“The head of any local government unit concerned who allows, abets or otherwise tolerates the construction of any structure in violation of this section shall be liable to administrative sanctions under existing laws and to penal sanctions provided for in this Act.”
by Ducky Paredes
Jesus said unto them, “A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house.” (Matthew 13:57)
Let those who claim to have foretold what Sendong hath wrought take solace in those words of the Christ. But, honestly, there was just no way that any one could have prepared for what Sendong did.
Sure, for the last decade there has been talk of Climate Change but can anyone blame us humans for not being prepared for it?
In the last 780,000 years, there have been nine long glacial episodes (Ice Ages). During this time, the world turned from cold to warm to cold. Our present global warming has been with us for 150,000 years now. The last 150 years, according to the book “ The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan, is “longer than any such period over the past thousand years.” This has been partly caused by us humans.
Writes Fagan: “Promiscuous land clearance, industrial-scale agriculture, and use of coal, oil, and other fossil fuels have raised greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere and contributed to the warming. In an era so warm that the sea level has risen in Fiji an average of fifteen centimeters a year over the past nine decades, and brush fires consumed over 500,000 hectares of drought-plagued Mexican forest in 1998 and more in Australia in 2002, the climatic gyrations of the past 15,000 years seem remote indeed.”
Thus, if the Climate Change Congress of the Philippines (CCCP) feels that no one is listening to their warnings, this is only natural for us silly humans We have had this climate for the last 150 years, why should it change?
Perhaps, now that Sendong has shown us what Climate Change is about, we will be more attentive to the CCCP and other doomsday prophets.
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One of those we should have listened to, as far back as 1992 was then Senator Jose “Joey” D. Lina, Jr. who was the youngest member of the Philippines Senate from 1987 to 1992.
Joey conceived what was called the Lina Law (Republic Act No. 7279 or the Urban Development Housing Act of 1992 –UDHA). This provides that certain lands owned by the government may be disposed of or utilized for socialized housing purposes.
The Act lays down the groundwork for a comprehensive and continuing urban development and housing program. It addresses the right to housing of the homeless and underprivileged Filipino people. The Lina Law also instructed the Local government Units (LGU) to survey available lands (government and private) for socialized housing, as well as all of the informal settlers within the LGU.
From the law, we see what this is all about:
“Sec. 29. Resettlement. — Within two (2) years from the effectivity of this Act, the local government units, in coordination with the National Housing Authority, shall implement the relocation and resettlement of persons living in danger areas such as esteros, railroad tracks, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways, and in other public places as sidewalks, roads, parks, and playgrounds. The local government unit, in coordination with the National Housing Authority, shall provide relocation or resettlement sites with basic services and facilities and access to employment and livelihood opportunities sufficient to meet the basic needs of the affected families.
“Sec. 30. Prohibition Against New Illegal Structures. — It shall be unlawful for any person to construct any structure in areas mentioned in the preceding section.
“After the effectivity of this Act, the barangay, municipal or city government units shall prevent the construction of any kind of illegal dwelling units of structures within their respective localities. The head of any local government unit concerned who allows, abets or otherwise tolerates the construction of any structure in violation of this section shall be liable to administrative sanctions under existing laws and to penal sanctions provided for in this Act.”
If the Lina Law had ben faithfully implemented, would we have had over a thousand dead from the floods of Sendong in Northern Mindanao?
Of course, one defect of the R.A. might have been that of assigning so much of the enforcement to the LGUs (“the barangay, municipal or city government units”) considering that for most of our LGUs, the votes that give them their mandates precisely come from these “informal settler” colonies, who are where they are with the consent, support and encouragement of the LGU officials, who welcome them into their LGY in exchange for their votes.
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I end the year with this correction of a recent item from the second of my three sons, who lives in Hawaii: “I saw you mentioned the Hawaii Driver’s License with SSNs in your latest column.
“Just so you know, this is no longer the case. A few years ago, they switched to using another number and soon (if not already), all Hawaii driver’s licenses will have a number not related to your SSN. “ – Mikey
I have been away too long!
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The president reports that after his first18 months, the country has “risen from the grave of corruption” and “we have returned the blindfold of Lady Justice.” I believe myself that the President still has a long way to go and he has to do it all in four and a half years – hardly, enough time to turn a country from its corrupt ways into a working democracy. But, I wish President Noynoy Aquino and the country success in changing he reality of what the Philippines is.
He has certainly done better in 18 months than others have in nine long years. Lest others forget, our present President has also been more democratic and responsive than the one who last served the second longest time after Marcos as our President.
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