Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Trying a Quickie
I am in a hurry to post this entry for we are going to Brgy. Central in about fifteen minutes or so. We have a consultation with the residents of Sitio Putol (now known as Sitio Kasoy) on the 2D Seismic Survey to be conducted by Pitkin Petroleum Ltd. in line with Service Contract No. 53 of the Department of Energy or DOE. The residents whose farm lands are previously identified as part of the activity will have a meeting on Friday. Their village officials have already issued a Resolution favoring the project despite the opposition of the residents and the Parish Pastoral Council or PPC headed by their Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Giovanni “Jojo” M. Gatdula. The residents believe that the project will pose danger to the environment specifically to their water sources. What they are pushing is the use of renewable source of energy specifically biofuel. The 2D Seismic Survey is expected to commence next year while San Jose is commemorating its 100th Founding Anniversary. The present San Jose officials favor Service Contract No. 53, we were told.
Quickly, I just would like to say this with all humility: “Let us keep the flame of our centennial spirit alive even beyond 2010!” What I expect is the creation of a local historical group that would analyze issues as vital importance to our situation and to the future by means of initiating municipal-wide dialogues among different sectors to critically re-examine our historical past, the present socio-economic priorities of our townspeople. We need something that would stir up discussions and lead to ways of empowering the communities and organizations for renewed politics and governance. Remember, our centennial celebration will coincide with the 2010 local elections. We need a “total history” and a celebration that would emphasize structures over development, culture and society over politics, collective behavior and attitudes of every citizen (especially the basic sector), over ideas of individuals and few academicians.
I am not a historian nor from the academe. I just love reading history books while drinking gin during my college days at OMNC. I am a "renewed" Church-worker now. By the way, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), through its Pastoral Statement last July 12, 2009, have committed us, Church personnel, to the “… indispensible task of raising social awareness and forming social consciousness through political education.” This is our main focus in 2010. I am just a lowly activist or social advocate and I have never been a publicist or PR man of a politician in my whole life, much more involved in any partisan political campaign in the past. Therefore, I am speaking from my limited view point and background.
I told you I'm in a hurry but this won't take long. Without the intention of exaggerating the issue, I would like to cite this historical fact: On March 16, 1942, Japanese troops invaded San Jose Sugar Hacienda, yes,.. that was in Barangay Central, and imprisoned the entire San Jose municipal government. According to an account of Volker Schult in page 104 of his book "Mindoro : A Social History", the Japanese organized festivities and celebrations, specially on Tenno Hirohito’s birthday that year. A big party with meals for all inhabitants, complete with boxing and other competitions, dancing and other performances were organized. Those celebrations were intended to seek and improve cooperation of the ‘sacadas’ and the rural folks to the Japanese-sponsored new municipal (puppet)leadership. The author concluded by emphasizing : “Yet, these celebrations became a futile attempt to cover the brutal reality of war.”
Similarly, if the San Jose Centennial Celebration is seen as just a one-year affair and totally no hairline connection to poverty and other social problems of the majority of the Pandurucan people, we would only be attempting to cover brutal reality of the 21st Century San Jose, brought about by the absence of care for the environment and lack of political will, to name a few.
We will be going to Central not for any historical find or researches but to rock the boat,- if necessary, and make a historic action by siding with the people in opposing DOE Service Contract No. 53 in Occidental Mindoro.
My companions are already honking me. I'm coming,- I mean, I got to go…
(Photo of the Philippine Sugar Mill in Brgy. Central, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, from Flickr posted by Ronet Santos. Original photo courtesy of Rodolfo M. Acebes and Rudy A. Candelario)