Ecology advocates, Osmeña slam Gov Gwen’s Sopa
Posted 17 July 2011, by Staff, inquirer News, newsinfo.inquirer.net
Richest and strongest province – from whose point of view?
That was the comment of ecology lawyer Gloria Estenzo Ramos on the State of the Province Address (Sopa) of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on Friday.
She said the accomplishments listed were based on the business sector’s point of view.
“There’s nothing new in her Sopa. That’s the same as last year’s. Has the quality of life of the people in Cebu improved?” she asked.
“It goes to show that their priority is negosyo. If their concern is really the people, the basics come first — health, sanitation and the envrionment.”
Garcia summed up the state of the province as remaining “strong” and “richer by a mile than the next richest province” with its P28.6 billion in assets.
She cited her administration’s record of building provincial roads, bridges, classrooms and improving water and power supply, among others.
Freedom from Debt Coalition Secretary General Aaron Pedrosa questioned Garcia’s desciption of Cebu province as the wealthiest in the country.
“If we are what she claims to be, why is Cebu still home to so many poor families in Central Visayas? What are the province’s priorities?”
He said the National Statistical Coordination Board in its 2009 official poverty statistics shows Cebu tops other provinces in the magnitude of poor families.
Based on the data, he said Cebu has 213,162 families living in poverty in 2009 compared to 211,406 in 2006.
Negros Oriental has 144,828 indigent families in 2009 and 130, 077 in 2006.
Camarines Sur came in third with has 126,680 poor families in 2009 up from 119,747 in 2006.
“If there is growth, is it inclusive growth? It should be inversely proportional,” he said, meaning the more wealthy a locality becomes, the less should be the number of poor residents.
Meanwhile 350.org coordinator Vince Cinches said Cebu province has no environment code or concrete programs to protect the environment. The environment benefits only the business sector and not her constituents, the Cebuanos.
Garcia’s arch critic Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district said the governor should thank the Cebu City residents for “tolerating” her tenure and not just Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
Cinches said a budget should allocated for a comprehensive envionrmental plan. and disaster-risk management because of the threat of Climate Change.
“We are more than willing to assist the province in creating a sustainable road map for development,” he said.
Arch critic Rep. Tomas Osmeña said Garcia forgot to thank Cebu City residents and prioritized Mayor Michael Rama instead.
“In her speech, Garcia thanked Rama for making a “perilous journey” from City Hall to attend her address at the Capitol.
The mayor’s friendly ties with Garcia is a source of friction with his former Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) allies in the City Council.
“It’s not only Mike who is supporting her but all the residents of Cebu City,” said Osmena, “because the governor, her father (Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia) and her congressman brother (Congressman Pablo John Garcia) are afraid to live in the very dark kingdom, the province of Cebu.”
When asked what sort of help Cebu City residents gave to the Garcias, Osmeña replied: “Sheer tolerance.”
In her address, the goernor cited her administration’s “all out support for power suppliers to address the problem of brownouts and unstable power.
She is at odds with environment advocates for championing the entry of the 200-megawatt Kepco-Salcon coal-fired plant in Naga City which was inaugurated last month. Another 246-megawat coalpfired plant in Toledo City started commercial operations last March.
Ramos, who has filed lawsuits against the Capitol for non-compliance with environment laws, said the governor’s Sopa showed where her priorites lie.
“She’s becomeg the spokesperson of the fossil fuel industry. Climate change is happening in her backyard, what is she doing about it? It’s not an achievement but a source of shame,” she said. Correspondent Carmel Loise Matus and Edison delos Angeles