Table Talk: Zambo City’s charity and Pnoys charitable 4 Ps PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 23 December 2011 13:27

BY Mike S Apostol

The city government’s donation of two million pesos for the victims of flash flood in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, is worth emulating and our city councilors who are sometimes in a “love-hate” actuation between the administration and opposition councilors were one and united in approving the request of Mayor Celso Lobregat for the donation. This is one great service that the city of Zamboanga has done for a co-member of the League of Cities of the Philippines and a neighboring city at that. Now we can see that even amidst a deep controversy and a contest to win and get the attention of the city voters, since election is coming, our Honorable city legislators can bury their hatchets to help a neighbor. This also brings back to our minds, part of a quote of Congressman Erbie Fabian that says “if you can be part of the solution why be a problem?” This is aired everyday at RMN Zamboanga by Kagawad Jimmy Villaflores and Gil Climaco, one of my former students in political science at ZAEC. But my advice is, after this honorable act, they continue to oppose each other not for personal reasons but for enlightenment and the exercise of democracy.
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Many of the city’s clubs and organizations and business associations and even public school teachers in their own way gave part of their personal earnings to the victims of Typhoon Sendong in CDO and iligan cities. This is the greatest show of concern to our fellowmen who are in misery and hardship not of their own making.  I still believe in the goodness of men at these trying times when most of us are also hard-up and cash strapped. Let the Almighty Father do the rest for us.
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On the issue of the President’s Benigno Aquino III program of 4Ps, popularly known as Pantawid Program, where billions of pesos were earmarked for the program, by way of suggestion must temporarily be halted or suspended in provinces that are suspected to have misused the funds through dubious recipients and the funds thereof should be used to rehabilitate the destruction brought by Typhoon Sendong in the country. In many provinces most of the recipients are not really coming from the poorest among the poor. Only a few belong to that category. Some are believed to be land owners, children of teachers while some are immediate family members of an employee in the municipal government. Worst, many recipients say that even teachers who are close acquaintance of the agency in-charge of the program are in the list of beneficiaries. City and municipal mayors who are directly tasked by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) must be held accountable by the government on this highly anomalous scheme. Investigation of the 4Ps funds must be made part of President Aquino’s anti-corruption drive. The outcome after investigation if the misused of the funds of the “Pantawid” program is indeed true is plunder in the highest order.
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Back in the provinces, the continuous destruction of our shoreline young mangroves is still an everyday activity. These young mangroves and other trees are cut and made into tree charcoal. Coconut shell charcoal is seasonal while young mangrove and trees can be harvested and made into charcoal everyday of the year.  This Christmas season the supply of this tree charcoal is in demand for home use and bakeries. In Zamboanga Del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay , sacks upon sacks of this charcoal can be seen everyday loaded in cargo trucks bound for the bakeries and homes of the cities of Pagadian,  Ozamiz, Cebu, and Zamboanga.  CDO and Iligan Cities were hit by flashflood triggered by Typhoon Sendong because of forest denudation, shall we wait for that? Also, there is an ongoing tree planting and mangrove planting program of the DENR which go by the million pesos. We believe part of this young mangroves cut for charcoal are government and foreign funded program. DENR should investigate before foreign donors of this grant will do their own investigation. Heads will roll.
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Scoop: Why are the DSWD and DENR turning a blind eye on this very obvious harmful development on the misuse of “pantawid” funds and trees cut for charcoal? Perhaps it is time to re-direct our objectives. Most foreign countries grant for our development programs are slashed and all their donated infrastructure and agricultural funded projects are done directly by them. They don’t anymore course it through our government. They don’t fully trust our government because of obvious reason. Agree or disagree.