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Another country’s dump

/ 12:01 AM July 30, 2015

Our country is blessed with both natural and human resources. But we are immensely unfortunate for having a government that allows the trash of other nations to be dumped on our shores, and a congresswoman who finds the smell of indigenous peoples offensive, yet can’t get a whiff of the “stink” patent in the fact of another country’s garbage landing on our shores.

Garbage, among them adult diapers, in 50 containers were shipped into our country from Canada. The contents of at least 26 of the containers have been dumped on a Tarlac landfill.

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We cannot be proud of our beautiful homeland when it is being turned into a garbage dump of another country. Allowing this smacks of subservience to foreign interests and is tantamount to letting pass an environmental crime and an assault on Philippine sovereignty.

I cannot understand why President Aquino is not offended by this. As president he should be the first to uphold our dignity and honor as a people; he is supposed to show pride in our nation and respect for our homeland. He should have rejected the garbage shipments outright as “an insult and totally unacceptable!”

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If someone dumps garbage on your backyard, you certainly wouldn’t allow it. You would naturally demand from that someone that he clean up your backyard and you might even “educate” him about proper waste disposal and respect for others.

In this connection, maybe we should also arrange for North Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco to go to Tarlac where the garbage from Canada had been dumped, so she could smell for herself how obnoxious a government omission or neglect, or a foreign garbage really is.

The congresswoman from Mindanao offended the Ata-Manobo tribespeople at the Haran evacuation center in Davao City with elitist remarks. These people had fled military threats and abuse. Their leaders said that the mere presence of the military in their communities was unacceptable. Catamco, instead of engaging the lumad in a productive dialogue, insulted them, saying, “You should go back to your homes because you are already stinky here” (“Lawmaker accused of ‘humiliating’ lumad,” Inquirer.net, 7/18/15).

With those words Catamco exposed an elitist and arrogant mindset and spouted the most rotten, foul-smelling, thoughtless words. On the other hand, the Ata-Manobo, in asserting their rights and defending their ancestral domain, have kept their pride, dignity and honor and their worth as a people, even to the point of risking their lives. It is Catamco, wanting in good manners and right conduct, who really reeks.

We should learn an important lesson from the indigenous peoples.

—NORMA P. DOLLAGA, Kapatirang Simbahan Para sa Bayan, [email protected]

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TAGS: Ata-Manobo, Canada, garbage, Indigenous Peoples, Nancy Catamco
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