AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People joins this year’s celebration of World Oceans Day. World Oceans Day is an annual celebration that highlights the crucial role the oceans play in our planet and the urgent task of conserving it. This year’s theme “Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean”  reminds us that genuine change for our society and planet can only be achieved through collective action, and not just individual effort.
In the past years, various people’s organizations, scientists and environmentalists rallied against reclamation in the Philippines. Scientists from Silliman University and residents of Dumaguete campaigned against the destructive 174-hectare Dumaguete reclamation, which seeks to destroy three marine protected areas . The Coron reclamation was also halted through the efforts of the people, although hectares of coastal ecosystems and parts of the mountain had already been destroyed before the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) cancelled the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) of the project . In Bulacan, fisherfolk, coastal residents and scientists continue to resist San Miguel Corporation’s Bulacan Aerotropolis project, which has already destroyed mangroves and deprived fisherfolk their livelihood . At least 187 reclamation projects nationwide per the records of the Philippine Reclamation Authority  threaten coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove forests that serve as habitats and nursery grounds of fish and other marine species.
In the West Philippine Sea, fisherfolk from Zambales, Mindoro and Palawan continue to resist China’s illegal fishing and reclamation activities, which has already brought destruction to our coral reefs . Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing remains one of the challenges in effective and scientific fisheries management, which can hinder genuine development of our fisheries sector. The destruction of coral reefs is also a threat to food security.
Globally and locally, climate activists, mostly from the youth sector, continue to voice out their opposition against fossil fuel burning . The continuous rise of carbon emissions worsens global warming and results in sea level rise and ocean acidification and warming. Worsening sea level rise and strong typhoons threaten many coastal and island nations, especially developing countries in the Global South like the Philippines. Ocean acidification and warming affect marine ecosystems, which also threatens food security.
Amid all issues related to our oceans, world and national leaders remain deaf on the calls of the people. It is high time that the people collectively seek accountability from the government’s criminal negligence on protecting the environment. The people must reclaim the control, management and development of our oceans and its natural resources. Let us continue to defend them from the plunder and destruction of big capitalists and foreign encroachers. We must solidify our unity as Filipinos in guarding our national patrimony to secure a better future for the next generation to enjoy the country’s national resources. ###
 UN World Oceans Day 2022. https://unworldoceansday.org/
 Rappler. (2021, September 10). Dumaguete mayor, council halt contract signing with Smart City developer. https://www.rappler.com/nation/dumaguete-mayor-remollo-council-halt-contract-signing-smart-city-developer/
 Inquirer.net. (2022, May 23). DENR cancels ECC of reclamation project in Coron. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1601149/denr-cancels-ecc-of-reclamation-project-in-coron
 Mongabay. (2020, September 17). Missing mangroves are root of contention over Philippine airport project. https://news.mongabay.com/2020/09/missing-mangroves-are-root-of-contention-over-philippine-airport-project/
 Inquirer.net. (2022, April 2). Duterte puts reclamation applications on hold. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1576941/duterte-puts-reclamationapplications-on-hold
 Inquirer.net (2022, June 6). Zambales fisherfolk resist China’s fishing ban. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1607032/zambales-fisherfolk-resist-chinas-fishing-ban
 Rappler. (2021, November 6). Filipino youth urge global leaders to deliver on climate promises. https://www.rappler.com/environment/filipino-youth-urge-global-leaders-deliver-climate-promises/