CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/14 January) — A public venue where residents may vent their views and thoughts on how City Hall has responded in the aftermath of the most destructive flood that hit the city last month was launched Friday.
Save CdO, a group of locals who started an online forum for Sendong survivors in Facebook, launched the “people’s forum” at Kiosko Kagawasan, D.V. Soria, where at least 200 people gathered and hundreds more walked in to sign the petition to recall City Mayor Vicente Emano.
Sendong survivors took turns in telling their survival stories and what they described as the pitiful response of the city government. The Misamis Oriental Provincial Band, Picket Fences and musician-composer Pepe Abrogar sang environment songs in the same gathering.
Save CdO spokesperson Tito Mora announced at the forum that they already have more than 10,000 signatures in their petition to recall Emano.
It was raining all afternoon but the turnout at the public forum surprised even the organizers. The curious lack of electricity at the venue did not stop the forum. Organizers brought an electric generator to power the sound system for the opening program.
Group member Antonio Montalvan II posted in the group’s Facebook page: “The first Sendong Forum today was a great success. The kick-off motorcade was participated by many. The rally at Divisoria Kiosk was surprisingly well attended for an initial rally and to think that it was soaked the whole time under a slight drizzle.”
“The good news is: many ordinary folks, mostly masa, came and spontaneously affixed their signatures to the Recall sheets. The organizers say they now have over 10,000 signatures after just one week,” he continued.
Save CdO had submitted a permit application to hold the forum at City Hall but group members claimed no one processed their application that’s why the power connection at Kiosko Kagawasan was not activated.
Mora posted in Bangon Kagay-an’s Facebook page: “If the middle class do not act now, we all will slide to the sector most vulnerable to the machinations of those occupying City Hall. Together we can win this war. This is not simply to remove one man. This is to restore the dignity of all Kagayanons. We reject kapit sa patalim and we offer options for all.”
“We reject selling on sidewalks and streets, entrepreneurs deserve much more. We reject demagoguery and we want transparency in all public dealings. PCSO rakes in 200 million a month in lotto operations alone in our region, but a Sendong victim was given a measly 200 pesos. Mining takes more than what it gives. Claim our place. This is our city. Let the people rule. Sovereign power is ours. SENDONGKOY OUT NOW!”the post added.
Sendongkoy is apparently an allusion to “Dongkoy,” Emano’s nickname. (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)