River and mountain quarrying, same banana PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 July 2015 13:44

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

River and mountain quarrying by all indications are the same thing. The results are the same. Foremost on those reason is the destruction of the environment. The Pulang Lupa quarrying in Barangay Patalon in the West Coast is a hot issue in the city that has caused seemingly a misunderstanding among our city officials and might go as far as a political issue in the coming months, but the issue clearly point to one thing, negligence by the city and the national government. The destruction of the riverbeds and the mountain of Pulang Lupa is beyond repair and our concerned officials are now panicky. They are now blaming each other. More or less a hectare stretch of land has been excavated and collected and also more or less a million cubic meters of soil has been collected for commercial purposes.This is a mullti- million-peso business venture at the expense of nature.

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Definitely, this has to be investigated by all city offices and departments involved in the issuance of permits, monitoring and compliance and those checkers on site. One or two or perhaps all of them are involved in this anomaly against the environment. The only reason for this issue to die down, is bare the truth to the public and let those culprits be accountable to the government. There is no turning back on these complaints or else declare themselves as “inutile” to govern the city. The city’s populace is over burdened with all sorts of misgovernance, from peace and order to economic dislocation, criminality, sanitation, insubordination and ethnic superiority. Every time city officials issue decrees and executive orders, everybody listens but no one cares.

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It is appalling to note that every serious matter involving the city is made public almost every election time and city officials who will decide on this matter are made to choose between corrective measures and responsibility against “votes” to stay in power, and almost always the latter is chosen, while the city remains at the mercy of the crooks. The city of Zamboanga, premiere city of Mindanao decades back, is now years behind in progress and development, against the cities of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, and Iligan, because of political will and commitment,  while Pagadian City, Dipolog, Bukidnon, and Cotabato are fast approaching to level up with Zamboanga City. Our city has retrogressed, gone backwards because of too much politics and our city officials have terribly shown that they are afraid to lose the votes of incorrigible voters. Public monies sleeping in banks is better than development and as an offshoot nature and environment is destroyed for as long as “money continue to flow to the city’s coffers. Quo Vadis Juan Tamad.

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When the National Government complied with the United Nations decree to protect the environment, the city of Zamboanga quickly organized a new office to protect the environment, the Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources (OCENR), primarily the office to protect and monitor the environment but almost a decade of existence, the city’s environment has not gone better but to worse because it is not protected. Quarrying in our shorelines and riverbeds remain to be there decades ago and even expanded to mechanized quarrying of backhoes and bulldozers, a far cry to the hand and shovel system decades ago. Our jungles and watersheds are full of illegal loggers allegedly city and barangays officials are the suspects but the OCENR has never been aware of this because the city officials are never informed. Perhaps it is high time that we go back to basics and continue where the city has started and not “jump the gun” to gain media mileage. Tell the truth and it will set you free.

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Scoop: Many months back while on my weekly brisk walking exercise, I noticed that right in front of the PNP Camp Batalla, a stone’s throw from the PPA, an enterprising crook found a profitable business by quarrying right at the beach of RT Lim Blvd. and sell them by the sack. The damage has already eroded a portion of the boulevard concrete pavement. It was lucky that it was stopped while early. It should have been a catastrophe. But what is surprising is, the illegal quarrying happened in front of a police camp. What a blatant mockery of the law.