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ROUGH CUTS | They’re the ‘collateral’ victims

Now the political heat index created by the worsening rift between President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and former President Rodrigo R. Duterte is getting way over the boiling point. This is evident in the latest change of leadership at the Senate, and the sudden ousting of MinDa (Mindanao Development Authority) chair Ma. Belen Acosta, a Duterte appointee whose term under the law that created the Authority is to end in January 2028 yet. Acosta’s replacement is Presidential Assistant for Eastern Mindanao Leo Tereso Abellera Magno.

In the Senate fiasco it appears that FP Duterte seems to have the upper hand having most of the senators who voted for the ouster of then Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri are known to be his endorsees and/or are friendly with his administration.

Moreover, the issue seen as the immediate cause of the change in the Senate leadership is the ongoing investigation of the alleged “PDEA Leak” conducted by the Senate Committee headed by Davaoeno senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, a Duterte-backed candidate in the 2022 election.

Earlier the former President was heard saying in a television interview that he was confident Dela Rosa’s probe will prove him right in his accusation that President Marcos, Jr. is into drugs.

Well, despite the many booboos committed by the senator during the probe proceedings, and his lack of finesse in the manner of questioning resource persons, it still appears that he succeeded in attaining his veiled real purpose – to picture the President the way his patron wants it.

On the other hand, The President’s getting back at Duterte was simple but with decapitating impact on Mindanao’s development strides. Without warning the Duterte appointee Minda Chair was replaced early this week. Though the replacement is still a Davaoeno the suddenness was too excruciating. What with the President’s alleged disregard of the law setting the tenure of the Chairperson’s position which is six years. Add to it was the absence of notice from the Office of the President that she was to be replaced, according to Acosta herself.

Whether we like it or not however, it is clear that the nasty changes on leadership of two important government institutions is brought about by the parting of ways of top leaders of political organizations who were parties to a commitment of unity to attain the country’s long-desired progress. Now it appears that both leaders are doing their worst to cut every single end of the tie that binds.


Now the local government of Davao City is accused by an environmentalist group to be “feigning ignorance” of the wanton cutting of trees and destruction of corals while the contractors are doing the initial civil works on the Samal Island-Davao City Connector Bridge Project. The Sustainable Davao Movement (SDM) said in its letter to the Davao City Mayor, copies of which were furnished the Vice Mayor and all the councilors, says that statements issued earlier by some local officials saying that “the LGU can do nothing in the face of a national project” is “deeply concerning.”

Well, the environmentalist group may be right. The local government officials can do a lot of things if they want to. But will they ever do knowing that most, if not all, of them want to be counted as among those who endeavored to have the long-desired bridge project come to reality? Certainly not.

But while we commiserate with those who feel they are deeply aggrieved with the project because of its negative impact on their personal businesses and lives in general, may be it is world reminding them of what we were taught in school and by actual situations in the outside of the academe.

A visiting professor from the University of the Philippines who handled a subject while we were taking a Diploma Course on Public Administration at the USeP years back said: “The real measure of development is the ratio between the number of beneficiaries of a project as against the number of potential sufferers.”

Now, in the case of the complained cutting of trees and coral destruction, will the sustained ecological balance that may be brought about if the trees and corals are untouched enough to leverage for the desired socio-economic development of both Davao City and the Island Garden City of Samal once the bridge is completed?

We believe that this is one area of the project that both the complaining group – the affected stakeholders/property owners included – must have to have a meeting of minds so the project becomes a win-win development for all.


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