SULOG supports Ralph Abragan-A A +A
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
KUDOS to the City Mining Regulatory Board (CMRB) headed by MGB Director Rex Monsanto and the CRMB Technical Working Group, headed by vice-chair of Sulog Ralph Abragan, for leaving no stone unturned in pursuing their investigation on the illegal mountain quarry operation in Barangay Canitoan. It is unfortunate that while focus should be on conducting a full dress investigation on the veracity of the information on the alleged mountain quarry operations without permit, there was a sudden twist that there is now a call to prohibit Mr. Ralph Abragan from pursuing such investigation on alleged “conflict of interest.”
We in Sulog find that “off sync,” a diversionary tactic that gives credence to our suspicion that there are “shadows” in the illegal mining industry in Cagayan de Oro who fear an “expose,” fearing perhaps that their names will ultimately be dragged on by such investigation.
We in Sulog, One Sendong is Enough, Inc., have been passionately advocating for the rule of law to prevail because while we glorify in the thought that in this country, no one is above the law, that all must bow down to the majesty of the law because we adhere to the rule of law and not to the rule of men or women.
But such has not been the case with regard to the environment. Because of that, we lost ecological security. Our 17 million hectares of dipterocarp forest and all our mega-diversity that had been living in the forest ecosystem for millions of years, have been erased from the face of the earth. While there were laws that protect them, but these laws were blatantly violated by loggers and their cable of vested interest.
After plundering our forest, what are beneath are minerals that are being mined without let-up. Cagayan de Oro is called “de oro” not just because we gained the monicker, “City of Golden Friendship,” but because in truth, the uplands ooze with high quality minerals foremost of which is gold. But who benefits? Who plunders? Well, not those who are doing the mining themselves – the poor upland dwellers but those who are nameless capitalists.
For so long they have been operating in shadows but recent discoveries have exposed their activities but not their names. Yes, they are into hydraulic mining, bombarding the mountain with firetruck-like water cannons that are seriously devastating the Iponan watersheds. As what our “kasimanwa” would say, “agi ka aga ara pa bukid, agi ka hapon, waay na gid.”
Yes, they are using backhoes that level-off the hilly lands to amass top quality gold; and yes, they are operating barges coming from China and Korea, taking out thousands of tons of silts from Iponan river and in the process, screened a few kilos of gold by destroying the river including the irrigation facilities in the area.
Because these nameless, faceless “shadows” who are in fact are Pacman-like monsters who devour everything that passes their way, be trees or gold, cannot moderate their greed, Cagayan de Oro had experienced the wrath of nature called Sendong where more than 3,000 people died and some 11,000 families shelter-less. The sins of a few miners and loggers are now visited upon our poor people. We have our lessons. When will we ever learn?
The Cagay-anons are now vigilant, that’s why they formed SULOG, One Sending is Enough, Inc. Many organizations, be church-based, environmental groups, the academe, cooperatives, women, farmers, fisherfolk and even just concerned citizens, journalists and businessmen have come together to form the Sulog Coalition, one of these is the group headed by Mr. Ralph Abragan, the Save Cagayan de Oro Movement. They are sending notice to one and all that they have awakened. They will not allow anymore the continuing plunder of the natural resources which are only ours to protect for the coming generations.
It is sad to note that there are those who are very callous and may have connection with powers-that-be, or simply are not minding the safety of the Cagay-anons, the reason why they cannot be stopped.
It is in this light that we in Sulog will not allow any personal attack against the person of a kindred spirit, Mr. Ralph Abragan. Come what may, we must leave no stone unturned to know the truth because we firmly believe in the saying, Veritas Liberabit Vos. Both Ralph and CLENRO Edwin Dael are getting death threats recently for their non-stop and passionate actions in protecting God’s vanishing creation and to bring back the rule of law.
It is therefore the stand of Sulog that Mr. Ralph Abragan should not take a leave of absence from the CMRB but instead continue the investigation pertaining to the illegal mountain quarry. The full force of Sulog, which has now a critical mass of over 100,000 members throughout the region, is behind you Ralph. We believe deep in our hearts that our Creator will always shield you from harm because protecting God’s vanishing creation is the highest form of worship.
To that, we earnestly pray!
(Orlando R. Ravanera is the chairman of SULOG, One Sendong is Enough, Inc.)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 02, 2014.