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Camsur leaders urged to stop ‘dirty politicking’

01:46 AM August 13, 2014

I share Gata (Caramoan, Camarines Sur) barangay chair  Mercy Sueno’s disgust over the killing of four of her constituents who were engaged in gold panning in one of the islands of Caramoan (“Beware of CamSur gov’s diversionary tactics,” Opinion,  7/17/14).

As a barangay chief, her deep concern for her constituents to be allowed to continue enjoying decades of gold panning as a source of livelihood is laudable and must be supported for as long as this does not violate Republic Act No. 9445 which has declared Caramoan Islands a tourist zone.

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It is easy to see how this matter has been transformed into a highly political issue between the Fuentebellas and the Villafuertes, the long-contending, dominant political families in Camarines Sur.

In fact, Rep. Felix William Fuentebella, our guest speaker in our Tourism Forum last June 19 at the Ateneo De Naga University, who agreed to talk on tourism in his district, particularly in connection with the Caramoan Islands, was not able to hold back as he was overcome by anger over the gruesome killing of the gold panners.

The police have arrested the suspects, and I believe the appropriate charges have been filed. In the public’s interest, I hope the contending families and their supporters will allow due process to take its course and stop fueling their private, political enmity at the expense of the people who entrusted them with the public’s trust.

The decision of the National Police Commission to suspend the supervisory control of Gov. Migz Villafuerte over the local police is understandable, since the suspects are members of the Sagip Kalikasan Task Force which is under him. This is to ensure noninterference, especially since the victims are constituents of the Fuentebellas. To say that the Napolcom’s action shows the national government’s loss of confidence in Villafuerte is a very sweeping statement and makes Sueno’s comment very political.

It is disappointing to see that, as we in the Tourism Department of Ateneo de  Naga prepare the groundwork for an effective multisectoral campaign to develop and promote tourism in the province, our elected public officials put on national display their brand of dirty politicking which only dampens their constituents’ enthusiasm to work for progress in the province.

It is our hope and prayer that our elected public officials will finally buckle down to work and instead spearhead sustainable programs that effectively uplift the quality of life of our people in Camarines Sur—neither whining about the lack of government funds and support, nor lusting for popularity and for a perpetual hold on political power.

We need a new kind of government that consults its people and initiates projects that spur socioeconomic growth. We want to have a say in what happens in our communities, and how best to run these. We demand from our leaders a style of public service that truly champions the best interest of the people of Camarines Sur.

—KRISTINE R. LIZARDO, MSHRM,

faculty member, Tourism Department,

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Ateneo de Naga University

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TAGS: Camarines Sur, Camsur, Caramoan, Caramoan Islands, Felix William Fuentebella, Mercy Sueno
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