PROTECT THE AMAZON OF THE OCEANS

Updated: Jul 19

PROTECT THE AMAZON OF THE OCEANS:

Financial institutions, withdraw your support from fossil gas and

LNG projects in the VIP!


www.protectvip.or


The Philippines is home to the Amazon of the Oceans - the Verde Island Passage (VIP), one of the richest, most productive, and biodiverse marine areas in the world. It is a marine corridor stretching more than 1.4 million hectares, and is the center of the center of marine shorefish biodiversity in the world - home to 60% of all the world’s known shore fish species, which trickle on to the rest of the Coral Triangle.3 It houses over 1,736 fish species, 338 coral species, and thousands of others.


The Amazon of the Oceans support food security globally and life on Earth, with the Philippines serving as one of the top seafood producers and exporters in the world.6 It is a crucial source of livelihood for millions of Filipinos through local tourism, fishing, and other marine industries.


Despite the many important roles it plays, there are numerous developments in surrounding areas that now threaten VIP. Its diverse marine life is vulnerable to careless tourism, chemical and water pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, and improper waste disposal, to name a few. But none of this is as destructive as the massively expanding fossil gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry in Batangas.


With hard won victories of communities and civic movements against coal in the Philippines resulting in a shrinking coal pipeline, the country now turns its eyes to another fossil fuel as its next preferred energy source. Authorities in energy development are falling for - and turning into peddlers of - the deceptions of the fossil gas industry: that fossil gas is cheap, reliable, and the bridge fuel needed on the way to a clean energy future. The Amazon of the Oceans is the unfortunate epicenter of massive expansion plans for fossil gas as Batangas, one of four provinces in its vicinity, houses not only 5 of 6 existing gas plants nationally, but also 8 of 27 proposed new plants, or 11.8 GW of the total 29.6 GW, and 7 of 9 planned terminals.


Today, projects in the most advanced development stages in Batangas provide a glimpse to the destruction the whole fleet of new fossil gas and LNG will bring in the VIP and other impacted areas. Case in point are Brgys. Ilijan and Dela Paz, the site of the Linseed Field Power Corporation and Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co.’s LNG terminal, set to be among the first LNG import facilities in the country.


As of March 12, 2022, Linseed-AG&P has flattened the coastal project site, amid concerns on the legality of their land clearing and conversion of the project site’s zoning from agroforestry to industrial. Soil carved out of the hill area is now dumped into the sea - and on top of underwater marine life in the area - to make way for the import facility’s jetty. In the distance, the 1,200 MW Ilijan gas plant continues to spew dirty air and unnaturally warm water back into the sea as it has been doing in the last two decades.


If all continues as proponents have planned, the power plant intends to receive its fossil gas supply from Linseed’s terminal by June 2022, alongside a new 1,700 MW plant of energy giant San Miguel Corporation (SMC) which seeks to begin the commissioning stage of its first unit before the year ends.

In October 2021, researchers and divers studied the impacts to marine life should the projects push through. These were some of the snapshots from study sites along the coast of the Ilijan-Dela Paz projects, where Linseed’s jetty is now also being built:


Marine life along the coast of Linseed-AG&P’s terminal, October 2021

On top of pre-construction destruction, Linseed-AG&P’s new terminal and the rest of the Batangas pipeline will herald increased shipping activities in the VIP.


VIP is but the tip of the iceberg in the looming destruction the fossil gas industry is set to cause. Similar impacts will be mirrored by the coastal communities to host the proposed fossil gas projects across the country, many of them thanks to SMC, the same company that preciously spearheaded coal expansion in the country: a 300 MW LNG plant in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental facing the Tanon Strait; a 600 MW LNG plant in the coastal and agricultural municipality of Tabango, Leyte; a 300 MW LNG plant in Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur; and a monstrous 12-unit, 6,492 MW LNG facility in the country’s fishing capital, Navotas, to name a few.


The massive expansion of fossil gas projects in the Philippines and Asia are also a death sentence to vulnerable communities and ecosystems in the face of a raging climate crisis. However, the fossil gas industry is no savior from a coal-based energy sector. While less carbon intensive than coal, it releases large amounts of methane—a greenhouse gas whose capacity to trap heat is 80 times more than CO2 over a 20-year period.


This expansion would not happen if not for the government and private actors, particularly financial institutions, fanning the flames of fossil gas. There is still time before more coasts in VIP and elsewhere are made barren, more waters are stripped of life, and new gas plants and terminals begin their deadly operations. We urge you not to be culprit to the destruction of the Amazon of the Oceans. We also advise you to exercise the highest degree of diligence by assessing the risks of investing in fossil gas projects amidst tightening regulations on air and water pollution, energy transition policies, climate litigation risks, and strong opposition from the various sectors of society. It is not too late for you to figure out that fossil gas projects are a terrible investment.


Stop Linseed-AG&P, SMC, and other gas projects in VIP! Protect the Amazon of the Oceans and all affected communities and life systems in the Philippines and Asia from fossil gas!


SIGNED:

  1. Protect VIP Campaign Network, Philippines

  2. Power for People Coalition (P4P), Philippines

  3. Green Thumb Coalition (GTC), Philippines

  4. Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Philippines

  5. Archdiocese of Manila - Ministry on Ecology, Philippines

  6. Archdiocesan Ministry on Environment (AMEn), Batangas, Philippines

  7. Association of Small Farmers in Purok Ilaya (ASFa-PI), Philippines

  8. Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (Solidarity of Filipino Workers/BMP), Philippines

  9. Bukluran ng Manggagawanag Pilipino - Negros, Philippines

  10. Bukluran ng mga Mangingisda ng Batangas (BMB), Philippines

  11. Caritas, Philippines

  12. Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), Philippines

  13. Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (CREST), Philippines

  14. Convergence of Initiatives for Environmental Justice, Philippines

  15. Coal Free Bataan Movement, Philippines

  16. Concerned Citizens of Sta. Cruz, Zambales (CCOS), Philippines

  17. Diocese of San Carlos, Negros Occidental, Philippines

  18. EcoWaste Coalition, Philippines

  19. Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), Philippines

  20. Group of Environmental Socialist (GOES), Philippines

  21. Health Care Without Harm, Philippines

  22. In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND), Philippines

  23. Kahugpungan sa Mag-uumang Ormocanon, Inc., Philippines

  24. Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod - Negros, Philippines

  25. Lao FisherFolks Organization, Philippines

  26. Laudato Si’ Movement (LSM), Philippines

  27. Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center - Friends of the Earth, Philippines

  28. Living Laudato Si' Philippines

  29. Lunhaw, Diocese of San Carlos, Philippines

  30. Mindoro Greens, Philippines

  31. Ministry of Ecology, Diocese of Lucena, Philippines

  32. No Burn Pilipinas, Philippines

  33. Nuclear Free Bataan Movement, Philippines

  34. Oceana International, Philippines

  35. Oriang Eastern Visayas, Philippines

  36. Pagasa Youth Association of the Philippines (PYAP) Cadiz, Philippines

  37. Pagtinabangay Foundation, Philippines

  38. Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI), Philippines

  39. Philippine Movement for Climate Justice - Mindanao, Philippines

  40. Quezon for Environment (QUEEN), Philippines

  41. REpower Negros, Philippines

  42. Rizal Community Fishermen Cooperative (RCFC), Philippines

  43. Sablayan Seafoods Fishermen Cooperative (SSFC), Philippines

  44. Salika Agriculture Cooperative in Mindoro, Philippines

  45. Samahan ng Kababaihan sa Rizal, Philippines

  46. Sanlakas, Philippines

  47. Save Sual Movement, Philippines

  48. Sectoral Transparency Alliance on Natural Resource Governance, Cebu, Philippines

  49. Sectoral Center for Policy Reforms (SCPR), Philippines

  50. Sipaway Seagrass Guardians, Negros Occidental, Philippines

  51. Social Action Center of the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan - Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Philippines

  52. SOS Earth, Philippines

  53. St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish, Philippines

  54. 350 Pilipinas, Philippines

  55. WomanHealth Philippines - Ormoc, Philippines

  56. Women’s Organization for Reform, Development, and Solidarity, Philippines

  57. YES Mindoro, Philippines

  58. Zambales Lingap Kalikasan (ZALIKA), Philippines

  59. Zambales Movement for Climate Justice, Philippines

  60. Zero Hour, Philippines

  61. Save the Beauty of La Union, Philippines

  62. Aid/Watch, Australia

  63. ALTSEAN, Burma

  64. Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development, Asia

  65. BankTrack, Netherlands

  66. Blue Dalian, China

  67. Centre for Citizens Conserving Environment & Management (CECIC), Uganda

  68. Climaximo, Portugal

  69. Conservation Council WA, Australia

  70. ENVIRONICS TRUST, India

  71. Extinction Rebellion San Francisco Bay Area, USA

  72. Friends of the Earth, Japan

  73. Friends of the Earth, USA

  74. Green Longjiang, China

  75. Growthwatch, India

  76. Honor the Earth, USA

  77. Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES), Japan

  78. Jubilee Australia

  79. Justice Institute, Guyana

  80. Kiko Network, Japan

  81. KRuHA - People's Coalition for the Right to Water, Indonesia

  82. Latinoamérica Sustentable, Latin America

  83. Les Amis de la Terre / Friends of the Earth, France

  84. Manushya Foundation, Thailand

  85. Mekong Watch, Japan

  86. NGO Forum on ADB, Asia

  87. Oil Change International, USA

  88. Oyu Tolgoi Watch, Mongolia

  89. Rainforest Action Network, USA

  90. ReCommon, Europe

  91. Rivers without Boundaries Coalition, Mongolia

  92. RwB, North Eurasia

  93. Scholar Tree Alliance, China

  94. Snow Alliance, China

  95. 350 Colorado, USA

  96. 350 Hawaii, USA

  97. 350.org, Asia

  98. 350.org, Japan

  99. 350 Conejo / San Fernando Valley, USA

  100. Third Act Virginia, USA

  101. Turtle Island Restoration Network, USA

  102. Urgewald, Germany

  103. University of Montana, USA

  104. Uplift, UK

  105. Youth Emergency Auxiliary Service Sierra Leone, West Africa

  106. Zero Hour, SouthEast Asia

  107. Zero Hour, USA

End notes:

1Conservation International Philippines, “Protecting the Natural Riches of the Verde Island Passage”, accessed April 22, 2021 at https://www.conservation.org/philippines/projects/verde-island-passage

2 Saul Pa-a, “Declaration of Verde Island Passage as World Heritage Site sought”, Philippine News Agency, September 24, 2018. Accessed on April 23, 2021 at https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1048958

2 Conservation International Philippines, “Protecting the Natural Riches of the Verde Island Passage”

4 Coral Triangle Initiative, “Five Provinces And National Agencies Join Forces To Protect And Conserve The Verde Island Passage”, April6, 2017, Accessed on May 3, 2021 at https://www.coraltriangleinitiative.org/index.php?q=news/five-provinces-and-national-agencies-join-forces-protect-and-conserve-verde-island-passage

5 Shana Angela S. Cervania, “Protect VIP for the sake of its ecosystem and local communities –SEA Institute”, Manila Standard Digital. September 30, 2019. Accessed on May 3, 2021 at https://manilastandard.net/biyahero/travel-logs/307452/protect-vip-for-the-sake-of-its-ecosystem-and-local-communities-sea-institute.html

6 Jennifer Viron, “Country Fisheries Trade: Philippines”, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center. Accessed on October 5, 2021 at http://www.seafdec.org/country-fisheries-trade-philippines/.

7 Shana Angela S. Cervania, “Protect VIP for the sake of its ecosystem and local communities –SEA Institute”, Manila Standard Digital. September 30, 2019. Accessed on May 3, 2021 at https://manilastandard.net/biyahero/travel-logs/307452/protect-vip-for-the-sake-of-its-ecosystem-and-local-communities-sea-institute.html.

8 Official Gazette, “Executive Order 578” or “Establishing The National Policy On Biological Diversity, Prescribing Its Implementation Throughout The Country, Particularly In The Sulu Sulawesi Marine Ecosystem And The Verde Island Passage Marine Corridor”, accessed on April 18, 2021 at https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/2006/11/08/executive-order-no-578/

9 The task force is composed of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), and all concerned local government units

10 Agencies include DENR, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)

11 Shana Angela S. Cervania, “Protect VIP for the sake of its ecosystem and local communities –SEA Institute”

12 Union of Concerned Scientists, “Environmental Impacts of Natural Gas.”, Accessed at https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/environmental-impacts-natural-gas

 

[1] IPCC, 2021: Technical Summary, p. TS-67


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