Friday, 15 May 2009

“We don’t own mother earth, mother earth own us”

Manila, Philippines -- “Everyone must have access to the judicial system so they can play a role in environment protection”… those words were coming out from “Forum on Environmental Justice”, organized by the Supreme Court of the Philippines, held on 16 April – 17 April 2009 at the University of Cordillera in Baguio City. A parallel video conferencing was held in two other cities in the country.

Baguio, knows as the summer capital of Philippines enjoys cold climate the whole year and has traditionally been the summer hideaway of people from the cities like the Capital, Manila. But it seems that cold climate could not cool down the burning desire of the 560 people in attendance for Environmental Justice.

There were many speakers and presenters on environmental issues and advocating how and why the judicial system plays a vital role in environmental protection. The conference also highlighted various views on the need to involve every sector in government, the civil society and the people’s organizations in ensuring that the environment is protected.

Among the issues, I could link and saw with my eyes is about polluted Manila Bay issue because after three days later, I had a chance to visit Manila bay in Navotas. There is a slum area where the shaky houses were built on stilts in the Bay. The bridges were too narrow. Some children are suffering skin diseases and facing problems on social, Health, Environment, etc.

Yes, the water is polluted and filled with plastic underneath the houses and along the bay. I thought the factors of pollution are not just because of the people from that area but it’s the consequences of lack of responsibilities and also many factors of the man-made error of the whole region so that right to access “Environmental Justice” through judiciary system to protect and preserve the environment is very important now and also for the all human being on the Globe. I hope and believed from this forum there will be a better future for the people in that slum area and also for the whole national through the whole world.

During and after forum, my mind was very quite busy learning, criticizing and analyzing the new thoughts, questioning myself and our country’s situations on environmental issues which are now becoming serious and the need for preserving and protecting it becoming very urgent.

On the other hand, government’s involvement is indispensable in protecting and preserving the environment so that roles and ethics of government leaders are also very important. It was pointed out by Gov. Grace Cielo. M. Padaca of Isabela Province in her presentation like urging other government leaders not to “stop short from doing the right thing from fear of losing votes”. It was challenging to the government leaders and also kind of motivating to me. Those words reminded me of valuing the ethic and responsibility. And also I wished we could also do like this in our country but I cannot imagine yet when and how? At the same time I was proud of having a chance to participate in this historical moment.

The Law of Nature:

“In the Laws of Nature, there is no right nor wrong,
There are no rewards nor punishment,
There are only Consequences” by Atty. Antonio A. Oposa

As a monument to witness the unity to have Environmental Justice, the participants signed a Memorandum of Agreement to pursue its realization.

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