Statement on the occasion of the President’s 4th State of the Nation Address

Advocates and supporters of Right of Nature PH Network troop to United People’s SONA 2019 urging President Rodrigo Duterte to take a decisive political action on continuing environmental degradation in the country. Artist and media personality Lourd de Veyra (6th from right) briefly joins the RON contingents.


The Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) is calling on President Rodrigo Duterte on the occasion of his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) to uphold the constitutional mandate to protect the natural patrimony of the nation and the peoples and communities that depend on them. As he opens the 18th Congress, we urge President Duterte to take a decisive political action to reverse the continuing environmental degradation and impending destruction of the environment and displacement of people brought by its own development programs and the national and foreign policies that it has adopted (or the lack of it).

The China-funded Kaliwa Dam to be built in Infanta, Quezon will displace and further uproot the indigenous Dumagat from their ancestral land in the Sierra Madre mountains. The aggressive push for the reclamation of Manila Bay to pave the way for corporate-led development will only heighten the vulnerabilities of the about 3 million people in the municipalities along the Bay area to the occurrences of floods and landslides, which could potentially damage agricultural, commercial, and residential areas and further marginalize farmers and fisherfolk.

The blatant acts of aggression of China against Filipino fisherfolk at the West Philippine Sea despite the favourable UN arbitral award to the Philippines remained uncontested by the Duterte Administration. Such stance has put fisherfolk in harm’sway and open up the fishery resources to Chinese’ unbridled exploitation.

In the midst of these challenging context, PMPI in partnership with NASSA/Caritas-Philippines, environmental NGOs and sectoral representatives form IPs, fisherfolk, farmers, women and youth, has concluded it 3-day People’s Congress for RON with a common resolved to push for the adoption of the Bill on RON Law.

The adoption of RON Law will mean that the ecosystems and natural communities have the right to exist and flourish, and people, communities and governments have the authority to defend those rights on behalf of those ecosystems and communities.

With our partners in the Rights of Nature PH network and our communities in Metro Manila, we shall march to Batasang Pambansa to join the United People’s SONA, to condemn government’s unpatriotic and cowardly stance on the West Philippine Sea, and its decisions to pursue Kaliwa Dam and Manila Bay reclamation projects.

All three issues deserve a strong opposition given the impending damages it will bring not only to human lives but to the other species within these ecosystems. Let us defend Mother Nature, the source of all our natural patrimony and life of our people and communities.