The truth behind what made ‘Pablo’ horribly deadly

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This refers to Mon Tulfo’s column, “Influential people in illegal logging named” (Inquirer, 12/15/12). The past several days have found me scanning the local dailies in search of reports stating the truth behind the relentless pillage and wanton rape of natural resources by influential people in areas hardest hit by Typhoon “Pablo.” My curiosity was finally put to rest, thanks to Tulfo’s incisive article exposing among others the arrogance, negligence, incompetence and abuse of power by those deluded into thinking public office is their birthright and family heirloom.

Never a reporter to mince his words, Tulfo, I think, hit the nail right on the head, shedding light on what has remained a hush-hush topic all these years. That to me is an excellent piece of investigative journalism. Congratulations, Mon, and may your tribe increase!

Unfortunately for these politicians who consent to or are directly involved in the indiscriminate destruction of forests, nature has its way of exacting its wrath not only upon the perpetrators but also on the innocent, the voiceless and the socially marginalized.  Planned and organized pillage and wanton rape of natural resources, from forests to precious metal, have been a standard practice among these pseudo-leaders who for years have been lording it over their constituents who have no say whatsoever in running their affairs.

I should know; I am a native of Davao Oriental. One might wonder how and why such practices were permitted to wreak havoc on the population already reeling under the weight of oppression and deprivation for decades. Any village idiot can tell that it is the orgy of greed, corruption, connivance and code of silence increasing exponentially with each new administration that has kept us forever mired in ignorance, politics of patronage and poverty.

Fellow Davaoeños, lest we forget, we are all in this together. While we are quick to point an accusing finger at the politicians we put in power, we tend to dismiss fact that we, the electorate, willfully have chosen them to run our affairs regardless. Given our penchant for choosing our leaders not so much on their merits as on cinematic appeal and popularity, we deserve the leaders we get. Our short collective memory invariably traps us into a vicious cycle of abuse, neglect and poverty. Will we ever learn and rise to the occasion? Or are we doomed to repeat history? Indeed, Santayana has an apt message for us all in the wake of Pablo: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

—PETE DE LOS SANTOS,

fredrod1181@yahoo.com

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