Group urges ‘hazard-free city’-A A +A
Monday, February 18, 2013
ENVIRONMENTAL group Bangon Kagay-an challenged Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente Emano to guarantee an environmental hazard-free city here.
Nixon Baban, chair of Bangon Kagay-an, affirmed Emano’s statement that the two writs earlier issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) against the City Government, the City Council and two government agencies were “politically-motivated.”
“Gapamolitika daw ako. Wala gyud sila masayop. We have been consistent with all our declarations and actions. I am a political advocate for the environment and not the usual politician you listen to everyday,” Baban said.
He claimed that if Emano can guarantee an environmental hazard-free city, then “I will quit politics forever.”
Baban said the people have the right to invoke Constitutional guarantee for a healthful and balanced ecology, especially since it already involve the safety and future of the people.
“My decision to run is motivated by the fact that politics in Cagayan de Oro has become a very serious business and we can no longer leave the business of running the affairs of the city to greedy and incompetent politicians. Politics is the only language our politicians listen to. Change is the order of the day,” he added.
Baban is running for city councilor under the team of mayoralty bet Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno, Emano’s closest rival in the May elections.
Last week, Associate Justices Renato Francisco, Oscar V. Badelles and Henri Jean Paul B. Inting of the CA’s Special Twenty Second Division issued a Writ of Kalikasan and Writ of Continuing Mandamus against the City Government, the City Council, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and five mining companies after finding the petition filed by Bangon Kagay-an and citizens’ suit “sufficient in form and substance.”
Emano said, in his radio program, over the weekend that he welcomed the writ and is all ready to answer it so that the “real truth” will come out, especially on the issuance of permits.
“The Writ of Kalikasan is the last resort of an exhausted people who still fortunately, believes in the rule of law. We have given the agencies of government in Cagayan de Oro tasked to protect and preserve the environment enough time, information and support, but regrettably, we feel that there is not much sincere efforts on their part to address the serious problems posed by illegal mining in our city,” Baban said.
The group filed the petition for Writ of Kalikasan and Writ of Continuing Mandamus with prayers for the issuance of Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) or Environmental Protection Order (EPO) in February 7.
The CA has ordered all respondents to file their respective “verified returns within a non-extendible period of 10 days from the service of the writ.”
The CA said these must contain “all defenses which show that the respondents did not violate or threaten to violate or allow the violation of any environmental law, rule or regulation or commit any act resulting to environmental damage.”
The CA has scheduled the hearing for TEPO in March 1.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 19, 2013.