Careless and idiotic advice from SMI-A A +A
By Jun Ledesma
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
THE catastrophe that struck Metro Manila and many parts of Luzon was seen in domestic and international TV like a deathly specter of fear, horror, hunger and anger. It’s mother nature unleashing its fury on humankind that abused and destroyed its gifts of natural resources and the savagery of the rich man unstoppable greed and the poor man’s own exploits that choked waterways with his filth.
The rainforests are gone, the trees and the saplings that come as second growth are no more. This is not about climate change, this is about man’s insatiable and rabid desire to get rich quick and irresponsible quest to have a piece of the riverbank’s easements.
We all deserve this nature’s wrath. We should absorb lessons from this tragedy. But have we?
Driving downtown the other day and scanning the radio dial to listen to the recent updates of the diluvia that have not spared my own daughter and my in-laws who live in the national capital region, I chanced on a pastor who, in apparent desire to endorse the open pit mine project of Sagittarius Mining Inc. in Tampakan, stupidly preached that the floods that inundated NCR an Luzon will not happen in Mindanao and specifically Tampakan and its environs because we are not being visited by torrential rains of such magnitude. Coming from one who represents the religious sector, the assurance of this pastor is idiotic and a dangerous. If this is what SMI claims then there is reason for the government to take a second look at how SMI attempted to persuade and cajoled the B’laan communities into believing that there is absolutely nothing to worry about the open mines.
I was glued on the program when it paused to give way to a commercial. The advertisement is obviously from SMI as it gives a grand assurance that “wala pa gani magoperate ang SMI nananum na ug kahoy aron ampingan ang katubigan”. When the pastor resumed his ministration he pompously lectured that those who stand against the proposed mining project of SMI are merely sowing fear! He even went on to blaspheme God by dragging His name as he said that the resources are gifts from God and it is His will that man must explore and mine it.
The problem with the religious sector in South Cotabato is that they are divided right in the middle and they are in opposite poles. The Catholics, led by the bishop and the nuns, condemn mining like it is a scourge, while the Protestants are endorsing it like nothing can go wrong with the open pit mine in Tampakan because it will be operated by SMI and that it will bring bonanza to the tribu that inhabits the mine sites.
The Catholic religious are one-track-minded the Protestants on the other hand are like jukeboxes. We have gone this far in the controversial SMI project in Tampakan but I still have to hear why the Catholics are rabidly against open pit mines while the Protestant pastors are simply stressing on the bonanza as if copper and gold nuggets are just picked from the mine sites and maybe just as simple as collecting tithes.
We should put a stop to this tomfoolery. Someone has to knock some sense into the brains of the pastors who think that rains with the magnitude of Ondoy and the tail-end of Gener (Haiku in Japan ) and the so-called hanging ‘habagat’ will never happen in Mindanao. Crazy. This childish impertinence has no place in times like this. Nevertheless they should be reminded that at one time Lake Maughan in the dormant crater of Mt. Parker in T’boli, caused a devastating flash floods in South Cotabato when the walls of the crater gave way. SMI must stop using religious pastors as endorsers for their project. Just because they are priests or pastors are they infallible. Just because they know their bible would they claim that they know better than geologists. It is the same way with journalists like me, except that in my case I have to do extensive research and consultations before I even start writing anything. Besides having seen and read so much devastations which are kept in our data bank, it is easier for senior citizens like me to craft an opinion item with very little taint of bias if any.
The religious pastors of South Cotabato must not clothe themselves with piety and pretend that they know better than his next door neighbor. If they do not know it yet, let me help them with this brief glimpse of what happened close to their parsonage when disaster struck on September 6, 1995. No one ever expected that Lake Maughan would cause a massive devastation when one of its walls caved in. This was blamed on alleged treasure hunting activities which is just a pin-prick compared to an open pit mine. About 30 million cubic meters of water flowed out destructively from the lake without any warning, leaving unprepared residents in utter shock and grief. Several low-lying areas were submerged in water for several days. The Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council, reported that the 1995 flash flood killed at least 53 people, 14 of them were never recovered up to this time.
Damages to farmlands and infrastructure were pegged at P212 million. The flood waters flowed all the way to Allah Valley and on to Liguasan marsh creating havoc along the way. Now tell me reverends if South Cotabato and the adjoining provinces are exempted by disasters as you preached. By the way, the water level in lake Maughan had risen to a critical level last January because the waterway was clogged by boulders. Pray reverend, that heavy rain stays mainly in the plains of Spain.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 15, 2012.