Coal-fired power plant fails to solve power shortage, say envi, progressive groups

DAVAO CITY – In commemoration of the 30th EDSA People Power Revolution, environmental groups here exercised people power to call for the closure of the coal-fired power plant in Binugao, Toril.

Bayan Muna Southern Mindanao, Panalipdan, and No To Coal launched a protest Thursday to drumbeat the ill effects of the coal-fired power plants on the environment and the nearby residents as well its failure to alleviate the power crisis in the region.

Panalipdan Southern Mindanao Executive Secretary Kim Gargar said the construction of the coal-fired power plant did not solve the electricity deficit in the region. In fact, rotating brownouts became more frequent and longer since the operation of the power plant.

“Ingon sila kaniadto nga pagmatukod na na, wala nay brownout pero ngano man nga sukad niandar na, ni grabe na hinuon ang brownout,” he said.

(They (TSI) said there will no longer be brownouts when the power plants start operating but since it became functional, brownout worsened.)

He said they used the power shortage in the region as an excuse so they can put up the power plant to be utilized for mining activities.

“Kay daghan man karon ang giopen-up nga mga mining projects diri sa Davao Region so mao na kinahanglan pud nila magtukod og planta para naay kuryente ang mga makina didto sa mga mining corporation.,” he added.

(Because there are a lot of mining projects in Davao Region, they need to build more plants to power up the machines they will be using in their mining operations.)

Gargar bared that there is also a plan to build another 160-Megawatt coal-fired power plant near the King-King Copper-Gold Project in Pantukan.

“Nagpakita gyud ni nga ang kaning coal-fired power plants, para gyud ni sila sa mga large-scale mining project sa mga langyaw,” he said.

“Mao na nganong sige gihapon og brownout kay dili man para sa mga residente ang kuryente nga ilang ginaproduce,” he added.

(The reason why there are still brownouts is because the power supply is not intended for the residents.)

Aside from that, several fishermen living near the plant and those in Inawayan, Toril were reportedly deprived of their livelihood because of the Therma South Inc.’s (TSI) plans to expand.

He said they are worried about the air and noise pollution that will be experienced by the communities in Sirawan and Binugao as well as in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

“Karon pa lang nga pila ka bulan pa lang nga nag andar kini nga planta, panawagan na nato ang pagpasirado ani nga planta kay di ta gusto ng muabot ang panahon nga daghan ang mga mangamatay tungod sa kadaot sa hangin ug sa tubig diha,” said Gargar.

(We are calling for the closure of the power plant because we don’t want that many people will die because its adverse effects to air and water.)

On January 8, President Benigno Aquino III inaugurated a 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant of TSI located in Toril, Davao City, and Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: Coal-fired power plant fails to solve power shortage, say envi, progressive groups, February 27, 2016

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Mayor Duterte vetoes CLUP amendment

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte finally cast his decision over the controversial removal of 10% green space as stipulated in the recently amended Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP).

On Monday, the veto letter of Mayor Duterte dated last Friday, February 19 was released.

Duterte said he vetoed the recent move of the City Council to amend the CLUP because it is illegal.

“The subject matter is hereby vetoed pursuant to Section 55 (a) of Republic Act No. 7160 on the grounds that the same is vague and ambiguous, prejudicial to public interest and an exercise of legislative power in ultra vires,” said Duterte in his veto message.

In an interview after the First Presidential Debate in Cagayan De Oro yesterday, he said there is a legal block in the amendment.

“The City Legal Office said that it is ultra vires or beyond the power of the City Council to amend certain provisions of the national law,” said Duterte.

He further said legal officers disagreed in incorporating the 10% green space provision of the CLUP in the 30% open space imposed by the national law.

Last January 19, the City Council approved the scrapping the 10% green space in subdivisions in the CLUP and on January 26, the council further incorporated the green space in the 30% open space required by the national law intended for the construction of roads and drainage facilities.

Environmental groups have been appealing to the mayor to veto the amendment through series of signature campaigns.

Mayor Duterte was given 10 days to veto the amendment from the time it reached his office.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: Mayor Duterte vetoes CLUP amendment, February 22, 2016

10% Green Space in subdivisions anti-poor, says dad

Davao City Councilor Bernard Al-ag said the 10% green space fought by environmental advocates to be included in the amendment of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan is anti-poor.

He said the additional 10% green space will compel land developers to build high-rise subdivisions instead of the socialized or budget-friendly housing.

Aside from the 10% green space, the national law also requires land developers of the subdivisions must also allot 30% open space for the construction of roads and drainage facilities.

Al-ag said that land developers can still be environmentally friendly despite the removal of the 10% green space provision.

“Atong gihimuan og mandate ang mga developer nga katong mga open space, katong kilid sa mga kalsada sa mga subdivisions, ilang tamnan og ornamental plants para mugreen ang atong subdivisions. Dili kinahanglan nga mudugang og 10% para machieve nato maging green ang Davao City,” he said.

(We incorporated a mandate that developers can utilize the open spaces such as roadsides of subdivisions as green spaces by planting ornamental plants and trees. We don’t need to add 10% to make Davao City a green city.)

He also said the green spaces might become haven of the informal settlers especially if not attended well.

He clarifies the scrapping of the green spaces benefits the city.

On January 26, the city council approved the amendment to remove the provision to add 10% green space in subdivisions from the City Land Use Plan (CLUP).

Environmental groups contested when the proposed amendment passed into 3rd reading and claimed they were not invited during the consultation.

He said inviting the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to the consultation for the amendment of the Zoning Ordinance is no longer necessary since they considered it a public hearing.

“Ang tanan nga ginahimo na nga committee hearings, gitawag namo na sila og public hearings. Dili mo kinahanglan imbitahon nga muapil. Gina butang gyud namo na siya nga notice diha sa mga public places, tanan mga agenda accesible na siya sa mga tao.dili na kihangalang nga naay official invitation. Bisag kinsa pwede muapil,” he said.

(All committee hearings that we do is considered as public hearings. it is not necessary to invite them. We posted notices in public places , all the agenda are accessible to the public. Official invitation is not necessary. Anyone can join.)

He added that the public hearing had began December last year and it was also published in the various local dailies.

“Regarding aning green space, ang pag second reading namo gikan December pa ang debate, ang pag deliberate. Amo ni siyang gideliberate from whole month of December,” he said.

(Regarding the green space, the debate during the second reading was done since December last year. We deliberated it during the whole month of December.)

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: 10% Green Space in subdivisions anti-poor, says dad, February 4, 2016

Mayor Duterte can veto CLUP amendment but…

The City Council appreciated the appeal of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to veto the recent amendment in provisions of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) but also reminds them of the council’s power to override the veto.

Councilor Bernard Al-ag said the decision for the amendment to take effect now lies to the mayor.

“Sa amoang part sa council, humana na na siya nga legislation. So naa na karon ang bola sa executive department, to the mayor for the effectivity of the amendment,” he said.

(We in the council are done with our part on the legislation. The burden now is on the executive department, to the mayor to make the for the effectivity of the amendment.)

Al-ag explained that the mayor can either sign or veto the amendment. Failure of the mayor to act on it for 30 days means it is already as good as law.

However, if the mayor decides to veto the amendment, Al-ag said the councilors can exercise their power to override the decision.

This means that even if the Mayor Duterte retains the 10% green space in the CLUP, the City Council has the power to reverse the decision and completely remove the green space provision.

“In case nga i-veto niya, naa pay usa ka pwede himoon ang City Council. Pwede na namo i-override ang veto kung amoang gustuhon. Pero maghulat mi sa desisyon ni Mayor kung i-veto ba niya o dili,” he said.

(In case (Mayor Duterte) vetoes it, the City Council can still override the veto. But we still have to wait for the decision of the Mayor.)

“Tama nang gihimo sa mga CSOs ug environmentalists diri sa Davao wala na na sila mahimo diri sa amoa so didto na na sila mo-lobby kang Mayor Duterte. Katungod sa usa ka mayor nga i-veto ang unsa man nga mga legislation nga himoon sa City Council,” he added.

(The CSOs and environmentalists here can no longer appeal to us so it is just proper that they lobby their next move to Mayor Duterte. it is the mayor’s power to veto whatever legislations the City Council makes.)

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: Mayor Duterte can veto CLUP amendment but…, February 3, 2016

SK Reform Law IRR consultation begins

The National Youth Commission (NYC) began the consultation with the youth for the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) of the Republic Act 10742 otherwise known as Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Reform Law Tuesday.

The consultation was attended by around 100 youth from different youth organizations in the Davao Region.

NYC Commissioner for Mindanao Earl Saavedra said they are thankful for the reform in the SK as it reinforces the participation of the youth in improving the more than 47 million baranggays in the country.

On January 15 this year, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III signed R.A.10742 into law.

Some of the major provisions amended is the increase of the age requirement for the SK candidates to 18 years old to 24 years old from the former 15 to 17 years old, the financial independence wherein the baranggay must allot 10% of their funds to the projects initiated by the youth, and the establishment of Local Youth Development Council.

“Yung fiscal autonomy, yung fiscal independence kung saan in the set-up before napasa ang SK Reform Law, ang pondo for youth development ay naka-lodge sa IRA ng baranggay. It is very delimiting ito kasi hindi nagagamit for the original purpose yung pera para sa mga kabataan sapagkat hindi ito hawak ng ating mga SK (officials),” said Saavedra.

(The fiscal autonomy or independence was changed because in the present set-up before SK Reform Law, the funds intended for youth development intended for youth development was lodged in the IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment) of the baranggay. It is very delimiting because the funds are not use for its original purpose since it is not controlled by the SK officials.)

Aside from that, SK officials must undergo seminars and trainings to make them ready in their responsibilities.

“The youth must be subjected to mandatory trainings to ensure that they are ready to assume the responsibility of leading our youth in the baranggay level,” he said.

The newly-approved law also has anti-dynasty clause which prohibits youth with relatives, who are local, regional or national officials, until the second degree of consanguinity or affinity.

The NYC has up to March 15 to craft the IRR of the law.

Saavedra said that aside from the youth, they also have to consult with other stakeholders to finalize the IRR such as the Commission on Election (COMELEC), Department of Local and Interior Government (DILG), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Commission on Audit (COA), Department of Budget and Management among others.

After the creation of the IRR, Saavedra said the next step for the NYC is to prepare for the surge of registration of the young voters for the SK Elections on October this year and to encourage the youth to run for SK posts.

“I think the youth is united in terms supporting the new SK Reform Law. We just have to set things right by making the IRR responsive and it has to be well crafted,” said Saavedra.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: SK Reform Law IRR consultation begins, February 2, 2016

Farmers urged to have alternative farming during El Nino

The Department of Agriculture (DA) 11 encouraged farmers to look into other kinds of farming as an alternate livelihood in case rice and corn farms will be affected by drought.

DA 11 Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Report Officer Joedel Leliza said farmers must also participate in multi-farming biodiversity such as poultry farming and not to depend on a single kind of production.

As of now, Leliza said that buffer stocking is the leading remedy of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Davao for the farmers who will be affected by El Nino.

“Actually naka position na atong buffer stocking, mao gyud na among frontline project para sa ilaha so kung madamage ilahang uma, so naay tay seeds nga ihatag sa ilaha,” he said.

He said the department had proposed a budget of 93 million pesos for the mitigation plan since the start of El Nino.

As of this time, only 16 million pesos was approved and is yet to be received.

The 16 million pesos is intended for the purchasing of pesticides, seedlings, drugs and biologics for livestock, open surface pumps, spring development and program management such as monitoring.

The DA also planned to implement the Climate Smart Agriculture Village to be an alternative livelihood for the farmers by planting vegetables.

The seedlings will be provided by the agency through their high-value crops development.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: Farmers urged to have alternative farming during El Nino, February 1, 2016