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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Oro river eco-region, law of gravity and Homo pulitikos

inilagay ng may permiso mula kay BenCyrus G. Ellorin, Fastlanes

SOMEWHERE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA - It is unfortunate that the Provincial Government of Bukidnon is raising hell on the proposed law in the House of Representatives creating the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Authority.

In expressing their opposition to the legislative measure introduced by Cagayan de Oro second district Congressman Rufus Rodriguez, Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri was quoted as saying “We can manage our own resources and we do not need to be dictated upon.”

This comment is a little off-beat for it repudiates a very basic natural law called the law of gravity.

I would suggest the good Cagayan de Oro congressman and the good governor of Bukidnon sit down in some cool and cozy place and talk things over.

My understanding of House Bill 5908 is to share responsibility and harmonize the management and development of the natural resources that flow in the Cagayan de Oro river from the streams and creeks in the Mount Kitanglad range in the heart of Bukidnon and from the Kalatungan Mountain range in the Bukidnon-Lanao areas.

This measure is long time coming and no doubt an urgent one. The floods that hit Cagayan de Oro City the regional and economic hub of Northern Mindanao in January this year made the issue of rationalizing the management of the Cagayan de Oro River Basin or watershed very compelling.

Congressman Rufus may not need to kneel down to the kingpin of Bukidnon in order to have their support to the measure. Perhaps a little explanation on the law of gravity and the basic characteristic of water to seek its own level thus the need rush to the sea or lakes may do.

There is no doubt the esteemed political leaders of Bukidnon knows how to manage their own resources and I don’t think the proposed law of Congressman Rufus is in anyway dictating on the political wisdom of the landed political elites of Bukidnon.

It is meant, I understand to keep Cagayan de Oro out of floodwaters so that the rich people of Bukidnon can enjoy shopping and nightlife in the city and also so that their children can comfortably study in the universities in the city.

In a column I wrote in January this year, just as Cagayan de Oro City was drowned in floodwaters, I have suggested among others the following (Fastlanes: Floods mostly man-made, January 18, 2009)

“- the conduct a comprehensive watershed physical characterization of the Cagayan de Oro River and its tributaries;

“- implementation of a comprehensive reforestation and river rehabilitation program in the Cagayan de Oro River and its tributaries.”

When we talk of Cagayan de Oro River tributaries, we go upstream the river up to Mount Kitanglad in the southeast and Kalatungan Mountain ranges in southwest. We talk of a dozen smaller rivers that converge in the Cagayan de Oro River creating that now world famous Cagayan de Oro whitewater rafting adventure.

I remember talking to Baungon, Bukidnon Mayor Ardan Roa last January about how the water in the Bubunawan river rose 12 feet in the early morning of January 3, 2009. As we remember that water from Bukidnon’s Mount Kitanglad caused the swelling of the Cagayan de Oro River sending people in Macasandig, Balulang, Carmen and the rest of the riverine Oro barangays to their rooftops and evacuation centers.

Perhaps, the rich landed politicians of Bukidnon should show little compassion to their lowland brothers, especially the poor lowlanders, many by the way come from Bukidnon trying to eke a living in the city of golden friendship.

Last February, during a Bishop-Legislator’s forum hosted by the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro led by Archbishop Antonio Ledesma S.J. a staff of Bukidnon second district Congressman TG Guingona approached me and said “I gave a copy of your columns on the recent floods to my boss for his consideration.”

TG Guingona was in that forum and he was very supportive of the bills being introduced by Congressman Rodriguez in response to the recent floods which was obviously caused by the denudation of the Cagayan de Oro River watershed.

I hope the good Congressman tap the wrists of the Provincial Government of Bukidnon to put some compassion to their lowland brothers and sisters, the same way he shouted to the top of his voice during the castration of the democratic process of impeaching a President of the Republic in 2006.

Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro may be divided according to political boundaries at the whims of politicians, but the more important law of nature is very clear that we are just one body. That we belong to the same eco-region. That this natural body is connected by that vein and the vast network of arteries called tributaries of the Cagayan de Oro River.

Waters from Kalatungan do not stop in Talakag, Bukidnon or waters from Kitanglad do not stop in Baungon, Bukidnon but rush down to Macajalar Bay via the Cagayan de Oro River. Macajalar Bay joins the Bohol Sea and depending on the sea current the waters join the Pacific Ocean in the east or the South China Sea in the west. Through the process precipitation this same water may be attracted to the coolness of Mt Kitanglad and Kalatungan and go back there as rains.

This is the law of nature – harmonious, but whose rhythm is often disturbed by the descendants of the crocodiles and the apes, especially the not fully evolved Homo politikus.

(Fastlanes is written by an environmentalist and peace advocate. He is currently out of the country but observing events at home closely, as a Peace Communication (PeaceComm) Fellow of the Environmental Broadcast Circle. PeaceComm is supported by the Norwegian volunteer organization FredsKorpset. Comments can be sent to

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1 comment:

  1. As if the situation with Gordon Elletson and Rufus Rodriguez wasn't enough we now have a Cagayan de Oro based Hubo-Hubo bar owner (a pimp) by the name of Michael Mountstephen stating in no uncertain terms that he has political protection in Cagayan de Oro.

    I wonder what the price of impunity is in CDO? Who knows but this Hubo-Hubo bar owner states its cheaper than in Cebu and goes on to state the Mayor and a News Paper editor are amongst his protectors.

    Please see below link for direct quotes regarding the statements this expatriate is making.


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