By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
THE RECENT pre-dawn bullet-spraying of Vice-Mayor Ariel Non’s house - rooftop to be exact -- in Baranggay Parang hints that the dirt of politics would again make a big play as it did in the past elections.
As far as the vice-mayor’s neighbors at Purok 5 are concerned, the incident was more of “pang-aasar” with no intent to do real harm.
On the other hand, if such wicked act was planned for a bigger damage – direct and collateral -- it was “no brainer”.
And if it were Aye’s detractors, enemies or rivals who were behind this criminal act, they got no common sense.
First, the whole town knows that the vice-mayor and his family had moved to a new residence somewhere in town, thus, leaving the former Parang residence to his in-laws.
And being the vice-mayor, his new residence would be a popular spot, of which every tricycle operator would be very proud to show off to everybody, whether he or she is a favor-seeker or just a simple Facebook fan of his.
The would-be murderers could easily home in on his new town address.
So, the shooters, or the sprayers, could have gone to this new residence instead and dumped on it all sort of ammo and explosives – including drones, perhaps -- for maximum effects: casualties among his family members.
But they did not. Takot din sila, kaya ang binanatan ay ang lumang bahay sa Parang na siya ngayong tinitirhan ng kanyang mga biyanan.
Big jobs like these are planned and before one is drawn, a “recon” is a must to case the target for most of the week and plot the movement of the occupants in and out of the house.
This strategy has been discussed routinely on “komiks” thrillers, TV thrillers, pocketbook thrillers and movie thrillers. These culprits could have not missed it.
The idea is to make sure that all check boxes are ticked, leaving no stone unturned. Talagang air-tight ang plot.
So, this alone, would immediately tell the culprits if Aye and his family live there. Obviously, they don’t.
It looked like the perpetrators were just to trying to make a statement or just kidding themselves.
Or it could be that these garden-variety gunmen were sent by disgruntled gold-mining financiers who got an axe to grind, and wanted to piggyback on political violence to escape detection.
And not by Aye’s political rivals, who could do better than that, intimidation-wise.
We can only hope that our police are good enough to pinpoint the perpetrators before a similar incident erupts.
The unfolding feverish political scenario in Mambulao is something that the people should be wary about.
And this requires the local police to be on the alert 24/7.
Vigilance is the name of the game these days.
FACEBOOKING Mambulaoans are again dissecting the tired issue of why fish sold at the public market is “outrageously priced”.
And while they were into this, the issue of pollution plaguing Mambulao Bay, hopeless as it is, and the persistent recurrence of community rubbish along the poblacion’s seashore, particularly the beach in Parang, surfaced once more.
And it seemed that every one of them was disgusted over what is happening to the cherished bay.
Skimming over the postings, I was gladdened to know that some of them – the old timers in Parang who have gone overseas or elsewhere – still remember the glory of Parang beach during their younger days; the abundance of catch from the bay which made going to the town market more fun during their younger days has pepped them up.
All the best memories about the bay and the beach during their heyday summed it up: Mambulao Bay thrived in fish and fish catch was bountiful.
During those days, it was more fun to be at the fish market and more fun to frolic on Parang beach than it is today.
The beach in Parang was comparable to those in other parts of CamNorte –crystal-like water and pristine beach sand.
The dwindling catch from our municipal fishing zone is a crucial issue which both the small fishermen from the municipality and local government are fiercely wrestling with the poachers – those commercial fishing operators.
Based on MWBuzz’s info gathered last summer, the poachers continue to win against the LGU-JP “Bantay-dagat” team, and it looks like it is being betrayed by a “mole”, who tips off the culprits through a short cellphone text alert whenever a raid is on the way.
With such tip off, the CFBs would simply cruise just outside the municipal fishing ground and sit pretty. They’re now beyond the Bantay-dagat’s lawful arrest while the raiding team scratches their heads as the turn around for home.
Big commercial fishing operators (CFOs) have persistently poached on our economic waters with impunity – using all sorts of fishing gear that have been outlawed, including the “buli-buli”, which scoops fish of all sizes.
This means that even the “hindi-pa-binyag-na-isda ay nahuhuli rin”.
This leaves the bay with little school of fries to grow for Mambulao consumers.
Aside from robbing our bay of catch that belongs to the small fishermen, the CFOs operators are also depriving Mambulao consumers the enjoyment of such catch because they sell this to big-time viajeros, who haul the load away straight to the big markets in Bicol and Metro Manila.
So, what local consumers are buying at the fish market at outrageous price are those caught by local fishermen from far-off fishing grounds – outside our municipal fishing zone, which covers an area from the shoreline up to 15km out in the sea.
Since they have to chase the fish that had gone away, fishermen have to spend more on diesel that runs the engines of their fishing boats.
And to recover the extra cost of fuel, they are forced to sell their catch higher, to the detriment of the local consumers.
One Facebook regular has wondered: Why did the fish in our bay disappear or its schools dwindled?
A number of reasons have been forwarded, including over-fishing, destruction of breeding areas such as mangroves and marine coral reefs, bay pollution due to gold mining operations and illegal fishing operations.
A wide area of natural breeding places such as mangrove areas are being rehabilitated (replanted) so far around the municipality of Mambulao, but the effects would only be felt several years from now when the trees have fully grown and begin hosting marine life in their root system.
The municipality’s rich mangrove areas were wiped out many years ago by charcoal-makers, who particularly went for that mangrove tree variety called “bakawan”.
On the other hand, marine coral reefs, which were wiped out by dynamite fishing, have very little prospects of regeneration or re-growth.
Again, this means that there would be no more breeding places for fish and other marine life.
To propagate itself, marine life has to look for a place outside our territorial bay water where pollution-free natural habitats such as mangrove forests and coral reefs abound.
The worsening pollution at the Mambulao Bay caused by gold mining operations is a major concern and Mambulaoans who have respect for the environment are just worried about its future.
But here is the catch: the bay’s pollution is tied to the livelihood of many, and the local government under Ricarte Padilla, the town mayor, or whoever is running the local government, is not inclined to resolve this.
First of all, the LGU has no power to stop the pollution-causing gold mining operations as it belongs to the Mines and Geophysics Bureau (MGB).
The LGU is also at the mercy of the provincial government who heads the provincial mining regulatory board (PMRB) chaired by the provincial governor, in this case, Edgardo Tallado, a political nemesis of Mayor Padilla who has no lost love for him.
To add insult to the injury, the municipality of Jose Panganiban, which hosts a rich gold mining resource, has no seat in the board and has no role in regulating and overseeing mining operations right in its own backyard.
It also doesn’t get any share in the mining revenues from operations within its jurisdiction.
What it gets is a polluted environment in some crucial sector of the municipality – the bay and the beach.
From this alone, we could already see how Mambulao Bay would make out in the next 10 years, with the gold mining operations around the municipality using all tricks of the trade – good and bad -- just to extract the yellow metal.
Prediction: Environmental degradation and fast-declining quality of water heading to a point of no return due to gold mining silt dumped into the bay and waste pollution.
Translation: Fewer fish thriving in our bay, lesser catch for small fishermen and costlier fish to buy at the market.
It’s true that many families of “abroad” Mambulaoans would not mind paying extra for their fish, especially after visiting the friendly neighborhood Western Union.
But can we, as citizens of this town, afford all this to happen?
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