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ROUGH CUTS | God and Satan as resource persons?

We beg for the indulgence of our readers for this column’s failure to come out in yesterday’s issue of this paper.

Our residence was one of those unfortunate houses in several barangays in Tugbok district hit by a very long power interruption the other day. The outage started at about 1 o’clock early dawn of Tuesday, February 13 and lasted at exactly 12 noon of the same day. The duration was roughly 11 hours.
So long was the power interruption that it ate up the very hours when we should have been tinkering our computer to write our column and send the same through e-mail to our editorial office at downtown Davao City.

It also caused some of our pre-mixed ingredients for our cold merchandise to melt leaving only few pouches still hardened for early customers in the family’s roadside snack center.

The 11-hour power loss also left our pet Koi fishes in the pond gasping for oxygen. By the time power was back some of the domesticated fishes were already laying on their sides. It was a good thing that electricity came back before all our ingredients deteriorated and the fishes in the aquarium and the pond still breathing.

Of course we lost the opportunity to have our column written and sent to our editors for consideration.
What was surprising however, was the delay in the restoration of power when in fact we were told by the electricity distributor that the outage was due to a number of branches and coconut palm leaves falling, in contact with, or hanging on the power lines.

What is or are the responsibilities of agencies contracted by Davao Light to maintain the routes of power lines and keep them free of obstruction? And what is the unit at the power firm monitoring the performance of the tree-trimming contractors doing as well?

By the word “maintenance” alone it is clear that the activities of contractors should be pro-active, preventive and not reactive. Or, is there something wrong with the contract itself that allows contractors to conveniently escape certain responsibilities?

Perhaps it is about time for the power distribution firm to review its contract and do the necessary so such aspect in the firm’s services could be improved. Otherwise the company should better forget the mantra introduced by the late Davao Light President Alfonso “Al” Aboitiz for the power firm’s subscribers to have “total customer satisfaction.”


From television news reports we learned that the Senate is contemplating on investigating the massive landslide incidents in some mountain barangays in Maco, Davao de Oro. This move reportedly came the members of the Upper House were informed that the people residing in the affected areas were already warned as early as over a year ago that they should leave the places because of the possibility of major landslides. Yet, despite the warning the residents in the areas concerned allegedly ignored the mandate.
It is apparent therefore that nobody seems to have initiated to have the order of abandonment implemented. If it was the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through its Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), who issued the order then it was not made clear as to who should have implemented the mandate to vacate the places.

If the abandonment of the landslide-prone sites was issued by the local government – the Province or the Municipalities – then it is clear that the officials of the local governments concerned were negligent of their responsibilities as far as the mandate to vacate the areas for safety and security reasons complied by the residents of the areas.

Now the Senate wants the incident investigated. Is the probe in “aid of legislation?” What laws are still needed to have people in danger zone comply with government mandates to pre-empt their possible perdition? We hope the lawmakers will not be calling God or Satan or representatives from heaven and hell to attend the Senate probe as resource persons to shed light on how to avoid nature-induced disasters and calamities, incorporating the same on bills the lawmakers could be contemplating to introduce.

Or, is the planned probe another exercise “in aid of reelection”? A little over a year from now the country will again have its mid-term polls that include twelve new senators.

We were also surprised why the lady governor of Davao de Oro has to look up to the DENR-MGB for the acquisition of areas appropriate for the relocation of residents in landslide prone sites. Why, cannot the local governments decide or determine which areas in their province or towns are safe from landslides or floods, etc., etc.?

Chances are, they are reluctant to order the relocation as this could possibly affect their reelection bid or even their own businesses thriving in those villages.

It is common knowledge that Davao de Oro is one of the country’s top ten richest provinces. We have no doubt it has the resources to procure relocation areas and for it to jumpstart livelihood programs for the relocated families.

We are sad that it took a major disaster and loss of over 60 lives (as we wrote this piece) to draw to the surface the ineptitude of some local government leaders of the province and of the agency concerned with determining the integrity of our mountain ranges, specifically in the Province of Davao de Oro.


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