12 key environmental issues left unmentioned in Duterte's final SONA, according to group

Published July 27, 2021, 12:19 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Pro-environment activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) said Tuesday, July 27 that there were 12 major omissions in President Duterte’s sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) as far as environmental issues were concerned.

A recent cleanup operation at Manila Bay’s dolomite beach. (Ali Vicoy/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The unmentioned issues were listed as follows:

1. At least 39,498 hectares (ha) of reclamation in Manila Bay and other coastal areas in Philippines remain in place despite Duterte’s claims of stopping corrupt reclamation projects. The figure includes a 1,498-ha increase during Duterte’s term, which began in 2016.

2. P250 billion, or P50 billion a year for the past five years, is the estimated value of wildlife poached.

3. P33 billion is the estimated annual loss from coral damage in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) from 2016 to 2019. The figure skyrocketed to P1.3 trillion annually by 2020.

4. There are 26 mine closures and suspensions to be reversed, plus the opening of 26 new mining projects in 2021. On top of this, there are 100 new mining applications filed following Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) 130.

5. P1.1 trillion worth of minerals were allegedly plundered and shipped to benefit foreign markets, not the local economy.

6. The Philippines is the third in air pollution-related deaths around the world.

7. The Philippines is the second top marine plastics polluter in the world.

8. The Philippines rose from fifth to fourth place among the most long-term climate-vulnerable countries in the world.

9. The country suffered P41 billion in agricultural and infrastructural damage from Typhoons Rolly to Ulysses, which affected three million people. However, the earmarked aid amounted to only a third of the damage.

10. Four gigawatts of approved coal power projects are still in the pipeline despite the declared moratorium on greenfield coal projects

11. A total of 186 environmental defenders have been killed from July 1, 2016 to December 30, 2020. Available data showed that for every defender killed, 124 more suffered other human rights abuses.

12. These defenders represent 6.2 million ha of landscapes and seascapes, and provide ecosystem services at an estimated P1.1 trillion each year.

President Duterte delivered a nearly three-hour long SONA on Monday afternoon, July 26 at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City.