LAST WEDNESDAY night was perhaps the most nightmarish for the people living in Davao City’s southern sector. We mean the areas from Ma-a up to as far as the vicinity barangays in Puan going to Toril and up to Sto. Nino going to Calinan.
Floods submerged most of the barangays and in some areas, the water was already breast-deep. The murky water already entered houses leaving mud and other garbage inside. Appliances were already floating; cars in garages submerged. Those on the highways were either carried by the strong current or slammed on whatever walls or trees that withstood the water onslaught.
Several families went live on Facebook appealing for rescuers to come to their succor. They, without doubt, might have felt they were already in the worst of their situation and their lives were on the verge of being added to the statistics of casualties to such calamity.
Who is to blame for the flood frequenting Davao City? It should not anymore be the loggers who wantonly cut down the trees for the satisfaction of their insatiable greed. Putting the blame on them is an “escapist” move from the current reality. Yes, the loggers of the fifties up to the late seventies and the slash-and-burn farmers who took over the logged-over areas did their worst.
But most loggers and their scions are, ironically, now in the high echelon of government – either local or national. Those in Congress and those in the local governments, sadly, failed to introduce laws and policies that are responsive to the consequences of the erroneous ways of their elders. Or if they have done so, the policies they introduced have, knowingly or unknowingly been provided with mechanisms to circumvent.
The big-time loggers’ children and close relatives who were once, or still are walking the halls of Congress or the local government policy-making bodies should have made amends to the “sins” of their forefathers. They should have crafted laws or ordinances that stringently govern the subsequent use of their (forefathers’) abandoned areas.
But what can we see now in the city’s highlands and the wide plains in the lowlands? We can see either large corporate plantations like those of exportable bananas, pineapple, etc., etc. The plains in the city’s suburbs are also littered with high, mid-high, and low-end residential subdivisions. Even the city’s surrounding hills are now turned into housing enclaves for the ultra-rich Davaoeños.
In other words, the policymakers in both local and national governments failed miserably in coming up with measures to negate the impact of deforestation. Where can we see a city unable to curb quarrying activities in some critical sections of its city’s rivers? Where can we see massive coconut plantations that enhance groundwater absorption cut down to give way to residential housing projects up to as far as the Tugbok District by some large real estate developers? Where can we find large plains that are rid of existing trees for conversion into golf courses – the rich men’s place to satisfy their hobby? It is only in Davao City, and in some other similarly categorized cities in the whole of the country.
Of course, our primary concern is Davao because it is here where we live and will die, and maybe our children, too. And we could only commiserate with our fellow Davaoeños living in those areas that flooded last Wednesday.
We know how much it costs them to recover their damaged properties including restoration of destroyed houses. Perhaps to other victims of last Wednesday’s nightmarish flood, it will take them months, or years to restore their condition immediately before the raging water washed out the fruits of their toil, their realized dreams last Wednesday night
Meanwhile, the people of Davao City are still waiting for the City Council to introduce an ordinance that will result in the implementation of sustainable projects on the environment. From the way they do things at the SB, the wait may be eternal
The body cannot even look into why the garbage bins delivered to several barangays in rural areas are not distributed to their appropriate location. It is bought using taxes paid by the people. And the garbage receptacles are just piled in some corners of the barangay hall compound.
In the heating-up squabble between the leadership of the House of Representatives, led by the President’s cousin Speaker Martin Romualdez, and Vice President Sara Duterte joined by his father former President Rodrigo Duterte, two behavioral traits are put to a test.
Which will prevail in the realignment of support from the President’s immediate family? Is it the common adage that “blood is thicker than water?” Or, is it the long-practiced recognition of a huge “debt of gratitude?”
As of this writing the President is refusing to be drawn into the controversy brought about by the transfer of a P125 million in Presidential Confidential Funds to the Office of the Vice President. But he is seen in all his travel having Speaker Romualdez in tow.
On the other hand, Presidential sister Sen. Imee Marcos is vocal about her support to VP Sara and her father as well citing that their friendship had been long and enduring. She also acknowledged how Duterte the father granted their family’s request for the burial of their father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani despite the endless almost mob-like opposition rallies.
We are certain the people’s wait for the answer to the immediately preceding question will not be long.
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