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Published on Friday, 04 January 2013 00:00

 ‘For how do you explain the deafening silence of the church on the rape of our environment and yet (being) vociferously vocal on the RH debate?’
Ted Alcuitas, a Filipino who says he has been away for almost 50 years and stays in Vancouver, British Columbia, sent the following letter sharing my views on how the log ban continues to be violated.
Your column of Jan. 3, 2013 attracted my attention because of its frank questions on the issue of logging in this country.
I am a balikbayan here for personal family reasons and chose to extend my stay to enjoy our country.
I was here during the ‘Pablo’ disaster and was horrified to see the same images of logs that were still vivid in my memory during ‘Sendong’, albeit this time not floating in the open sea.
I have been away from the Philippines for close to 50 years now and have been closely involved in the environmental advocacy in Canada particularly the anti-mining lobby. In addition, I am also Senior Editor of the Vancouver-based Philippine Asian News Today. As such, I make it a point to follow closely the events in the Philippines as closely as I can.
I can’t agree more with you that the DENR response to your previous column is mere window dressing to camouflage the fact that the ‘rapists’ of our environment are still sitting in the halls of Congress and perhaps other institutions of this country including the institutionalized Church.
For how do you explain the deafening silence of the Church on the rape of our environment and yet (being) vociferously vocal on the RH debate? To me, both issues are of great moral import, for the environment is also God’s creation just as a human life is.
It never fails to pain me, as I am sure most of our balikbayans are, to come for a visit and experience the impunity with which our laws, including, as you say, the anti-logging ban, are violated.
Take for example the unfolding drama in my home province of Cebu, where the highest elected public official is openly defying a legitimate order from the President.
Instead of availing herself of the legal means to challenge the order, she chose to use sheer demagoguery and is creating havoc and inviting anarchy to rule the province.
What is particularly galling for me (admittedly I am already ‘Westernized’) is the spectacle of suspended Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s allies in the UNA Party flying to Cebu to lend their support to the embattled pretender to the throne.
Can I trust the likes of deposed former President Joseph Estrada and the ageing and inutile Juan Ponce Enrile, the architect of Martial Law and, I suspect, the logging giant that the government is scared to expose?
And finally, the Church which I would have expected to be the last bastion of hope in an utterly corrupt country, is corrupted itself when it intervened in the Cebu debacle and openly supported Garcia’s defiance of the rule of law.
What message then does this current spectacle send to the ordinary people of this country, the small people like the security guard you mentioned in your column who was arrested for taking an already felled coconut tree?
No wonder then that you bravely concluded your column with the telling observation that our “forests are still raped by people connected to power.”
Let me add that not only is our environment raped by people in power – people who are (to use a Cebuano word) ‘naa sa gahum’, but our laws are also raped by the likes of Gwendolyn Garcia and her ilk.
Much as I still love this country of my birth and long for it to rise up from the quagmire in which it is surely sinking, I am filled with despair every time I set foot in this God-forsaken country.
Adios and continue the fight
Ted Alcuitas can be reached at Philippine Asian News Today, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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