WE HAVE given these scourges of the environment a long time to destroy the health of the communities. Giving them more time to kill us slowly is utter stupidity."
So said, so rightly, Sonny Dobles of the environmental group Damayan in reaction to Porac Mayor Roger Santos reportedly favoring a three-year grace period for the relocation of piggeries from their present sites in Barangays Sta. Cruz and Manibaug Paralaya.
Damayan, along with the Krusada Kontra Amoy and the Pinoy Gumising Ka Movement have made the stand that "any relocation of the piggeries beyond a one-year time frame is unacceptable.’
So right are the NGOs in insisting on a definitive stand.
For a number of years now, the stink and stench of the piggeries have been enveloping the whole of Sta. Cruz and the surrounding areas going as far down in Angeles as the enclave of the rich that is Villa Teresa, uppity subdivisions like Carmenville, Paradise, Timog, Sunset and Enclave, the Royal Garden Golf and Country Club; and the schools: Holy Family Academy and Angeles City National Trade School, to name just two.
Nuns at the Holy Trinity School for special children in nearby Barangay Senyora complained that their wards have become afflicted with respiratory and skin diseases as a result of the "suffocating stench" from the piggeries.
And the nuns themselves scored the piggeries for the "very offensive distraction" they cause to their times of prayer and contemplative practices.
Senior citizens in the outlying barangays have the same complaint of hardness of breath, especially when it rains which intensify the stench.
"Limang taon na po kaming nagdurusa, panahon na upang manindigan at kunin ang aming karapatang huminga ng sariwang hangin." So goes the mantra of the people of Sta. Cruz and the environs.
A medical doctor by profession, Mayor Santos most certainly knows full well the hazards these piggeries pose to the health of his constituents.
On one occasion, he was even quoted as saying, "I would not compromise the health of the people of Porac," for whatever economic gains the piggeries contribute to the town.
Still, his (in)actions put the lie to his words.
Why three years? Why not one? The piggery in Barangay Pandan , Angeles City, reputedly one of the biggest in the whole of the Central Luzon region, was gone in all of six months. What’s so compellingly special with the Porac piggeries?
Has Mayor Santos gone the same way as the chairmen of the barangays hosting the piggeries? Of being himself a hog lover?
As a KKA official pointed: "Higit do pang kaluguran deng babi ampong manuk kesa karing memalen." In a paraphrase Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar : It is not that they love their constituents less but that they love pigs and chickens more.
Sad. So sad.