Of ethics and principles

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By Nef Luczon

Pencalibur

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


IT’S BEEN a long while since I haven’t stepped close on what’s happening in the local mining industry in Cagayan de Oro City which became significant in my journalism career since I stepped here in 2010.

It’s also been a long while not meeting and talked to anti-mining advocates like Cooperative Development Authority regional director Orlando Ravanera, and local government officials like Edwin Dael, head of City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office, whom I was a bit ecstatic and hopeful when the Moreno administration gave him a chance to lead the department. And of course, Ralph Abragan who heads the Save CDO Now Movement.

These three people are now members of the City Mining Regulatory Board (CMRB), and at the same time to Sulog-One Sendong is Enough Movement, however recently there have been quite a not-so pleasant news that would mar intrigues and later revelations like it were in a good James Bond films.

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Based on stories, the rift began when a village councilor, Jonathan Gayla, in Barangay Canitoan allegedly applied before the CMRB a permit to conduct legal mining operations in their area. It was also learned that Gayla and Abragan were distant cousins.

However, Abragan is opposing such move on the basis that Gayla allegedly had illegal mining activities prior to his application for operations and which is becoming a conflict of interest since Gayla is also an elected Barangay official.

That opposition was the catalyst in unraveling the fact that Abragan is also somehow involved in a mining and/or quarrying business that he claimed as legal, however, did not disclose since no one asked him to anyway, but such exposé might cost his membership to CMRB, as much of his colleagues in both CMR and Sulog claimed they were also in the dark on the matter.

Meanwhile, Abragan also accused CMRB to have been conniving with its members and Gayla for approving the application, but Dael denied the accusation saying the papers submitted before them were legal and sufficient to the needed requirements, he also said that Abragan was present during in the deliberation of the application process.

And now both CMRB and Sulog have to iron these issues out before things will go out of hand to the public. CMRB, led by Dael, has to settle issues with Abragan and Sulog, led by Ravanera, needs to decide whether Abragan will be replaced as representative to CMRB.

Sulog started out with a good cause to be a watchdog on the city’s environmental situation along with the issues surrounding it, one is about the mining industry that can greatly affect the environment if not moderated. The browning of Iponan river is one example.

In communication studies, it is normal that organizations or groups experience conflict as it is also present in interpersonal relationships.

Conflicts usually arise due to miscommunication, but miscommunication among the people of CMRB and Sulog can be complicated, of which the cause of miscommunication can be factored to the degree of transparency of information and most of all to the degree of honesty among those who are involved.

Still, this issue has to be settled, for the city’s environmental sake.

[Email: nefluczon@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 13, 2014.

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