Briones: People’s welfare

Publio J. Briones III
·2 min read

I’m sure the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) Cebu is only after the welfare of families affected by the fatal landslide at the Carmen Pit in Barangay Biga, Toledo City last December.

That’s why, on Dec. 31, 2020, some of its members went to Sitios Hag-it and Manokan where close to 1,000 individuals have been evacuated for their safety.

That’s why they were accompanied by lawyers connected with the Cebu Action Group and the Philippine Earth Justice Center.

According to Teodorico Navea, PMCJ Cebu chapter convenor, they were there to check up on the families of the six missing miners and gather updates on the families of the four casualties.

So he brought along lawyers.

Not doctors to check the medical condition of the evacuees, who are, after all, at risk of infection of the coronavirus disease and other diseases, especially if there is no one there to strictly implement health and safety protocols to prevent a possible outbreak.

Not social workers or psychologists to help families of victims deal with the trauma caused by their sudden loss and their displacement.

I mean, lawyers are the last persons I’d associate with landslides and other calamities. Unless, of course, they’re there for something else.

But hey, maybe Navea did bring along doctors and social workers but chose not to highlight their presence. Why would he if their visit had no hidden agenda? Right?

By the way, I looked up Navea. It turns out that he is also the spokesman of the Partido Lakas ng Masa Cebu chapter, which, I guess, makes him qualified to assess the situation of the evacuees, enough to ask the Toledo City Government “to compel” Carmen Copper Corp. (CCC), the owner of the mining pit and employer of most of the landslide victims, to provide “enough” support to the affected families of Barangay Biga.

He was never forthcoming with what he meant by “support,” just that it should be “enough.”

So did he mean food? Extra clothing? Was he referring to accommodation? He did point out the “deplorable” and “inhuman” conditions at both evacuation sites, one of which happened to be a former poultry farm.

Navea said he also spoke to some of the evacuees, who told him they would rather go home and face the risk of another landslide than stay a day longer in Sitios Hag-it and Manokan. Well, not exactly in those words, but you know what I mean?

Since the former is not really an option, I guess they’ll just have to grin and bear it in the meantime.

Interestingly enough, Navea didn’t say if he spoke to representatives of CCC or the Toledo City Government, but he did speak to the barangay captain of Biga, who, I’m sure, is only worried about the plight of his constituents.