SC chief Justice Puno urged to lead proposed national inquiry on Ondoy and Pepeng
By Billy Javier Reyes and Maria Stella Recuerdo del Carriedo
Manila, Philippines-Leftwing activists identified with the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday said a independent investigating body should be formed to find out the roots of the humanitarian crisis and all-out disaster caused by tropical storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng.
Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the probe body, which his group proposed should be headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno, and shall be composed of representatives from the Philippine Senate, the House of Representatives, environmental groups and experts, people’s organizations, the church community represented by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)and the protestant National Council of Churches in the Philippines.
“The proposed national indepent inquiry should be deputized by the Senate and the House of Representatives in aid of legislation,” the Pamalakaya leader said. According to Hicap, the results of the national inquiry shall be presented to the Filipino public.
Hicap said the inquiry can focus on the impact of large-scale mining and logging operations and other mega infrastructure activities in Bicol Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, Cordillera, Cagayan Valley and other parts of Northern Luzon, the operations of major dams and lakes in Luzon island like the San Roque Dam, Angat Dam, Pantabangan Dam, Caliraya Dam, Laguna Lake, as well as Manila Bay to mention a few.
“This national inquiry is necessary move. Malacanang should not prevent or spoil it and let it happen in accordance with national interest and collective will of the Filipino people,” said Hicap.
Pamalakaya criticized moves of Malacanang and the Department of National Defense(DND)requesting the US embassy in Manila to re-deploy US troops in calamity stricken areas in Northern Luzon due to typhoon Pepeng.
Aside from US troops re-deployment Malacanang and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro had also asked the US embassy to deploy its amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry to help rescue residents isolated by the heavy flooding in Pangasinan province.
“President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Secretary Teodoro are white elephants and hopeless puppets of the United States. They are hopeless cases. Instead of agitating the Filipino people and relying on their collective strength and political determination, Mrs. Arroyo and her presidential wannabe played their true-to-life puppet card to the hilt. This is a preview of what kind of presidency we have under Teodoro’s command in case he is elected as president,” the group said.
Pamalakaya said the gestures displayed by Mrs. Arroyo and Sec. Teodoro in seeking US help were overwhelmingly irrational and grossly insulting to the collective intelligence and political determination of the Filipino people.
“Instead of rallying the Filipinos to rise above the occasion and ask for their tested collective action, Mrs. Arroyo and Secretary Teodoro begged the US government for help and made our Filipinos appeared like hopeless people and or a nation of people under an across-the-country state of paranoia,” the group said.