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Why Caraganons should support Sec. Gina Lopez

By Philip Bernaldez


Every time I go to Siargao Island from Surigao City on a boat my heart breaks. I see two islands grossly mutilated and dead.

Like they are calling to me like helpless beautiful ladies abused and prostituted (my apologies and no offense meant to the feminists).

I wondered angrily why this been done and who authorize it–how naive do I get-no thanks to the greedy local and national politicians who claim the “favor” is for their people who remain as poor as ever while they arrogantly enrich themselves.

I haven’t even reach Siargao supposedly to feel good but what do I see? A miserable sight! No Pinoy in his right, decent mind would ever appreciate it.


Some Balikbayans are shock and ask why do we allow it? What use is the environment agency, they wailed.

I wondered if the people task to do their job ever pass here? Of course not, the governor, the congressman, the finance/business palace hotshot must be provided with private jets/helicopters by mining companies.

If they’ve ever seen it, do they even care? No! I bet they would smile and say to themselves, mission accomplished! Dollars floating over their heads.

Much earlier, I went to Dinagat Island to visit a friend who lives in the town below Mt. Redondo, where, in case you don’t know, thrives the Bonsai fo-
rest. It is (or used to be?) the only Bonsai island forest in the world now bulldozed or going to be annihilated by a mining company.


Ordinary mortals like you and me are not allowed to go into the forest high above because the company says so. They are most allergic to media. Would that even surprise you?

It is good that no less Sec Lopez is fighting to save it. the island of Dinagat is comparable to Palawan but it is “melting” away and people do not know or even care.

Now, more than ever, there is a need to unite and show our support to Sec. Lopez to tell the exploiters that it’s enough!

Yes, it is time to go to the the route of Green Economy. We pride ourselves Caraga being nature-blessed so why not use it the right way. Not the way of the mining industry and politicians-opportunists who see minerals as the only way, but only after a while and then they run and hide–with money on their pockets.

I saw Sec Lopez being interviewed by Karen Davila in “Headstart” and Maria Ressa in “Rappler Talk” and I felt Caraganons should have the chance to see it.

In the end, we the people must demand we be heard and followed. Or we lost our forests, our islands and become miserable.

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