Friday, November 25, 2011

In Praise of Mindanao Times - An Environmental Warrior Paper

Thank so very much to Mindanao Times for its outstanding editorial of November 23, 2011 entitled Moral Hazard.

The country is going in the right direction.  City Administrator, Zuleika Lopez, has also contributed to reducing Moral Hazards in Davao by closing down MNY Burbe Aggregates for excavating and quarrying just north of Ma-a without the necessary documents under Section 103 Chapter XIX of the Republic Act 7942, known as the Philippine Mining Act.

Perhaps this brave woman will file cases against Camella Homes and DMCI - Palm Grove West, D'leonor and others for excavating without CENRO or Development Permits.  If ever there were examples of their being one law for the rich and another for the average citizen, those are examples.  The law must be the same for all or there is a Moral Hazard.

Readers may recall that a Property Developer in Ma-a built a 1,700 meter long, six meter wide, cement  Subdivision road down the steep eighteen percent or greater slopes on the sides of Shrine Hill during 2005 - 2008, contrary to the Forestry Decree.

The road cut is more than  20 meter wide in many places on the steep sides of Shrine Hill.  Millions of tons of soil were moved, streams re-routed and the area subjected to heavy vibration, run-off and destabilization.

The road went through areas highly susceptible to landslide, according to a DENR-MGB map.  Not only were there violations of law, but residents below were put at high risk of landslide and flash flooding.  Flash flooding then in fact occurred and damaged large areas Ma-a below the subdivision.

In addition, the extra volume of fast flowing water from the unauthorized site enters already over burdened Ma-a Creek and increases flooding overflows into Datu Lo Ho village and others.  No drainage line direct to the Davao River was ever built to bleed off some of that extra flowage.

In November 2008, the 15th City Council approved the Preliminary Locational clearances for Camella and DMC subdivisions with nary a word about violations of the law and damage to property with eight brave councilors voting against it, many of them women.  There seems to have been much comment lately about it being the women that have the "guts" to do the right thing.  I salute them, also.

The completion of a new Resort here without any city approvals is of recent vintage and many in Davao just shook there heads and said "Again!"

Some have said the City Council is no longer useful and much money would be saved if everything were be officially put in the hands of Developers and other businesses.

Were any in subdivisions Matina Pangi approved like that?  I have no personal knowledge.

So, you can imagine how meaningful I found the Mindanao Times definition of a Moral Hazard to be.  It said,

"IN ECONOMY, moral hazard occurs when a party or group of individuals make a judgement about how much risk to take but do not suffer the ultimate consequences of the actions.  That privilege, unfortunately goes to another party. . . . It is about the actions of the few, regardless of whether their reasons are justified or not, and how they are putting the public welfare at risk."

That's why I laud the Mindanao Times Editorial and the actions of City Administrator Zuleika in shutting down the MNY Burbe Aggregates operation.  She has integrity and the guts to do her job.

My Opinion is respectfully offered as thanks for the Mindanao Times Editorial and in hopes It will offer us more.

Concerned Resident