Faith-based, green groups: Is Philippine environment secretary deaf?

April 23, 2024

A network of faith-based and pro-environmental organizations has called for the resignation of Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, citing her alleged negligence in addressing the pressing environmental crises.

“If you are unable to perform your job, perhaps it is time for you to resign?” said the Philippine Misereor Partnership Incorporated (PMPI) in an open letter.

The group added that Yulo-Loyzaga continues to overlook the urgent appeals from Mother Earth and the communities impacted by environmental issues, acting as though these concerns fall outside her responsibilities as the head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

PMPI, a coalition of over 250 church and faith-based groups, NGOs, and community organizations, blamed Yulo-Loyzaga’s “systemic inaction on issues threatening the country’s natural resources and indigenous communities”. 

In the letter, the group cited ongoing large-scale mining on Homonhon Island, destructive dredging operations in Zambales, and the controversial attempts to end conservation contracts at Masungi Georeserve, despite its importance to the region’s ecological health.

PMPI also raised serious concerns about the safety of environmental defenders in the country. According to reports, 334 environmental advocates have been killed since 2022, marking the Philippines as the deadliest country in Asia for environmental defenders for the ninth consecutive year.

The group said it repeatedly sought dialogue with Secretary Yulo-Loyzaga to discuss crucial matters such as the extension of mineral production agreements and the implementation of projects like the Kaliwa Dam and seabed dredging, which they claim threaten vital ecosystems and local communities. 

However, their requests for meetings have been consistently overlooked.” Our calls have seemingly landed on deaf ears. Is our DENR Secretary deaf? Or is she just pretending to be one?” 

PMPI called on the DENR to cancel several controversial projects and agreements, including the extension of the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) for Hinatuan Mining Corporation in Manicani Island and the implementation of the Kaliwa Dam Project. 

They also demand actions against oil pollution and the permanent cessation of seabed dredging in Zambales.

PMPI renewed its call for the passage of the Rights of Nature Bill, aiming to secure a sustainable future for all Filipinos. 

Related Articles


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This