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Denr To Be Besieged With Protests Against Atienza

Published by MAC on 2007-07-25
Source: Kalikasan-PNE ()

DENR to be besieged with protests against Atienza

Kalikasan-PNE Press Release

25th July 2007

Environmental activists will stage "the first in a series of vehement protests against the confirmation of Mr. Lito Atienza as DENR Secretary" starting tomorrow, a leader of Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) declared today.

Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator for Kalikasan PNE, said that their network organizations and volunteers "will be stepping up protest actions to dramatize the people's overwhelming rejection of Arroyo's top pick for the DENR post".

"There are always better alternatives to Atienza as DENR Secretary, if only Pres. Arroyo were not so obsessed with political accommodation and convenience," Bautista said.

"We are not endorsing any particular individual right now. But we have a definite set of criteria for any appointee to the post of DENR Secretary. He or she should have a consistent track record in crafting, overseeing, or implementing pro-environment and pro-people policies. He or she should also have enough independence and political will to stand by what is best for the people's welfare and the environment, and not spinelessly give in to pressure and intimidation from foreign investors, business groups, and the powers that be in the Palace. Finally, he or she must be committed to upholding an environmental policy firmly grounded on national sovereignty and protection of our patrimony for the Filipino people's welfare, not on unrestrained liberalization, lust for profit, and plunder by foreign and elite interests," Bautista explained.

"Unfortunately, we have yet to see these qualities in Mr. Atienza and in the way he conducted his administration of Manila. Sure, he spruced up a long-decrepit zoo and led pockets of tree-planting activities, but that's a pretty far cry from an ideal candidate for Environment Secretary. We are sure that Atienza can do more for the environment in his capacity as a private citizen rather than as a political lackey to the President," Bautista lamented.

"The real challenge for Atienza is to prove to the people that he will put their interests first over that of his political benefactor, Pres. Arroyo," Bautista said.

As for incumbent DENR Sec. Reyes, Bautista said that Kalikasan PNE would continue to oppose his appointment to the Department of Energy. "His transfer to the DoE will not bode well for millions of Filipino consumers nationwide, as Reyes is expected to fast-track the sale and privatization of the few remaining government-owned corporations in the power sector which would bring about a renewed spike in existing power rates," Bautista said.

"There is only one honorable way for Reyes to go, and that is into retirement," he said.

"For as long as Pres. Arroyo hoards power over the government, we doubt that a truly competent, honorable and deserving DENR Secretary will be ever be appointed to the post," Bautista said. ###

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Reference: Clemente Bautista, Jr. Kalikasan-PNE National Coordinator (0922-844-9787).

Kalikasan-People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE)
No.26 Matulungin St. Bgy, Central, Quezon City, Philippines 1100
Tel. No. +63-2-9248756 Fax No. +63-2-9209099
Email: kalikasan.pne@gmail.com Website: www.kalikasan.org

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