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No to Xavier University Going Commercialism

Defining What Development Is Not!

We, the Concerned Parents, Teachers, Alumni & Communities (COPTAC) are one in strongly opposing the sale of Xavier University to Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLi) that apparently will sacrifice the University’s cultural heritage to the altar of commercialism in the name of development. Indeed, development is the much bused term now-a-days. Everything is done in the name of development and everyone is claiming to be doing that, yet, the day-to-day life of the people speaks that it is not so.

The IMF-World Bank spoke of it before, toppling down the forest to give way to Chico River Dam in the Mountain Province despite the serious resistance from the Ifugaos led by Macliing Dulag but was not listened to but instead was shot to death. It was then the time of Marcos Dictatorship when so-called development projects were just rammed down the throats of the populace and no amount of protest could stop such outpourings what had been described then as development aggressions.

The name development was again invoked in putting-up the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant that cost the country more than two and half billion dollars, when the price should only be a billion or so. For interest alone, the Philippine Government is paying an amount yearly bigger than the annual budget of the health department for a mega project that has not at all produced even a single watt of electricity as it was established in an earthquake-fault area.

It was the height of travesty, a Trojan horse that has sucked the nation dry of its economic blood burying us in heavy foreign debt that even the new born must pay for something that has not at all benefit the country. But we need not look far to see how the word is mangled beyond recognition. The loggers have decimated our forests, industries have treated the bays as their “waste pits,” costly agricultural technologies tied-up to the use of heavy chemicals promoted, mangroves destroyed to give way to structures – all in the name of development. That kind of development promoted through corporate globalization has sacrificed mother earth and the people to the altar of greed and profit!

Veneration to the profit motive has now captured the mindset of all governments, all institutions, all universities and even of religious groups while there is so much denigration of spirituality in a world that is deeply buried in so much materialism and consumerism. Because of such flawed development paradigm, the earth is now facing its 6 th extinction due to climate change and no amount of COVID-19 can awaken humanity in deep slumber! To understand the word development in whose name we live to make life better for our people, let us define then what it is not!

It is not just providing basic necessities such as food, shelter or clothing – even those in prisons have those. It is not increases in Gross National Products (GNPs) as such may have made a few elite richer at the expense of the many wallowing in dire poverty. It is not the present paradigm anchored on growth-at- all-cost strategies while degrading our ecological base and consigning our people to the slum areas, dependent on digging garbage for left-overs.

It that is so, then development can just be likened to the workings of an auto- immune disease syndrome (AIDS), where no less than the body’s defense mechanisms are attacking the vital organs. We cannot destroy the very means to life, our ecological wealth, and our ability to produce which are our human capital who have become “servants of the world” to have money. We must advance a kind of development that is holistic, pro-people, community-based and with popular participation. It is one that puts man at the center and in the mainstream of the processes. No less than the United Nations has defined development as the “full development of human potentials, the expansion of choices and opportunities. For development to be such, it must pass a three-way test: First; is it ecologically sustainable? meaning, it does not harm the environment but instead, nurtures it. Second, does it benefit the people? meaning, responsive to their needs, and third, does it have people’s participation? Unless the three criteria are satisfied, no development can take place, only mal-development.



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