AS LOVELY AS A TREE
December 22, 2011
And so the year ends not with a blast but with a deluge. Hitherto typhoon-proof Mindanao became a detour of a climate-change sponsored storm rerouting. It used to be a Leyte-Samar-Bicol-Pacific route for these cyclones. In fact, we Bicolanos have gotten used to our share of periodic storms that we look forward more to typhoons rather than Christmas or birthdays. It has become part of our psyche and culture. But it seems that nature’s natural windy clean-up drive will no longer be just spicing up our pinangat or kinalas. It will also be blending with durian, and swaying with malongs from now on.
The recent tsunami, drought, flash floods and super-typhoons (plus a near-hit comet!) made this blog renew its vow to include climate change mitigation in its advocacy. After-all, every advocacy whether it be legal or cultural, leads to nature.
It must start with us. We must look at the lifestyles we live and the products we buy. Everything we do, everything we buy is a political choice. A vote between saying yes or no to climate-change mitigation.
We must also maintain a watchful eye if earth-friendly laws are being legislated and executed, or if those who violate them are being prosecuted in the court of justice. We must be reminded that the Supreme Court once ruled in the case of Oposa v. Factoran (July 30, 1993) that we are all proper parties to this legal cause. In fact we can even sue in behalf of generations yet unborn.
In said case, the Philippine Ecological Network, Inc. plus a group of minors, represented by their parents, filed a class suit against the then Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, Hon. Fulgencio S. Factoran to cancel timber license agreements (TLA). The Plaintiffs asserted that we are losing our rainforests so fast, and hence they were suing in behalf of future generations. Factoran argued that the Plaintiffs had no cause of action and the suit was not justiciable because it is a political issue. The trial court ruled in favor of Factoran and dismissed the case. Determined to pursue their cause, the Plaintiffs filed a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court invoking Arts. 19-21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines (Human Relations), Sec. 4 of Executive Order 192 (DENR Charter) and Presidential Decree 1151 (Philippine Environmental Policy. They also invoked Sec. 16, Art. 2 of the 1987 Constitution on the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology. They also cried generational homicide and reiterated the natural law on the right to self-preservation.
The High Court through ponente Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. ruled that the Petitioners had cause of action because the suit was based on a fundamental legal right which is a justiciable issue. And also, Sec. 16, Art. 2 of the 1987 Constitution need not be unwritten because it is assumed to exist at the inception of humankind. The Court also invoked Title 14, Book 4 of the Administrative Code of 1987 which mandates the DENR to control utilization of natural resources, and Sec. 20 of the Forestry Reform Code (PD 705) which allows the President, for national interest, to amend, modify, replace and rescind any contract (including TLAs) as a police power measure. The Court further mused: “Petitioners minors assert that they represent their generation as well as generation yet unborn. We find no difficulty in ruling that they can, for themselves, for others of their generation, and for succeeding generations, to file a class suit. Their personality to sue on behalf of succeeding generation can only be based on the personality concept of intergenerational responsibility insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned.”
Remember the case of Oposa v. Factoran. Remember the code: Oppose the Factory.
Truly, this concern is intersectoral. We cannot go on and pretend that we are not involved. As writers we must do more aside from writing. We must act. This is not to say that the writing process per se is not an act but rather, it is to say that writing is the first of many acts. After-all, poetry is actual life merely transmogrified into words on paper.
The WG group is thinking of an activity for the summer of 2012—a poetry hike and tree-planting here in Bicol. Writers and non-writers are welcome to walk the trek with us. Then we will be reading poetry to the seedlings after they are planted. We will be reading poetry to the trees. For surely you will agree, as one well-meaning poet once said: “I think I shall never see, a poem as lovely as a tree.”
Wait for more updates Bard-Brothers.