Gov’t Selling Protected Seas to TNCs – Environmental Groups

Proponents said the oil exploration would cost Petronas and the Philippine government some $ 20 million, which would yield 160 million barrels of oil, the biggest oil deposits in the country according to former Energy Secretary Lotilla.

Lotilla said over 20 firms had eyed energy exploration contracts in the country, specifically in nine areas offered by DoE for petroleum exploration, with a aggregate total of 71,357.3 square kilometers in Cagayan province, in he Mindoro-Cuyo area, east Palawan, the Visayan basin, and the Agusan-Davao area in Mindanao.

”The shopping mall-like three-day sale propaganda of DoE is paying good dividends for the transnational clients of Malacañang and the bureaucrat capitalists in the Macapagal-Arroyo administration at the expense of the Filipino people and the environment,” Pamalakaya’s Hicap said.

Crocodile dundees in Northwest Palawan, the Dutch takes Bicol

While Australian firms AustralAsia and Ottoman Energy groups are conducting oil and gas exploration activities in Cebu-Bohol Strait and Northeastern Leyte, another Australian company- NIDO Petroleum Ltd. is training it sights at Northwest Palawan.

In its disclosure to the Australian Stock Exchange, NIDO issued 78.2 million ordinary shares to investors in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia to raise cash for the funding of its exploration activities off the coast of the island province.

David Whitby, NIDO managing director said the company raised $ 17.9 million from the issuance of 78 million ordinary shares to prospected investors. The funds would be used to finance oil explorations covered by service contract 54 which covers 540,000 hectares of marine waters, service contract 58, which covers 1.3 million hectares and service contract 63, which covers 1.056 million hectares, all in Northwest

“Where will the people fish? in Japan? in China? in Taiwan? The offshore mining company has identified practically all of the waters off Northwest Palawan. Government authorities and private security personnel of NIDO would prohibit fish catch activities once these crocodile dundees start their operations,” Pamalakaya said.

The Otto Energy Ltd. group is also following the NIDO hunt for investor partners for service contracts 50, 52 and 55 in Northwest Palawan.

Not to be outdone, the Scotland registered but Dutch owned Premier Oil is set to undertake oil exploration off the coast of Ragay Gulf in Bicol region under service contract 43. The Dutch group will invest between $ 3.6 million and $ 9.6 million for oil exploration with support funding from partners—Pearl Energy of Singapore and the PNOC-EC.

Meanwhile, the oil exploration group Wellex Petroleum Corp said it has signed a partnership with a subsidiary of China Petroleum and Chemical Crop (Sinopec), one China’s biggest oil companies to venture into oil mining activities in the Philippines.

The Filipino mining group said Sinopec is now in the process of applying for exploration permits in Palawan and Samar areas.

“Who’s next in line among the prospected investors of the Arroyo government—the Germans? the Italians, the Belgians?, the South Koreans?” Pamalakaya said.

The government is expecting to generate at least $ 180 million in fresh investments from opening the country’s waters to foreign investors for oil exploration, according to DoE undersecretary Guillermo Balce. He added that 9 service contracts are now being processed and would likely be awarded by next month.

The DoE said oil exploration sites will be declared in Quezon, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Davao Oriental and Zamboanga Sibugay.

“The government is inviting investors as if it is a huge realty corporation conducting regular open house activities. This is tragic, really tragic,” Pamalakaya said.

Severe fish crisis

Pamalakaya warned of severe fish crisis if the government will not cancel all offshore mining activities in the Visayan Sea, in Palawan and other parts of the country adding that the far reaching effect of oil and exploration could lead to the decrease of 600,000 metric tons in the yearly production of fish in the country or approximately 20 percent annually.

The group said the offshore mining in Central Visayas and other parts of the Visayan Sea alone will affect not less than 100,000 small fishermen and 500,000 dependents, will further exacerbate the problem of food security of 87 million Filipinos.

Pamalakaya said the left-and-right oil and gas exploration in the Visayan Sea will affect fish production in Region VI composed of provinces Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental which account for an average for 350,000 metric tons of fish harvest per year, while Region VII composed of Negros Oriental, Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor account for 205,000 metric tons of fish produced.

Region VIII is made up of Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Western Samar and Southern Leyte yield and average of 100,000 metric tons of fish per year. (

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