On the disaster left by Ompong in northern luzon and in the Visayas that was drenched too by the torrential rains that the typhoon pulled along its way across the islands. As of today the Cordillera reports 83 deaths mostly in Benguet province and from Cebu 14 dead. The President and his “men” made the rounds of the disaster battered town centers in the north and also in the Visayas.
In Cebu, One lady survivor distraught in grief, hit the net from a citizen’s documentation, walked up to the President before his audience, and as translated by editor Inday Espina, she said, “Mr. President, this is not about the storm (Duterte blamed weather for the landslide). This is about the quarry. That quarry caused the landslide. That is why we seek your help to stop quarry operations. We don’t need food. If we work hard, we can eat. But we want your help to end the quarry operations of APO cement. We’ve lived here for a long time, braved many typhoons, never experienced a landslide.”
The president replies, “This is for you. Are there NPAs here? Do you support Sison? Fifty years fighting the government, what do they have to show for it? Mga put…. ina…” (and goes on a tirade about mga rebelde for about 5 mins).
She has clearly articulated what victims of mining disasters in Itogon, Benguet (59 dead, 45 missing), -the village folk and their leaders have also told him when he came to visit. So do say the victims of: denuded forests, perenial flooding, careless plastic garbage disposal, profit centered big business, plundering bureaucrats, oppressive large extractive industries, etc. They said, “Nip the problem at its source,” and Nature is not to blame, it is those who abuse Her instead of nurturing Nature or Life … as what indigenous cultures have always wanted to impart to all of us.
Conscientious people, scientists, environmentalists, peoples’ leaders, health workers, teachers and activists have for more than 50 years been vocalizing, demanding, pleading and warning about. Stop the large mining operations. No to profitability but the support system for the sustainability of all life on Earth. It should be no wonder why the contradictions between being selfish and being selfless should escalate and take form in a people’s movement to defend life, the ancestral domain and self determination.
So, who is to blame? While we are aware the bureaucrats up there put much value on soundbytes, appearances and empty pronouncements, especially for those whose sights are on the 2019 elections, like the fish getting caught by its mouth, we people can listen and note to “separate the sand from the gold” among them.
More people and their leaders now comprehend, it is not Nature’s fault but people have to face it that they must trust in themselves – unite, organize and mobilize to face the immediate needs of their communities. Organize, access and maximize whatever resources are there, prioritize those who need it most. Unite and expose the faults. Draw colletive plans to mitigate these perenial problems, at the community level then on the country level, and volunteer where the community needs help the most.
Your newspaper editors, writers and staff deeply sympathize with all kakailian, especially those who have lost lives, livelihood and homes in the wrath of typhoon Ompong. We also call on those who can help in any way to get in touch with Serve the People Brigade at telephone numbers: (074) 422 9754 or (074) 443 7159. # nordis.net