By Kaka Esteban and Kremlin Montenegro
Manila, Philippines-,“Music is good but we need results.”
This was the initial reaction of the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) upon hearing newly installed Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Eleazar Quinto’s plan to tap music to promote environmental consciousness among the people.
Sec. Quinto announced that the DENR is embarking on songwriting competition to drum up the cause for environment dubbed as “Likhang Awit Para sa Kalikasan” to arouse the citizenry’s passion for the environment.
“This so-called super road show presentation is nothing but an outlandish promotional blitz for a government agency checkered with records of environmental sell out and destruction of national patrimony and triple platinum crimes of corruption in the service of Malacanang corporate partners and clients. This is image building at its best,” says Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.
The Pamalakaya leader noticed that Sec. Quinto wants to promote music as instrument to raise environmental awareness, the newly designated environment chief has been snubbing a group of indigenous people camping outside the DENR office since January 22.
Hicap was referring to protest camp set up by groups opposed to the ambitious P 52-billion Laiban dam project in Tanay, Rizal. He said of Pamalakaya-Southern Tagalog, Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Kasama-TK), Anakpawis party list and Katribu party list were scheduled to meet Sec. Quinto for the dialogue but the new secretary last Jan.21, but Quinto refused to meet them prompting activists to temporarily blocked the entrance and exit gates of the environment office.
Pamalakaya vice-chair Salvador France said a letter urging Sec. Quinto to face the opposition groups to Laiban dam project was delivered on Jan.12, about 10 days before the scheduled meeting. The letter was received by the DENR receiving section on the same day.
“Secretary Quinto is evading the issue which is a matter of life and death to affected fisherfolk, farmers and indigenous communities. For the information of Mr. Quinto, Laiban dam project will directly displace 20,000 upland villagers. Will he accept an entry to Likhang Awit Para sa Kalikasan that directly puts his principal Mrs. Arroyo, Palace client Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco and his office on spotlight for crimes against the people and the environment?,” France said.
The Pamalakaya leader added: “It seems to us that the P 52-B Laiban dam project between MWSS and San Miguel Corporation is a done deal and Sec. Quinto is compelled by the appointing authority to follow the anti-people multi-billion project. Will he accept an entry on this?”, he further asked.
France said the P 52 billion dam project was part of the exchange deal between Mrs. Arroyo and SMC chair Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, the group added.
Two weeks ago, officials of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) announced that the deal will with SMC will be sealed by March. MWSS administrator Diosdado Jose Allado said the government targets to award the project to largest food and beverage conglomerate upon the submission of necessary requirements. #