Bangsa Moro, current events, History

Federalism for All: Chance for lasting Peace

The Mindanao problem is ultimately a POWER problem – the power of one group over another. It is a problem of colonization. The fact that there was a law called the Legislative Act 4197 or Quirino-Recto Colonization of Mindanao Act, which was enacted on 12 February 1935 is very telling. The Commonwealth considered the Act as a lasting solution to Mindanao colony. The law enabled a massive exodus of settlers from Luzon and Visayas to Mindanao, with complete government support.

Partly in response to the Act, on 18 March 1935, 150 Maranao datus and sultans signed a manifesto, known as the Dansalan Declaration, and submitted it to the US President. The datus and sutans opposed the annexation of Mindanao to Luzon and Visayas.

A year and a half later, Commonwealth President Quezon signed into law Commonwealth Act 141 which classified all Moro lands as PUBLIC LANDS, thus making all the Moros squatters in their own homeland.

Today, the social reality constructed by the Filipino leaders since the Commonwealth, supported by the vast resources of the government, has now been fairly entrenched such that the word Colonization or Occupation of Mindanao seems out of place.

The Philippine narrative that is the bedrock of the imagined Philippine nation goes something like this:

The Philippines is one country and until recently, the only Christian nation in Asia. It has minorities, who are also citizens of this nation-state. The citizens are called Filipinos. They belong to one race, one culture, one psychology, one destiny, one history. Those who do not think they should be a part of this nation-state have no choice because there is only one country, the Philippines. The fundamental law of the land is its Constitution.

The media constantly reinforces this narrative. In “Under the Crescent Moon: Rebellion in Mindanao”(Q.C.:2000), top journalists Vitug and Gloria says:  “Mindanao was part of the Philippines ever since the Spanish colonizers came and created boundaries in what were formerly trading networks”

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

History is “the act of selecting, analyzing and writing about the past. It is something that is done, that is constructed.” (Davidson and Lytle 1982)

The grand historical narrative is this:

first massThe Archipelago is nothing but a bunch of barangays ruled by datus. “Mother Spain” came to the Philippines and gave the natives Christianity and civilization – education, language, the arts, architecture and even cuisine.

For 350 years, the Spanish nurtured the people and protected them from the murderous raids of the Moros – the pirates

THE TERM FILIPINO

Throughout the Spanish rule in the Philippines, the term Filipino was reserved for pureblood Spaniards, differentiated only as peninsulares (those born in the Spanish Peninsula) and insulares (those born in the Islands). The Christianized natives were never called Filipinos. They were referred to as indios or naturales. Even the mestizos (half-breeds) were not called Filipinos.

In the latter part of the 19th century, Governor-General Clavecilla ordered all indios (except Manila’s local nobility, i.e., descendants of Rajah Suleiman and Lakandula) to adopt Spanish names in pain of punishment if they refused to do so. Thus, present-day Filipinos bear Spanish names. Having a Spanish name does not make one a Spaniard.

When the Aguinaldo government appropriated the term Filipino for the indios, the

europeanized indios
Europeanized Indios

identification with the Spanish masters became complete. In one semantic stroke, the history of the Philippines became the history of the indios (the present-day Christian Filipinos) and not of the Spaniards (the original Filipinos).

This is a grave malady. By appropriating the name Filipino, the present-day Filipinos think that the Filipinos referred to in history indicate them and not the Spaniards. This makes them identify with the Spanish, forgetting that under Spain, their forefathers were virtual slaves – mandated to do forced labor and were considered eternal minors.

Leon Ma. Guerrero, one of the elites who constructed the “imaginary nation” called Filipino nation, had a hard time translating Rizal’s novel, Noli Me Tangere. In the novel, Rizal used the word Filipino to mean Spaniards in the Philippines which was incomprehensible to most readers in the 1950s who were brought up to believe that the term Filipino meant them, i.e. Christianized natives. Benedict Anderson (1994) wrote :

“…young Filipinos would at once see, in any straight translation from the Spanish, that they do not exist within the novel’s pages. Filipinasof course appear, but they are exactly what today’s Filipinas are not: ‘pure-blood’ Spanish Creoles.”

Guerrero, in his attempt to fit the Noli into the elites’ “nation-state project”, effectively noli me tangererevised history. The Filipinos in Guerrero’s translation considered both Spain and Philippines as homes, worshiped European-looking deities, spoke foreign languages, alluded to Greco-Roman classical mythology and fell in love with Caucasian ladies. References to colonial abuse were rendered bland and ineffective. And since the modern-day Filipinos believe that they (or their forefathers) were the ones referred to in the book, it is but natural for them to imbibe the thoughts and beliefs of the Noli’s characters. In effect, Guerrero re-wrote theNoli. Jose Rizal must have turned in his grave when the translation was published and made required reading for Filipino students.

And so the confusion of the modern-day Filipinos’ identity continues. The historical narrative continues as such:

In 1896, Bonifacio and the Katipunan revolted against the Spanish. In 1898, with the assistance of Commodore Dewey, Aguinaldo defeated the Spaniards and proclaimed Independence. Soon after, the Philippine-American War erupted and by 1902, it was officially over. Philippines became an American territory.

New Filipino leaders – Quezon, Osmena, Roxas, etc. – emerged. America bestowed democracy to the Philippines. America pacified Mindanao. Quezon et al worked for Independence. America declared a Commonwealth and gave Filipinos self-government. World War II came and Filipinos fought side by side with Americans against Japanese. After WWII, America granted Philippine Independence. And the Philippines is now a democratic republican nation with a homogeneous people and culture, thanks to Mother America

In short, the Moros and Christian Filipinos were colonized by the Spaniards and Americans and they share the same colonial history. The only difference is that the Moros were mostly bandits and so had to be punished (Spanish “punitive expeditions”) every so often, as the grand narrative goes.

And since Philippine history books recounting events from 1521- 1886 were about the Spaniards in the Philippines including Philippine literature like Noli Me Tangere, the Filipinos identify with the Spaniards.

The Christianized Filipinos’ (or Indios’) historical experience with the Moros was fret with horrors. Caught between the Moros and the Spaniards, the Indios suffered terribly from both parties. Forced to side with the Spaniards, they bore the brunt of Moro retaliatory raids in their communities. And to ensure their cooperation against the Moros, the Spaniards demonized the Moros in their literature, church sermons and stage plays like the moro-moro where the Muslim is always the villain.

INDIO-FILIPINOS AS NEW COLONIZERS

When America gave Moroland to the Filipinos in 1946, the Indios (now called Filipinos) found themselves, at least theoretically, masters of the Islands. The Colonization of Mindanao was pursued vigorously with slogans like “Mindanao, Land of Promise” to entice the Indios to settle in Mindanao. Finally, the Indios became colonizers.

Filipino leaders promoted the slogan, “Go South, Young Man!” imitating the slogan “Go West, Young Man” which the Americans used to promote the colonization of the Western United States which belonged to the American Indians. And to make the analogy even stonger, the Indios referred to the Moros as Tribes just like the Navajo or the Iroquois.

In constructing the “Filipino nation”, the Grand Narrative of the Christian Filipinos and the government is embodied in the “One-Nation Theory.”

One-Nation One-History Syndrome

The Sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao were established ca. 1400’s. According to “official” Philippine history, the Philippines (Luzon, Visayas, Palawan and Mindanao) was discovered by Fernando Magallanes in 1521. However, historical accounts say that Mindanao and Palawan were already known to the rest of the world way before that time.

If one were to visit the Malacañang Museum, a guide would point out a 16th century map that he/she would describe as the oldest map that shows the Philippines. A closer look at it would reveal that the map indicates only Mindanao and Palawan. Luzon and Visayas were not yet “discovered”.

The official historical view claims that 350 years of Spanish rule in the Philippines included Moroland. Spanish attacks against the Moros were called “punitive expeditions against rebellions.” Moro victories over the Spanish were denied or ignored. Moro raids on the Christian natives were called pirate attacks.

This is what can be called “the one-nation one-history syndrome”. This syndrome propagates the myth that the present-day Philippines has always been one nation sharing one history. It is alleged that the only difference between the Moros and the Christianized natives (indios) was that the Moros continually resisted while the indios resisted only intermittently (Dagohoy Rebellion, Diego Silang rebellion, etc.)

There is a preponderance of evidence against this myth. While the Indios were under Spanish colonial rule, the Moro sultanates thrived. The Moros were considered sovereigns by European powers, including Spain, as proven by treaties between them. Even the US signed the Bates Treaty with Sulu thus proving that the Treaty of Paris was not sufficient or even valid in the case of Sulu. Primary sources abound in the archives not only in Manila but also in Madrid, London, and Amsterdam.

BANGSA MORO (Moro Nation)

In the late 1960s, the Moro Young Turks led by Abbas, Jr., Misuari et al, supported by their elders proposed another narrative: the Bangsa Moro nation as distinct from the Filipino nation.

This Bangsa Moro nation concept is steeped in history, with the Moros unconquered by colonizers and as great defenders of Islam.

Graeme Turner (1993) says that “implicit in every culture is a ‘theory of reality’ which motivates its ordering of that reality into good and bad, right and wrong, them and us, and so on.”(p.133) The belief system produced by this ‘theory of reality’ is called ideology.

Ideology and history are both social constructs. Turner says, “Ideology works to obscure the process of history so that it appears natural, a process we cannot control and which it seems churlish to question.” (Turner, Graeme (1993) Film as Social PracticeLondon: Routledge)

A nation’s collective memory is complex and in continuous flux. “It is basically made up of stories: the myriad stories which people tell each other; and, more significantly, the mass mediated narratives of a nation’s ‘official’ history, told in books and other cultural artifacts like television and feature films.” (Ituralde 1995)

TWO SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS / NARRATIVES

In the Mindanao Conflict – two constructs are fighting – the “Filipino nation” construct as created by successive Philippine governments and the Bangsa Moro construct exemplified by the MNLF and MILF.

On the one hand, there is the “one-nation narrative” that asserts the indivisibility of the “Filipino nation”, proud of its Christian religion and Western heritage and identifies with the Spaniards of historical texts. This group believes in “democracy” defined as rule of the majority.

On the other hand is the Bangsa Moro narrative that gives prime importance to the Islamic religion and Moros’ historical fight against Westerners. Believers in this narrative hope to get back their former territory and freedom.

With two diverging social constructs, it would be very difficult to find a middle ground. A million dialogues will not accomplish anything if the premises of both groups are clearly divergent.

With number and over-all resources on its side, the Christian Filipino would not easily give in to any demands of the other party. The logical thing to do would be to convince the other party of the soundness of the “one-nation” principle and debunk the Bangsa Moro or Moro nation theory by emphasizing on the divisions of the Moro nation.

Appdurai (1996) says: “Through ‘print capitalism’ (Benedict Anderson 1991) and ‘electronic capitalism’ such as films and TV (Warner 1992, Lee 1993), citizens imagine themselves to belong to a national society. The modern nation-state in this view grows less out of natural facts – such as language, blood, soil and race – and more out of a quintessential cultural product, a product of the collective imagination.” With all resources at its command, the government can simply reinvigorate its construction of the reality of “One Filipino nation”.

The dominant group will insure that the received reality prevents an examination of the non-viability of present situation (one-nation principle).

The Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF was junked as well as the BBL of Pres. Aquino because the dominant group refuses to consider that the status quo is not viable. In the Filipino grand narrative, there is only One Constitution for ALL citizens just as there is one “national language, one national anthem, one national dress, etc.” There is only one government, one security force, etc.

The BBL of the Pres. Duterte also falls short of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by MILF and the Philippine Government.

While the “Filipino nation” has been continually constructed since the Commonwealth, the “Moro Nation” concept came up only in the late 1960s. And because of lack of mass media and other resources, such concept has not yet taken root as much as the Filipino nation.

Also, for centuries, the Moro groups have been keenly aware of their own history individually – Sultanates of Sulu, Maguindanao and Buayan and the Pat a Pangampong ko Ranao. These were virtual nation-states and acted independently of fellow Moro states.Thus, many Moros are still not comfortable with the notion of one Moro nation.

CHANGING THE NARRATIVE

changing narrative

Both sides must examine their theories, assumptions, axioms, etc

History is a construct. History is used as the “memory” of another socially and culturally constructed concept, the nation. But what is constructed can be re-constructed. For the Filipino nation to find its Identity and be at peace with the Moros, it is high time that it’s “memory” be re-investigated. Philippine history does not need re-construction. It merely needs re-discovery.

Using new approaches like microhistory, forgetting the grand narratives and keeping an open mind, Moros and Indios might find that they have many commonalities and that in many ways, they do have a shared history and be better off with a shared future, where power is equitably distributed and shared.

We don’t have to belong to One Nation. But we can belong to One State. There can be MANY NATIONS in ONE STATE or MANY STATES in ONE NATION-STATE. There can be many nations in a Bangsa Moro (Moro Nation) and many more in the Filipino nation just as there are many nations in a British or German nation and much more in a European Nation.

The dissolution of the USSR, Yugoslavia and other nation-states born after WWII as well as the many problems experienced by many other nation-states like Thailand, Myanmar, Iraq, Philippines, the Middle Eastern countries, etc. means that the “nation-state” project of the Western world has failed. A new system may be the way of the future: nations-state like the European Union – many nations in one state.

FEDERALISM FOR ALL
federalism
In a federal Philippine nation-state, we can have several autonomous states like the Tagalog State, the Ilocano State, the Bicol State, the Ilonggo State, the Cebuano/Binisaya State in the Visayas, the Binisaya State in Mindanao,etc. And we could have a Maranao State, a Tausug State (or Sultanate of Sulu) and a Maguindanao/Buayan State.

The Christian Filipinos do not have to begrudge the Moros having an autonomous region or a sub-state because they, too, will have their own federal states!!!

RECOMMENDATIONS TO PRESENT-DAY FILIPINOS (MOROS and NON-MOROS):

–       Study history – Moro, Indio, Filipino, Islamic, World history
–       Practice critical thinking – do not believe books or teachers unless their arguments are backed by proofs – documents and logic.
–       Look for points of convergence, commonalities
–       Disseminate what you have learned or concluded through whatever media – the internet (blogs, websites, social media network), printed materials like magazines, papers, journals, TV, radio, speaking engagements, etc.
–     Look for alternatives to the grand narratives and help create a new one that would embrace all.

For the first time in history, there is a REAL chance of having a Federal State.  This is going to be a long process. Not any region can be a federal state immediately. There will be a process to follow.

A Peaceful Philippines is a Prosperous Philippines. The Federal path may be the only path to lasting peace in the Philippines.

current events, Scam / Scandal

Humongous Gas Find? Just a lot of gas!

While browsing the ‘Net for my lost blogposts, I found this one:

Reflections blog GAS Find

Dated June 6, 2006, it says:

Being a petroleum engineer, friends and relatives time and again ask me about oil and gas reserves in the Philippines. Last week, I had been asked again. Below are copies of an article and a letter to the Editor about the oil and gas scenario in the Philippines. In both instances, I tried to tell people that we do not have giant gas fields and that our Energy department and PNOC officials are simply iincompetent.

But then, in a society that rewards incompetents, what can one expect?

(IMAGES of newspaper pages)

We will never find substantial oil & gas reserves unless we will have a government (bureaucracy) run by COMPETENT people.

In a parliamentary form of government, everything will depend on the bureacracy. A bureaucracy run by incompetents and mediocres would be catastrophic in a parliamentary form of government. For those who are in favor of Cha-Cha (Charter Change), think again.

Run by Lawyers

Just think, how could the Dept. of Energy or National Power Corporation know what they are doing when they are run by lawyers and not by people with Energy-related academic and professional background?

Read my post Knowledge Society – Philippine Energy sector (redirecdted)

=============(end)==================

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Well, the government never stops lying to the public about our energy situation. I know because I worked at the Dept. of Energy and Philippine National Oil Company, and I saw the sheer incompetence of the people there.  When I saw DOE’s first Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) which was submitted to Congress, I was shocked. The figures came from the air. I immediately wrote a Memorandum Report to the Dept. Secretary, detailing the inaccuracies of the PEP and urged him to do a much better PEP than the one done by the previous Secretary.

Last May 22, the government announced the ff.:

“The discovery of this oil field by DOE and China International Mining Petroleum Company Limited (CIMP C. Ltd.) is a major breakthrough in the Philippine oil and gas industry. The supply of petroleum and natural gas from the Alegria Oil Field is expected to last until 2037, producing 360 barrels of oil per day. Ang oil field na ito ay magbibigay daan sa masmadaming trabaho at ang pagpapalago sa ekonomiya ng munisipalidad. “


I wrote a comment on FB that goes:

360 bbls a day? ONLY??! KALOKOHAN ‘YAN! (That’s crazy!)
We have been producing 20,000 to 30,000 bbls a day for decades!!!
Our petroleum products demand (this is after Refining crude oil) is around 455 Thousand Bbls Per Calendar Day!!!

Gas reserves is 9.6 billion cubic feet or 277.5 Million cubic meters. ONLY?! KALOKOHAN ‘YAN!

The country’s gas production for 2016 alone was 3.98 billion cubic METERS — way much more than the proven gas reserves of this new-found field!!! The country’s proved gas reserves is 98.54 billion cu METERS (1 January 2017 estimate)

Operating such wells might be even more expensive than revenue prospects.

THIS IS ANOTHER SCAM! PERHAPS THE MINUSCULE OIL & GAS FIELD IS JUST AN EXCUSE TO GET (265,000 HAS.) TWO HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND HECTARES OF LAND!!!

MAS MALAKI ANG PAKINABANG NG 265,000 HECTARES OF LAND KUMIN SA 360 BBLS OF CRUDE OIL PER DAY. Krudo ‘yan. Kelangan mo pa i-refine ‘yan para gamitin.Wala namang refinery ang gobyerno. Binenta na ang Petron. Para mabenta sa ibang bansa ang krudo, kelangan mo ipunin muna. Kelangan mo ng higanteng lalagyanan (reservoir)! (The 265,000 hectares of land has more value than 360 bbls of crude oil per day. That is crude oil. It needs to be refined before it can be used. The government does not have a refinery!. Petron has been sold! In order to sell the crude oil to another country, it needs to be stored. One would need huge reservoirs!) 😡

And for the nth time, a lot of hype appeared on mainstream and social media about the allegedly massive gas reservoir under the Liguasan Marsh. I had already debunked that hypothesis in 1999.

PLAYING THE STOCK MARKET

Since the 1980s, enterprising (or should I say, devious) businessmen play the stock market using “oil & gas” companies. The M.O. goes like this:

* Businessmen create an oil exploration company. They get a GSEC ( Geophysical Survey and Exploration Contract) from Dept. of Energy (DOE).
*They will claim to find oil/gas and upgrade the GSEC to a Service Contract (SC)
*They will register in the Stock Exchange
*They will issue an IPO (Initial Public Offering)
*They will begin drilling and will make predictions of huge discovery.
*They will create great media hype, with the DOE wittingly or unwittingly giving approval to all the business company’s pronouncements.
*This will create such enthusiasm among market investors, who will buy the company stocks
*The stock market price of the company will rise rapidly because of the media hype.
*And when the price is high enough, the company will sell and short sell its stocks.
*The company then sells the company to a big firm that could use the soon-to-be-bankrupt company as a tax write-off.
*The company announces the coup de grace, i.e., that the oil/gas well is DRY or not commercially viable.

In 1997/1998, a company drilling for oil at the Manila Bay was making waves. It was in the news every day, advising people how deep the drilling went and how much oil was detected and predicted. It was the usual scam, with the DOE giving the stamp of approval.

One day, there was an event at DOE/PNOC. I was seated next to the owner of the company drilling at Manila Bay. I think he was an American. I told him that when the final results of the drilling would be announced, the losing shareholders would skin him alive. He laughed and said it would not be his problem. He had already sold the company to a rich Chinese-Filipino businessman!

Below is a copy of my very first Letter to the Editor re: Oil and Gas. I was one of the stock holders who lost money on this kind of scheme. At that time, I thought the government agency, Bureau of Energy, knew what they were doing. In fact, they were the one releasing news about the progress of the drilling. I didn’t know that because of their ignorance, the businessmen were just using them.

GAS OIL DE LA PAZ
CLICK HERE TO ENLARGE

Last month, there’s a lot buzz about a gigantic gas discovery in the Liguasan Marsh. It was supposed to contain trillions and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. This is actually old news. During the time of President Estrada, he announced that the Liguasan Marsh natural gas discovery would be able to power the WHOLE Mindanao. I debunked this. Perhaps it could power a WHOLE barangay, but certainly not the whole of Mindanao.

In the report below, the reporter wrote that the earlier reports only said that it could power “all the rural barangays” of Mindanao. Not true. Estrada boasted that the new gas find could power the whole Mindanao!

GAS standard with date
CLICK HERE TO ENLARGE

The one below also talks about the Liguasan Marsh gas as well as the Fuga Island gas.

GAS FIND kuno with date
CLICK HERE TO ENLARGE

Unfortunately for the Philippines, most of the talk about huge gas reserves is well, just a lot of gas!

Below is about the debate on “Oil Exchange”.

gAS oil exchange
CLICK HERE TO ENLARGE
current events, Scam / Scandal

Energy Blues: How Filipinos are bamboozled by energy institutions

When blogsome.com closed shop some years ago, my blog Reflections on the Bangsa Moro went with it. Years of blogging went for naught.

A couple of nights ago, I decided to look for some of my posts from that blog. I was hoping that some of my posts had been saved in the Internet. And I was not disappointed. Quite a number of my blogposts were saved, archived!

My posts on the Jun Lozada-ZTE NBN affair were saved! ALL my posts (11 of them) on the ZTE-NBN scandal were archived! This could not have been done randomly. Somebody really wanted to save these blogposts, thank God! I re-blogged them in my other blog.

And I found this post: MERALCO, NPC, ERC AGAINST THE FILIPINO CONSUMERS. It details how Meralco, its sister company Price Gas, and National Power Corporation (NPC) hoodwinked the Filipino people by over-charging them by more than 200% of electricity rates. And with the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). It is highway robbery!

And the people who spilled the beans were the Presidents of NPC and First Gas who claimed that what they were doing was legitimate and above-board.

Here is my blog of June 9, 2008. If they were doing that then, they must be still doing it now. Senate did not do anything to stop such criminal activities.

reflections blog title 2

 

June 9, 2008

MERALCO, NPC, ERC AGAINST THE FILIPINO CONSUMERS | # | Current eventsSocio-Political — jamalashley @ 1:09 am

When the Arroyo administration started accusing MERALCO of shortchanging and meralcoovercharging the Filipino people, I found it quite amusing. MERALCO has been doing that for ages with nary a complaint from the government because it (or at least its energy company, NPC and its energy department, DOE) is colluding with MERALCO. It was obvious that the administration merely wants to have a deal with the Lopezes so that the Lopez media network would go easy on the administration.

CONGRESSIONAL HEARING

Some weeks ago, I caught on TV a congressional hearing on this matter. Congress invited NPC head Cyril Del Callar and Richard Tantoco of First Gas, among others. I was astounded by what I heard.

First Gas admitted several times the following:

            From July to Dec 2000, First Gas was paid P 3 Billion pesos by MERALCO but delivered only TWENTY PERCENT (20%) of that amount. That is, First Gas delivered only 20 % of Meralco’s order but got paid in full (100 %).

In 2001, First Gas was paid P 7.9 Billion pesos by MERALCO but delivered only P 840 Million worth. First Gas delivered only 12% of the quantity ordered by Meralco but got paid in full.

In 2002, Meralco paid P7.4 Billion for gas delivered that was worth only half that much.

TAKE OR PAY

First Gas and Meralco claim that this is all legal and proper because of the TAKE-OR-PAY clause in their contract.

This is the MOST ABSURD THING THAT I HAVE EVER HEARD.

Take-or-pay clauses are there to insure that the buyer TAKES the amount it had specified. Otherwise, they would pay a penalty.

But in the Meralco-First Gas scenario, the Buyer (MERALCO) TOOK all the seller couldfirst gas deliver. Therefore, there is NO Penalty. If somebody needs to pay a penalty, it is the SELLER (FIRST GAS) who should pay for FAILING TO DELIVER. This is called Deliver-or-Pay. There is hardly any deliver-or-pay clause included in gas contracts because it very rarely happens. If it does happen, it probably could be blamed on force majeure.

The take-or-pay clause is necessary in the contract between the gas field developer (in this case, Shell) and the buyers because of the huge project cost of developing the Malampaya-Camago (M-C) field.

The take-or-pay clause is unnecessary in a contract between First Gas, a power plant and Meralco, a distributor of electricity. First, they are sister companies. In fact, the right to half of the gas production of the M-C field was first given to MERALCO since, at that time, First Gas did not exist yet.

It is but natural to assume that the sister companies would always see to it that their operations are complementary. One would produce what the other would take. In this case, they decided that one would NOT produce yet the other would pay for the gas that was NOT produced. Of course, such payments would be later billed to the poor end-users.

LOPEZES OWN MERALCO AND FIRST GAS

The fact that Meralco and First Gas are owned by the same people means that both companies are merely making more money out of the Filipino people. By claiming convoluted definitions of take-or-pay clauses, Meralco and First Gas earn HUGE HUGE money by SELLING non-existent gas which is eventually paid by the CONSUMERS.

NPC COLLUSION

Because MERALCO could buy only portions of what they needed from First Gas, they NPCthen bought the remaining quantity (80 % in 2000, 88% in 2001 and 50 % in 2002) from NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION.  This certainly gave NPC a big boost in their revenues, which usually translates to much bigger bonuses to the extremely highly-paid NPC officers.

MERALCO BLAMES NPC

According to Meralco, NPC or TRANSCO dispatched to them only a portion of what they ordered from First Gas. Thus, it was NPC/TRANSCO who was to blame, and not Meralco / First Gas.

Del Callar defended the government by emphatically saying that according to the natural gas contracts, it was very clearly stated that natural gas from Malampaya-Camago would become available only in 2002. In other words, the pipeline was not finished until that time. Therefore, it was not NPC’s fault if Meralco decided to buy gas as early as 2000.

This is really a dubious defense. If the distribution network was not yet operational in 2000 to 2002, then why did NPC not notify Meralco? Instead, NPC made money by selling its own gas to Meralco.

And why did the Department of Energy not do anything about it? And what about the Energy Regulation Commission? ERC would have easily seen that the electricity price ercwas unreasonably increased because of the payment of Meralco to First Gas of gas that was NOT delivered but must be nonetheless paid for allegedly because of the take-or-pay clause.

There is only one conclusion for all of these – MERALCO, FIRST GAS, NPC, DOE and ERC colluded against the Filipino people. So what else is new?

GAS PRICE INDEXED TO OIL

It was also revealed in the Congressional hearing that the cost of gas was INDEXED TO OIL. Now why would any right-thinking natural gas buyer agree to that? No one, of course. Unless FIRST GAS and MERALCO, who are SISTER COMPANIES, want to put one over the Filipino consumers again. Good God, such greed!

In the first place, I doubt very much if First Gas agreed to buy its natural gas indexed to oil.

During the natural gas negotiations among NPC, Meralco, Shell, OXY and DOE, I was the Philippine Team Leader (composed of people from DOE, PNOC and NPC) who went to Hawaii to study and create the Gas Price computer models. Our Final Report was submitted to President Ramos. This became the basis for the natural gas negotiations.

And in our computer models, we certainly DID NOT index the gas price to oil. Nobody in his right mind would do that, knowing the volatility of the price of oil.

In fact, our suggested price was only about US$ 3.50 per million cubic feet. But for some reasons, I later read that First Gas agreed to pay more than US$ 5 per million cubic feet.

MERALCO – DOE’s SWEETHEART

When the natural gas discovery from the Malampaya-Camago (M-C) fields were confirmed, the Department of Energy, without any bidding whatsoever, declared that half of the natural gas production would be sold to NPC and the other half to MERALCO. MERALCO, a private company, was so lucky to be given the gas on a silver platter, as it were, without even having any concrete plans on how to utilize the gas.

Not a single congressman, senator or politician or media organizations / personalities complained. I, at least, managed to insert some sarcastic remarks in my reports to the Energy Secretary.

Other companies which gave superb proposals on how to use the Malampaya-Camago natural gas were simply turned down. One proposal was to convert the Bataan Nuclear plant into a Gas-powered plant. The proposal included payments of the nuclear debts, buying the engines, etc.

While other proposals to use the natural gas included rehabilitation of old or unused power plants like the Bataan nuclear power plant, payment for old equipment and even paying the debts, the Department of Energy preferred to give the right to purchase and utilize the M-C natural gas to MERALCO whose only plan was to put up a sister company, First Gas, who would eventually sell the gas to it (MERALCO) which would be paid in full even if only 12% of the quantity ordered was delivered.

HIGHEST ELECTRICITY RATES IN ASIA

Sometime in 1996 or 1997, I reported to the Energy Secretary that the Philippines’ electricity rates are the second-highest in Asia, next only to Japan.  I expected the Secretary to form teams to study the causes and perhaps give recommendations. Instead, I saw him on TV exclaiming to all and sundry that our electricity rates are next only to Japan in Asia. He said it as if it were a Badge of Honor! And again, not a pipsqueak from anyone.

As the Filipinos are wont to say, “only in the Philippines”!!!

===================================

See related post:
Knowledge Society – Philippine Energy sector

GAS TALK

cinema, current events, Film Review

DVD Pick: V for Vendetta

As I browsed through the ‘Net, I found my old blog (parts of it) archived. I’m re-blogging it here. In this era of Big Business-Big Government alliance, it is always a good idea to watch V for Vendetta to remind ourselves the importance of individual and collective liberties. I have to add that Natalie Portman’s portrayal was great. And so was Hugo Weaving’s vocal performance. Freedom Forever!

v maskWhile the film is about ten years old, the character V’s Guy Fawkes mask is now a world-wide symbol of protest. It is also a symbol of the international network of computer-savvy activists.

I’m glad I found these old blogposts. This post plus the documentary critique SEEING TREASON: Justifying a State of Emergency in a documentary plus Good Night and Good Luck: Reminder to Defend Freedom of the Press remind us the precarious state of Freedom during the Macapagal-Arroyo regime.

ScreenHunter_127 Jul. 09 09.52

 

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2006

V for Vendetta:

The Movie to watch in Big Sister’s Philippines

The Wachowski brothers did it again! The Matrix (the original) was such a great philosophical metaphor of a film. This time, it is a straightforward attack on the idiots who support and follow Georgie Porgie and his War on Terror.

Well, it is still a metaphor but anyone can immediately see the parallel between the High Chancellor (played by the very good actor John Hurt) and George W. Bush, and the events in the film are close to reality.

The Americans have already given up some of their freedoms in support of Bush’s War on Terror. It is not inconceivable that the US will go the way of England as depicted in the film.

In fact, in the Philippines, some of the things shown in the film are already happening. As the soldiers involved in the Oakwood mutiny have asserted, the bombing in Davao was done by the soldiers themselves with no less than the Armed Forces Chief of Staff or Defense Secretary (Angelo Reyes) being involved.

And of course, the modus operandi of arresting people then labeling them as terrorists and later killing them extra-judicially is too plain to see by critical thinking people.

In the Inquirer Editorial of today, Editorial : When evil is good, the writer compares Orwell’s 1984 with Philippines of today. The editorial concludes:

In our present stage of political instability and turmoil, when there is undeclared martial law and a creeping movement toward authoritarianism, it would be well for the people to keep the lessons of “1984” in mind and strongly resist the totalitarian actions and rules of the administration. If we remain too long in a state of apathy and inaction, we may wake up too late, when we have already lost our freedom.

The Orwellian film V for Vendetta is more proximate and more accessible to today’s audience than Orwell’s novel.

Little Miss Gloria, her little “Mike to the Defense” Defensor and her Justice Secretary would do well to watch this film.

In the Philippines, such a movie could not be made. The producers / director would be charged with sedition by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her Jusdtice Secretary and be attacked in the media by her defender, Secretary Defensor.

This film is recommended to all freedom-loving people, especially the Muslims, who now carry the stigma of terrorism the world over due to Bush propaganda.

I must say, hats off to the Wachowskis for their courage in making a film that goes against the Terror-mongers like Bush and Blair.

boxing, current events

Mayweather – Pacquiao : The Hype of the Century

I’ve stopped watching boxing matches a few years ago. It has been getting obvious to me that these mega bucks extravaganzas are somehow or other fixed. In the first Lennox Lewis – Evander Holyfield fight, when the introduction of the boxers was being done, I realized that one was managed by HBO and the other Showtime (or such media orgs). Watching all the media hype, I exclaimed, “OMG, this is going to be a draw!” And I noticed how the fighters were pulling punches. When the decision was announced – a draw – I was not at all surprised. From then on, I got wary of these Super Fights.

I followed Pacquiao’s boxing career since his flyweight days. But his mega-bucks fights with bigger men like De La Hoya, Cotto and Margarito did not impress me. What impressed me was the genius of Roach to convince Pacquiao and the other boxers to fight at a “catch weight”. “Catchweight” Pacquiao demolished these fine boxers who had been drained of their energy by going down one or two or more weight divisions.

All fighters who are forced to lose a lot of weight before a fight usually lose their fights. They not only lose their kilos, they also lose their energies. Even Muhammad Ali lost when he had to lose so many pounds in so short a time, Pacquiao himself lost his flyweight crown when he had to get rid of so many kilos fast. In fact, he could not lose all those extra weight fast enough. He lost his WBC belt at the weigh-in when he went over the weight limit. I watched that fight on TV. Pacquiao was too weak. It looked like he could be felled down by a sudden gust of wind. Hence, I don’t think the catch weight fights are fair.

FIGHT OF THE CENTURY

I did not watch the last 3 or four fights of Pacquiao. But this time, even I got caught in the hullabaloo of the “Fight of the Century.” The media hype was tremendous. Even boxing legends George Foreman, Lennox Lewis and Bernard Hopkins agreed that this was going to be the “fight of the century”. And so did so many other boxing legends like the Golden Boy de la Hoya, Mike Tyson, Evander Holfield, etc.

Mayweather-Pacquiao poster

There is talk of this being a Trilogy. This means that the fight could be fixed. I thought that Pacquiao would really give his all because only a Pacquiao win could guarantee a trilogy. If Mayweather wins, it would be very difficult to convince him to a rematch. I did not believe that Pacquiao would agree to fix the fight.

Well, the “fight of the century” turned out to be a big joke. But the joke’s on the boxing fans and viewing public. Pacquiao and Mayweather ended up at least ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS richer each after the “fight”.

FACEBOOK POSTS

Here are my Facebook posts on the subject:

Jamal Ashley Abbas

Yesterday at 4:37pm · Edited ·

Hehehe. The “Fight of the Century” was a dud. Mayweather showed everyone he could run and clinch. And Pacquiao was fighting as if he were the odds-on favorite and that he could just cruise along, throw a few punches and win the fight.

The Pacquiao team must know that the only way to beat Mayweather was to knock him out or down for a few times. Maidana, in his first fight with Mayweather, won at least 7 rounds and threw more heavy punches than Mayweather yet he lost by a unanimous decision. As long as Mayweather is left standing, all the judges and referees and American announcers and their punches-counting computers would all declare Mayweather as the undisputed winner.

Next time, the fans will not be as enthusiastic anymore. Too bad. I thought Pacquiao was serious in defeating Mayweather. Oh well, he was just interested in the $80 Million he’d be getting. But he should beware because Ms. Kim Henares is not going to run away from him. On the contrary, the Taxwoman is going to run after him! ‪#‎maypac

Like 26 · Comment · Share ·

LOVE MATCH

Jamal Ashley Abbas

Yesterday at 8:28pm · Edited ·

The senior Mayweather said it best when he told his son in the earlier rounds: “You are fighting as if you are afraid!” (paraphrase)

That fight cannot be a “Fight of the Century.” It’s not even the Fight of the Day. The Lomachenko – Rodriguez fight was a better boxing match than the choreographed Mayweather-Pacquiao love match (so many hugs and touch gloves!) .:(  frown emoticon‪#‎maypac

Like 9 · Comment ·4 Share · 1

RUNNER, NOT DANCER

Some Mayweather defenders say that the running was a mere strategy. It was part of an excellent fight plan. I disagree. I posted this comment on a nephew’s FB status:

Jamal Ashley Abbas In the ring, Muhammad Ali danced like a butterfly but stung like a bee. When he danced to evade the punches, it was clear that he did it as part of a strategy that included a lot of jabs and a killer 1-2 punch that usually followed an Ali Shuffle.

The case of the Mayweather-Pacman fight was different. Mayweather ran for dear life. As his father said to him during the break in the early rounds, “You fight as if you are afraid!” (paraphrase).

On the other hand, Pacquiao did not really go for a knock-out. His camp knew that Mayweather would run. They should have been ready for that. His camp would be impossibly naive to believe that Pacquiao could win the judges (and the Las Vegas Mafia) with a few power punches.

But then, I suppose all of this was choreographed to prepare everyone for the MayPac part 2.

SCORES REVERSED

12 hrs · Edited ·

 Is this true? The judges scored in favor of the Red Corner. Isn’t Manny in the Red Corner? The Pacquiao camp should use the scorecard as basis for an official protest! ‪#‎maypac‬
may pac scorecar
Like 4· Comment 3· ·

WE WERE HAD!

Jamal Ashley Abbas

6 hrs · Edited ·

So, Pacquiao was injured? He was fighting the alleged world’s #1 pound-for-pound boxer and he thought he could handle him with an injured shoulder?! Hahaha. This only proves that the fight was fixed. It was already choreographed. An injured soldier would not have made any difference. OMG! In the words of the great Muhammad Ali when he learned that the promoters were getting the lion’s share of the revenues for the third Ali-Frazier fight: “(Hey, Joe), we were had!” The public was had, indeed!‪#‎maypac

Pacquiao dismayed at Nevada Commission for blocking injection

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao expressed his disappointment at the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) after he was…

ABS-CBNNEWS.COM|BY BY CAMILLE B. NAREDO, ABS-CBNNEWS.COM

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COMPUBOX

Jamal Ashley Abbas

6 hrs · Edited ·

OMG, why are the numbers manually written? Does that mean a computer did not count the punches? The judges counted the punches? How could they? How could any human count the punches and still be able to reasonably judge a fight?

And really, did people see that many punches thrown? Mayweather landed 81 Power Punches? Did anybody see them? I saw THREE, tops.

People should review the fight and prove the Falsity of these numbers.‪#‎maypac

ScreenHunter_104 May. 04 23.49

Punch stats in ‘Fight of the Century’ show Mayweather swept it all

American boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. successfully neutralized Filipino’s Boxing Champ Manny Pacquiao in their Fight of the Century’ with punch statistics…KICKERDAILY.COM

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FAKE STATS

Nowadays, during fights, a “Compubox” gives out the statistics on punches thrown and landed and the number of power punches. By its name, I presumed the calculations were done by a computer software.

When I reviewed some of Mayweather’s fights, I noticed that the announcers kept on mentioning the stats from the Compubox. They also kept on harping the fact that Mayweather is the Compubox champion, as it were, since the compubox itself found it hard to count his punches.

In the first Mayweather – Maidana fight, Maidana was relentless in his fury against Mayweather in the first six or seven rounds. Maidana obviously was throwing more punches, esp. power punches. But the announcers kept on saying that according to the statistics, Mayweather threw more punches. That made me quite suspicious.

From the first round of the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, I was shocked to hear the announcers claim that according to the Compubox, Mayweather threw and landed a lot more punches, including power punches. It was incredible! I didn’t see any power punch from Mayweather at all??!!

In the link above from KICKER DAILY.COM, the photo of the punch statistics from Compubox showed the numbers written manually, and not calculated by a computer. I was surprised. And then the article stated: “…with the punch statistics coming from the three judges disclosing the final tally…” I couldn’t believe it. The judges were the ones who counted the punches? Then they couldn’t possibly have judged the fight well. Nobody could tally the punches of both fighters and still see the fight for what it is. Incredible.

So I went to the Compubox website. It’s ABOUT page states: “The stats are tracked by two human operators with one operator tracking stats for each fighter. The operators are extensively trained to watch a fight differently than a normal fan would. Each operator concentrates on only one fighter and not the fight as a whole to accurately track the stats.”

So the Compubox statistics are not done by a computer but by humans. And of course, humans make errors, especially when they are paid to make errors.

A SCAM 

From the looks of it, the fight was a scam. Before the fight, the American TV announcers were telling the public that MGM has now replaced Madison Square Garden as THE boxing arena. And that Mayweather considers MGM Grand as practically his home. His gym is nearby. And more importantly, the announcer said that it was Mayweather who made MGM Grand the top boxing venue. In fact, he said that Las Vegas was in the slump and it was Mayweather, through his fights, that propped up Las Vegas or the even the whole Nevada state. Thus, Las Vegas and Nevada owe much to Mayweather. And so it goes without saying that the Las Vegas mafia would not make it easy for anyone to win over Floyd “Money” Mayweather. He brings money to Vegas.

With all the media hype, I forgot that Pacquiao’s promoter is Bob Arum – a Las Vegas denizen who owns Top Rank promotions and is one of the biggest wheeler-dealers in boxing. He used to be Mayweather’s promoter and helped Mayweather’s meteoric rise to boxing super-stardom. With Arum and Mayweather doing the cooking, nothing truthful or even legitimate can come from it.

A friend commented on my “We Were Had!” post:

If there was anyone cheated here its the public who paid a lot for the fight. At least pacman will get his hundred million dollars

Another comment came from Mr. Buddy Cunanan, a cable TV talk show host and Georgia’s honorary consul. He wrote:

“Pacquiao was in on the fix from the start. I hope people see through this farce.” To which he added, “What a jackass!”

current events

DOLPHIN TRAINED IN THE PHILIPPINES DIES AT RESORTS WORLD IN SINGAPORE

Animal welfare advocates and environmentalists are deeply saddened by the death of Sharmila, the fourth dolphin of  Resorts World at Sentosa (RWS) to die, but are not surprised.

On 12 May 2014, the Marine Life Park of RWS announced the death of Sharmila, a bottlenose dolphin trained in the Philippines and shipped to Singapore in 2012.

In 2012, a male bottlenose dolphin, Wen-wen died en route to Singapore from the Philippines. A year before that, two dolphins died in Langkawi, Malaysia, where they were temporarily kept after being captured from the Solomon Islands for RWS. The park has yet to announce the cause of Sharmila’s death.

dolphin SHARMILA

 

“This is a sad affirmation of what we have been saying all this time. Dolphins do not live long in captivity. This is already a proven fact. The only place where they can live out their natural lives is in the wild. RWS should set them free to avoid further deaths at their Park, “ said Trixie Concepcion of Earth Island Institute in the Philippines

In October 2012, environment and animal welfare groups filed a case to prevent the re-export of 25 dolphins trained in the Philippines for RWS. The groups claim that the dolphins were harvested unsustainably and this violates the Wildlife Act of the Philippines. The groups led by Earth Island Institute and the Philippine Animal Welfare Society urged the Philippine government to release all 25 animals back in the wild.

“We were right to have filed a case. If they had been released by the Philippine authorities, they could have had a better chance at survival in the wild,” laments Anna Cabrera, Director of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society and co-petitioner in the case.

‘If RWS is truly for conservation and education, it should now immediately initiate a re-introduction program of the dolphins to the wild. It is the only way RWS can save its corporate image,” concludes Jamal Ashley Abbas, blogger and vocal animal rights advocate in the Philippines.

Climate Change, current events

Climate Change and the Aquino Government

President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd and his former running mate and now Interior and Local Governments Secretary Mar Roxas kept on saying that in their “system”, the LGUs (local government units) are the first line of defense (in disaster risk reduction programs). It’s a logical strategy. But having a strategy or policy written up doesn’t mean that everything else will come into place, as if by miracle. The best laid plans are just plans if the necessary actions are not done to make these plans implementable.

LGU and PNOY
From Sunstar Cebu

First, the LGUs need to be informed and educated on Climate Change adaptation such as the need to make defenses for rise in sea level or tsunamis or storm surges. (Building a sea wall is one defensive strategy. Creating warning systems is another.)

Second, there must be detailed geohazard maps to be done in every barangay. And these maps will then dictate the Flood_Tacloban Citydifferent settlement zones of the barangay – like where the agricultural lands should be, where the residential and commercial areas should be, etc. The maps shall also indicate the location of the aquifers.

 Third, the provincial and national governments need to give massive budgets for all the infrastructure needed as well as to provide the political will. Just re-zoning a barangay will need a big political will as most of the residents will resist re-location.

I have attended a couple of LGU conferences on Climate Change. As I wrote in my Memo  Report then, most of the local officials couldn’t care less about Climate Change. Most of them don’t believe it. They attend these conferences only because they are forced to by the DILG.

DENIALISM

Even though the United Nations have practically  declared Climate Change a fact, there are still many who believe in the propaganda of the fossil fuel companies. These people deny the existence of Climate Change. Accdg. to Wikipedia, climate change GWClimate change denial is a set of organized attempts to downplay, deny or dismiss the scientific consensus on the extent of global warming, its significance, and its connection to human behavior…”

While President Benigno .S. Aquino 3rd called Climate Change “an accepted reality”, his government promotes the use of COAL POWER PLANTS in the Philippines. There are so many coal power plants existing and in the pipeline. Coal power plants are the number one emitter of Carbon Dioxide. Four tons of CO2 is produced for every ton of anthracite consumed. If a power plant burns 550 tons of coal per hour, that means that 2200 tons of CO2 is produced per hour.The denial kings and queens call Climate Change a “theory”, not a fact. But it is a fact that coal power plants cause a lot of deaths.

As early as 1662, John Graunt compiled the “first methodical analysis of London’s mortality records.” The number one cause of death? It was LUNG DISEASE because of the AIR POLLUTION caused by COAL.

Proposed Coal Plant in Palawan, an island together with its surrounding isles declared by UNESCO as a "Biological Reserve"
Proposed Coal Plant in Palawan, an island together with its surrounding isles declared by UNESCO as a “Biological Reserve”

SANO’S PASSIONATE PLEA

The Philippine delegate to the UN Climate Change Summit in Warsaw, Yeb Sano, made a passionate plea just after super typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan devastated Tacloban City and nearby areas. Yeb Sano, whos is from Tacloban, said:

Yeb Sano of the Philippine National Climate Change Commission
Yeb Sano of the Philippine National Climate Change Commission

“To anyone who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare you to get off your ivory tower and away from the comfort of you armchair. I dare you to go to the islands of the Pacific, the islands of the Caribbean and the islands of the Indian ocean and see the impacts of rising sea levels; to the mountainous regions of the Himalayas and the Andes to see communities confronting glacial floods,…

The science has given us a picture that has become much more in focus. The IPCC report on climate change and extreme events underscored the risks associated with changes in the patterns as well as frequency of extreme weather events. Science tells us that simply, climate change will mean more intense tropical storms. As the Earth warms up, that would include the oceans. The energy that is stored in the waters off the Philippines will increase the intensity of typhoons and the trend we now see is that more destructive storms will be the new norm. “

He concluded thus: “We can stop this madness. Right now. Right here, in the middle of this football field.”

It is quite ironic that the Philippine delegate to the UN Climate Change Talks pleaded passionately and in tears for the world to fulfill the Convention’s objective , which is “to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”; and yet, his own government continues to use and build coal power plants “that interfere with the climate system.”

FRAGILE EARTH

The deniers assert the Yolanda had nothing to do with Climate Change. But it cannot be denied that in the past 20 or thirty years, the climate has been unpredictable, to say the least. In the 1970s, there were no typhoon signal number 4 or “Super Typhoons.”

Greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere have increased by leaps and bounds. Before 1880, CO2 level in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million (ppm). In 1958, it was around 312 ppm. In 2011, it was 389 ppm. Today, it is now 393.66 ppm.

CO2 is the number one cause of global warming. The oceans absorb CO2 which helps “cool” the Earth. From 1880-1994, the oceans have absorbed 48% of all carbon humans had emitted.  But CO2 makes oceans acidic. And the more acid oceans have, the less CO2 they can absorb. The less CO2 they absorb, the more CO2 will go to the atmosphere. The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the warmer the oceans become. The warmer the oceans become, the less CO2 they can absorb. It’s a deadly cycle.

In the early 1900s, Alfred Russel Wallace,  the British naturalist / explorer / geographer/ anthropologist / biologist wrote: “Even the slightest variations in existing conditions can make Earth uninhabitable.” From the 20th century, Earth has been undergoing extreme variations in its atmosphere because of human-made interventions. Do we need to wait until it is too late?

stock-photo-fragile-earth-31501141