opinion

From Charlotte to Balingasag and CDO

March 12, 2020

Charlotte, North Carolina—Before we talk about the pandemic that is COVID-19, allow me dear readers to thank the man who made possible my ‘return’ of sorts to radio broadcasting.   I knew Monching Ong as one of the TV technicians that I worked with at the defunct Cagayan de Oro College (COC) Broadcasting network in the early millennium. Years later through various reunions with the old COC TV-radio crew, I learned that Monching now owns 105.5 FM, Bay Radio Way Kurat.   I am proud of Monching for being able to set up his own radio station which is his passion. I remembered seeing him tinker with electronic devices and how he is called on to trouble shoot transmitter equipment.  This is yet proof positive that with talent, guts and focus, anyone can go far in his or her life.   A brief backgrounder: Bay Radio started in Sept. 8, 2013 with its station and transmitter located in Balingasag town, Misamis Oriental. Its reach covers the towns of Binuangan to Laguindingan town where the airport is located to Cagayan de Oro City and some parts of Bukidnon province.                     **************************   It’s slowly making a name for itself in the local broadcast community. Bay Radio is so named since Balingasag town is known for its beautiful baywalk. And it’s high time that this town, birthplace of incumbent Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno, makes its mark in the province.   Anyway, Bay Radio offers music and information just like any FM station these days whose programming is a mix of music and information. By the way, I remembered working with RMN Dxcc in the early 90s for the late Lorie de la Serna, then TV program director.   Back then, RMN-TV 8 already combined music and news in its programming and in fact wanted to adopt the same programming at its FM station dxVM.  Dela Serna was ahead of his time and what he proposed then had become regular fare for today’s radio stations.   Back to Bay Radio, I have a regular program with a 7 a.m to 8 a.m slot on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I invite everyone to tune in to my program and also to the program of Balingasag Mayor Alexis Quina hosted by Jun Fermo which is doing a great job informing residents of Balingasag town.                   **************************   And I love being back on radio. To be honest, I missed being on radio after I migrated to the US a decade ago.  Through my radio program, I can keep my finger on the local public’s pulse amid the backdrop of local, national and international social-economic and political developments.   I could not remember the number of times Monching invited me to host a program on his radio station, which I initially found preposterous until I realized how technology made it possible for people to communicate with each other across distances.   So thanks to technology,  I find myself hosting a radio program in the comfort of my home here in Charlotte, North Carolina and wonder of wonders, my program can be seen and heard all over the world.   The world is indeed getting smaller thanks to technology. And it feels great to learn that I still have a platform to discuss issues and be a catalyst for positive change in society as we know it. Indeed, Balingasag town is fortunate to host Bay Radio FM Way Kurat.           ***************************   Speaking of international developments, what I feared would happen had now come to pass as I learned through my social media feed that the Department of Health (DOH-10) regional office confirmed that a 54-year-old patient tested positive for COVID-19 at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC).   As I write this I learned that Mayor Oscar Moreno was scheduled to hold a press conference at 10 a.m  Philippine time Thursday (March 12) with local DOH doctors and I will reserve most of my comments and assessment for my next column which hopefully sees print sometime this week or next week.   Rep. Rolando Uy of Cagayan de Oro City’s first district already issued a press statement calling on city residents to keep calm, stay vigilant and strictly observe self-hygiene while monitoring the latest official pronouncements from the DOH and the city government.   In my previous column, I wrote about the stringent health checks imposed on travelers like my husband Ronnie and myself when we boarded our flights from Manila all the way to Charlotte. Back then I said the threat of COVID-19 is real and that threat had now reached the doorsteps of the City of Golden Friendship.

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Perfectionism

March 12, 2020

MANY of us believe perfectionism is a positive. You may count me in. More often than I’d like to admit, something seemingly inconsequential will cause the same feeling to rear its head again. Something as small as accidentally squashing the makeup, I was bringing my first girlfriend’s family for Christmas can tumble around in my mind for several days, accompanied by occasional voices like “How stupid!” and “You should have known better”. Falling short of a bigger goal, even when I know achieving it would be near-impossible, can temporarily flatten me. When a former agent told me that she knew I was going to write a book someday but that the particular idea I’d pitched her didn’t suit the market, I felt deflated in a gut-punching way that went beyond disappointment. The negative drowned out the positive. “You’re never going to write a book,” my internal voice said. “You’re not good enough.” That voice didn’t care that this directly contradicted what the agent actually said. And, up to now, I didn't finish my first book, yet... It's already 2020... . That’s the thing about perfectionism. It takes no prisoners. If I’ve struggled with perfectionism, I’m far from alone. The tendency starts young – and it’s becoming more common. Thomas Curran and Andrew Hill’s recent meta-analysis of rates of perfectionism from 1989 to 2016, the first study to compare perfectionism across generations, found significant increases among more recent undergraduates in the US, UK and Canada. In other words, the average college student last year was much more likely to have perfectionistic tendencies than a student in the 1990's or early 2000's. “As many as two in five kids and adolescents are perfectionists,” says Katie, who researches child development and perfectionism at West Virginia University. “We’re starting to talk about how it’s heading toward an epidemic and public health issue.” The rise in perfectionism doesn’t mean each generation is becoming more accomplished. It means we’re getting sicker, sadder and even undermining our own potential. Here is another great example: a perfectionist, French Claude Monet often destroyed his paintings in a temper while saying, ‘My life has been nothing but a failure'. Perfectionism, after all, is an ultimately self-defeating way to move through the world. It is built on an excruciating irony: making, and admitting, mistakes is a necessary part of growing and learning and being human. It also makes you better at your career and relationships and life in general. By avoiding mistakes at any cost, a perfectionist can make it harder to reach their own lofty goals. But the drawback of perfectionism isn’t just that it holds you back from being your most successful, productive self. Perfectionistic tendencies have been linked to a laundry list of clinical issues: depression and anxiety (even in children), self-harm, social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, binge eating, anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, hoarding, dyspepsia, chronic headaches, and, most damning of all, even early mortality and suicide. “It’s something that cuts across everything, in terms of psychological problems,” says Sarah Egan, a senior research fellow at the Curtin University in Perth who specializes in perfectionism, eating disorders and anxiety. Culturally, I learned, we often see perfectionism as a positive. Even saying you have perfectionistically tendencies can come off as a coy compliment to yourself; it’s practically a stock answer to the “What’s your worst trait?” question in job interviews. (Past employers, now you know! I wasn’t just being cute). It is difficult to tell who is motivated and conscientious and who is a perfectionist. In my daily teaching in Davao , I met the student who works hard and gets a poor mark. If she/her tells herself: “I’m disappointed, but it’s okay; I’m still a good person overall,” that’s healthy. If the message is: “I’m a failure. I’m not good enough,” that’s perfectionism. That inner voice criticizes different things for different people – work, relationships, tidiness, fitness. My own tendencies may differ greatly from somebody else’s. It can take someone who knows me well to pick up on them. (When I messaged one of my friends I was writing this story, he immediately sent back a long line of laughing emojis). Perfectionists can make smooth sailing into a storm, a brief ill wind into a category-five hurricane. At the very least, they perceive it that way. And, because the ironies never end, the behaviors perfectionists adapt ultimately, actually, do make them more likely to fail. Thinking of perfectionism, makes me think of my own childhood peppered with avoiding (or starting and quitting) almost every sport there was. If I wasn’t adept at something almost from the get-go, I didn’t want to continue – especially if there was an audience watching. In fact, multiple studies have found a correlation between perfectionism and performance anxiety even in children as young as 10. Mental health problems aren’t just caused by perfectionism; some of these problems can lead to perfectionism, too. One recent study, for example, found that over a one-year period, college students who had social anxiety were more likely to become perfectionists – but not vice versa. In many ways, poorer health outcomes for perfectionists aren’t that surprising. “Perfectionists are pretty much awash with stress. Even when it’s not stressful, they’ll typically find a way to make it stressful,” says Gordon Flett, who has studied perfectionism for more than 30 years and whose assessment scale developed with Paul Hewitt is considered a gold standard. Plus, he says, if your perfectionism finds an outlet in, say, workaholism, it’s unlikely you’ll take many breaks to relax – which we now know both our bodies and brains require for healthy functioning. After all, many of us live in societies where the first question when you meet someone is what you do for a living. Where we are so literally valued for the quality and extent of our accomplishments that those achievements often correlate, directly, to our ability to pay rent or put food on the table. Where complete strangers weigh these on-paper values to determine everything from whether we can rent that flat or buy that car or receive that loan. Where we then signal our access to those resources with our appearance – these shoes, that physique – and other people weigh that, in turn, to see if we’re the right person for a job interview or dinner invitation. Fear of failure is getting magnified in other ways, too. Take social media: make a mistake today and your fear that it might be broadcast, even globally, is hardly irrational. At the same time, all of those glossy feeds reinforce unrealistic standards. In my opinion, and I am not alone with it, it’s the idea that you don’t have to be perfect to be lovable or to be loved. It’s a work in progress. And,  what I’ve noticed too, is that, each time I’m able to replace criticizing and perfecting with compassion, I feel not only less stressed, but freer. Apparently, that’s not unusual. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com

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Splendid isolation

March 7, 2020

SOCIAL anxiety is the single most common psychological problem according to innumerable survey results worldwide. The magnificent, gorgeous and excellent isolation, resulting out of being nervous when meeting people is really the opposite. The state of being isolated, reminds me of being in a hospital with an infectious disease. Especially nowadays while experiencing the Coronavirus spreading all around the world. Does the project of giving a speech or going to a social gathering give you the willies? Relax, there are always ways and solutions to help you by teaching you "never to be nervous again". I have been always the most silent pupil in elementary and high school. I was ashamed even to talk to or with my teachers. Several terrible school records have been the result. But, I wanted to become a journalist. I am still one. And, I was  teaching 12 years at an university. I will be teaching again German language soon at Ateneo de Davao. During college times and while writing my first articles, I learned from my first boss, a daily news publisher, to avoid being nervous while meeting people. I was always prepared. Preparation for any communicating situation is a must. I have been invited to many parties and gatherings. I always asked for the guest list. I scanned all newspapers and browsed in the net. "In your opinion, who..." or "What do you think of....?" kept the momentum going. That was sometime during the 1960's. Since that time I was just very lucky to meet always the right people at the right time and place, which kept on teaching me how to avoid splendid isolation. Whether you're delivering a speech, approaching your boss, or joining an important social occasion, do at first your homework. The most polished, smoothly delivered and spontaneous soundings talks are the result of many hours of work and years long experiences. The memorable one-liners and moving phrases that went down in history didn't come from the last minute bursts of inspiration. I also learned from Harvard University historian Richard Marius, "that good writing is a kind of wresting with thought". Or, as New York Times columnist William Safire expressed before: "To communicate, put your thoughts in order, give them a purpose, use them to persuade, to instruct, to discover, to seduce!" Let's don't forget, that everyone of us has something to be proud of, and that everyone enjoys talking about it. But, you have to make it happen! +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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No letup in road clearing operations despite RTA enforcer’s slay

March 6, 2020

UNLESS proven otherwise beyond reasonable doubt,  the Feb. 28 evening murder of traffic enforcer Mark Langam of the Roads and Traffic Administration (RTA) will be perceived rightly or wrongly to the ongoing road clearing operations conducted by Cagayan de Oro City Hall. One of the details that marked Langam’s murder and the December 2016 murder of another RTA traffic enforcer, Cris Cabingas, is too coincidental for any person to ignore;  both murders occured right after road clearing operations conducted by City Hall’s Task Force Hapsay Dalan. Let us be reminded that Mayor Oscar Moreno’s administration had conducted road clearing operations even before President Rodrigo Duterte issued his marching orders during last year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) for local governments across the country to conduct road clearing operations in their area of jurisdiction. The President’s order was contained in a circular issued by the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) to all cities, towns and provinces in the country and all local governments are expected to comply with said circular and so far there had been mixed results. It’s also useful to remember that the road clearing operations did not only affect stallholders and market vendors whose plight afterward is a source of political fodder and ammunition for aspiring and traditional politicians seeking public office in the City of Golden Friendship and elsewhere around the country.       **************** That said, it would be certainly a cheap shot and political gimmick for any incumbent opposition official or critic to twist Langam’s murder into a political issue by saying or even insinuating that the road clearing operations is a failure by City Hall and should thus be challenged in court or worse, halted altogether. I’ve received information that a group of tri-cab (tricycle cabs locally known as bao-bao) operators and drivers have voiced their opposition to the DILG circular banning their units along with traysikads (pedicabs) and tricycles from passing through the national highways both in court and online. While they are understandably opposed to the circular owing to their livelihood, it remains to be seen if their position is also shared and supported by the riding public, most of whom also ride other public utility vehicles (PUVs) like passenger jeepneys whose operators are hit by direct competition from the bao-bao and traysikads. The ban on tricycles, traysikads, motorelas and now tri-cabs enforced at the national highways had been in effect since two decades ago, in the early 90s in fact owing to the traffic congestion caused by their drivers who pick up and offload passengers even in the middle of the highway. Just imagine rush hour traffic or even midday traffic in these highways being held up by these tri-cab, motorela, traysikad and tricycle drivers who take their own sweet time loading and uploading their passengers in the middle of the highway to the chagrin of motorists and even jeepney drivers and their passengers.   ******************* As per latest word I received, a suspect in Langam’s murder was supposedly caught during an anti-drug raid in Tagoloan town late last Wednesday evening (March 4) barely a week after the traffic enforcer was slain and I join the others in hoping that this is a breakthrough in the investigation into the incident. This may be good news to Langam’s mother who tragically lost her husband last March 3, Tuesday due to cardiac arrest. She received a P30,000 cash assistance from City Hall while the 19th City Council agreed to each donate P5,000 from their representation and transportation allowance to Langam’s mother. Both Mayor Moreno and Rep. Rolando ‘Klarex’ Uy of Cagayan de Oro City’s first district issued separate statements condemning Langam’s murder and called for swift justice to be rendered to the Langam family.  Despite Langam’s murder I join the others in hoping that the road clearing operations will not only be sustained but improved on. Though the RTA is but one of several components to Task Force Hapsay Dalan, their role is still crucial and I appreciate Councilor Teodulfo ‘Bong’ Lao’s proposal that some of the RTA personnel who’ve shown exceptional performance be promoted to regular status if only to be assured of benefits for their family’s welfare.

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Three Decades of Advancing Social Justice and Inclusive Growth

March 6, 2020

On March 10,2020, the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) marks the 30th year of its existence since it was organized on March 10,1990 by virtue of RA 6939, an Act creating an office based on the constitutional provision establishing and mandating an office “that shall promote the viability of cooperatives as instruments of social justice, equity and economic development. Celebrating with CDA are the 18,700 active cooperatives nation-wide with some 11 million members coming from all “walks of life” especially those in the margins to empower and put them in the mainstream of development processes. They have awakened and they will not allow any more poverty to reign in this bountiful and beautiful country under the present dispensation that is now empowering the poor and the vulnerable.       Three decades of scaling the heights have given birth to transformative cooperatives for people, planet, prosperity and peace, debunking a flawed development paradigm that allows the privileged few to use democracy to serve special interest groups at the expense of the people and the environment.  They are vehemently condemning an elitist system that uses power, like vultures, feeding on the flesh of the poor, the downtrodden and the oppressed in a highly skewed societal order that our beloved President is rectifying.       Here is an office, standing firm to serve and exemplifying to the highest degree the constitutional provision that “a public office is a public trust . . . serving the people with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice and lead modest lives.” CDA is now front-lining the President’s Ambisyon Natin 2040 to alleviate poverty by empowering the poor and uprooting the causes of armed struggle through cooperativism.  Thru the intensified efforts of CDA, cooperativism has come of age and is now the call of the times to be the countervailing force against violent extremism and against ecological turbulence brought about by climate change.        Exemplifying that truism is the on-going organization of some ten thousands (10,000) combatants of the MILF North Western Mindanao Front in Camp Bilal, Kora-Kora, Munai, Lanao del Norte  led by Kumander Bravo. In two weeks, the former MILF warriors under Kumander Bravo’s 5 division commanders and hundreds of front commanders have recently been registered into some 150 cooperatives, shouting Allahu-Akbar, this time not anymore through armed struggle but through cooperativism.  After organizing the 10,000 former MILF combatants into cooperatives, the CDA in coordination with the UCPB-CIIF Finance & Development Corporation under President Rehan Balt Lao plan to establish “Coconut Malasakit Center” in Munai, Lanao del Norte as the land is oozing with coconut trees to go into value-chain approach. While the coconut industry is a billion dollar industry, coconut farmers like the former MILF combatants are the poorest because they are just selling their products raw.  This time, the Coconut Center will be the liberating force against poverty through value chain approach to generate more income and jobs.        What was even more amazing was that one miraculous transformation has spawned  more trail-blazing turn around. What came next was the appearance of the North Eastern Mindanao Front in Lanao del Sur under the command of Sultan Abdul Marayon who is half Higaonon and half Maranao whose 1,400 combatants have come together to form themselves into  cooperatives that are so passionate in protecting the environment and in improving the quality of life of the Indigenous People.      This amazing unfolding of events for peace is also happening in Lingig, Surigao del Sur where some 1,000 Higaonons with some 288 NPA surrenderees have formed themselves into  the “Cabungsoan-Manobo-Cimulawnon Tribal Agri-Cooperative.” Also, in Sibagat, Agusan Sur, the head of the 10,000 Manobo Tribe headed by Chieftain, Arnold Acebedo known as Datu Subang who was a former commander of the NPA who surrendered are now being formed into cooperatives.   What a turn-around from violence to peace. Take note that there was this call before to rise up in arms saying that they have some 60,000 combatants with high powered guns ready for war.  The cooperatives have countered that they have some 11 million members ready for peace because peace can only be had not through the fire power of guns but by the strength of the human spirit in harmony and cooperation, collectively and compassionately advancing social justice, equity and economic development.        Who would believe that meager as its budget is, the CDA together with its 16 regional offices nationwide are front-lining the essence of service in the war torn barangays. The CDA through its extension offices have provided assistance to 1,592 former rebels in the different provinces all over the country. They have been providing direct assistance through the cooperatives who are advancing the “Koop Kapatid Program” to help advance peace and development to uproot the causes of rebellion.  These compassionate cooperatives are providing livelihood to the poor and downtrodden, food and medicine to the sick and even putting-up training centers,  to uplift the quality of life in the communities through capability building.       The PLDT Employees Credit Cooperative (PECCI), for example, is now building a wonderful Training Center in Tabac, Talakag, Bukidnon for the Higaonon, Manobo and Talaandig Tribes. Increasing the IPs’ skills and capacities will empower them to reforest and transform the hundreds of thousands of hectares in Mt. Kitanglad-Kalatungan Range, their ancestral domain which had  been logged before by 6 logging companies for six decades and now are standing bare and denuded which the IPs, when capacitated,  will transform into coffee, garlic and bamboo  plantations. This time, their ancestral domain will not be for the control and benefit of the rich and powerful corporations that have already converted some 200,000 hectares of choicest of lands in Mindanao into value-value crop plantations but by the Lumads themselves.      The same compassion has been shown by the Most Holy Rosary MPC to the Wounded Soldiers Agri Cooperative whose members have been impaired by war in Mindanao.  They are now being provided with a training center to become productive as no greater love there is than these soldiers willing to die so that other may live. “Noon po noong ako ay may mata pa, hindi ako nakakakita at ngayon po na ako ay nabulag na, nakita ko na ang panglaban pala sa mga rebelde ay hindi baril o bomba ko hindi kooperatiba.” Such was the statement of 1st Lieutinant Jerome Jacuba who was totally blind because of war in Mindanao who is now the Chairman of the Wounded Soldiers’ Cooperative.      After 3 decades, the cooperatives have indeed scaled the heights as the countervailing force against poverty and advancing social transformation under the amazing leadership of the present dispensation. His Excellency’s priority area on transparency, good governance, anti-corruption and accountability jibe well with those of the cooperatives’ fundamental principles and values which the CDA and the cooperative movement are advancing.  It has been said that for those who have dreamt, advocated, sacrificed and even died for it, social change has been so elusive all these years despite 14 years of martial law and two people powered revolutions.  The systems and structures that are breeding poverty are still as formidable as ever.  BUT NOT ANYMORE UNDER THE PRESENT DISPENSATION which has strengthened the CDA under to new charter RA 11364 which the President has signed into law on August 8, 2019. With the Reorganization and Strengthening of CDA, it will transform the cooperative movement, in whose name and for whose cause CDA exists, into a formidable development force for inclusive development and social transformation.      As the theme of the 30th year celebration declares: “CDA - IKA-TATLONG DEKADA: KATUWANG SA PAGBABAGO PARA SA KAUNLARAN AT KAPAYAPAAN!” Indeed, social transformation has finally come as trail-blazed by some 18,700 Transformative Cooperatives for People, Planet, Prosperity and Peace. MABUHAY ANG KOOPERATIBA  -- All for God’s greater glory!

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No to Coal-Fired Power Plants Join the One Mindanao Energy Cooperative

March 3, 2020

The year 2014 was the formative year of the One Mindanao Energy Cooperative, the first of its kind in the Philippine, if not, in the cooperative world as it is one to save Mother Earth from climate change and from ill-health. Such trail-blazing move of the cooperative leaders in Mindanao was so amazing that it got the full-hearted support of no less the nationally known environmental advocate Congressman from Oriental Mindoro, Cong. Ray Umali. Despite his very busy schedule, the good Congressman found time to travel to the different regions of Mindanao during the holding of regional cooperative power summits, firmly supporting the cooperatives’ advocacy to own and manage the Agus Pulangi Power Complex.  And rightfully so!      They asked, why must Mindanawons suffer power shortages when the island oozes with watersheds that can generate enough hydro-electric power for the people? They contended that the reason for these shortages is that the existing hydro generation plants have not been well maintained, thus, not optimized. Because of this, six coal-fired power plants will be established in different regions of Mindanao which are already banned in other countries as “coal burning power plants are making people sick and shortening their lives- thousands of them,”      “Burning coal is leading cause of smog, acid rain and global warming,” the Union of Concerned Scientists said. That, “In an average year, a typical coal plant generates 3,700,000 tons of carbon dioxide, the primary human cause of global warming-as much carbon dioxides as cutting down 161 million of trees; 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide which causes acid rain that damages forest, lakes and buildings, and forms small airborne particles that can penetrate deep into lungs; and 500 tons of small airborne particles, which can cause chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma and premature death; and so many toxic  chemicals such as 225 pound arsenic which will cause cancer.”      Well, that is what a typical coal plant can do, typical meaning just around 100 megawatts. The six coal-fired power plants that are being established all over Mindanao have a total megawatts of 2,167. These are not acceptable to the people of Mindanao especially to the 4 million cooperative members who are environmentally conscious.      Those big capitalists and their political cohorts who are putting-up these are saying that coal-fired power plants are clean. That’s oxymoron! NO such thing as clean coal.      Yes, more than 8,000 cooperatives in Mindanao are serving notice to one and all that they are collectively opposing the putting-up of coal fired power plants. As a countervailing measure, hydro-power plants in Mindanao must be well-maintained and optimized to cater to the increasing needs of power. Yes, they are binding themselves into a One Mindanao Energy Cooperative to own and manage the Agus Pulangi Hydro Power Complex. They are financially capable as their combined assets total more than one hundred billion pesos. But more than that, they are capable of protecting and preserving the watershed from which the power comes from.      In those power summits, I introduced the participants to the Honorable Congressman Ray Umali, underscoring that many participants came from the cooperatives of our Indigenous People who are living in the forest ecosystem, which is considered the invisible water dam. Our cooperatives are committed to maintain the integrity of these watersheds and if the dams are silted, are willing to do de-siltation. That is the advantage of cooperativizing these hydro power plants.      We must also understand that there are those, which are beyond the commerce of men-power, water, air- because these are means to life. If controlled by a few capitalists, they perpetuate their stranglehold of the economy and perpetuate their massive rakings, knowing that those who control power also control business. No less than our beloved President Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte said that if it is a means to life like water, it must not be used to rake money by the oligarchs as what two elite families are doing in the business of water in Manila.       Thus, it must rightfully be owned and managed by the people themselves through their cooperatives so that they can exercise that God given right of decision making, thus, democratizing wealth and power. In that way, the people will be empowered to have access and control over their resources and utilities. Let us be mindful that poverty in Mindanao is rooted in the powerlessness of the inhabitants to own and manage these resources and utilities which are controlled only by a few elite thus, the exclusivity of growth and development. The call for inclusive growth primarily means that resources and utilities be managed and controlled by the people themselves.      In my sorties around Mindanao during the regional power summits, it was amazing to see an awakened citizenry, showing their collective force and ready to take responsibility. Yes, it is about time to put power where it rightfully belongs, that is, to the people. This time, I am not just talking of political or economic power but electric power!      And there is no choice! It is renewable energy owned and managed by the people through their cooperatives and NEVER coal-fired power plants which are considered a Curse to the people and the environment! In this light, let our people Awake!      Let us all join hands to protect Mother Earth as we are now in the cataclysmic stage due to climate change which will be worsened if coal-fired power plants will be established in Mindanao. Indeed, cooperativism is the countervailing force against climate change!!

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