When Mother Nature gets ‘pissed’

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

Judging from the amount of rain and flooding that we witnessed these past few weeks, one gets the impression that Mother Nature is so pissed with our collective disregard for the environment that she decided to pee on us all. Forgive the graphic creativity of describing recent events but it’s what comes to mind after President Duterte was quoted as saying that he wants to investigate illegal mining and illegal logging in Cagayan Valley and Isabela province as the cause of the recent unexpected major flooding. Yes, there is reason to investigate the illegal activities in those places but as far as floods go, the President would do better if he looked further north and higher up. A year or so ago, we were already dealing with major landslides, flooding and tragedy up in the mountains and it got so bad because the experts already said that much of the highlands up north were Red Zones or so unstable they were unsafe for habitation. Why? Because those mountains and hills had been mined, logged and turned into vegetable farms with nothing left to hold the terrain in place. In areas where there are no “Vegetable Terraces,” people built homes back to back, ultimately creating potential death traps in the event of landslides.

But even in the face of these obvious violations and environmental destruction, every president is misdirected by advisers and local officials to go after faceless nameless small miners and illegal loggers. There is the saying: “It takes a village…” In the case of the environmental destruction in the north and many parts of the Philippines, the destruction is caused by the very villages and villagers that now sit on top of them. Unfortunately no one has stood up and held those people and those communities accountable. Instead we pity the people of Cagayan and Isabela for being sunk by floodwaters that accumulated in their homes and backyards. If President Duterte and the members of the Senate and Congress are really serious about dealing with this mortal sin against Mother Nature and the people who are living in floodwaters, then authorities should stop chasing mythical monsters. Put an end to the denudation of forests, the uncontrolled creation of vegetable gardens that produce in excess and wastage, and investigate the DENR to find out if they are really controlling illegal logging. Anyone who drives up north or even along the Silang-Tagaytay road has to wonder where all the wood carvers and furniture makers get tabletop slabs of wood 4 feet by 20 feet wide. What sort of regulation and documentation are required starting from LGU locations to the very workshops and stores that sell such “big pieces.” They always say that the wood used in those shops and stores are from typhoon damage, but what system is in place to regulate and verify such? Anyone who goes online will surely manage to buy exotic woods for their homes if they have the cash. So all this talk about stopping illegal logging to my mind is just smoke and mirrors.

In any case, I do hope that President Duterte can break free from the blinders people want him to wear. We are all responsible for the flooding and it is time for all of us to do something at our levels. I say we promote localized vegetable gardening, break up vegetable terraces and replant them with trees, get mining firms to foot the bill to restore denuded areas and penalize LGUs that have ignored the deterioration of their local areas. Right now the analogy is if the man on the mountain pees, the people down below get flooded. Enough is enough. Make everyone accountable.

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Instead of just a representative from their PR agency, someone from FedEx recently reached out and called me to explain the details of my sad experience in attempting to send a care package to my daughter Hannah in the Netherlands. Here is the full email that I received.

“Thank you so much for taking my call and again I would like to extend our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused by this incident. Rest assured that the gaps have been addressed internally for service improvement.

As discussed, I have verified directly with FedEx Netherlands and they confirmed that T-shirts made in China are acceptable. We just need to provide a complete commodity description such as material composition of the fabric and the value of the goods.

While for the store-bought dried mangoes, it will need an export permit from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) as confirmed by their office. The facial wash and Celeteque moisturizer will not require an FDA clearance as long as the weight will not exceed 10 kgs. A bottle of Betadine throat spray will definitely need a permit to carry or mail from the FDA office, which FedEx is unable to process, same with the BPI permit.

Please feel free to advise me when would you like to avail of the free shipping up to 5 kgs so I can gladly coordinate this with our Operations team.

Again, please accept our apologies and we thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

Vivien Rodriguez |Customer Care Specialist, Customer Experience Operations | FedEx Express Philippines”

In addition to the matters stated above, I discussed the concerns and experience of our readers and Ms. Rodriguez assured me that the FedEx management will look into those matters as well. Like I said, I won’t hate on FedEx, it’s enough that they took recognition of everyone’s problems and promised to do something.

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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