Seminar on health and safety

Pursuing health and wellness for the St. Anthony’s College Community, the Medical-Dental Services Office conducted a Seminar on Health and Safety on August 7, 2015 in the SAC Audio-Visual Room.

Mr. Aris Kendel Bungabong, RN, talked on Tobacco Control.  Mr. Bungabong, describing the global tobacco epidemic said that tobacco users have increased a hundred times. Tobacco, he said has been tagged as the world’s single leading preventable cause of death (more deaths than HIV, TB & Malaria mortality combined). Bungabong said that according to studies, smokers lose an average of 14 years in their whole lifetime. Today, tobacco companies are already making new innovations to target more and more people. Apart from the usual cigarettes, cigars and smoke pipes, they are now producing tobacco lollipops and e-cigarettes which are being marketed as the “safer kinds.” Bungabong warned that these new inventions still are not safe and do contain nicotine, carcinogens and other toxins. Bungabong clarified that while manufacturers can lower the volume of the undesirable contents, its usage remain dependent on individual consumers.  Bungabong said that currently, the World Health Organization is implementing the MPOWER strategy: monitor tobacco users, protect others, offer help, warn dangers, enforce laws against tobaccos, and raise taxes.

Mr. Ian Van Sumagaysay, RN, MAN talked about Ergonomics.  Ergonomics, he explained is the art and science of fitting the work to the person.  Sumagaysay said that the end goal of ergonomics is for a person to be more comfortable during work. He gave guidelines on how to sit properly, where things should be placed and how the atmosphere should be. One tip Sumagaysay taught was to minimize awkward hand & wrist postures, saying that the hand and wrist, when using a keyboard or mouse, should always be horizontally aligned with each other.

Sumagaysay also talked on First Aid. He emphasized that knowing the basics of first aid is important in cases of emergency as it lets persons respond properly to sudden unexpected health conditions. He emphasized the four basic rules of first aid: 1. call for help immediately; 2. bring help to the victim; 3. check the ABCs (airway, breathing & chest); and 4. do no further harm. Sumagaysay also showed the proper way to handle choked and unconscious victims, and cardio pulmonary resuscitation.  (Giovanni Donguines)

Statement on restoration of ECC for SMC East Panian expansion

STATEMENT ON THE RESTORATION OF THE ECC FOR THE EAST PANIAN EXPANSION PROJECT (ECC-CO-9805-009-302A) OF THE SEMIRARA MINING CORPORATION
On 10 August 2015, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Assistant Secretary and concurrent Environmental Management Bureau Director, Atty. Juan Miguel T. Cuna restored the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC-CO-9805-009-302A) for the East Panian Expansion Project of the Semirara Mining Corporation (SMC). This came after protests and calls for the closure of the SMC mining operations in Antique following two Panian tragedies, massive destruction of natural habitats critical to sustenance on Semirara Island, displacement of local labor, alienation of local residents from livelihood resources traditionally accessible to them, and mounting calls prevent further carbon emissions critical to mitigation of global warming.

The lift order issued by Asec. Cuna was founded only on SMC’s commitment to include in their ECC the four recommendations made by the Environmental Impact Assessment and Review Committee (EIARC). These were mere reiterations of worker safety inside the mine and the safety of the mine itself. The recommendations disregarded the actual impact of the coal mine operations to the environment – which should have been the crux of the ECC. The DENR, Asec. Cuna and the EIARC employed a parochial legalistic approach to the question of the SMC’s ECC resulting in the lifting of the suspension order.

The DENR’s grievous mistake has been to take the coal mining operations out of the context of the environment it destroys, and the impending national disasters resulting from this environmental destruction. The recommendations of the DENR were more in the nature of ensuring the safety of environmental criminals as they destroy the environment.

At most the recommendations were a mockery of the issue at hand. What with the DENR EMB asking the SMC to “Submit a detailed assessment on the cause of the slope failure, probable mechanism of slope failure, performance of monitoring instruments such as piezometer, tilt meters and ground water level in open hole monitoring wells (if there is any). The assessment shall also include climate change considerations/ projections and hydrological/hydrogeological events on the stability as well as eroding of the mine workings (italics, ours). Likewise a finite element modelling is required for assessment.”

Further what with the DENR EMB asking the SMC to “Conduct a hazard and operability (HAZOP) study within sixty (60) days. The HAZOP shall be updated every five (5) years thereafter, to ensure that hazards and risks are kept at a minimum. The report shall be submitted to EMB Central Office within sixty (60) days from the conduct of the assessment.”

The DENR EMB’s two mentioned recommendations are clear indications of either their incompetence to handle an actual environmental impact assessment or a contrivance to ensure that the coal mining operations continue despite protests. Delegating the task of an assessing agency to the institution being assessed simply goes against the logic of check and balance and correct judgement.

The restoration of SMC’s ECC for its East Panian Expansion Project is an atrocity. It is a convoluted attempt to sidestep the issue of coal being a major contributor to carbon emission, which in turn is the number one cause of global warming. It is a gross omission of timely and appropriate response to the fact that the Philippines is number eight among the countries most affected by rise in sea level and number one by typhoons and weather disturbances both caused by global warming. It disregards the fact that many will be rendered homeless, hungry, and dead by the government’s inability to sufficiently respond and cope with such disasters caused by global warming. It disregards the fact that coal mining has destroyed a substantial part of Semirara Island with one depleted open pit already under water.

The call for closure of the Semirara coal mines is not about the safety of the working conditions nor the safety of the mine itself. The call is about its direct hand in national environmental disasters being a contributor to global warming. If the DENR EMB still believes that the Semirara coal mine is environmentally compliant, then it needs to review the scientific perspective upon which the agency itself is founded. The restoration of SMC’s ECC for its East Panian Expansion Project is not only an atrocity but a murderous act – inconspicuous and cunning until it renders someone lifeless.

 

REV. FR. EDIONE R. FEBRERO, JCL
College President

Laudato Si, Mi Signore!

SAC’S RESPONSE TO POPE FRANCIS’ RECENT ENCYCLICAL “LAUDATO SI” ON THE CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME

Delivered by Rev. Fr. Edione R. Febrero, JCL., College President
4 August 2015 / EBJ Freedom Park

“LAUDATO SI, MI SIGNORE!”. Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs.” . . . Pagdayaw kanimo, Ginoo ko … The first words of the pope’s encyclical are quoted from the canticle of St. Francis of Assisi whose name “Francis” was used by the present pope when he was elected head of the Roman Catholic Church.

The earsplitting cry of the Mother Earth as it is being callously exploited by those whose life she sustains, can no longer be taken for granted. Unlike St. Francis whose life was intimately linked with the created world calling her affectionately “sister” or “mother,” some businessmen who are supposedly “stewards” of God’s creation, detached and indifferent, have become the Earth’s masters, irresponsibly plundering the Earth’s resources for quick and easy profit.

Pope Francis acknowledges that efforts either to stop or to lessen the use of fossils that worsen the effects of climate change and to effectively regulate or stop the extraction of minerals that destroy the environment have not been so effective because of very strong opposition by big companies, and the lack of concern and indifference of many people.

Pope Francis amplifies through his encyclical “Laudato Si” the already clarion call to “PROTECT OUR COMMON HOME.” He underlines further the need to work together in finding wise solutions to our present crisis. Because Pope Francis believes that people have the ability to enter into meaningful dialogue and to work together for the good of our Mother Earth, he is hopeful that people can change their ways and address the present crisis. What we need, however, is to deeply understand that as part of the ECOSYSTEM we are intimately linked with the other components. We humans cannot alienate ourselves from the Earth, which continues to nurse and to nourish us. Like St. Francis, we have to commune with each other as well as with nature so that in our everyday struggle we will not end up hurting each other. This is referred by Pope Francis as “intra-generational solidarity.”

It is only after a deep realization of our interconnectivity or interconnectedness that we can talk about “intergenerational responsibility.” Quoting the Portuguese bishops, Pope Francis wrote in Laudato Si: “The environment is part of a logic of receptivity. It is on loan to each generation, which must then hand it on to the next”. It is our responsibility then as stewards of God’s creation to take care of our environment now by responsibly using its resources so that we can hand on the world to the future generations still worthy of being called a “home.”
But what kind of world do we have now which we still have to give back to the coming generations? Because of the “throwaway culture” of the people of our generation where a lot of things that we use are discarded right away and not recycled, there is so much garbage around us that we do not even know already where to place them. We got used to buying cheap disposable things which we can throw immediately after using instead of investing on renewable resources. The latter of course may cost more but they can be recycled and their use maximized to lessen the filth which becomes much harder to manage. It is in this connection that Pope Francis supports the use of renewable sources of energy and teaches today’s generation not to be dependent on the use of fossil fuels most especially coal. Coal does not only emit so much greenhouse gas which worsens global warming but its extraction through open-pit mining can also seriously damage the biodiversity of the locality and eventually destroy the natural sources of livelihood – such as farming and fishing – of a lot of people in the area.

Why are we involved here as a school community? Why do we publicly display our concern for the protection of our environment? Why do we say no to illegal fishing and mining here in Antique? Pope Francis sees the need of engaging people on the issue of environmental protection while they are still young – at home, in school, in the seminary or houses of formation. Environmental education does not only mean feeding students with so much information about the serious damages that irresponsible human activities have on our climate and environment. It also means engaging themselves in activities that may actually teach them to care for the environment in ways which may seem so simple at first but may eventually have the so-called butterfly effect on the larger world. A simple act of reusing or recycling paper inside the campus may eventually change the ‘throwaway culture’ of the present generation when practice becomes more and more popular to other people. The need to protect the environment and the need to ACT (A for awareness; C for care and concern; and T for teamwork) now is everybody’s business. We just cannot sit and watch environmental plunderers ravage our natural resources with little or no regard at all for the home that we have borrowed from the future generations, and which we still have to return. We cannot allow short-sighted developers to intensively use natural resources for quick and easy profit and even for the so-called development without setting any limit at all to their present needs.

In making a strong stand, however, e.g. “SAC – St. Anthony’s College is Against Coal” or “We say no to mining because in mining there is no tomorrow or in mining we say no to morrow”, we need to have the three L’s: LAWAS (body/presence) LIMOG (voice/convictions/principles) and LIUG (neck/ courage/commitment) if we want our acts to have concrete results. The simple steps we take at home or in school to protect our environment do not and cannot effectively impact immediately and effectively the present condition of our common home which has been desperately crying out for help. But if we generously pool our many different resources and pull ourselves together we may be able to effectively address the present crisis. I would like to end with a positive note as I directly quote Pope Francis: “Hope would have us recognize that there is always a way out, that we can redirect our steps, that we can always do something to solve our problems.”

 

 

 

no to mining

“No to mining!” — Anthonians

Lawas, limug, liug. On 4 August 2015, nearly 4,000 Anthonian students and personnel, members of the Antique Diocesan Social Action Center, and Radio Stations DYKA and Spirit FM marched around San Jose de Buenavista town proper to protest coal mining, illegal fishing and other environmentally unsound practices.

Choosing to revert to the institutional core value of community service, Anthonians themed their College Foundation Day celebration, “Ako. Anthonian. Bantay-Kalikasan.” (I. Anthonian. Earth Guardian.) Tackling the issue of coal mining that for the last few years have generally been confined to internet and newspaper circulation, Anthonians, carrying anti-coal mining and pro-environment placards marched around town and held an advocacy rally at the EBJ Freedom Park just across the offices of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, the Provincial Governor, and the Congressman of the Lone District of Antique.

Responding to speakers with shouts of “No to mining!” and “In mining there is no tomorrow!” the Anthonian community once more made a strong stand on issues affecting Antique.

Citing that St. Anthony’s College was founded 57 years ago as a response to the need of the community, Rev. Fr. Edione R. Febrero, College President, said that it should not be different now. Referring to Revelations 3:6 of the Bible he extolled Anthonians not to be lukewarm on socio-environmental issues and to bravely stand against coal mining for the sake of the future generations. Anthonians must put a serious stake: “lawas, limug, liug.”

Translating the slogan to “body, voice, neck,” and referring to passages in the Laudato Si, Fr. Febrero said that if the advocacy for the environment were to be successful, Anthonians must put in their physical efforts, must not be afraid to speak up, and must be willing to sacrifice. Fr. Febrero cited the direct effects of coal mining in Antique to global warming, and argued that while some government officials cite that Semirara is a small thing, it could not be as small if its effects were big enough to prevent closure actions. He called for the closure of the coal mines and the prevention of any other mining in Antique. He said that the government must seriously study more environmentally sound alternative sources of energy for the country. He cited that the Malampaya Funds must be used for this purpose.

Val de Guzman, a speaker from the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice said that the government must consider that while coal mining is making a lot of money, it actually only pays the government a measly 3% of its profit over the fact that it enjoys a lot of tax exemptions. He further said that the amount going to the IRA of Caluya has also been observed not to translate to local development. He said that the cost of coal mining and coal fire powered plants when counted in environmental losses and disasters are far greater. De Guzman also informed the community that several groups at the national level are in solidarity with the Anthonian community in calls for closure of the Semirara coal mines.

Jose Edison Tondares, Research, Planning and Development Officer of SAC said that following national figures, Antique is emitting at least 491,428 of CO2 per capita and the Semirara coal mines significantly plays a direct role in the production of greenhouse gases being the major local source of coal for coal fired power plants in the country. He said that the 118,635 forest cover of Antique which is being depleted at 2,262 hectares per year can barely make the province carbon neutral. Tondares also cited that the Philippines globally ranks no. 8 among countries most affected by rising sea level and no. 1 among most affected by storms due to global warming. Tondares stressed that the issue of continuing environmental disasters due to global warming is very real and it is extremely urgent to act on it.

Pugngan ang global warming!

Ano ang global warming? Ang global warming ukon paghilanat kang kalibutan sangka parantandaan kang sakit kang kadunaan. Dya pag-init kang kahawaan kag kadagatan kang kalibutan nga nagatuga kang mga mabaskug kag hinali nga pagbagyo, malawid nga tag-irinit, pagtaas kang tubig dagat, pagbaha, amat-amat nga paglugdang kang mga manaba nga lugar, pagkadura kang mainum nga tubig, pagkaramatay kang mga kasapatan kag katamnan.

Inanay ang paghilanat kang kalibutan. Sa nagligad nga 100 ka tuig ang temperatura kang kalibutan nagtaas kang mga 0.4 kutub 0.8˚C. Ang epekto kang pagtaas kang temperatura mabatyagan run natun sa mga pagbaha kag mabaskug nga mga bagyo tulad kang Yolanda kag Frank nga tuman ang pagsamad nga ginpaagum sa Antique. Suno sa mga panalawsaw siyentipiko, mas nagadasig sa kadya ang pag-init kang kalibutan. Ginabanta nga madugangan ang init kang kalibutan kang 1.4 hasta 5.8˚C halin tulad kutub sa tuig 2100. Grabe nga mga sakuna ang matabo.

Tungud kang paghilanat kang kalibutan nga nagatunaw kang niyebe sa mga rehiyon polar kag sa mga putokputokan kang mga mataas nga kabukidan, ang tupung kang tubig kadagatan sa kalibutan nagasaka kang 3.2 milimetro kada tuig kang mga 1900. Kadyang mga tinuig kang 2000 kutub nian, ang tupung kang tubig kadagatan sa Pilipinas nagasaka kang makakurulba nga 12 milimetro kada tuig.

Sa kadya, ang Pilipinas nagliki-liki ika-8, ika-9 sa mga pungsod sa kalibutan nga samadun kang pagtaas kang tupung kang tubig. Mga 70% kang 1,500 ka munisipalidad kang Pilipinas nahamtang sa mga baybayun. Ginabanta nga sa sulud kang 50 ka tuig halin kadya, tungud kang paghilanat kang kalibutan, mga 6.2 milyones ka Filipino ang tabugon kang baha kag dagat halin sa andang mga ginapuy-an nga lupa. Amo man dya ang maaguman kang mga 135.6 milyones ka tawo sa China, Vietnam, Japan, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand kag Netherlands.

Atun madumduman nga ang Pilipinas sang ka arkipelago nga ginabug-os kang 7,107 ka kapuluan kag ang atun pungsod sa bibi kang Kadagatan Pacifico, ang paktorya kang mga bagyo sa kalibutan. Kon sa sugid kang paglugdang ika-8 ang Pilipinas, sa sugid kang bagyo nagapanguna ang Pilipinas. Ang Bagyo Frank kag Yolanda katiting pa lang kang mga sakuna nga dara kang paghilanat kang kalibutan.

Ano ang kabangdanan kang paghilanat kang kalibutan? Suno sa mga panalawsaw kang mga siyentipiko, ang global warming resulta kang mga masunod:

1. Pagbuga kang carbon dioxide ukon CO2 mga power plant nga nagagamit kang fossil fuel tulad kang coal, petroleum, kag natural gas
2. Pagbuga kang carbon dioxide ukon CO2 kang mga sarakyan nga nagagamit kang gasoline;
3. Pagbuga kang methane halin sa mga livestock industries kag pagpanguma tulad pagtanum kang paray kag pag-init kang Arctic seabed;
4. Pagkaguba kang mga kagulangan ukon kalasangan; kag
5. Dugang nga paggamit kang mga kemikal sa taramnan kag iban pang crop lands.

Ano ang epekto kang paghilanat kang kalibutan? Ang mga epekto kang paghilanat kang kalibutan amo ang mga masunod:

1. Pagtaas kang tupung kang tubig dagat sa bilog kalibutan;
2. Mabaskug kag makaramatay nga mga bagyo;
3. Kapyerdihan sa mga pananum bangud sa tuman nga kainit kag baha;
4. Pagkaramatay kang mga espisis kang hayup kag tanum; kag
5. Pagkaramatay kang mga korales sa idalum kang kadagatan.

Kon sayudon, ang epekto kang paghilanat kang kalibutan nagapaagto sa pagkagutum, pagmasakit, pagkadura kang iristaran, paggirinamo kag pagkaramatay kang espisis kang tawo.

Suno sa panalawsaw , ang mga pungsod kang USA, China, India, Brazil, United Kingdom, Russia kag Germany ang nagapanguna sa pagtuna kang pag-init kang kalibutan. Dya tungud sa andang carbon emission halin sa paggamit kang fossil fuel kag pagproseso kang semento. Bukun mayor nga tagtuna ang Pilipinas kang pag-init kang kalibutan pero nagapanguna ang Pilipinas sa maapektohan. Makarilibug kang ulo ang sitwasyon nga dya.

Ano ang labut kag kaangtanan kang Antique sa paghilanat kang kalibutan? Kon makit-an sa mga ginpatpat sa ibabaw nga tinunaan kang paghilanat kang kalibutan, sa lima ka kabangdanan, lima man ang ginahimo kang atun probinsya. Pero ang pinakamalala sa atun ginahimo, amo ang pagsupply kang coal sa mga planta sa Pilipinas. Kang 2013, ang ginahambal nga “magamay” nga isla kang Semirara, ang ginahalinan kang 7.5 kang 7.8 million metric tons kang coal nga ginamina sa Pilipinas . Buut hambalun, sa Pilipinas, ang Antique nagapanguna nga ginatunaan kang paghilanat kang kalibutan.

May mahimo pa bala kita ka ria rugya? Ano ang mahimo ta? Dapat pa bala ipaiway ang aksyon sa pagpugung kang paghilanat kang kalibutan? Ang mga desisyon parte sa pagpugung kang global warming mga seryoso nga desisyon nga nagapangayo kang pagsakripisyo kag mabaskug nga panindugan.

May mga siyentipiko nga nagahambal nga nagsulud run ang kalibutan sa ginatawag nga “state shift” ukon ang punto nga wara run kita ti mahimo sa pagpugung kang pag-init kang kalibutan. May mga siyentipiko nga nagahambal nga sa bibi pa lang kita kang “state shift.” Klaro kag makakurulba nga sa kritikal nga sitwasyon ang Pilipinas kag dapat nga maghulag dayon. Wara it dapat ipa-iway kay tungud ang kapyerdehan nakatoon sa Pilipinas. Sa mga nagligad nga mga sakuna, klaro nga tuman ka kulang ang ikasarang kang gobyerno agud sabtun ang epekto kang global warming. Ano ang dapat natun himuon?

1. Untatan ang pagpamina kang coal sa Semirara. Dapat ang gobyerno magpanguna sa pagsugod run baylo sa mas indi makatalagam nga power sources tulad kang solar, wind kag hydropower.
2. Mas pabaskugun ang mga programa sa pag-amlig sa mga kagulangan kag mga forestation kag reforestation projects.
3. Ipa-calibrate ang mga makina kang sarakyan para malikawan ang pagbuga kang makatalagam nga aso.
4. Magsugod sa pag-diversify kang food sources. Magtanum kang mga bungang kahoy kag kararuton. Indi masyado mangin dependente sa paray.
5. Likawan ang pagsunog. Limitahan dya sa pagraha kang pagkaun ukon pagpatay kang makaralaton nga sakit. Ang mga ramo, i-recycle ukon padunuton sa nagakaigo nga pamaagi.
6. Amat-amat magsaylo sa organic farming.
7. Magbuylog sa mga panawagan sa pag-amlig kang kadunaan.
8. Iparayu ang mga kabalayan sa daray-ahan kag mga pangpang.

Kon magpabiyanbiyan pa kita, kita man gihapon ang mamung-an. Wara run it iba nga magluwas kanatun sa katalagman kag sakuna kundi kita gid lamang. Hulag Antiqueño!

No to mining. Yes to pro-environment advocacy.

STATEMENT ON THE SEMIRARA COAL MINE TRAGEDY

STATEMENT ON THE SEMIRARA COAL MINE TRAGEDY
jointly issued by St. Anthony’s College, the Antique Diocesan Social Action Center
DYKA, and Spirit FM

27 July 2015, San Jose de Buenavista, Antique
At the dawn of 17 July 2015, the north wall of the Panian open pit of the coal mine in Semirara, Caluya, Antique collapsed. Nine miners died. Twenty-nine months ago on 13 February 2013, the same mine pit claimed ten lives.

St. Anthony’s College, the Antique Diocesan Social Action Center, DYKA and Spirit FM condole with the families of the victims of this disaster. Indeed, it is difficult to fathom what pain grows in the hearts of those orphaned. We offer our prayers for those departed and the ones they left, hoping that it is God Himself that will comfort them in their great sorrow.

We strongly reiterate our call for the complete closure of the Semirara coal mines and for the prohibition of mining anywhere else in Antique. We make this call fully cognizant of the fact that many power plants in the Philippines are dependent on Semirara for its fuel and that the mining operator is likewise an employer of thousands. We are also fully cognizant of the fact that industrialization depends much on resources we excavate from the belly of the Earth.

There is an urgent crisis we have to avert – global warming. Global warming is a real environmental phenomenon that is melting our globe’s polar ice caps, raising our sea levels, drastically changing our weather conditions, and reducing our freshwater resources. The Philippines is no. 8 among countries that are most affected by raising sea levels due to global warming. Within the next 50 – 100 years, 6,205,000 Filipinos will lose their habitable lands to water if global warming is not reduced. The Philippines is no. 1 among those adversely affected by drastic weather and climate changes. We have witnessed Frank and Yolanda very recently.

Global warming is largely caused by carbon dioxide and methane emissions. At one end, the use of fossil fuel (coal, oil, gas) and cement production increases the concentration of CO2 in the air. On the other end, rapid deforestation is diminishing the Earth’s capacity to absorb carbon. While CO2 is the breathable air of plants, we have deforested the Earth faster than we could replenish it, making deforestation the second leading cause of global warming.

Of the fossil fuels, coal is the most dangerous insofar as global warming is concerned. In 2013 alone, Semirara mines, or Antique for that matter accounts for 7.5 of the 7.8 million metric tons of coal produced locally. Ironically, in 2008, the Department of Energy expanded the mine’s coal operating contract by another 15 years up to 2027. In 2009 it expanded the coverage of the coal operating contract from the original 5,500 hectares in Semirara to 12,700 hectares including 3,000 in Caluya, and 4,200 on Sibay Island.

From 2009 to 2014 alone, coal mining in Semirara has destroyed over 83.92 hectares of 31-species mangrove areas and more than two kilometers to sea of coral reefs. It has introduced toxicity to the surrounding waters and destroyed a rich fishing ground shared by Antique, Romblon, Mindoro and Palawan. It demolished a thriving organic and sustainable aquaculture that benefits at least 30% of the adult population and brings in at least P400 million to the municipal economy.

Unong pit, a Semirara mining area abandoned after its resources were depleted is now underwater. The 400-hectare Panian Pit is walking towards this watery death as well. Even as Panian is being dug to Hades, a new pit is also being dug at Himalian, and is expected to destroy 620 hectares of ecosystem.

Creating safer conditions for miners as is called for by others is no longer a moral option when mining itself has become an act of social injustice and environmental destruction. Such measures only serve to mask socio-environmental ills festering in communities where the common population has been emasculated by corruption, partisan politics, poverty, lack of education and lack of moral leadership.

A number of provinces hosting coal powered plants in the Philippines have stood firm in rejecting the use of coal to supply power to areas in the Philippines. They have realized that despite the claimed benefits of these plants, the disaster these plants create will be of far greater consequence to a greater number of persons and families. We stand in solidarity with these provinces and unite our voices with theirs as we call for the halt of closure of coal mines and coal powered plants in the country.

We demand that the government recognizes the direct contribution of coal mining and coal powered operations to global warming. It is the entire country that stands at a loss for every environmental disaster that hits it. Typhoon Yolanda alone, which killed at least 6,340 is a clear and strong testimony to the fact that the government can barely cope with the disasters brought about by global warming. Yolanda, is not going to be the last of these disasters.

The effects of global warming to the Philippines cannot be underestimated and taken for granted. Millions will be affected as the sea reclaims land, as salt water seeps into our freshwater resources, as drought and megastorms alternately batter the country, as food sources are drastically reduced, as earthquakes and land erosion change the topography of our country. It is a crime against humanity for the government not to take immediate measures to avert climate change.

The government has to immediately shift to less evil sources of power even as it finds better, more environmentally sound, socially just, and sustainable sources of energy. Models for water, air, and sun-derived power are present. The government only has to rid itself of personal vested interest to enable the country to shift to more environmentally sound sources of power. We make this call as we echo the State policy to “protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature,” and the national motto, “maka-Diyos, maka-tao, maka-kalikasan.”

Pope Francis has recently issued an encyclical, Laudato Si, where he underscored the moral duty of every person to care for the earth. Pope Francis cites that “climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, eco¬nomic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal chal¬lenges facing humanity in our day.” The Pope is certainly right when he said that “its worst im¬pact will probably be felt by developing coun¬tries in coming decades. “ Our country, together with neighboring Bangladesh and Vietnam must brace for disasters because we will continue to suffer the first symptoms of an impending global disaster if we fail to act against climate change.

This is the reason why the Semirara disaster could not be taken out of the context of a global plundering of the earth’s resources. These coal plants are environmental crimes done in broad daylight. It is our province, Antique, through the Semirara coal mines that provide coal to power plants that in turn saturate the atmosphere with gases that raise global temperatures, destroying the environment for profit without regard for the future generations.

St. Anthony’s College, The Antique Diocesan Social Action Center, DYKA and Spirit FM continue to stand hand in hand with the over 250 seaweed farmers, the Isalba ang Caluya, the Imba Fisheries and Seaweed Planters Association, and the Sabang-Poocan Fisher and Farmers Association who made their stand during the Caluya Declaration in 2012 for the end of all coal mining and to develop sustainable livelihood options. We stand by those who oppose the operations of mines anywhere in Antique.

We call on all Antiqueños to make a stand against coal mining and all forms of mining in Antique. Oppose legislative measures that will authorize otherwise. Withdraw support for politicians and leaders who will scheme to perpetuate mining operations in the province. Reject gifts or assistance funded by mining operators just as Jesus rejected the worldly temptations of Satan. We have a job much greater than ourselves, and that is to save our country and the future generation.

We will not be quiet about this even as we grieve for the families of those lost to mining and other man-induced disasters. We grieve because these disasters are already by themselves a reminder that we as a Christian community have been remiss in our duties. It is our obligation to act and advocate for the protection of our environment and to promote social justice. To quote Laudato Si, “For ‘to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God.’”

As always, we seek the help and wisdom of our Heavenly Father in these trying times.

REV. FR. EDIONE R. FEBRERO, JCL
President of St. Anthony’s College
Director of the Antique Diocesan Social Action Center
Manager of DYKA and Spirit FM

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SACSR sworn to office; holds “Glow Anthonians!”

 

Mr. Ian Dave Acuisa, president-elect and the other officers of the St. Anthony’s College Student Republic (SACSR) 2015-2016 were sworn into office on 10 July 2015 by Dr. Ana Linda O. Santos, VPAA, during the annual student acquaintance activity themed, “Glow Anthonians!”

Acuisa, a BS Civil Engineering student, in his inaugural speech, stressed the importance of unity in order to achieve school and SACSR targets. Thanking the students for the trust and confidence given to him, he pointed out that TEAM meant “Together Everyone Achieves More.”

Dr. Santos, in keynote speech, reiterated that Anthonian leaders were servant leaders who did not lead in authority but in service. She further emphasized that as servant leaders, love should be their motivation to serve rather than the merits and recognition they could get as recognized leaders. With the theme, “Glow Anthonians!” she advised the student leaders that for them to GLOW, they should be Goal oriented leaders, who have Love for service, with Outstanding outputs, and are Worthy to be emulated.

The oath taking ceremony was followed by a dancing activity where students accessorized their get-up with anything that glowed.

 

Fr. Edione: “Our commitment: to hone individuals for greater heights.”

The full implementation of the K to 12 program is fast approaching. It will be fully operational in AY 2016 – 2017 and you, incoming first year college students, are the last batch of the old educational system. I will not discuss here which is better, the old or the new? But I would like to let you know how exciting for me this moment is – the transition period. Since there will be no first year students after you for two consecutive years – though in our campus there will be a new set of students in Grade 11 and Grade 12 – the faculty of the different departments in the college will have more time for you and the rest of the remaining batches in college.

Though we are busy getting ready to effectively address the changes that the new educational system brings, we are definitely ready for you. The results of the board examinations of our alumni this year from all the different departments of SAC are comparatively high. Simply amazing in spite of the limitations that we have. Yes, we celebrate our achievements. But we do not rest on our laurels. It does not in any way distract us from our resolute desire to look for better ways on how to form our students to perform much better in the future. Therefore, I am inviting you to join me and my TEAM here in SAC. Our targets are HIGH and our people are well motivated to aim HIGH and fly HIGH. Our commitment: to Hone Individuals for Greater Heights.

We may be buffeted to the right and to the left by the winds of change, but never will they put us into a stall because our foundation is strong. Propelled by a very strong and deep desire to effect changes in our local communities and the global market through education, I and my team commit ourselves to targeting higher goals for the welfare of our community of ministers here in SAC as well as for our students. As a Catholic institution our feet are grounded on core values which have been tested time and again and preserved for more than half a century already while not forgetting to continuously address the fast-changing industry demands.

As Father President of SAC, I do care about you and your future. Come and enroll here so that I and my team can take care of you. Indeed, in SAC, we CARE. (Rev. Fr. Edione R. Febrero, JCL, College President)