Program: Advocacy

CEC holds National Consultation on Coal Mining

Various environmental and peoples organizations all over the Philippines held a conference to forge their united opposition against coal. From December 4 to 6, 2009, a national consultation on coal mining and coal-fired power plants was held in Jaro, Iloilo City. Read more

Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan awards launched

The Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines, in cooperation with Development and Peace-Canada and DVV International, successfully launched this year the Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan (GBK) awards, honoring the struggles and sacrifices of seven awardees chosen from nominations coming all over th Read more

Typhoon Ketsana Highlights Vulnerability of Developing Countries

Immediate Climate Action Needed Action to Prevent Future Destruction Read more

Exhibits on Environmental Education & Community-Based Climate Change Adaptation Technologies

Among the activities held during the People's Action on Climate Change (PACC) in Bangkok were two exhibitions on Environmental Education on Climate Change and Climate Change and Addressing Climate Change Impacts Through Asian People's Actions and Appropriate Technologies, on view from 29 Septembe Read more

Regional Conference gathers Asian grassroots campaigners on climate change

A Climate Conference of Asian Peoples' Movements held last October 3 at the Mattayom Wat Benchamabophit School (Marble Temple School), in Bangkok, Thailand gathered together nearly a hundred representatives of grassroots and people's movements supporting the campaign for climate justice. Read more

1st People's Action on Climate Change

Climate Change Negotiations Should UpholdPeople's Rights and Needs, Not Corporate Greed Read more

CEC-Phils joins Rights Forum

In the interest of advocating for the people’s access to justice and economic, social and cultural rights, the Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines (CEC-Phils) and Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), participated in the event "Kabuhayan, Karapatan, K Read more

Fuelling a Crisis: Policy Analysis of the Biofuels Law of 2007

by Cheamson Garret BoongalingTechnologies are born out of necessity- or so at least they say. But in the context of a capitalist economy and a profit-oriented market, this ideal assumption proves to be false most of the time. Read more

Green groups take anti-SLAPP campaign to Congress

In support of recently-proposed bill aiming to curb the incidence of harassment suits against advocates and citizens, CEC-Phils recently organized two activities in the House of Representatives in cooperation with the office of Representative Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna Party List.Filed in February 2009, House Bill (HB) 5840 (the Anti-SLAPP Act of 2009, or An Act Defining Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, Prohibiting the Filing Thereof, Providing Measures for its dismissal, and for other Purposes) authored by Reps. Ocampo and Teodoro Casino aims to prohibit the filing of harassment cases against persons involved in “public-interest advocacies” and is currently pending in the Congressional Committee on Justice, chaired by Cong. Matt Defensor.A Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) is any legal action filed by corporations, public officials or individuals against non-governmental organizations, people’s organizations, local residents, community groups, and individuals in an attempt to intimidate the latter into discontinuing their protests, oppositions, and criticisms against any initiative of the former that adversely affects public interest and welfare. Upon further investigation and discussion, it was realized that SLAPPs affected a broad number of sectors, including labor, peasant, women, and environmental advocates.SLAPPs violate basic human rights. In the context of Philippine society, SLAPP victims often encounter formidable economic, political, and social obstacles that compound the basic problems brought about by SLAPPs. The National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) has noted that prevailing socio-economic conditions, such as the “inequality of wealth and resources in our society, the abuse of power and processes, the lack of independence and impartiality of prosecutors and judges, among other reasons, bring about these SLAPP cases”.To draw attention to the issues of SLAPPs among legislators, CEC-Phils organized Kilos Kongreso para sa Kalikasan at Karapatan, a series of lobbying and educational activities from 22 to 24 September 2009. This weeklong advocacy and lobbying activities aimed to mobilize support for the passage of HB 5840 and contribute to raising awareness of the need to defend Philippine national patrimony and the people's rights.The week started with the launch of a educational photo-exhibition on the state of the Philippine environment at the North Wing Lobby of the House of Representatives on September 22.The exhibit featured photographs and texts on the state of ecological degradation and crisis besetting the country, the people's struggles and initiatives--ranging from advocacy to environmental education--to defend their communities, natural resources, and national patrimony from further exploitation and devastation, and the campaign against legal harassment of environmental defenders.On September 23, a forum entitled SLAPP and the Need for Congressional Action: Legislators Forum on House Bill 5840 was held at the Minority Conference Room of Congress.Resource speakers from the Philippines included Rep. Satur Ocampo, Atty. Julius Matibag of NUPL and CEC-Phils Executive Director Frances Quimpo, who related the center's experience in dealing with a SLAPP case. Atty. Matibag presented the features of the existing SLAPP bill and argued the need for its passage. Also present to express their views on the issue were Rep. Ed Zialcita, Rep. Rafael Mariano, Homonhon-based environmental activist Daipen Montes, and the Committee Secretaries of the Congressional Committees on Justice and Natural Resources, respectively.The forum also featured an online presentation from Atty. Lewis Gordon of the United States-based Environmental Defender Law Center, via skype conferencing. Atty. Gordon shared his insights on the global extent and gravity of SLAPP as a human rights violation and as a threat to communities struggling to defend their environment and livelihoods.Atty. Gordon also shared efforts in other countries to address the issue of SLAPPs. The United States has enacted anti-SLAPP statutes in twenty-five states (including the states of California and New York) and one territory (Guam) since the 1990s1. Several other states within the US have anti-SLAPP bills pending in their respective legislatures. In Australia, states passed a common Defamation Act in 2006 to uphold freedom of expression while the Australian Capital Territory passed the Protection of Public Participation Act in 2008 to affirm the right to public participation. In Canada, anti-SLAPP legislation was introduced earlier this year and is currently under consideration by the Commission des Institutions.Out of the numerous Philippine laws related to the environment, only two contain provisions which expressly deal with citizen lawsuits against violators, agencies, or government officials: Republic Act (RA) 8749 or Clean Air Act of 19991 and RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 20002. But far from being a comprehensive response that may enable citizens to pursue legal remedies, SLAPP provisions in these laws are focused on the enforcement of legislation, meant to protect public officers who are sued in their official capacity.The Supreme Court of the Philippines, through its Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, has recently vowed to look into the issue of harassment suits. SLAPPs were among the issues consistently raised by sectoral organizations before the judiciary through public consultations and fora since July 2008.Puno, in a forum organized by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan last August 2008, assured sectoral organizations that he would "respond to the SLAPP cases that are being used to confuse and stop the upholding of economic, social, and cultural rights under the Constitution” as well as “study processes that are being implemented in Canada, US, and Europe where SLAPP cases and SLAPP back actions originated".vIn April 2009, the Supreme Court attempted to address the issue of SLAPPs in its Forum on Environmental Justice by including anti-SLAPP provisions in its proposed Rules of Procedure.Itself a victim of a SLAPP suit in 2007, CEC has started keeping tabs of similar harassment cases filed against environmental advocates nationwide. Of the SLAPP cases monitored by CEC, many are related to mining projects that have been approved and commenced operations under RA 7942 and the Mining Revitalization Program. ###  Read more

CEC joins first regional assembly for global climate change campaign

CEC-Phils and 66 other major stakeholders from NGOs and people's organizations participated in the recent Asia-Pacific regional assembly and planning workshop by the People's Movement on Climate Change (PMCC) in last March 23 to 24 in Bangkok, Thailand. Read more

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