelling money to the radical Islamic group Hamas. The lawyer of the foundation, Victor Koppe, expects that the freeze order on Al-Aqsa assets of 267,490.22 euros would be lifted based on the same procedural errors that characterized the MKO case. “Not one iota of evidence exists that the foundation’s money is intended for terrorism. The Netherlands and the European Union have been completely hit with their sanctions. A correction by the European court is therefore in order,” avers Koppe.

    The Netherlands recognizes that it has not entirely met the requirements of the listing but, at the same time, it points to a difficult dilemma. The sanctions against Al-Aqsa, claims The Hague, is a big success: the organization has been brought to “a dormant mode”. If restrictions are lifted, chances are the money would again be used to finance terror.

    Like Al-Aqsa, Jose Maria Sison also pins high hopes on the outcome of the MKO case. “If the humiliation and repression to which I have been exposed become the norm, then there is something wrong.”

    1 February 2007


  3. Dear friends,
    > I am sending this to all of you to sign and support. I believe that what
    > the BankTrack has written fully says what we need to support: to pressure
    > all banks and other financiers NOT to support the Lafayette Mine, Inc.
    > who has caused so much hardship and destruction the beautiful island and
    > its residents.
    > To quote: “The main aim of the petition is to make clear to the banks
    > involved that contrary to what is claimed by Lafayette Inc the mine lacks
    > a ‘social license to operate’. In other words; people do not want to see
    > their island turned into a mine site. Banks need to be made aware that
    > continued financing the mine will make them a party to this conflict.”
    > Pls. do sign. Thank you very much.
    > In solidarity,
    > Rey Asis for the ASA
    > —————
    > please SUPPORT!
    > —————
    > We need URGENT SUPPORT for this petition. please click on the link
    > mentioned at the top of this message and sign on.
    > Also forward it to all your working contacts. NOTE; This petition is not
    > yet public as we try to collect a lot of signatures first. Do not post it
    > on a public website somewhere.
    > The philippine language version of this petition is circulated widely on
    > the island and elsewhere in the Philippines.
    > From:
    > Date: Feb 6, 2007 3:17 AM
    > Subject: [BTrapu] Support petition; stop financing Lafayette mine
    > Philippines
    > To:
    > (please use this call for wider distribution, not the earlier note (but
    > remove this sentence first)
    > =======================================================
    > Stop Lafayette mine Philippines
    > support petition to financiers
    > Sign up here:
    > more information; . -> dodgy deals
    > (documents, links, pictures, videos, contacts)
    > ======================================================
    > folks,
    > BankTrack is organising international support for a petition of the
    > communities of Rapu Rapu island, Philippines, and surrounding areas.
    > The petition asks the financiers of the mine (ABN AMRO, Standard
    > Chartered, ANZ and others) to withdraw their support for Lafayette mine
    > Inc.
    > It is very likely that the Lafayette mine on Rapu Rapu island will
    > receive
    > a so called Permanent Lifting Order this week Thursday, February 8. This
    > will effectively put the mine into full operation.
    > The island communities have started a petition campaign, asking the
    > financiers to withdraw their support for a project that is bringing a lot
    > of hardship and destruction to this beautiful island.
    > The main aim of the petition is to make clear to the banks involved that
    > contrary to what is claimed by Lafayette Inc the mine lacks a ‘social
    > license to operate’. In other words; people do not want to see their
    > island turned into a mine site. Banks need to be made aware that
    > continued
    > financing the mine will make them a party to this conflict.
    > —————
    > please SUPPORT!
    > —————
    > We need URGENT SUPPORT for this petition. please click on the link
    > mentioned at the top of this message and sign on.
    > Also forward it to all your working contacts. NOTE; This petition is not
    > yet public as we try to collect a lot of signatures first. Do not post it
    > on a public website somewhere.
    > The philippine language version of this petition is circulated widely on
    > the island and elsewhere in the Philippines.
    > Thanks,
    > best, Johan Frijns
    > coordinator BankTrack
    > ———————–
    > ———————–
    > TO:
    > ABN AMRO (Netherlands),
    > ANZ (Australia)
    > Standard Chartered/KFSC (United Kingdom, Korea),
    > and all other financiers of Lafayette Philippines, Inc.
    > Petition Seeking the termination of financial assistance
    > to Lafayette Philippines, Inc.
    > and its sister companies in the Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project
    > in Albay Province, Philippines
    > SAGIP ISLA SAGIP KAPWA, Inc., along with Church leaders, environmental
    > organizations, members of the academe, scientists, peoples’
    > organizations,
    > and other concerned citizens, both in the Philippines and the rest of the
    > world, hereby call upon the financiers of the Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic
    > Mining Project to terminate their financial support to the project. This
    > in consideration of the following:
    > That the project through the Rapu-Rapu Mining Inc. (RRMI) and Rapu-Rapu
    > Processing Inc. (RRPI) both managed and owned by Lafayette Philippines
    > Inc. (LPI), a wholly foreign-owned subsidiary of an Australian mining
    > company, has caused two destructive mine spills, toxic contamination and
    > fish kill incidents in surrounding coastal municipalities, and economic
    > dislocation of thousands of local fisher folk;
    > That Rapu-Rapu–an island directly located in the Philippine ‘typhoon
    > belt’ with a hilly terrain and steep slopes is inherently vulnerable to
    > natural disasters such as tropical storms and landslides, which may
    > significantly damage critical mine infrastructures and the surrounding
    > communities in the same way that two typhoons have damaged the area and
    > killed at least 11 residents last November and December 2006.
    > Similar or more tragic incidents are highly probable to occur again
    > during
    > or even after the mine-life of the polymetallic mining project and you,
    > as
    > financiers of this project, would be equally accountable as LPI and
    > related companies are;
    > That, contrary to what is routinely claimed by LPI and communicated to
    > its financiers, the project utterly lacks local community support,
    > therefore operating without having obtained the ‘social license to
    > operate,’ as required in covenants as the ‘Equator Principles’ that are
    > supposed to govern your investment decisions.
    > That the project has ever since faced strong resistance from the people
    > of
    > Rapu-Rapu, Bicol provinces and the country, who have consistently opposed
    > mining operations in the island, asserted their rights to the land and
    > resources, protected their source of livelihood, and defended the local
    > island’s ecosystem which is classified as an environmentally-critical
    > area. Such resistance has been expressed before Lafayette started its
    > operations and more intensively after the tailings spills in October
    > 2005,
    > they include the following:
    > ·Island protests in the form of pickets, rallies, marches from the town
    > center to the Lafayette mine site, and fluvial protest actions;
    > · Bicol-wide protest actions, numbering from hundreds to thousands,
    > enjoining fisherfolk, students, coastal residents, business/tourism
    > establishments, local government officials, churchpeople, most
    > especially
    > in Albay and Sorsogon provinces. Pickets, rallies, marches, camp-outs of
    > DENR Region 5 office and the Provincial Capitol were held since February
    > 2006
    > · Lobbying by Sagip Isla, UMALPAS KA-Bicol and Albay Alliance Against
    > Lafayette Mining (ALMA) and Alliance against Lafayette Mining in Sorsogon
    > (AKLAS) with the Roman Catholic Church Bishops, Provincial Government of
    > Sorsogon and Albay and Municipal Government officials, House of
    > Representatives and the Senate;
    > · Petition Signing/Signature Campaigns run by multi-sectoral
    > organizations
    > in the province calling for the stopping of Lafayette mining operations,
    > examples of which are those signed by an overwhelming 200 Roman
    > Catholic
    > priests and 6 Bishops in the Bicol region renewing calls to stop
    > Lafayette
    > operations and to implement the recommendations of the Rapu-Rapu Fact
    > Finding Commission (RFFC) and that signed by 800 people from Rapu-Rapu,
    > Albay, and Metro Manila, including artists, lawyers, religious workers
    > and
    > a former beauty queen signed up to petition the court for a temporary
    > restraining Order and/or Permanent Injunction of Lafayette and the DENR
    > · Prayer Gatherings and Mass Offerings to stop Lafayette operations and
    > call for justice to people displaced by the mining operations in Metro
    > Manila
    > · Rallies and Pickets held at the national office of the DENR, and the
    > Australian Embassy
    > · Nationwide Protests on March 3, 2006, the anniversary of the passage
    > of
    > the Mining Act of 1995, highlighting Lafayette mining, before the
    > flagship
    > project and most notorious mining operations of the national government;
    > That the local government have also expressed their rejection of the LPI
    > project and its further expansion through legislative resolutions such as
    > the Municipal Resolution signed by the Rapu-rapu Mayor Dick Galicia on
    > November 21, 2005 asking Pres. Arroyo and the Department of Environment
    > and Natural Resources (DENR) to revoke the LPIs environmental compliance
    > certificate, and Resolution No. 007 series of 2006 approved on January
    > 16,
    > 2006 by the City Council of Sorsogon calling for the closure of LPI’s
    > mining operations;
    > That concerted legal action, such as Civil Case No. 2006-7639 ( Damages )
    > filed at the Regional Trial Court Branch 52 of Sorsogon City and Civil
    > Case No. 2006-589 (Application for Temporary Restraining Order and/or
    > Permanent Injunction) filed by 800 people at the Regional Trial Court
    > Branch 142 of Makati City, Metro Manila;
    > That the Rapu-Rapu Fact-Finding Commission, created by President Gloria
    > Macapagal-Arroyo in March 2006 to investigate the mine spill, concluded
    > that LPI “did not appear to measure up to the standards of responsible
    > mining” and was “guilty of lapses, of a technical and management nature”
    > and has likewise recommended among others, the cancellation of its permit
    > to operate;
    > That the LPI has yet to present a viable solution to the problem of acid
    > mine drainage (AMD), which is viewed by the scientific and environmental
    > community as one of the largest looming threats to Rapu-Rapu;. The
    > sub-aqueous deposition which LPU has adopted to control AMD is not used
    > in
    > hilly terrains such as in Rapu-rapu. Scientists and mine experts view
    > that
    > sub-aqueous deposition may be counterproductive and actually enhance AMD;
    > That mining-related militarization campaigns in the province have
    > resulted
    > to human rights violations and other adverse social consequences for the
    > local populace. In an unprecedented move, the military deployed one
    > company of Scout Rangers from the Philippine Army and a platoon of police
    > from the Philippine National Police Regional Mobile Group while Lafayette
    > employs at least 150 armed private guards;
    > That the DENR under the present administration of Se. Angelo Reyes, has
    > continued to turn a blind eye to the overwhelming clamor for LPI’s
    > permanent closure, permitting the company to embark on two extensions of
    > the “test runs” granted by the DENR to LPI and even allowed to trade
    > “incidental” metal production, despite the non-resolution of the
    > abovementioned environmental, economic, and social issues surrounding the
    > LPI project;
    > That ABN AMRO, ANZ and Standard Chartered, being the lead banks in the
    > consortium, have all adopted policies that publicly commit them to
    > socially and environmentally responsible banking norms, such as the
    > Equator Principles; that this project is in clear violation of these
    > aspirations, seriously putting into question the sincerity of your
    > commitments;
    > That the continued mining operations has already brought so much
    > anxiety among the populace for threats of further mine spills and
    > pollution of the rivers, water system and surrounding seas, further
    > landslides and mudflows with the typhoons due to its constant blasting,
    > sickness and death, loss of our farming and fishing livelihood,
    > destruction of the watershed and our rich biodiversity with the planned
    > expansion of the mining area; we vow to continue defending our right to
    > life, our rights to the land and water and the resources they bring; and
    > to prevent further mining expansion to our ricefields, homes and
    > watershed
    > area.
    > the consortium of financiers to the LPI mine in Rapu-Rapu to immediately
    > withdraw their assistance to this financially-unstable,
    > environmentally-destructive, and socially-insensitive project that
    > deserves nothing but outright censure and closure.



    Media Release: Philippines
    February 22, 2007

    Statement by International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) President
    Christopher Warren on mission end statement of Professor Phillip
    Alston, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council
    on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions:

    The time has come for change in the Philippines.

    The time has come for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to fully
    investigate and expunge its dark underbelly.

    The time has come for the Government to protect its citizens.

    The time has come for reconciliation, truth and peace.

    Over recent years, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
    has been working with its affiliate journalist organisation in the
    Philippines, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, to
    stem the tragic waste of life among the media community in that country.

    Since President Arroyo’s inauguration in 2001, 50 journalists have
    been murdered in the Philippines. Unfortunately, the slaughter has
    not slowed.

    There is only one other country in the world with a higher murder rate
    of its professional journalists – and that country is Iraq.

    The IFJ supports the end of mission statement produced by the UN
    Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions,
    Profession Philip Alston, released yesterday.

    We agree with Profession Alston that not enough has been done to
    prevent and solve these murder cases.

    We agree with Alston that the AFP have been derelict in their duty to
    investigate allegations that their members have been responsible for
    some of these killings.

    We agree with Professor Alston that the Melo report must be published,
    that accountability must be restored, that witnesses must be protected
    and that the full political spectrum must be given space in Filipino

    But most importantly, we agree that there is still a huge amount to be

    President Arroyo, the global community of journalists speaks with one
    voice on this issue: Act now to stop the killings of journalists in
    the Philippines.

    The time has come for change.

    For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919
    The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries.

    105-A Scout Castor Street (near Morato Avenue)
    Quezon City, Philippines
    Tel.: (+632) 4117768


  5. Dear Friends,

    We as a member organization of the Rice and Rights want to inform you about our activity on May 20 in Amsterdam. We join a big manifestation been organized by the Netherlands Social Forum. We hope that some representatives of your organization can be with us, in our workshop.
    The Netherlands Social Forum (NSF) consists out of 250 organizations. The NSF is organizing the “Top van Onderop” as a response on the G8 meeting in June in Germany. The rulers of the top 7 industrial countries and Russia (G8) are making decisions for the whole world. But, is that the world that we want? The NSF offer the venue to sociale organizations who can present their alternatives for an better world, a world where men and nature go above profit.
    We as Netherlands Filippine Solidaritymovement (NFS) together with IBON Europe will hold an workshop with the title “Human rights, Environment and Corporate Responsibility”. Its our objective to integrate with social organizations in the Netherlands and to raise interest of Dutch people in the Philippine Situation. In the workshop we focus on the permanent peoples tribunal, the Rapu Rapu mining and the social economic situation in the Philippines.
    Our NFS / IBON Europe workshop is from 16.30 until 18.00 at room 2.7 in the Barlaeus Gymnasium at the Leidseplein at Amsterdam. Entrance ticket costs 5 euro. With this ticket you can also attend other workshops from 11.00 until 18.00. At 13.00 there is a big manifestation at the Museumplein. For more information you can go to the website of the NSF or read our latest newsletter.

    We are looking forward to meet with some representatives of your respective organization. The Filipino people are the best ambassadors to bring alive the connection between concerned Dutch people and your lovely country.

    See you on the 20th!!!

    Warm regards,

    Theo Droog
    Netherlands -Philippines Solidarity Committee


  6. Zeldzame inktvissen in Aquatopia

    Aquatopia, de onderwaterwereld tegenover het Centraal Station in Antwerpen, heeft er een paar zeldzame nieuwe bewoners bij: een familie Nautilus inktvissen. Nautilussen zijn al miljoenen jaren onveranderd gebleven en worden daarom ook wel eens “levende fossielen” genoemd.

    Een Nautilus is een inktvis met een uitwendige schelp waarop een bordeauxrode tekening prijkt. Hij leeft op ongeveer 300 meter diepte en komt enkel naar de oppervlakte om te paren en eieren te leggen. Nochtans kan de Nautilus ook op het land kruipen.

    Zwemmen doet de inktvis door water in en uit zijn schelp te pompen. Hij eet het liefst garnalen, kleine visjes en schaaldieren ziet verschijne., Nautilussen kunnen 20 jaar oud worden. In Aquatopia vind je ze in het laatste aquarium. (belga/hln)



  7. Pingback: Philippine women angry on Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s denial of WWII sexual slavery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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