Punchline

Dagupan, BJMP, CENRO on the spot

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

 

MANY of us out here likely feel far removed and not affected by the decision of the Duterte government to close Boracay for six months beginning April 26.  It’s our usual self-denial mode that kicks in every time an accident happens, or someone gets shot and killed.

The fact remains that at the rate the government is trying to make drastic changes in our wayward habits, particularly, caring for and protecting the environment, expect the unexpected.  Who would have expected that Mr. Duterte would support the closure of Boracay? It was a possibility that was never entertained even by the touted environment advocate and former DENR Sec. Gina Lopez.

So, while we are keenly watching out for the impact of the six-month closure, lest Dagupeños forget, the same issue that brought down the curtain on Boracay is the same issue that has been hounding the city government, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) for more than a decade now.  I refer to the daily air pollution and illegal waste disposal from the BJMP District Jail (by the Tondaligan Park) to a makeshift dumping ground close to the specified easement by the beach! (For many years, dumping was originally straight to the beach water).

A leisure walk around the jail facility will reveal the channel where the untreated wastewater from the jail flows out to be drained at the beach area. Ask the residents in Paras St., Bonuan Gueset area and they will readily tell you that they continue to suffer the heavy stench from the wastewater being drained out of the facility.

Boracay’s problem started with the waste disposal by establishments that refuse to use the sewage system, then followed by rampant violation of easement rules. Fortunately, the city government has resolved the illegal occupation of beach fronts but the BJMP’s waste disposal continues to be a thorn on its side.

Meanwhile, not a pipsqueak has been heard from CENRO in Dagupan.

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ALL EYES ON TONDALIGAN. There have been arguments and pointing fingers from both the city government and the BJMP over the years, that led mostly to providing temporary relief to the beach but the pollution continues.

What is to happen if the Cimatu-led DENR is prodded to be consistent with its Boracay decision, and decides to close either the BJMP District Jail or God forbid, the Tondaligan Park all because pollution in the area cannot ever be solved permanently? Because BJMP does not have the funds or an alternative site for the jail or to build another facility to cope with the overcrowding inside the facility? Because the city government can no longer subsidize the daily clearing of the facility’s sewage system?

As things stand today, the pollution from the BJMP district jail is like a Damocles sword hanging over the city government’s and CENRO’s heads.  All the improvements and development being introduced by Mayor Belen Fernandez, in the area, including full compliance with the easement rule, will come to naught if negative publicity will begin to hound the Tondaligan if the issue is not resolved effectively and soon enough.

Meanwhile, the CENRO in Dagupan, perhaps wittingly or unwittingly through no fault of its own, will be made to account by Sec. Cimatu for failing to act decisively on the daily pollution from the BJMP.

Dagupeños should watch their own backyard too before hell breaks loose.

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HYPOCRITICAL BLEEDING HEARTS. After failing to muster public support, the incessant attack of the political opposition aligned with the human rights groups and the church on the war on drugs has shifted to another arena – international agencies.

Unfortunately for the bleeding hearts, more people are aware finally of the serious and constant misrepresentation of the facts of the campaign against illegal drugs, starting from the claim that 13,000 have been killed by Tokhang operations to alleged coddling of drug lords.  The propaganda has clearly backfired.

Even the claim of the opposition that Sen. Leila de Lima is a political prisoner is no longer believed because people finally realize that she is facing specific criminal charges for illegal drugs, not as a sympathizer of separatist movements or simply being a harsh critic of Mr. Duterte, which is totally absurd.

While no one is denying the fact that a number of the notorious drug dealers in communities were in fact killed by police and PDEA operatives for resisting arrest violently, no one is crying for them but the bleeding hearts who want the war on drugs to stop.

But to stop the campaign now will allow drug dealers to resume control of the streets, to control political power by corrupting the police, mayors and barangay leaders, to make families vulnerable from within their households, to make more thieves out of helpless addicts, etc.

But what the LP stalwarts and their ilk fail to recognize is that the war on drugs that was never launched by any administration in the past, has for the first time put the drug syndicates on the defensive and kept them on the run. That was enough to make a lot of difference for communities that were desperate for peace and quiet in their neighborhoods.

A consensus in a community can easily be established by a random informal survey of community members even in remote barangays. They will tell you without hesitation that, yes, they are experiencing improved peace and order since the drug dealers and addicts began to disappear from school campuses, their sari-sari stores and bars.

The fact that all jails across the country are already overcrowded, teeming with drug pushers is proof that the war on drugs is working for the families.

But, of course, Mr. Duterte’s detractors will never accept that as a proposition. They want the international agencies to focus on the number of dead men who can tell no tales about why they ended up dead.

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HR GROUPS FOR DRUG SYNDICATES. By falsely painting the country as a killing field, the hypocritical bleeding hearts are, wittingly or unwittingly, serving the interests of the drug syndicates wholesale.

They insist that drug pushers who shoot our police operatives should simply be disarmed instead of returning the shots. It shocks most that the human rights groups and church insist the drug pushers deserve to have their day in court, never mind that policemen and PDEA agents risk losing their lives.  Duh?

They insist drug lords must be arrested alive and tried.

‘Such a situation augurs well for the drug syndicates’ agenda. By staying in jail, they can bribe and corrupt prosecutors, policemen and judges and their jailers to continue living the good life with ample protection from their competitors. With many of their street pushers behind bars with them, operating the drug network has become more convenient.

And all these are not lost to President Duterte which is why he has no difficulty thumbing his nose at the bleeding hearts here and overseas.  To the chagrin of his political enemies, leaders of civilized nations are beginning to heap praise on Mr. Duterte for his unnerving yet firm political will to beat the drug lords. 

Check out Japan’s Shinzo Abe, Australia’s Malcom Turnbull, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping. Need I mention USA’s Donald Trump? 

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