Last week I got this note from Vince Cinches in Cebu:
A new network that will campaign for 350 was created this morning, The Cebu Alliance for Governance on Health and the Environment (CAGHE). 350.org Cebu was instrumental for the creation of this network. way to go! This was our Christmas gift to the Cebuanos and the rest of the archipelago. Here is the first article published on the new Alliance:
Group to sue Gwen over power plant controversy
By Ryan Christopher J. Sorote/JMO – The Freeman
CEBU, Philippines – The Cebu Alliance for Governance on Health and the Environment (CAGHE), a newly formed alliance of doctors, lawyers, and religious leaders will be filing a case against Governor Gwendolyn Garcia in relation to the controversial Balili coal-fired power plant.
In a press conference, Atty. Gloria Ramos, co-director of the Philippine Earth Justice Center, Inc. and a member of CAGHE, said they will file the administrative charges against Garcia before the Office of the President.
Ramos alleged that Garcia has committed abuse of authority in allowing the project to push through.
She said they will file the case against Garcia early next year after they consolidate the needed documents to support the case. She said those “culpable should be sent to jail for what they’ve done to the environment.”
The group has alleged that Garcia used her position to promote deceitful programs that can destroy the province’s natural resources.
“This is our Christmas gift for all Cebuanos, a greener Cebu” said Vince Cinches, Executive Director of the Central Visayas Fisheries Development Center, Inc. He said they are very disappointed of the current situation of the province and hopes that the “province of Cebu will shape up.”
“They have done so much destruction to the province. We have offshore mining, land reclamation and other projects, this is the end of the era of destructions,” Cinches said.
Meanwhile, the National Union of People’s Layers (NUPL) is also supporting CAGHE’s campaign.
Lawyer Poch Cinco, NUPL vice president for Visayas, said his group will extend legal assistance to CAGHE if only to achieve “clean air, water and sustainable energy.”
“We are here to assist the alliance on legal matters kay murag, people are being excluded from the decision making,” Cinco said.
CAGHE members yesterday signed the “Manifesto on Good Environmental Governance for a Sustainable Cebu.”
The manifesto demands that the government prioritize health and the environment; that it should be transparent and accountable, and it should uphold the rule of law for a “participatory environmental governance.”
“It is high time that we take ownership in the management of our natural resources and be active participants in the decision that concern our life, our health and our planet. Fence-sitting is never a solution to the grave climate challenges threatening our survival. Action is demanded for each one of us,” the manifesto reads.
To respond to Garcia’s call for solutions from environmental groups, CAGHE said it will hold a “renewable energy summit” and a “citizen summit” early next year.
CAGHE has 35 member organizations coming from all sectors of the society. The group clarified it is not ganging up on the provincial government, but is also looking into the health and environmental problems across the country. — (THE FREEMAN)