Barili parish’s 400 years

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Sunday, July 20, 2014


I WAS in Barili town yesterday to attend the birthday party of Patupat Barangay Captain Julito “Julie” Flores. It was big day for Flores, his family and his friends as he held his party at the town’s tennis court. It was open to everybody. Flores is also the president of Cebu mini bus operators.

“Fiesta sa Nayon” booths were installed in the church plaza in connection with the holding of the town’s annual fiesta celebrating its 400 years this weekend in honor of its patron saint, St. Anne. The event showcased local agricultural products and delicacies.

Sometime last month, a group of Barilihanons, who call themselves “Mga apo ni Santa Ana” held a dinner for a cause to generate funds for the facelift of the town’s church. One of the active members and prime mover of the group is former Sun.Star Cebu publisher and columnist, Sir Orlando Carvajal, supported by some of the town’s prominent families like the Paras, Alquisola, Ruiz and many others.

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Indeed, their project has materialized because I observed that the church is now undergoing major renovation and everything will be in place in time for its 400th celebration as a parish this July 25-26. Established in 1614, Barili parish is one of the oldest parishes in Cebu next to Argao, Boljoon and Samboan. The parish jurisdiction then covered as far as Guihulngan in Negros Oriental.

While on our way to Barili passing through Naga and San Fernando, I couldn’t hold back my fear as my imagination ran wild like what if one of the century-old acacia trees will suddenly just fall on top of our vehicle like what happened two weeks ago in Barangay Balud, San Fernando where a cargo truck was “flattened” by a fallen acacia tree that resulted to the injury of a truck boy and caused heavy traffic. It didn’t help that there was inclement weather yesterday due to typhoon Henry.

That “freak accident” has opened the eyes of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 officials to assess the trees that line the highway and it has recommended cutting some of them. DENR 7 Executive Director Isabelo Montejo said 41 trees need to be cut immediately.

Montejo explained that most of the trees have deep nails embedded on their trunks, which made the trees susceptible to diseases.

The DENR 7 will coordinate with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 and the various local government units to implement the order.

A road-widening project in the southern highway is ongoing and some of the trees block the way. I think it’s a wise move to cut the trees to avoid future accidents. We cannot compromise the lives of motorists to protect century-old trees.

But please don’t misinterpret me. I am for environmental protection. But those trees pose hazards to motorists. Some of them can “give in” anytime and hurt someone, especially during weather disturbances.

We can still strike a balance between environmental protection and public safety. In other countries, they will cut century-old trees that might endanger the public.

I hope agencies concerned and LGUs will act on the matter immediately before it’s too late.

***

The scheduled transport strike today and tomorrow to protest the controversial Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 2014-01 has been called off by its organizers following a dialogue in Manila with officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). However, the militant Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston) will hold a protest march in Mandaue City today.

The transportation sector is up in arms against the JAO, which imposes higher penalties for colorum vehicles and other violations of transportation laws.

Cebu City North District Rep. Raul Del Mar facilitated the dialogue between Cebu transport leaders and the DOTC, LTO and LTFRB officials. Transport leaders were given five days to come up with suggestions and proposals to perhaps come up with a “win-win” solution to the controversy.

As what I have said, staging a transport strike is not the solution to the problem because for sure the government will not “give in” to the demands of the transport sector if it is done through threat and intimidation. Besides, the transport sector ends up punishing the riding public. Dialogue or going to court is the best remedy.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 21, 2014.

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