The rule of law is paramount. All must obey
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - December 18, 2018 - 12:00am

One of the best news we got was when we read that local fisherfolk and environment activists from Bulacan to Cavite last Wednesday staged a protest march calling on the government to block the approval of 10 reclamation projects along Manila Bay that, they said, endanger the lives of about 124,000 persons living along its coastline. Wow! Finally it is now the people who are complaining that certain reclamation projects should never be initiated to start with. We learned that this protest coincided with their filing of a complaint calling on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to deny the environmental compliance certificates (ECC) and area clearance permits of erring land reclamation projects.

I read in my Facebook page no less than Manila Yacht Club Commodore Robert “Bobby” Joseph congratulating the DILG for showing interest in saving Manila Bay and urging the DILG to use its regulatory powers to implement our laws on the environment. I’m glad that there are groups who are opposing the proposed reclamation projects that will span the Manila Bay coastline from Bataan province in the north to Cavite province in the south.

Leon Dulce, National Coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment said “These destructive projects should be prohibited until such time that a rational regulatory framework over coastal resource management is put in place.” These include the Manila Bay Integrated Flood Control and Coastal Defense Expressway Project covering the coastal areas in Navotas City to Balanga City in Bataan; the 2,500-hectare Aerotropolis airport project in Bulacan province; and the 650-hectare Navotas City Coastal Bay Development Project.

The groups submitted their complaint to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Director Metodio Turbella of the Environmental Management Bureau. In their four-page letter-complaint, they said the planned reclamation projects failed to comply with guidelines of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Manila Bay remained unfit for swimming because of high-level pollution caused by trash and other kinds of waste dumped by illegal settlers in Metro Manila.

What more do we need? Manila Bay doesn’t need another reclamation project, as the only project it ever needs is to clean up Manila Bay for the future of the young generation. At this point, we hope that Sec. Roy Cimatu not only gets the support of Pres. Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte and his cabinet…but the support of the people of Metro Manila!

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If there is anything this nation really needs, it is for every Filipino to start respecting the Rule of Law! This is what was exactly in my mind when I read in the Philippine Star that hundreds of Angkas riders took to EDSA last Sunday afternoon to protest an impending crackdown by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board on the motorcycle-hailing service. Supposedly, the Angkas riders were part of a larger “unity ride” by motorcycle rights organizations protesting the government’s alleged discrimination against motorcycle riders.

The ride was meant to protest the proposed Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act of 2017, which will require supposed crime prevention measures for motorcycle riders. Let me point out to my readers that first and foremost, I have always been a motorcycle rider. I was one of the first to get into Motocross racing in Cebu and Cagayan de Oro when Motocross was not yet as popular as it is today. First off I must submit that the Senate proposal for a bill to require the installation of bigger and reflectorized plate numbers has to be restudied. Bigger plate number won’t stop crime. I don’t mind if they are reflectorized.

My good friend, Sen. Richard Gordon, author of the bill and who has been trying to get similar legislation passed since the 14th Congress, is quoted in the same press release as saying: “Motorcycles have become crime machines.” This is no different from someone saying that guns kill people. They forget that it is people that kill other people! I’m sorry Dick… motorcycles even those used in crime have not become criminal machines.

Before people forget… they should understand clearly that the State has granted people a license to drive. This is a privilege granted by the State and it is not a human right! So if the Supreme Court has decided to issue a temporary restraining order vs. Angkas, then Angkas must obey the SC. Everyone must observe the rule of law…or the entire Filipino nation would suffer. I’m not totally against Angkas, but whether they like it or not Angkas must obey what the SC has ordered. The Rule of Law is paramount!

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