February 25, 2018, 7:43 am
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Mining and Montano

Most members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) portrayed themselves as hooligans  in by-passing DENR Secretary Gina Lopez. Why is Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III constrained not to lift a finger against the apparent intervening interests represented by lawmakers whose families and friends own or operate mining companies? He should at least urge them to inhibit themselves from the CA deliberations on the subject of  Lopez. Rep. Ronnie Zamora, was   singled out by Lopez herself at the first CA hearing on her confirmation. A  mining site   between Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley   the area is reportedly owned by a senator. 

President Duterte seems pretty well stumped from pursuing an open anti-corruption campaign in the mining industry. He has virtually left the bruising “battle” in the hands of Lopez and has only gone so far as repeatedly declaring his strong support for her. And so,  after demanding an explanation on the widespread pollution of lakes and rivers, what is keeping this iron-fisted president from directing the Department of Justice to resume and relentlessly carry out the probe of erring mining operators and their conniving local officials. While Lopez is caught in the crucible of the political and  business   forces swirling around her and her selfless advocacy, Finance Secretary Sonny Dominquez would emerge as her visible nemesis in the Duterte Cabinet questioning   the technical legality of her  efforts. At the moment, Lopez can count on the vaunted nationwide broadcast machinery of ABS CBN as her true partner against the power and wealth of the mining elite. But Duterte knows too well that he  cannot be subservient to his friendships and personal loyalties which have otherwise defined many of his appointees to the Cabinet and other government agencies.

Actor Cesar Montano does not deserve the brickbats being thrown at him at the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB). President Duterte knows him well enough to defend the   filmmaker against accusations he is out to enrich himself. He informed this columnist who visited him at his office about three months ago that the TBP was saddled with numerous anomalies that he could not trust practically anyone to comply with his decisions and cooperate in his projects. To him, It seemed evident that his predecessor had looked the other way from the surprising number of huge questionable transactions. The workaholic and highly-driven Montano could not stand a corrupt and inept work force to deliver on solid or laudable projects. As an outstanding achiever in the cinema industry here and broad, he had set his sights higher than anyone else’ at the TPB. It would have worked well for him and the government if he chose first to institute immediate reforms and undertake an earnest administrative probe against erring employees there. He has had trouble developing a favorable relationship with the employees because as a customary dilemma of company executives and gov’t officials, showing concern and support for wayward personnel do not go hand in hand with professional   scrutiny.   

We should not only take time out during the Holy Week to take stock of our lives and those of our loved ones, but must take to heart the realization that renewing our moral, material and spiritual lives should be part of our lifestyle. Without admitting it, most of us are “heavy-laden” with personal and family problems. We are locked in by our achievements, our professional talents and distinctions, our wealth and power. The “other” world which brings true healing now beckons. The great evangelist and healer Reinhard Bonke writes, “Jesus Christ heals because He suffered. What Jesus was on the cross, He is on the throne, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth. If God suffers, what a world of truth that opens up! It is as if he took the responsibility for all the evil in the world. He accepts it into His own infinite experience...He absorbed the tragedy of the fall into His own being. He carries our sorrows. He took the shrieking discords of sin and misery and wrote them into the eternal symphony of love - the everlasting sounds of heaven, the minor mode of the eternal music of His being.”
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