CDO coalition mulls Writ of Kalikasan

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/ 20 October)—A non-government organization here has threatened to file a Writ of Kalikasan against the city government if it will not do something against the rampant illegal mining activities in the hinterlands of the city.

Orlando Ravanera, chair of the environment coalition Sulog, said they will give the city government “ a last chance” to do something about the unabated mining in the area, otherwise a petition for a writ will be filed against officials.

A Writ of Kalikasan is a legal relief that provides for the protection of one’s right to “a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature,” as enshrined in Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. It is the environmental counterpart of the Writ of Amparo.

In mulling the filing of a writ, Ravanera said that people should have learned hard lessons from tropical storm Sendong, the worst calamity that hit the city in decades.

“We should stop the bleeding of the earth and it is our responsibility to hold government to do their role in protecting its people from another man-made devastation,” said Ravanera.

He noted that it has been 10 months since Sendong (international codename: Washi) struck but the city government has yet to implement any serious preventive measures to assure the residents that a similar catastrophe won’t happen again.

In this city alone, Sendong claimed at least a thousand lives and a thousand more missing until now, feared to have been dead. The estimated damage to properties was pegged at P1.6 billion. The floods affected 1,144,229 individuals and swept 14,883 houses.

“We should act and not just wait for government’s delayed action in the defense of nature and for the survival of its people. The principle that we will follow is that the welfare of the people is the supreme law,” said Ravanera.

He added that no matter how painful it is for the survivors of Sendong, it is imperative that “we revisit and study what went wrong” and that people should be held accountable. (Cong B. Corrales/MindaNews)