On shady parks and deals

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By Dr. Bob Ocio

Isyo ug Servicio

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


"TREES at the banks spread their limbs providing shades. We need not go down the pool but simply exposed ourselves to the gentle freshness of the place and sniff the air with great contentment when the breeze carry with it the scent of nectar from nearby flowering trees."- Eugene Sambaan

SUCH is the quote fitting for unmolested parks and the beauty of nature made for man and God’s creation. Last night, I was talking to a friend about how my father taught me to overcome the habit of stealing fruits with my friends. He asked me and my brother to plant fruits trees on family residential lots and mahogany on hilly lands. Today, I knew of the fruits that since have been bearing and the little forest that we have built. I was told that here in Vancouver Canada, a man was fined $1million for cutting a century old tree without government permission.

Alas today, the beauty and the breath that we enjoy from parks and forests have turned not to shade us from the trees. It has become suspect to shady deals which have been attributed to our own government. Take for instance the case of our forests which have been destroyed for years of destructive logging and which has caused us an indefinite time to worry about floods, food shortage and unemployment.

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Our local government recently announced the memorandum of Agreement to replenish those public lands of former forests with 1,500 hectares of palm oil plantation. Moreover, entire barangays in Cagayan de Oro like Tignapoloan have been proposed by the DENR to be surrendered to Lanao, yet another attempt to continue to molest and hold extinct the remaining forests of the city.

Questions about two Oro parks

One is concerning with the Duaw Park near the Cathedral which caught the attention of many due to the absence of a prior budgetary appropriation from the City Council estimated to cost P5 million. Stunned by the ability of the people to participate in the government through public opinion, the mayor quickly announced that the funds thereof were coming from private sources. Is it not shady that a major project such as this one would come from private sources and yet, no known public solicitation to support the project thereof was known before the construction? Not only that, Mr. Tito

Mora, who was a member of the Committee at the Tourism Council cannot explain the circumstances of the project. Now tell me, how can a project like that be properly undertaken when in fact, half of the area is now isolated like an island in the river because a dike intended to protect the city from floods which has long been approved by the government and it is now constructed in the middle of Duaw park?

The shadiest park in Cagayan de Oro today is the Gaston Park. It is not only because it is perhaps the best park the city could muster to provide us shade from the scorching heat but also because the circumstances surrounding its construction is also shady. Not long after the P5 million Duaw Park controversy that some friends provided with pictures of the renovation of the Gaston Park.

Then, later, another provided for the posting by the city government to the DBM managed Philgeps which is required of by any government bidding for purposes of transparency. Yet, the date of the bidding happened to have been after the construction started itself. Later it was known that over P70 million in projects at City hall under the 20% development funds were proposed to be presented as part of the City Investment Palm without Program of Works and detailed cost estimates and Council Appropriation even if these projects have already been completely implemented.

Shady deals circumstances create shady questions even if these are done ostensibly to provide us the shade and beauty which nature can bring. Take note of how Nono Montalvan and the members thereof together with Mrs. Arlene Moreno would discuss in a pinned post at Mata na CDO the circumstances around the Gaston park renovation. Excerpts of that include mine and Mrs. Moreno- "Arlene Moreno - "Fountain was stolen before construction..FYI... Why not ask the last administration where the fountain materials are?"

Bob Ocio: “Mrs. Moreno, the pictures speak for themselves. The indignation rally on August 26, 2013 against Corruption where the pictures were taken showing the fountain heads happened during the Moreno administration. What are you talking about? Are you hiding the fact that you were involved in this project which never had a proper bidding prior to implementation? Now, you are caught lying.

Tell me, should you lie if you yourself are not interested in the unnecessary replacement of the fountain heads and directly involved in the project itself? Hapsay Kaha ni? O Cover up? Ikaw ang pangulo niini nga proyekto sa Tourism Council di ba?

The circumstances surrounding the project are already shady: No proper consultation, bidding, program of works or investment plans presented to the Council prior to the initiation of the project. (In fairness, Arlene apologized for asserting the wrong information. She promised some measures. See the page for details and for the record)

Arlene asked us to help Oca in the City government. I asked her that there are parameters in our cooperation and this must be founded on the basic principles of God Centeredness, Honesty, Ethics, Equitability, Transparency, Accountability, Participatory, Environment Consciousness, and Sustainability. (Acronym: GOD HEE TAPES).

We have a choice on what kind of shade we need and what we can become!

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 06, 2014.

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