opinion

A world without trees

September 14, 2019

SEVERAL months ago, I asked here how a world would look like without water. And, is there any difference? My today;s question is, "What would happen if all the world’s trees disappeared?" As the Amazon fires continue to burn, writer and journalist Rachel Nuwer asks in an BBC-report: How dependent are we on the survival of forests? In Mad Max: Fury Road, Charlize Theron’s Furiosa strives to return to “the Green Place” – a tree-filled oasis in the otherwise lifeless wasteland that the Earth has become. When Furiosa arrives at the sacred spot, however, she finds only skeletal trunks and sprawling dunes. She screams in anguish. Without trees, all hope seems lost. Ask yourself: how would you feel? Hopeless too? Furiosa’s feelings were justified. “Forests are the lifeline of our world,” says Meg Lowman, director of the Tree Foundation, a non-profit organisation in Florida that is dedicated to tree research, exploration and education. “Without them, we lose extraordinary and essential functions for life on Earth.” Following the Rachel Nuwer's report, trees’ services to this planet range from carbon storage and soil conservation to water cycle regulation. They support natural and human food systems and provide homes for countless species – including us, through building materials. Yet we often treat trees as disposable: as something to be harvested for economic gain or as an inconvenience in the way of human development. Since our species began practicing agriculture around 12,000 years ago, we’ve cleared nearly half of the world’s estimated 5.8 trillion trees, according to a 2015 study published in the journal Nature. Sad to say but it's unfortunately so very true: much of the deforestation has happened in recent years. Since the onset of the industrial era, forests have declined by 32%. Especially in the tropics, many of the world’s remaining three trillion trees are falling fast, with about 15 billion cut each year, the Nature study states. In many places, tree loss is accelerating. In August, the National Institute for Space Research showed an 84% increase in fires in the Brazilian Amazon rain forest compared to the same period in 2018. Slash-and-burn is also especially on the rise in Indonesia and Madagascar.   Making me sad and angry, or even better expressed angry first and sad then is the reality, that there have been more than 70,000 forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon in 2019. Barring an unimaginable catastrophe, however, there’s no scenario under which we would fell every tree on the planet. “Let me just start with how horrible a world without trees would be – they are irreplaceable,” says Isabel Rosa, a lecturer in environmental data and analysis at Bangor University in Wales. “If we get rid of all the trees, we will live [on] a planet that might not actually be able to sustain us anymore.”  And Isabel Rosa is so very right. I am living in a big compound in Davao City with many trees and a wild tropical garden. Every time, trees have to cut or shortened, I have to leave. It's painful for me. But it's the wish of my neighbors, because branches of some trees keep on destroying their roofs. Fact is, if trees disappeared overnight, so would much of the planet’s biodiversity. Habitat loss is already the primary driver of extinction worldwide, so the destruction of all remaining forests would be “catastrophic” for plants, animals, fungi and more, says Jayme Prevedello, an ecologist at Rio de Janeiro State University in Brazil. “There would be massive extinctions of all groups of organisms, both locally and globally.” The loss of trees from the world would throw the climate off kilter. The planet’s climate would also be drastically altered in the short and long term. Trees mediate the water cycle by acting as biological pumps: they suck water from the soil and deposit it into the atmosphere by transforming it from liquid to vapour. By doing this, forests contribute to cloud formation and precipitation. Trees also prevent flooding by trapping water rather than letting it rush into lakes and rivers, and by buffering coastal communities from storm surges. They keep soil in place that would otherwise wash away in rain, and their root structures help microbial communities thrive. So what's the difference between my first and today's question? Can you imagine a world without water? Can you imagine a world without trees? Or without both? Worth to think about. Worth to act about it! Even if we could live in a world without trees, who would want to? +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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Uy’s political journey

September 14, 2019

Charlotte, North Carolina—Rep. Rolando ‘Klarex’ Uy had been ready for years to be elected and to serve as mayor of Cagayan de Oro City and Mayor Oscar Moreno’s announcement that Uy would continue his programs is just the adrenaline push the congressman needs to serve the city more. Lando Uy is a man of great patience. He can wait for his turn. That virtue non existent to other politicians or even non politicians. Like any soldier in combat he can wait but while waiting he works and toils, preparing for the day when opportunity comes to serve. As a congressman Uy is quite conscious and ever ready to serve his constituents in Cagayan de Oro’s first district. In street language Klarex is “dili sirok.” We have seen Uy after his run for mayor in 2010. In the 2013 elections, Uy chose not to run and instead supported then outgoing Misamis Oriental governor Oscar Moreno in his run against the late mayor Vicente Emano. Uy worked well and delivered and partnered with the Moreno administration and the results speak for themselves.  More and better roads, schools, hospitals and services to the barangays in the city’s first district. The list is long but all those who live in the hinterlands can see and have benefitted from the truckload of projects that Uy delivered to them in his capacity as their congressman in the city’s first district. And there are many more to be received by city residents should they chose to elect Uy, who originally come from Clarin town, Misamis Occidental. Unlike others who preceded him, Uy began at the bottom.  Uy was a barangay kagawad of Carmen and later became a barangay (village) chairman. It was as barangay chairman of Carmen that I came to know Uy.  Social media wasn’t even a thought at the time and what will later be known as the internet or World Wide Web was still in its infant stage. People in those days relied heavily on the rsdio, TV and newspapers to get their daily dose of news, information and entertainment. As a radio anchor in my early years, I did double time providing news and extending assistance to my loyal audience. It was in this capacity that I come into contact with then kagawad (councilman) Uy and he would gladly offer his assistance. In no time at all ‘Klarex’ Uy became a household byword. Then he was elected barangay chairman, winning over those who claimed roots in Carmen and through sheer grit and commitment, Uy became one of the so-called ‘Magic 8’,  or the eight barangay officials whose support of the late mayor Vicente ‘Alas’ Emano secured his victory against the then administration candidates of the late mayor Pablo Magtajas and the late congressman Erasmo Damasing. At that time I was a vocal critic of Emano and his loyal barangay captains won’t talk to me except Uy who wasn’t scared of being sanctioned by ‘Alas’ for agreeing to be interviewed by me at any time. So aside from patience, Uy holds the virtue of sticking to his principles and convictions, not hesitating to uphold them over friendships and even his political career. Building a name for himself among all other barangay officials is no easy task snd he built his mass base that he posed a potential challenge to ‘Alas.’ As barangay chairman Uy managed to reach out to other barangay officisals and built friendships with them over the years. Thus when he challenged Emano in 2010 during his tenure as first district congressman, he lost, not a few believed he was cheated and true enough there was evidence that the SD cards used for the automated counting machines were found in the former Dagong landfill. Uy then returned to base He stayed on his base and began anew, winning another congressional stint which he holds unchallenged to this day. We’ll talk more about Uy’s political journey in the days to come since it’s still too early to discuss elections barely after the country had one back in May. Suffice it to say that Moreno made the right choice and Uy, for all his experience in the political arena, remains as simple, principled and dedicated to public service as he was in his days as barangay chairman of Carmen.

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ASF pork is safe for human consumption

September 13, 2019

THE Philippines is now listed as the 17th country around the world to be infested with the African Swine Fever (ASF). Agriculture officials made the disclosure after confirming that the hog industry in the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan was infected with the ASF. The other countries affected by the ASF scare are: China, Vietnam, African countries, Georgia, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Romania, Czech Republic, Belgium and (the latest) the Philippines. Agriculture officials, however, said that the ASF in Luzon was already contained. Good News! Another good thing is that while there is no vaccine or cure to ASF, it does affect humans because the disease is only confined to the pig family. Any animals of the pig family could be infected by the ASF, including the wild boar. The ASF is a virus that easily spread among pigs by direct contact with an infected animal.  The virus could also spread through contaminated objects, vehicles, equipment, footwear or clothing. Imported pork meat infected by ASF, live animals from other countries also transmit and spread the ASF virus. Some of the early signs of ASF among pigs are: high fever, depression, loss of appetite, redness of skin on ears, abdomen and legs, abortion in pregnant sows, vomiting and death within 6-13 days. Some even would last 20 days before death comes. While the ASF virus is not a threat to human – even its port could be eaten safely – it is now considered a major threat to the hog industry. Government officials are wary that the virus would spread in the country, thereby killing the hog industry. Currently, the agriculture officials are closely monitoring the hog industry all over the country in a bid to contain the spread of the ASF virus. Northern Mindanao, however, is ASF free. Agriculture officials are not giving any chances though. In fact, the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the region planned to organize a task force to monitor the hog industry and domestic pig raisers in Northern Mindanao. The task force, composed of representatives from the police, the military, agriculture officials and other stakeholders in the hog industry, would conduct periodic inspections and monitor all pig raisers in the region to be able to detect and determine any slight signs of ASF. While there is no vaccine to cure the ASF, there are remedies to contain or prevent its spread, agriculture officials said. In the Philippines, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released P 82 million for ASF prevention. Along with this, the DA has issued the following preventive measures. Banning pork imports, avoidance of swill (lamao) feeding, blocking entry of hand carried-meat, educating the people and submission of laboratory samples of pigs suspected to have contracted ASF. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the pork adobo, litson, and all other pork products. Humans need not worry. -0-

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Uy’s political journey

September 13, 2019

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina—Rep. Rolando ‘Klarex’ Uy had been ready for years to be elected and to serve as mayor of Cagayan de Oro City and Mayor Oscar Moreno’s announcement that Uy would continue his programs is just the adrenaline push the congressman needs to serve the city more. Lando Uy is a man of great patience. He can wait for his turn. That virtue non existent to other politicians or even non politicians. Like any soldier in combat he can wait but while waiting he works and toils, preparing for the day when opportunity comes to serve. As a congressman Uy is quite conscious and ever ready to serve his constituents in Cagayan de Oro’s first district. In street language Klarex is “dili sirok.” We have seen Uy after his run for mayor in 2010. In the 2013 elections, Uy chose not to run and instead supported then outgoing Misamis Oriental governor Oscar Moreno in his run against the late mayor Vicente Emano. Uy worked well and delivered and partnered with the Moreno administration and the results speak for themselves.  More and better roads, schools, hospitals and services to the barangays in the city’s first district. The list is long but all those who live in the hinterlands can see and have benefitted from the truckload of projects that Uy delivered to them in his capacity as their congressman in the city’s first district. And there are many more to be received by city residents should they chose to elect Uy, who originally come from Clarin town, Misamis Occidental. Unlike others who preceded him, Uy began at the bottom.  Uy was a barangay kagawad of Carmen and later became a barangay (village) chairman. It was as barangay chairman of Carmen that I came to know Uy.  Social media wasn’t even a thought at the time and what will later be known as the internet or World Wide Web was still in its infant stage. People in those days relied heavily on the rsdio, TV and newspapers to get their daily dose of news, information and entertainment. As a radio anchor in my early years, I did double time providing news and extending assistance to my loyal audience. It was in this capacity that I come into contact with then kagawad (councilman) Uy and he would gladly offer his assistance. In no time at all ‘Klarex’ Uy became a household byword. Then he was elected barangay chairman, winning over those who claimed roots in Carmen and through sheer grit and commitment, Uy became one of the so-called ‘Magic 8’,  or the eight barangay officials whose support of the late mayor Vicente ‘Alas’ Emano secured his victory against the then administration candidates of the late mayor Pablo Magtajas and the late congressman Erasmo Damasing. At that time I was a vocal critic of Emano and his loyal barangay captains won’t talk to me except Uy who wasn’t scared of being sanctioned by ‘Alas’ for agreeing to be interviewed by me at any time. So aside from patience, Uy holds the virtue of sticking to his principles and convictions, not hesitating to uphold them over friendships and even his political career. Building a name for himself among all other barangay officials is no easy task snd he built his mass base that he posed a potential challenge to ‘Alas.’ As barangay chairman Uy managed to reach out to other barangay officisals and built friendships with them over the years. Thus when he challenged Emano in 2010 during his tenure as first district congressman, he lost, not a few believed he was cheated and true enough there was evidence that the SD cards used for the automated counting machines were found in the former Dagong landfill. Uy then returned to base He stayed on his base and began anew, winning another congressional stint which he holds unchallenged to this day. We’ll talk more about Uy’s political journey in the days to come since it’s still too early to discuss elections barely after the country had one back in May. Suffice it to say that Moreno made the right choice and Uy, for all his experience in the political arena, remains as simple, principled and dedicated to public service as he was in his days as barangay chairman of Carmen.

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PRRD order to prisoners freed over GCTA scandal retroactive

September 12, 2019

DON'T look now. All prisoners who were freed after availing of the controversial Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) must return to prison as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte. According to Duterte, that the released papers of the freed prisoners under the GCTA would be scrutinized. “If the release papers are found in order, the prisoner would be finally freed,” Duterte said. Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, of the second district of Cagayan De Oro, said that Duterte’s order covers all prisoners released from 2014 until 2019. In an interview with CYNOSURE, Rodriguez said that it does not matter whether Duterte was elected President only in 2016. “The fact that the President order ‘all’ prisoners who availed of the GCTA to return to prison means that Duterte’s order is retroactively at the time when the GCTA was implemented,” Rodriguez. Rodriguez, one of the co-authors of Republic Act 10592, said that the law was approved in 2013 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) took effect in 2014. Rodriguez said that the President’s order has been retroactive since the implementation of the Republic Act 10592, which became law in 2013 and the IRR, stating the provisions of the GCTA, in 2014. Duterte issued the order to all prisoners who availed of the GCTA to return to prison after an uproar over the released of prisoners who were sentenced to life imprisonment with heinous crimes through the GCTA. Duterte warned that the prisoners who failed to return by reporting to the nearest police station or military command after the 15-day “grace period” would become the subject of a police manhunt. “They (prisoner) would be considered recidivist and a “shoot-to-kill” order might be meted against them,” Duterte said. On the contrary, the police cannot simply arrest the prisoners who failed to return to the Bureau of Corrections (BUCOR) without a warrant of arrest. Rodriguez said that the police must secure a warrant of arrest from the court that sentenced the prisoner in order that the arrest would be legal. One must remember that the prisoner who availed of the GCTA was released on the presumption that he (prisoner) was already freed and cleared of his sentence. Rodriguez said that without an arrest order, the arresting officer could be held liable with an arbitrary arrest or illegal detention.  “The law enforcers must be careful in arresting those already freed because of the GCTA, otherwise, they (police) might face legal actions,” Rodriguez said. Here is a backdropped of the now controversial RA 10592. On 26 March 2014, an IRR was jointly issued by the then Justice Secretary, Leila H. De Lima, and then DILG secretary Manuel A. Roxas II. However, Section 4, Rule 1 of the IRR directed the prospective application of the grant of good conduct time allowance (GCTA), time allowance for study, teaching, and mentoring (TASTM) and special time allowance for loyalty (STAL) to prisoners. ( www.abogado.com) In declaring the IRR invalid, in so far as it provides for the prospective application of the grant of GCTA, TASTM, and STAL, the Supreme Court (SC) stated: “While R.A. No. 10592 does not define a crime/offense or provide/prescribe a penalty as it addresses the rehabilitation component of our correctional system, its provisions have the purpose and effect of diminishing the punishment attached to the crime. The further reduction of the length of the penalty of imprisonment is, in the ultimate analysis, beneficial to the detention and convicted prisoners alike; hence, calls for the application of Article 22 of the RPC. Ibid. Article 22 of the 1930 Revised Penal Code provides the Retroactive Effect of Penal Laws. — Penal laws shall have a retroactive effect in so far as they favor the person guilty of a felony, who is not a habitual criminal, as this term is defined in rule 5 of article 62 of this Code, although at the time of the publication of such laws a final sentence has been pronounced and the convict is serving the same. https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph. -0-

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Come on: Give me a smile!

September 10, 2019

I KEEP on  writing columns for several papers from all over the world since the early 1980's. Sometimes, while writing, I am indeed not in a good mood. I rewrite and rewrite - and then the moment comes, I am asking myself: "Do the readers of this publication really like to read my columns?" Anyway, I try my best. It's actually a sweet day today, so sunny, so calm, so bright, it's like the bridal of earth and heaven.  The grandeur  of  God flames out like shining from shook foil. I feel like as the waves make towards the pebbled  shore. An incredible and peaceful Sunday, while writing this piece. I observed again a multi national couple somewhere in my neighborhood fighting each other. Gosh. Stupid people have an uncanny way of hitting the right nail on the head with the wrong hammer! Maybe, you are angry also right now, while reading this. You are angry, even for others it's a beautiful day. You are angry? It's okay. We are all battling against one of the most powerful emotions known to man - anger! Anger. A day rarely goes by without us feeling angry. Or,  maybe seldom a days goes by without feeling anger... . Anger is the main part of our daily life. That's why it's really important to talk about this phenomenon. What is anger, what does it do and how does if affect our lives? Where does it come from and how can we learn to handle it in a constructive instead of destructive way? Only, if the roots of our anger exposed and explained, we can defuse its explosive and dangerous potentials. As I said earlier, anger is one of the most basic emotions. Everyone can get angry. You and me? Now, later, tomorrow...! It's a feeling of being against something or someone. Anger is a hostile emotion that sets people against one another, or even themselves. By its nature, anger involves opposition, hostility, hatred and disliked. It happened between Filipinos, and between Filipinos and foreigners as well, living here in the Philippines. It even happened at political levels right nowadays. Anger, however, is simpler to define than to identity. Emotions of antagonism can take a wide variety of faces. Expressions of anger range from the overt, in-your-face brand of open hospitality to the cold indifference of a silent individual. At times, anger can be felt like an inner fire... . Millions of defense, not a damned penny for tribute, as Charles Pinkney stated... . Anger between people: the one side remains cold as ice while the opposite plays meek as a lamb. Sige, burn the midnight oil! And what the result at the end? A shadow of doubts remains after each fight getting its origin out of anger. The silent withdrawal and lack of understanding  and innumerable shortcomings of one or both partners are often an indication that one is angrily punishing the other for not doing things his or her way. We are all selfish! Yes, me too! That's why we see the cause of anger as something outside of ourselves. Life is unfair! Life is hard! +++ Email me: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or visit one on of my websites www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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