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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Philippines signed up to the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

International Day against nuclear testing https://businessmirror.com.ph/international-day-against-nuclear-testing/,By Teddy Locsin Jr., Philippine statement delivered by Ambassador Teddy Locsin Jr. at the United Nations Trusteeship Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York, on August 30.

OVER a month ago 122 nations took the decisive step to bring the world closer to the shared aspiration of a nuclear weapons-free world. The Philippines, along with the other Asean members, was proud to be part of the historic moment that saw the adoption of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear-Weapons—a landmark agreement that strengthens the nuclear disarmament architecture, fulfills the goal set out in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and delegitimizes once and for all the use of nuclear weapons.

The treaty represents the universalization of the Philippines’s fervent hope to put nuclear weapons firmly on the path of extinction, as set forth in its constitution and in the Treaty on the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone.

During the negotiations on the nuclear-weapons ban, the Philippines championed the inclusion of nuclear testing in the list of prohibited acts. It proposed language that would have committed States Parties to undertake not, and I quote, “to carry out any nuclear-weapon test explosion or any other form of nuclear-weapons testing.” However, as treaty negotiations go, the language proposal was watered down.

Be that as it may, what is important is that, under the nuclear- weapons-ban treaty, States Parties undertake not to conduct nuclear- weapons tests. With this, the act of nuclear-weapons testing is effectively declared illegal under international law.

The Philippines looks forward to signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on September 20 and usher in this new phase in our collective goal for the complete, irreversible and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons.

The Philippines’s long-standing position against nuclear testing was first articul ated on the international stage when it signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1996. It lent its voice to the growing clamor that recognized the detrimental effect of nuclear testing to the environment and its horrific consequences to humankind, where the suffering of victims can span generations.

Today, as in the years past, we call upon the remaining eight fellow UN member-states to finally heed the humanitarian imperative against nuclear tests and exercise their role as responsible citizens of the global community by finally signing onto the Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), thereby ushering it into force. The forthcoming Conference on the CTBT is the most opportune time to do this. It happens to be on the same day when the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will be opened for signature. 

The actions of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea constitute a flagrant violation of Security Council resolutions and pose a clear and present danger to international peace and security. Its actions demonstrate the urgent need for the CTBT to enter into force. While the Philippines, along with its fellow Asean members, condemn DPRK’s missile tests, it underlines the need to establish the international legal landscape that expressly delegitimizes its actions—if only to clearly and unequivocally articulate the collective desire of the community of nations to put a stop to them once and for all.

Thank you, Mr. President. 

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November 2, 2017 Posted by | Philippines, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Vulnerable to Climate Change – Philippines

From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots  Global warming will not affect everyone equally. Here we look at seven key regions to see how each is tackling the consequences of climate change, Guardian, John Vidal, 23 June 17

an emotional powerful speech on climate change

……Manila, Philippines

When Typhoon Haiyan struck the city of Tacloban in November 2013, Yeb Sano was the Philippines’ climate commissioner. He was distraught when I met him. He believed that his brother who lived there had been killed along with many thousands of others.

One hour later Sano broke down as he addressed the world’s diplomats. It was the third super typhoon to hit the Philippines in three years, and five of the 10 strongest typhoons had come in the previous eight years. “Climate change is real and now,” he told them in tears.

The Philippines is regularly ranked in lists of the top few countries most affected by climate change. “We are already experiencing climate change impacts, including sea-level rise, hotter temperatures, extreme weather events and changes in precipitation,” says Sano, who has now left government to direct Greenpeace SE Asia.

“These in turn, result in human rights impacts, such as loss of homes and livelihoods, water contamination, food scarcity, displacement of whole communities, disease outbreaks, and even the loss of life.”

Scientists widely agree that the country, along with nearby Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia, is a hotspot. Analysis of 70 years’ of government data, published in the International Journal of Climatology last year, shows a small decrease in the number of smaller typhoons that hit the Philippines each year, but more intense ones. It is not conclusive evidence, but previous studies have suggested the increase may be due to rising sea-surface temperatures since the 1970s.

There is no doubt temperatures are rising on land. In Manila and the surrounding metropolitan area, which has a population of more than 12m, the tropical storms are more intense, the floods are more frequent, the nights are hotter and there are fewer cool days, says the state meteorological office, Pagasa.

“There has been a significant increase [in the last 30 years] in the number of hot days and warm nights and a decreasing trend in the number of cold days and cold nights,” Alicia Ilaga, head of climate change in the government’s agriculture department, told me in 2015. “Both maximum and minimum temperatures are getting warmer. Extreme rainfall events are becoming more frequent. In most parts … the intensity of rainfall is increasing.”

It’s not just Manila feeling the heat. In its latest 2014 report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it expects life in major Asian and African coastal cities like Manila, Guangzhou, Lagos, Ho Chi Minh City, Kolkata and Shanghai to worsen as temperatures rise.

“Urban climate change–related risks are increasing (including rising sea levels and storm surges, heat stress, extreme precipitation, inland and coastal flooding, landslides, drought, increased aridity, water scarcity, and air pollution) with widespread negative impacts on people (and their health, livelihoods, and assets) and on local and national economies and ecosystems,” it says. “These risks are amplified for those who live in informal settlements and in hazardous areas and either lack essential infrastructure and services or where there is inadequate provision for adaptation.”

Food supplies are also threatened. I visited the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) outside Manila. This research centre, funded by the world’s richest nations to develop better strains of the crop that feeds nearly half the world, has seen temperatures soar.

A few years ago, IRRI’s deputy director general, Bruce Tolentino, called climate change the greatest global challenge in 50 years. “The challenge now is to rapidly adapt farming to climate change with modern varieties and feed a fast-growing global population, half of which depends on rice as a staple food. One billion people go hungry every day. In the 1990s, rice yields were growing 2% a year; now they are just 1%. Temperatures here have risen 2–4C. Climate change will reduce productivity. Rainfall is unpredictable and rice is grown in areas like deltas that are prone to sea level rises. We have to gear up for more challenging agro-ecological conditions, we need to be able to use swampy areas and develop varieties that can be grown in salty or flooded areas.”

RRI has been working to develop rice varieties that can withstand extreme climatic conditions such as droughts, floods, heat and cold, and soil problems such as high salt and iron content. New drought-tolerant varieties that can produce up to 1.2 metric tons more per hectare [0.54 tons per acre] than varieties that perform poorly under drought conditions have been introduced to India, Nepal and elsewhere.

“Every city and every sector of society in the region is at risk,” says Sano. “The IPCC tells us it will probably get 4C warmer. That means everything will be compromised, from food and energy to settlements. We are not ready. The challenge is too huge. We are very vulnerable.”…..

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/23/from-heatwaves-to-hurricanes-floods-to-famine-seven-climate-change-hotspots?CMP=share_btn_tw

June 24, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Philippines | Leave a comment

Philippines government needing to set up a pro nuclear ‘massive information campaign’

Energy dept seeks to calm nuclear power fears, Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News Jun 20 2017 MOSCOW – The Department of Energy on Monday stressed the need to calm the public’s fears over nuclear power, as it studied the feasibility of adding it to the country’s energy mix. The department aims to provide President Rodrigo Duterte with a menu of nuclear energy sources, including using the three-decade-old Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, Energy Undersecretary Donato Marcos told ABS-CBN News.

“The biggest challenge is social acceptability,” said Marcos on the sidelines of a summit hosted by the Russian State Atomic Energy Corp.

 “We need to come up with a massive information campaign so that the people will know. They need to be educated on nuclear power,” he said.

The $2-billion Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was never used due to worries over its safety……

The energy department last month signed a memorandum of understanding with ROSATOM on nuclear energy cooperation, including winning public support.

Russian companies have also offered nuclear power barges to the Philippines to help meet growing demand in one of the world’s fastest growing economies. http://news.abs-cbn.com/business/06/19/17/energy-dept-seeks-to-calm-nuclear-power-fears

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Philippines, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Russia keen to put Philippines into debt as it markets its Rosatom nuclear reactors

Duterte dials Russia for nuclear power future, Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News,  Jun 19 2017 “…….President Rodrigo Duterte is bringing the Philippines closer to tapping nuclear power than any of his immediate predecessors by dialing Russia, which is offering its technology to the world. Duterte’s government forged an agreement with the Russian State Atomic Energy Corp. (ROSATOM) for the possible development of nuclear infrastructure, personnel training, and courting public support for the technology following his visit to Moscow last month.

Russia also offered to supply the Philippines with nuclear power barges and capsules.

ROSATOM on Monday opened an showcase of Russian nuclear technology, hoping to attract new clients from around the world, including the Philippines.

“We want to cooperate and be partners” said Sergey Kirienko, first deputy chief in the office of Russian President Vladimir Putin……

Project financing is the biggest concern of developing economies that seek to tap nuclear power, said Iliya Rebrov, economic and finance director at ROSATOM.

Rebrov said ROSATOM helps its clients secure funding from various sources, including loans.

“The key competitive factor is the ability of the contractor to arrange financing,” Rebrov said, citing a recent wind-farm project in southern Russia that was financed with Gazprombank.

ROSATOM is “very confident” in the world market as it diversifies its offerings to meet growing demand, said Kirill Komarov, the company’s First Deputy Director general for corporate development and international business. http://news.abs-cbn.com/focus/06/19/17/duterte-dials-russia-for-nuclear-power-future

June 21, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Philippines, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia and Philippines – Nuclear Marketing

Philippines, Russia forge nuclear cooperation deal, ABS-CBN News, May 26 2017 MANILA – The Philippines and Russia have agreed to develop cooperation on nuclear energy under an agreement signed in Moscow, Russia’s state nuclear agency said Friday.

Under the memorandum of cooperation, the two nations will pursue the “development of the nuclear infrastructure” in the Philippines, including personnel training and securing public acceptance of nuclear power, Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp said in a statement……Duterte has approved a study on the feasibility of nuclear power to augment the country’s electricity supply.

The Philippines has a nuclear power plant in Bataan, which has never been used.http://news.abs-cbn.com/business/05/26/17/philippines-russia-forge-nuclear-cooperation-deal

May 27, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Philippines, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia and Philippines Military Cooperation Agreement

Russia, Philippines forge Defense Cooperation Agreement, UPDATE PH, May 26, 2017 Caleb Velasquez The defense cooperation will expand exchanges in terms of training, seminars and best practices between the two countries, with the end to develop relations in the field of military education, including military medicine, military history, sports, and culture as well as experiences in consultation, observer participation in military training exercises, and military port calls…..

Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Science and Technology of the Philippines and the State Atomic Energy Corporation, otherwise known as ROSATOM on Cooperation on the Use of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes was also forged. https://www.update.ph/2017/05/russia-philippines-forge-defense-cooperation-agreement/17735

May 27, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Philippines, Russia | Leave a comment

Bigger battles beyond the climate agreement – climate crises for vulnerable countries

The ‘flexible’ carbon mitigation mechanism of National Determined Contributions that makes contribution to emission cuts voluntary allows for the watering down of the historic and current responsibility of big polluter countries like the United States and China. Pressure is unjustly put on low carbon economies of developing countries when there should be none in the first place.

There are no concrete commitments and mechanisms that will ensure adequate and unconditional support for climate vulnerable countries. Even more marginalized was the proposed mechanism for ‘Loss and Damage’ that sought to facilitate compensation from industrialized nations to vulnerable nations that are already suffering climate impacts.

Transnational corporations and financial institutions, meanwhile, are given free rein to promote multi-billion dollar false climate solutions such as mega hydro, clean coal, and nuclear power plants, timber plantations, carbon credits, and other projects that displace communities and degrade the environment.

These are just the tip of the iceberg.

There are bigger battles outside the Paris Agreement   http://opinion.inquirer.net/98960/there-are-bigger-battles-outside-the-paris-agreement   November 04, 2016   LEON DULCE
Campaign Coordinator Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
We write with regard to the resurgence of debate on President Rodrigo Duterte’s ambivalence over the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as it comes in a time when deeper public discourse and action on the climate crisis is urgently needed.

World leaders will gather at the United Nations “COP22″ climate talks once again to attempt to concretize the Paris Agreement’s agreed common actions on mitigating carbon emissions that induce climate change, adapting communities to worsening climate impacts, and ensuring financing, technology transfer, capacity building, and loss and damage mechanisms.

COP22’s commencement fittingly coincides with the Philippines’ commemoration of the third anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan). World leaders should be reminded that some 16 million people were severely affected by Yolanda’s powerful winds, floods and storm surges across the Philippines, and that these impacted communities are still struggling to recover three years later—a preview of what future climate norms are in store for us if climate disruption is left unfettered.

An alarming evidence of this was the findings of current Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo that at least 200,000 Yolanda survivors have yet to receive emergency shelter assistance from the state because of discrimination by local politics during the Aquino administration.

Meanwhile, the specter of ‘disaster capitalism’ continues to haunt Yolanda survivors. Initial findings of an environmental investigation mission held by the Center for Environmental Concerns and scientist group AGHAM regarding the proposed P7.9-billion Leyte Tide Embankment Project revealed how the biggest post-Yolanda mega-infrastructure solution actually threatens the livelihood and environment of some 10,000 residents across the east coast of Leyte.

Unfortunately, there is still a yawning gap between the abject plight of Yolanda survivors and other frontline communities and the reality of the Paris Agreement.

The ‘flexible’ carbon mitigation mechanism of National Determined Contributions that makes contribution to emission cuts voluntary allows for the watering down of the historic and current responsibility of big polluter countries like the United States and China. Pressure is unjustly put on low carbon economies of developing countries when there should be none in the first place.

There are no concrete commitments and mechanisms that will ensure adequate and unconditional support for climate vulnerable countries. Even more marginalized was the proposed mechanism for ‘Loss and Damage’ that sought to facilitate compensation from industrialized nations to vulnerable nations that are already suffering climate impacts.

Transnational corporations and financial institutions, meanwhile, are given free rein to promote multi-billion dollar false climate solutions such as mega hydro, clean coal, and nuclear power plants, timber plantations, carbon credits, and other projects that displace communities and degrade the environment.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. It is hard not to cast a shadow of doubt over the Paris Agreement and the uphill battle to step up the pact’s ambition in the upcoming COP22. It is actually commendable how President Duterte asserts our people’s right to develop as the foundation of his argument, a right of vulnerable and poor nations that is given only tokenisms in the agreement.

The climate talks, however, are still a legitimate venue to advance the concrete needs and aspirations of our people.

President Duterte can take a leaf from the book of Bolivian President Evo Morales, who called out global capitalism as the root of the climate and environmental crises in his plenary speech at COP21 last year, or from Pope Francis who also called for system change with his encyclical “Laudato Sii.”

At COP22, Duterte can take up the cudgels for the Filipino people struggling for climate justice, from the Lumad, Igorot, and other indigenous peoples resisting big coal and metallic mines to the Yolanda survivors that will march once again on ‘ground zero’ come November 8 to assert their demands for resilient homes and livelihoods.

These are the bigger battles outside the Paris Agreement that need to be fought, as these are the ones winning the struggle against the global system that perpetuates climate injustice. Let these stories of struggles in the frontlines be at the core of the climate talks.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Philippines, politics international | Leave a comment

Philippines Senator supports President Duterte’s stand against the use of nuclear power

text-NoGatchalian with Duterte on stand vs nuclear power By:  / @TarraINQ  / November 04, 2016  Sen.Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday expressed agreement with President Rodrigo Duterte’s stand against the use of nuclear power, saying further studies must first be undertaken to ensure that it would be a viable and safe energy source for the Philippines.

Gatchalian, chair of the Senate energy committee, said the Department of Energy should first “formulate a comprehensive nuclear energy policy” before forging ahead with the use of nuclear power.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi  earlier proposed the use of the long-mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, but Gatchalian expressed reservations, citing safety concerns over the aged facility.

“The President and I see eye to eye on this matter. More research should be done to prove that nuclear power is a safe and viable energy option for the Philippines. At this point, I am not convinced,” said Gatchalian in a statement.

He said he was willing to hear out advocates of nuclear power but proposed to shift focus first on more viable energy sources……http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/841149/gatchalian-with-duterte-on-stand-vs-nuclear-power

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

Philippines bishop, climate movement, oppose revival of mothballed nuclear plant

Philippines: Alarm sounded over revival of mothballed nuclear plant, http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/09/01/philippines_alarm_over_revival_of_mothballed_nuclear_plant_/1255178  A diocese in the northern Philippines has voiced opposition to a government plan to revive a nuclear power plant constructed in the 1970s.

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in the town of Morong in Bataan province was constructed during the term of former president Ferdinand Marcos. Costing US$.2.3 billion by the time of its completion in 1984, it remains intact though never fueled. Successive governments have not tried to operate the plant after studies revealed it was built near a major geological fault line and lies close to the then dormant Mount Pinatubo volcano.

“We don’t want to put the lives of people in danger … we don’t want our sources of livelihood destroyed,” read a pastoral letter issued by Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga. “The diocese has already spoken on this, and we are again making our position known,” said Bishop Santos “For us, life is more precious than profit or money that will come from cheap electricity” he added and “we want to take care of God’s creation in response to His call to take care, not destroy and abuse creation”. Bishop Santos said the government should tap other sources of energy instead of reviving the nuclear plant.

The proposal to revive the plant came during a three-day international conference this week to discuss the prospects of nuclear power in the Asia-Pacific region. Philippine Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told journalists on the sidelines of the conference that the country should consider nuclear power to address power shortages and the high cost of electricity. Cusi said the government is already working on a road map and consulting experts on nuclear power.

The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice said that while nuclear energy is not a major contributor to climate change it poses “more danger to humanity than any kind of calamity or disaster known.” The faith-based group warned that the Philippines, with its high poverty incidence, “cannot withstand the disaster that may be brought about by a nuclear accident.”

A safety inquiry in the 1980s, revealed that the Bataan nuclear plant had over 4,000 defects.

September 2, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Philippines | Leave a comment

Disunity in Philippines Senate over revival of Bataan Nuclear Power Plant

Senators divided on revival of Bataan Nuclear Power Plant August 31, 2016  By KATHRINA CHARMAINE ALVAREZ, GMA News  Senators have opposing positions on the possibility of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) being revived to ensure the long-term supply of energy in the country.

At the hearing of the Senate committee on energy Wednesday, Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi said he was in favor of reviving the 620-megawatt nuclear plant, declaring that it was “safe for use.”

“I have a bias. If I will make a decision, I will open it but it’s not for me to decide, it’s for the country to decide,” Cusi told the committee.

While Cusi assured that we have sufficient supply, reviving the Bataan plant would beef up power reserves, lowering the risk of parts of the country being placed under yellow and red alerts as what happened in recent months………

But Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the energy committee, opposed the plan, saying the needed $1-billion investment to refurbish the power plant would be better spent on “more feasible generation projects.”

Gatchalian added that the BNPP’s location atop a geological fault makes it a safety hazard for the entire Luzon island group.

He said the plant, built four decades ago, was simply outdated……..http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/579582/money/economy/senators-divided-on-revival-of-bataan-nuclear-power-plant

September 2, 2016 Posted by | Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

Anti-nuclear protests outside nuclear conference in Philippines

Protest-No!Protests outside nuke conference venue in Manila http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/protests-outside-nuke-conference-venue-in-manila-116083000516_1.html  IANS  |  Manila August 30, 2016 Around a dozen protesters gathered outside the venue of an international conference on nuclear power in this capital city on Tuesday, denouncing the development of atomic power in the Philippines.

The conference on the prospects of nuclear power in the Asia Pacific region hosted by thePhilippinesDepartment of Energy (DOE) brought together representatives from 18 countries who are members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to discuss the issues and challenges of nuclear power, reports Efe news .

 The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) organised the protest where the group members held up red placards that read “No To Nukes” and seven white umbrellas which together spelt out “No to another Fukushima” and “No to nukes”.

They also shouted slogans warning of the dangers of nuclear power and the threat of meltdowns, like the one at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. he protest was motivated by fears that the government is using the conference to revive the dormant Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, about 100 km west of Manila, which was built during the time of late Philippinesdictator Ferdinand Marcos but has never launched.

The conference will run until Thursday

August 31, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Philippines | Leave a comment

Manila nuclear power conference: Philippines consider restarting nuclear power project

Philippines may open mothballed Marcos-era nuclear power plant http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/30/asia-pacific/science-health-asia-pacific/philippines-may-open-mothballed-marcos-era-nuclear-power-plant/#.V8XzxVt97Gg 

MANILA – The Philippines is looking into operating the country’s only nuclear power plant, built four decades ago at more than $2 billion but never used, to ensure the long-term supply of clean and cheap electricity, its energy minister said.

The Southeast Asian country is joining more than two dozen other countries looking to add nuclear power to their energy mix, including neighbors Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said on Tuesday reviving the mothballed 620-megawatt nuclear plant in Bataan province, northwest of Manila, will require a $1 billion investment.

Nuclear generation is one of the options for the Philippines to meet its growing power needs, with annual electricity demand expected to rise by an average 5 percent until 2030, he said. “We have to weigh all our options, with emphasis not just on meeting capacity requirements, but sustainability and environmental obligations as well,” Cusi said, speaking at the opening of a three-day international conference on nuclear power in Manila.

Cusi will revive a government task force created in 2007 to study nuclear power as an alternative to imported fuel oil and coal, which currently provide more than half of the country’s energy mix.

He said technical experts, including those from the International Atomic Energy Agency, have been invited to help the country identify the next steps and come up with a “well-informed” decision.

Cusi is not committing any timetable for the study, but he expects the move to reignite protests against the project, especially by environmentalists and the Catholic Church arguing restarting the plant is unsafe and expensive.

“We need to move away from fossil fuels like coal but nuclear energy is not safe and will also harm the people and environment,” said Zaira Patricia Baniaga of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice in a statement issued before the conference.

The late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos order the plant built in 1976 in response to rising energy prices and it was finished in 1984.

The facility never started generating electricity after it was declared unsafe because it sits on a major earthquake fault line and lies near the Pinatubo volcano, which was dormant at that time.

Pinatubo’s 1991 eruption had no effect on the Bataan plant, 70 km (45 miles) away, but the project was mothballed in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

A decade ago Manila looked into reopening the plant but the 2011 Fukushima nuclear incident renewed concerns about safety.

August 31, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

Parts of Philippines May Submerge Due to Global Warming

climate-changeMore than 167,000 hectares of coastland – about 0.6% of the country’s total area – are projected to go underwater in the Philippines, especially in low-lying island communities. …

The Philippines government has been forced to take this into consideration. The Department of Environment and National Resources has its own climate change office, which has set up various programs to educate communities in high-risk areas. …

But soon, adaptation on a local level won’t be enough. Policy makers need to convince governments to curb their emissions on a global level.  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160606101406.htm

June 15, 2016 Posted by | climate change, oceans, Philippines | 1 Comment

Japan to buy more Philippine farm products if Manila resumes imports from Fukushima

MANILA – Remember that story we ran about a group of Filipino banana growers who were complaining about their shrinking share of the Japanese market despite a free-trade agreement between the two countries?

Well, here’s an interesting twist to the contentious implementation of the Philippine-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA), which both countries are reviewing.

According to the Department of Agriculture (DA), Tokyo is willing to relax import restrictions on Philippine bananas and other farm products if we agree to import products from Japan’s Fukushima prefecture.

To recall, Fukushima is home to the nuclear power plant that sustained damage after a powerful earthquake in 2011, raising fears of harmful radiation. Thereafter, the Philippines ceased importing farm products from Fukushima.

Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano said Japanese negotiators have asked for the resumption of Philippine imports of Fukushima-grown dairy, rice and fresh vegetables.

“They want us to lower our food safety requirements based on the fact that Canada and other countries have already accepted their farm products. But I don’t see any reason why,” Serrano said.

Besides Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom lifted import restrictions on Fukushima products as early as January last year.

Serrano said the DA will insist that product samples from Fukushima undergo tests at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) to ensure they are radiation-free before the country resumes imports. Agricultural imports require the DA’s clearance.

“Even if Mars already accepted their produce, it still has to undergo study by our own experts. We have to be careful since it’s their own technical report, which may differ from our own study,” Serrano said.

“It’s not a matter of volume. Even if [the shipment] is just one gram, if it has a radioactive content, it will not pass the requirements under the Food Safety Act,” he said.

“It’s very political for them to show that they have already addressed the problem. It’s what they want to project. There’s pressure. But I don’t see any reason to give in to their demand,” Serrano added.

During the review of the PJEPA, the Philippines has been prodding Japan to bring down duties on farm products. The Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) recently complained that its members have been losing market share, as Tokyo forges free-trade agreements with other banana-supplying countries, the latest of which was Indonesia.

In turn, Japan has asked the Philippines to reduce the number of tariff lines to a “manageable” level.

“Our main interest is our traditional exports like sugar, coconut oil, tropical fruits, fishery and processed food,” Serrano said.

“We want them [Japan] to bring down to zero all their agricultural tariffs to reciprocate our own reduction of tariff,” he said, adding that the Philippines had unilaterally reduced import duties.

“If they want to make true in their commitment to help Philippine agriculture and rural development, put their money where their mouth is,” Serrano said.

Source: Interaksyon

http://www.interaksyon.com/business/114255/japan-to-buy-more-philippine-farm-products-if-manila-resumes-imports-from-fukushima

July 17, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Philippines | | Leave a comment

Tokyo urges Manila to accept Fukushima farm produce

Tokyo is pressing Manila to relax its import restrictions on farm products from the Fukushima prefecture in exchange for more trade concessions under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), the Department of Agriculture (DA) revealed on Wednesday.

Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano said that Japanese negotiators want to resume exports of Fukushima-grown produce —including dairy, rice and fresh vegetables—to the Philippines after these were suspended amid concerns about radiation contamination following the nuclear crisis in March 2011.

“They want us to lower our food safety requirements based on the fact that Canada and other countries have already accepted their farm products. But I don’t see any reason why [we should],” Serrano told reporters.

The DA official said that if exports from Fukushima were to resume, all products coming from the prefecture should first undergo tests at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) to ensure that they are radiation-free.

“Even if Mars already accepted their produce, it still has to undergo study by our own experts. We have to be careful since it’s their own technical report, which may differ from our own study,” Serrano said.

It can be recalled that by January 24, New Zealand, Australia and Canada had lifted import restrictions on products from Fukushima Prefecture based on measurements of radioactive material. Britain allows imports as long as a government-issued radioactive material inspection certificate is submitted.

However, agricultural products from Fukushima prefecture are still widely shunned in other overseas markets, putting more pressure on the Japanese government revive its export market.

“It’s not a matter of volume. Even if [the shipment] is just one gram, if it has radioactive content, it will not pass the requirements under the Food Safety Act,” Serrano added.

“It’s very political for them to show that they have already addressed the problem. It’s what they want to project. There’s pressure. But I don’t see any reason to give in to their demand,” Serrano stressed.

For its part, Manila wants Tokyo to lower import duties on all possible agricultural products—mainly agricultural and marine products for which the Philippines has competitive advantage—that are viable for export to Japan.

“Our main interest is in our traditional exports—like sugar, coconut oil, tropical fruits, fishery and processed food,” Serrano said.

“We want them [Japan] to bring down to zero all their agricultural tariffs to reciprocate our own reduction of tariffs,” Serrano said, stressing that the Philippines has been ahead in reducing its tariff wall compared to Japan.

The DA official, however, said that Japan has appealed to Philippine negotiators, led by the Department of Trade and Industry, to further cut the number of tariff lines to a more “manageable” level.

“If they want to be true to their commitment to help Philippine agriculture and rural development, [they should] put their money where their mouth is,” he said, stressing that the DA wants to keep the number of tariff lines close to their earlier proposal to give the Philippines more elbowroom in the negotiations.

The JPEPA is a bilateral agreement that is intended to liberalize trade, investments and labor relations between the two countries. The Philippine government is seeking for a review of the JPEPA due to Japan’s failure to fulfill its own commitments under the agreement.

Source: The Manila Times

http://www.manilatimes.net/tokyo-urges-manila-to-accept-fukushima-farm-produce/200631/

July 16, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Philippines | | Leave a comment