normal_post - Money Changes Hearts of Panglao People - Panglao Island - Bohol Author Topic: Money Changes Hearts of Panglao People  (Read 1338 times)

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Money Changes Hearts of Panglao People
« on: December 06, 2010, 03:19:54 PM »
By Sunday Post

Barangay residents in three Panglao villages asserted their right to decide for themselves and assailed “outsiders” who claim to speak for them on the reclamation project. “We know what is best for us and not people who are only advancing their own interests,” virtually all residents in the three affected barangays declared. Earlier, the villagers, most of whom are small fishermen, expressed outrage over allegations that they changed their positions on the reclamation project “because they were bought”. “We are poor but we also have dignity,” they declared in Cebuano. The allegation of a buy-out was allegedly circulated by certain personalities among the NGO movement, an allegation that infuriated the fishermen.

They said they will no longer welcome NGO workers in their villages now that they have shown contempt for them. “They claim to speak for us but they have not even visited us,” the villagers declared. They turned the tables on the NGO workers, accusing them of using the poverty of villagers as a bait to draw funding which have not really alleviated their conditions. “Have you heard of any fisherman who was able to buy a bicycle because of the NGOs? None! But the NGO (workers) are the ones who have gotten rich!” the villagers said. They lamented that now the NGO workers even have the gall to accuse them of selling out. “We initially opposed the (reclamation) project because we were deceived by resort owners who only want to protect their selfish interest,” they recalled. After holding a series of dialogues with workers of the Oasis Leisure Island Development Inc. (OLIDI) however, the fishermen declared that they were now supporting it. Leaders of the fishing villages said it is clear that opponents of the projects particularly resorts owners as well as the NGOs and politicians have their own selfish agenda because they have not even been briefed on the project.

They pointed out that their decision to oppose the project was firmed up even before they could attend a formal presentation. “We thought they are educated people who decide only after weighing the pros and cons. Now we understand that this is nothing but business,” the fishermen said. The fishermen said they are demanding that the politicians explain to them why their already voted against the project when they have not attended any of its presentations. “We would like the (Panglao Sangguniang Bayan) SB and the (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) SP to explain why they already decided against the project,” they added. The fishermen also considered inviting a lady official at the provincial capitol who is actively working against the reclamation project to demand an explanation from her after she was identified as one of those who circulated text messages accusing them of selling out. They also considered other options including writing to superiors and funding agencies of NGO workers who have likewise insulted them because this is against the spirit of the NGO. “NGOs claim to work for the interest of the people and in consultation with them. What they are doing is openly insulting us without even the courtesy of listening to what we want to say,” the villagers pointed out.

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