Fil-Ams take stand vs environmental abuse

by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Dec 30 2011 01:35 PM | Updated as of Dec 30 2011 09:35 PM

WOODSIDE, New York - Potri Ranka Manis is no stranger to flash floods. She herself survived one growing up in Mindanao.

Manis had just lost five of her relatives in the recent flashfloods caused by tropical storm Sendong.
“I am very devastated. It is caused by a natural disaster but if you will really study it, it’s actually like a systematized massacre because it’s a scientific fact that if you cut trees from the mountains, the effect will be floods,” she said.
Manis was one of the speakers at the National Alliance for Filipino Concern’s (NAFCON) “Pulong Bayan” recently held at the Philippine Forum in Woodside.
"We have been sending donations to Sagip Migrante, that's our sister organization, and that they've told us that everything that goes to Sagip Migrante goes to Mindanao. So they are directly integrated into the communities sa Cagayan (de Oro) saka sa Iligan," said NAFCON’s Annerberyl Corotan.
The Pulong Bayan provided updates and further information on what happened in Mindanao.
“There were a lot of factors that led to the death toll, but one of the major players in the game is the man-made causes such as illegal logging, mining, quarrying and land conversion,” said Kathleen Dy of AnakBayan New Jersey. 
After raising more than $600, many Filipinos said they also feel a need to take concrete action to put a stop to the man-made activities that aggravated the flash floods.
Bayan USA’s Bernadette Ellorin said, “The immediate reform that President Aquino has to implement is to allocate enough funds for disaster preparedness.”
Dy said, “It has to find appropriate relocation sites for the displaced victims. It has to punish the illegal loggers and miners who plunder the environment in Mindanao.”
The group said Filipinos must take a stand and pressure the Philippine government to put a stop to man-made activities that may have caused the massive tragedy.

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