MVP group in talks with foreign firms for electric vehicle manufacturing venture
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA – The MVP group of companies on Thursday said it has received proposals from foreign firms interested in putting up a joint venture for the manufacture of electric vehicles in the Philippines.

During the 2nd Philippine E-Vehicle Summit, Manuel V. Pangilinan, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) president and chief executive officer, said his group is willing to work with the government, financial institutions, the academe and manufacturers to develop the infrastructure for building such vehicles in the country.

“Our group of companies is prepared to invest in the downstream manufacturing capability of this industry for the sake of this country. It is better for us to build rather than import these vehicles,” he said.

He said his group is considering proposals by foreign companies that are keen on partnerships to establish the Philippines’ e-vehicle manufacturing capacity.

“[We] would like to pursue them. The Philippines should take the lead in the region in the development of the industry,” Pangilinan said.

The government is banking on the development of e-vehicles to reduce the country’s reliance on oil imports and at the same time bring down green house gas emissions.

Taxes and duties on electric and hybrid vehicles, however, account for 30 percent of their prices, making such vehicles unattractive for either private or public transport use.

Besides Meralco, Pangilinan is also chairman of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., Philex Mining Corp. – all of which are among the top companies in their respective sectors.

Pangilinan is also the chairman of TV5 and its online news portal,

PHL awarded P20.2-million major UK biodiversity grant

PHL awarded P20.2-million major UK biodiversity grant.

The Philippines received a major grant from the British government to help protect and preserve its marine resources in five key biodiversity areas around the country.
Funded by the United Kingdom’s Darwin Initiative, the three-year project will aid the country in maintaining and improving the ecosystem in Verde Island Passage, Palawan, Danajon Bank, Bohol, Polillo Islands and Lanuza Bay until March 2016.
The grant assistance amounts to £294,151 or about P20.2 million.
“The project…will be a really valuable addition to the Darwin portfolio. It goes to the heart of those sustainable development challenges: how we reconcile conservation needs with sustainable livelihoods and better resource management,” British Ambassador Stephen Lillie said.
Since its launch in 1992, the Darwin Initiative has been assisting countries that are rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources to meet their commitments under international conventions to protect marine and other endangered species.
Two other states from Southeast Asia receiving the same assistance are Myanmar and Cambodia.
The Philippines’ coral reefs and marine biodiversity are one of its greatest assets, Lillie said.
With more than half of Philippine communities located in coastal areas, he said these assets can make a huge contribution to the country’s future development if managed properly.
Unfortunately, fish extinctions have been detected in pilot studies off Bohol island in the southern Philippines and more of these studies have to be made to help prevent the eventual dying away of local marine ecosystems, the envoy said.
Project leader and Newcastle University professor Nicholas Polunin said the project seeks to identify vulnerable species in the five Philippine areas; enhance the capacity of local government units for local resource management in conservation sites; and submit policy recommendations made at local, national and international levels.
Dr. Margarita Lavides of the Ateneo de Manila University and project co-coordinator said they will use different research methods and partner with other organizations to come up with a comprehensive study that will provide an effective template that can be replicated in other areas.
Philippine Environment Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio called for immediate action to preserve the country’s marine resources, saying “much is at stake” for the country.
“Much of our economy, livelihood, food and nutrition are dependent on the sea,” Ignacio said. “We have much to lose.”
Environmental group Haribon Foundation commended the initiative.
“This project could not have come at a better time, with our capture fisheries being heavily exploited and in decline since the early 1900s,” Haribon chairman John Lesaca said. –KG, GMA News

Greenpeace calls for more stringent checks on GMOs

Greenpeace calls for more stringent checks on GMOs.

Greenpeace calls for more stringent checks on GMOs


MANILA, Philippines — Environmental group Greenpeace Philippines has urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to be more stringent in checking the entry into the country of imported foodstuff that contain genetically modified organisms.

Greenpeace aired the appeal as the Supreme Court granted its petition for a writ of kalikasan stopping field trials of Bt eggplant in the Philippines.

“Greenpeace believes the granting of the writ of kalikasan to be a recognition of the threats that GMOs pose to human health and the environment. We welcome this as a positive development. GMOs and GMO field trials clearly violate every Filipino’s constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology, and their invasion into our fields and our diets must be stopped,” said Daniel Ocampo, sustainable agriculture campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Greenpeace said the DA had been lax in approving GMO foods, giving the green light to a total of 67 GMOs for importation, consumption and propagation since 2001, without rejecting a single application.

“The Supreme Court has given hope to Filipinos as its decision now puts into spotlight the country’s flawed GMO approval system, which has never rejected any GMO application, allowing dangerous GMO crops to be planted and eaten by Filipinos. This is an outrage and such a regulatory system that clearly disregards the public good must be scrapped,” he said.

Greenpeace urged the DA to inform the public of GMO foods that enter the country, saying the long-term health effects of these crops and products on the public’s health and on the environment had yet to be fully known.

On April 26, Greenpeace, along with other groups, petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of kalikasan and writ of continuing mandamus against GMO field trials.

The petition sought to stop immediately the field trials on the Bt eggplant, which the group said had led to signs of toxicity in the livers and kidneys of test rats.

A writ of kalikasan is a remedy available to a person or group whose constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated or threatened by an unlawful act of a public official, private individual or entity and affects a big number of people.

A writ of continuing mandamus, on the other hand, is issued by a court in an environmental case directing an agency of the government to perform an act decreed by final judgment until the judgment is fully satisfied. It is filed by the aggrieved party.

“We hope this writ of kalikasan will compel the DA and GMO regulators to review their agenda independent of pressures and the influence of multinational corporations. We are also calling on the people to be more vigilant in protecting our food and on the government to be accountable for regulations that go against protecting our health and the environment,” Ocampo said.


I arrived this morning from Davao City delayed by more than two hours at 0230 in the morning after a five hour drive from Bukidnon Province. Fresh from the news,  China is claiming as part of its territory the Philippines and banana exports to China have been quite difficult. Maybe the Chinese market should require the carbon footprint of its banana imports.

Running late to our flight back to Manila, we have no other option but to eat at Jollibee and along the way was Jollibee Buhangin Davao.

One of my last projects in Jollibee was the EIA preparation of Jollibee Buhangin in Davao City in 2009. It did feel somewhat unreal (or maybe just the tiredness) that something I only saw in paper was operational and finally  I was the user of the facility, basically its customer. I still kept the EIA draft and its plans.  I can trace from these records where the waste water will flow and where it was sourced.  There might be some changes after three years in operation though given the dynamic nature of fast food stores.

On my way to Davao four days before, I happen to come across a former colleague from Jollibee who was supervising the construction of another store in a mall. I just reminded him to secure the ECC of the mall and if there is none, the corporate EIA preparation cycle sets in.

Preparing an ex-ante Environmental Impact Assessment is very simple, you just need to prepare a good report, given the scale of a project, a concise project description can suffice. However,  I never dreamed to perform something like that for the rest of my life, you can really outgrow something and now performing audits, I have seen the short-comings of proposed EIA reports against the needed environmental controls in an actual operation, there are times when it was overdone, but often it is under. Compliance however is a dynamic continuous process.

Mining and the Millennium Development Goals

Mining and the Millennium Development Goals.

Posted May 1st, 2012 by & filed under Opinion.

By Jose Dagala

Generally, in the Philippines, mining is perceived as a dirty business, literally and figuratively. This industry is perceived to be inherently destructive for it causes environmental destructions, various human rights violations and encroachment of the ancestral land of indigenous people consequential to the displacement and dislocation of people. However, mining companies are now extremely exerting considerable efforts to prove to the general public that they can operate responsibly and that the idea of responsible mining is a reality that can be practiced.

Several operating mining companies are now adopting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a business strategy; while some are on the process of incorporating human rights paradigm as their moral compass in business operations, others are on their way of adopting international standards in doing business such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), United Nations Global Compact, Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and other relevant international tools and standards to provide them a substantial guidance on what constitutes good or acceptable levels of performance and specific management frameworks to guide them on the ongoing management of environmental and social impacts.

As these significant changes take place in the mining industry, we can see at the same time that an opportunity is also unfolding – opportunity for the host communities to maximize the benefits that can be derived from the mining operations toward achieving sustainable development. How this is happening is something that is worth documenting. Furthermore, this can be highlighted to be framed in the context of Millennium Development Goals.

Why Mining?

The realization of the MDGs in the Philippines in year 2015 cannot depend exclusively in the current efforts of the Government. A continued effort in exploring for strategies to expedite these goals is something that must be boldly pursued by policy makers, researchers and academicians even if this means trekking in the unfamiliar realm.

As a student and development practitioner and having gained considerable experience in the mining industry, I strongly believe that this industry can be a strategic partner in the ongoing efforts to realize the MDGs.

Mining companies nowadays are tremendously pouring millions of pesos in the name of community development and environment protection and enhancement program. This changing landscape in the conduct of mining operation is providing windows of opportunities for us to advance the achievement of MDGs in the Philippines.

Most, if not all, mining companies operate in mountainous parts of the Philippines where their Host communities are under the category of DDUs or the Deprived, Depressed and Underdeveloped communities.  Under the Republic Act 7942 also known as the Mining Act of 1995, a mining company is mandated to spend at least 1.5 % of its annual operating cost (from the original 1% of the annual direct mining and milling cost) for community development and the development of mining technology and geosciences. This 1.5% is proposed to be divided for community development and for development of mining technology and geosciences.

The SDMP is considered as the vehicle to maximize opportunity for social and economic development and facilitate the equitable distribution of benefits. Ideally, the SDMP should be utilized to provide alternative livelihood opportunities for employees, their dependents, and the neighboring communities during the life-of-the-mine. (

Aside from SDMP, R.A. 7942 also mandated mining companies to have their Environmental Protection and Enhancement Plan (EPEP) and Final Mine Rehabilitation and Development Plan (FMRDP) to ensure the health and environmental safety of the community during and after the mining operation. Meanwhile, Indigenous People have the right to receive Royalty from the mining companies operating in their ancestral domain. This Royalty will be used by the IP communities to fund their Ancestral Domain Sustainable and Protection Plan (ADSDPP).

These responsibilities of mining companies provide huge opportunities for individuals, groups and institutions that are pushing for these MDGs in the Philippines.

With the projected booming of the mining industry, it is expected that several mining companies will start their operations in conjunction with the formulation and implementation of their SDMPs in the next three to five years. However, mining companies are utilizing different frameworks and strategies for their SDMPs since the Mining Act of 1995 did not provide a comprehensive framework of development for the formulation and implementation of SDMPs. Furthermore, no studies have been conducted yet to identify whether developments in the host community are being achieved through the SDMP of a mining company. The lack of a comprehensive framework for SDMP makes it difficult to identify and track the effectiveness of this tool/mechanism.

I believe that if SDMP will not be framed within the framework of sustainable development, the financial resources of the company will just be squandered. The main challenge therefore for a mining company, through its SDMP, is to leave behind an economically vibrant and self-sufficient community after its mine life. Thus, a successful SDMP is one that will be able to meet the minimum basic needs of the mining communities; optimize people empowerment to attain self-help, self-reliant and self-managed community; provide opportunities for sustainable livelihood, thus, decreasing dependency on the benefits derived from mining; and protect the socio-cultural values and local customs amidst improved economic conditions and human advancement.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is a good framework for the development of SDMP of a mining company. The eight goals, along with its appropriate targets and indicators, can be adopted by the mining company and by the host community as their guide in identification and prioritizing programs during the preparation and development of SDMP. This will ensure that the programs under SDMP can really bring substantial change in the socio-economic condition of the host communities.

(Published in the Manila Standard Today newspaper on /2012/May/01)