I went there with my then* trusty digital still camera, shooting away, then I stumbled upon the booth of Greenpeace! (Not to be confused with "green peas"). I was a bit excited. I wrote to a Greenpeace section in UK before (1997, back when I was a snailmail guy, and it was only my first year as a 'net user) and they replied. The membership fee was in Pounds, I think, and I didn't have the money for that. I ended up becoming a member of a human rights organization, Amnesty International, instead. I also wrote them (US section) and also got a reply, but, unlike Greenpeace at that time, AI already had a section here in the Philippines. Better yet, I discovered that there was an AI Group in my university, University of the Philippines (UP is 100 years old this year!). I even remember the very first member I met and the very first words from an AI member in person, "Kami 'yon!" [That's us!] ='D
Anyway, so I got to talk to these three nice guys at the booth. I learned that the Philippines section was only new, and they're not that "set up" in terms of funding yet, but that was okay because I believe Greenpeace adapts fast. I asked about their present thrusts for the Philippines. One of their thrusts was on renewable energy (the banner as you'll see on the photo reads "Pilipinas, Go Renewable!"). That's excellent. I'm actually considering investing on some solar cells for some of my power needs. And recently (
They also showed me some materials on a clear book. There were even some clippings of news and photos on national newspaper of the main man talking to me and he was amusing. I was hoping to bring home some booklet or pamphlet from them, but they seemed to be out of handouts. Darn!
I also asked them about what they can say about the issues on Japan dumping its waste on Philippine soil (and air and water), and almost in chorus they enthusiastically told me, "JPEPA!" (Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement). Apparently, it's a present issue they're dealing with, and that they feel strongly about it. Honestly, I didn't know anything about JPEPA. I was talking about some other issue of Japan not having enough space in their country for waste anymore and planning to dump them somewhere else, but it turned out that it was connected (probably it was the same). What is JPEPA? According to this blog, Magkaisa Junk JPEPA, with JPEPA ratified (approved)
Japanese multinational corporations are given full right to invest in crop production, fishery, mining and the power sector, said Abby Pato of the Integrated Rural Development Foundation of the Philippines, a member of the coalition.
What are some of the implications of this treaty? Among other things,
[Pato] said that the proposed trade pact might have disastrous impact not only on food security but also on Mindanaoans' access to and use of land, water, seed and other productive resources. Under the JPEPA, huge tracks of land would be put under the control of transnational and agro-business ventures, he added. Pato feared that the increasing global demand for bananas would further fuel the expansion of banana plantations which encourage widespread use of pesticides that are hazardous to people and environment.
Apparently, it's a threat to the environment, and a threat to basic human rights.
[Full right to invest in mining?? If any of you have seen the CNN special on planet earth, Planet In Peril, you'd know that it is a serious issue. There is a Chinese village around a river polluted by an iron-ore mining operation 35 miles away, Liangqiao, that is dubbed the "cancer village". According to an article on CNN.com, "Twenty-eight people in this village of 400 have died over the last 10 years from cancer -- a rate much higher than the rest of country. The overall mortality rate for 2006 was 137 deaths per 100,000 residents." They said that the cancer was caused by exposure to the rust-colored river.]
(Japan still has other issues with the world which Amnesty is taking up -- among other things, that of securing an apology from Japan for the comfort women (victims of sexual slavery) of World War II).
My time has run up. Will add to this entry (or reorganize it! gawd!) if I felt like it, in the future. <04-19-2008,>
from left to right: Ronald Atadero, Miguel Lopez, and JC Silva
(thanks to Ma'am Judy, Database and Supporter Services Officer of Greenpeace Southeast Asia for the info)
TOP: A flyer they handed over to me. Below that is the handwriting (contact details of Greenpeace in the Philippines) of the handsomest of the three (Sir Ronald). Nachts! :'p
For more information on Greenpeace in the Philippines (and Southeast Asia), including contact details:
email@example.com (not ~@greenpeace.org.ph)
24 K-J cor. K-7 Sts., Brgy. Kamias, Quezon City 1102
Tel.: (02) 426-0368 local 110
For Amnesty International Philippines:
#17B Kasing-kasing St., corner K8th, Kamias, Quezon City 1102
P.O. Box 286 Sta. Mesa Post Office, 1008 Manila
Tel.: (02) 927-9856
Telefax: (02) 927-6008
Oh, by the way, I also learned in our conversation that the Greenpeace and Amnesty International headquarters in Manila are neighbors. Nice. :'D I will definitely have to visit them some time! (I actually haven't visited the AIPH headquarters since my membership in 1997! :'o)
*it was trusty until it went buggy with photo shots sometime in February as well. Still covered by a 12-month warranty. Though I couldn't find the receipt. This's another story.
**I don't remember that guest's name, but it seemed to be "Nestor" as he owns this Multiply account (wadaboy, apparently, is his nick), and who seemed to own this blog which I've linked to above.
***(who happens to be the younger sister of the human rights activist Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, a former (or still?) Board of Directors member of Amnesty International Philippines).