Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Davao City Flood - Result of Government Neglect?

A slightly shortened Open Letter of concern to Sangguniang Panglungsod was read to the SP in a Privileged Speech by Councilor Pilar C. Braga on Tuesday July 5, 2011 at about 4pm.  It seemed to be well-received and a couple of councilors made oblique references to it later in the Session.

It also appeared in full text entitled Open letter of concern to the Davao City Council on the Matina Pangi June 28, 2011 flashfloods in the Mindanao Times on pages 11 and 38.  It was likely published in other media as well.

"A confluence of factors" was the Mindanao Times editorial for Wednesday June 11, (copy attached)  Patrick Guasa a licensed environment planner was quoted as saying "that surely the flash flood was not a freak incident as many would claim.  It was, in his words, 'the result of the failure to harness and harmonize the synergy of land form, natural phenomena and human activity' ."

For me, one of his hardest hitting and most interesting opinions was

The seemingly unrelated, inconsequential decisions that created the catastrophic flood along the Matina river last week requires decision makers in Davao City and specific bureaucrats in government line agencies to be level upon the table, plumb straight line straight, with corners squared, whose compass bears straight and true towards the long term gain and well-being of everyone in the communities within the Matina river watershed.  Which should include all areas of Davao City where land use has to harmonize the confluence of land form, natural phenomena and human activity.

An excellent summary of what has gone before and direction for the future. 

Do the DENR, MGB, City Engineers Office have a very limited number of vehicles with which to travel and spend time in a given area? 

I have also attached below some sharp pointed editorial cartoons and pictures from years past that have all pointed to what happened in the Matina area and what will happen also to Shrine Hill.  I don't know about you, but they make me extremely angry.

Stacey Baird

Davao City's Growing Quality of Life

Proposed Guest Editorial Submittal
Barangay Ma-a Federation of Homeowner Associations, Inc.
Davao City's Growing Quality of Life

A vast blue ocean gulf borders it . . . A river runs through it . . .  Farm lands and verdant jungle surround it.  The Philippines highest and most eye-catching climbable peak towers above it . .  Lands for open park and garden space remain available  . . . beautiful, green, tree-filled hills with magnificent views populate and refresh it . . . resorts, hotels, exotic trips and destinations abound and Davao is blessed by a blessed typhoon free climate.
Gulf Boat Trips and Island Hoping, Jungle Canopy Walks and Zip Line Thrill Rides, crocodile parks and zoo's, tropical bird farms are within easy driving distance and clean drinking water and electric power are available.  A modern airport serves passengers from around the world.  Great food of all kinds from the seas, farms and plantations are close by.

White collar, middle and upper class jobs grow by leaps and bounds in Call Centers, Computer Software Engineering, Hotel and Restaurant Management.  New, modern competitive shopping malls offer magnetic and amazing opportunities for employment and higher wages as well as wonderful shopping to local and tourist buyers.

More than twenty colleges and universities educate its citizens and provide technological medical and other expertise to local industry and the world.

More than 50 local and international news papers, television and radio stations tell residents about the world and the world about Davao.

Peaceful Davao is a safe-haven for its residents and tourists alike.

Davao can only grow.  How it grows depends upon it's pride in the future, individual voter watchfulness, local industry and the Political Will and courage of our local government to promote the general welfare through responsible development and professional city planning that does not bow to limited special interests groups. We think there has been a good start.
We hope we won't have to say to business, residents and future tourists, "Sorry, Davao is closed for flood drainage, dengue and landslide.  Come back tomorrow."

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Davao Banana Plantation Issue

Republic of the Philippines
New Executive Building
MalacaƱang Palace Compound J. P. Laurel St,
San Miguel, Manila                                        
Executive Secretary
Office of the President
  Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Re: REPEAL EXECUTIVE ORDER  807! – Lifting Limits to Hectarage on
Banana Plantation Expansions
Dear Mr. President,
We, the undersigned representatives from environmental NGOs, POs, LGUs, sectors and concerned individuals in Davao region, are writing to you in reference to EO 807 issued by your predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo last 08 June 2009. EO 807 lifted the limit of hectarage for export banana plantations allowing these to expand without any restriction. The  said EO amended the Letter of Instruction (LOI) 790  issued by former President Ferdinand Marcos in January 6, 1979 which mandated that agricultural areas planted to export banana crops should only be limited to 26,250 hectares.
After careful study and discussion conducted with legal consultants, we found out that EO 807 clearly violates the Rule set by the 1987 Constitution. To recall, the Letters of Instruction which were issued by virtue of the Martial Law powers of the late President Ferdinand are considered as legislation. Thus, it cannot be repealed by a mere Executive Order under the 1987 Constitution. It must also be pointed out that during President Arroyo's administration; she had no legislative power to amend the LOI because that power belongs to the Philippine Congress which has already been operative since the time of the ratification of the 1987 Constitution.
Furthermore, an Executive Order under the 1987 Constitution is not a law;  the President was not given the power to deal with how lands of the public domain are to be utilized, except perhaps when the President may enter into agreements with foreign-owned corporations involving either technical or financial assistance for large-scale exploration, development and utilization of minerals, petroleum and other mineral oils according to the general terms and conditions provided by law, which is in sec. 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. The matter of determining how natural resources, which necessarily include lands, will be explored, developed and utilized rests with the State, and not with the President.
We recognize the fact that, at present, agricultural areas being planted with export bananas exceed the limit set by LOI 58. However, we cannot just sit down and allow banana plantations to continuously plague watersheds and areas planted for local food production. EO 807 repealing LOI 58 is tantamount to further opening up the lands of the public domain for banana plantations.
Consequently, we firmly believe that there is an urgent need for the national government to act on this. We urge for the repeal of EO 807 due to its unconstitutionality. We further call for setting the limit on export banana plantation expansion in the country and prioritize development of areas for local food production to ensure food security for the majority of the Filipinos.
We do hope for your positive response on this matter.

For inquiries, please contact Lia Jasmin M. Esquillo of Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) at 082 299 4552.

Lia Jasmin M. Esquillo            Interface Development Interventions (IDIS)
263 Circle A, Ecoland Phase 1, Davao City
Dominador Lopez                   Watershed Management Coordinating Council (WMCC)
Community Relations Office, DCWD Building
Lanang, Davao City
Dagohoy Magaway                 Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spray
c/o 263 Circle A, Ecoland Phase 1, Davao City

Job Opportunity in the Philippines - Legal and Policy Advisor

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is looking for a Legal & Policy Advisor to support its Investment Climate Program.
Those qualified and interested in applying should submit their:
1.      CV (no more than 5 pages) that addresses the qualifications indicated in the attached TOR and contains the following information: 
        •   complete name and current contact info (e-mail address, telephone and mobile numbers);
        •   related formal education and special training;
        •   work experience;
        •   specific skills and know-how that will be useful in this job; and
        •   at least three references (professional).

2.   One-page Expression of Interest (EOI) indicating why s/he is suitable for the job.

Please send by courier or mail your EOI and CV (Subject: EOI-Legal & Policy Advisor) before 5pm Monday, 30 May 2011 to the IFC, 11th Floor, Ayala Tower, Ayala Triangle, Makati City or fax it at fax no. 848-7339 (we will not consider EOIs sent via e-mail).

All applications will be treated in strict confidence. Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted. Short-listed candidates will be required to write a test and come for an interview.
We thank you in advance for your interest and look forward to receiving your EOI & CV on or before the specified deadline.

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