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09:15 PM March 20th, 2017

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By: Ricky Poca, March 20th, 2017 09:15 PM

 

Ricky Poca

Ricky Poca

Last week, the big mining companies went on the offensive against Environment Secretary Gina Lopez who was out of the country at the time, and I say they were shameless in their attacks against her.

Like vultures that were feeding on carcasses even if Lopez is far from dead, they got support from a Cabinet member who raised issues against Secretary Lopez even if she wasn’t available to defend herself before a Congressional committee.

The big mining companies are throwing their weight around to destroy Secretary Lopez and block her confirmation at the Commission on Appointments (CA), but fortunately for her, President Rodrigo Duterte and the public are supporting her all the way.

The President even went on record to say that he is willing to let go of the P70 billion in taxes that the government earns from the mining companies.

Mind you, these mining companies have already exploited and destroyed many of our natural resources for their own profit and Secretary Lopez is merely doing her mandate to protect the country’s resources from these greedy mining companies.

Then there are those who benefited from the mining companies and are part of that clique that is trying to stop Lopez’s confirmation.

But Lopez is also doing her homework by holding a dialogue with people who were displaced and continue to be affected by the mining operations.
Those siding with the big mining companies are very myopic in their views, considering only short-term benefits and compromising the preservation of our natural resources.

What is even revealing is that many of the senators are starting to show their true colors.

Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who chairs the committee that is conducting hearings on the confirmation of Lopez, should keep his mouth shut and stop giving interviews on her chances of securing her appointment.

As a political entity, I think the Commission on Appointments is laced with partisan interests which include big business, and they can easily be swayed by the color of money.

* * *

In last Tuesday’s 888 News Forum, we had a chance to talk to the new chairperson of the Regional Development Council (RDC) 7 Kenneth Cobonpue along with Infrastructure chairman Glenn Soco and Regional Director Efren Carreon of the National Economic Development Authority (Neda).

When they discussed the major projects in Central Visayas, among those mentioned at length were the proposed bridges for Cebu to Bohol up to Leyte and Cebu to Negros up to Iloilo as well as the circumferential road that would connect Cebu City’s north and south districts.

I asked if there were proposals for flyovers and tunnels; and both Cobonpue, a renowned industrial designer, and businessman Soco said they were merely following the recommendations of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) which called for road widening instead.

I am happy that the RDC leadership did not succumb to pressures from politicians to fund their favorite infrastructure projects like flyovers and tunnels.

The RDC leadership is biased for projects that underwent studies from experts. Let us support them for they are doing the right thing.

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