"..a bardy view!"

Mount Mayon erupts – with fatal consequences………

"Mayon volcano is an enigmatic personality. The more she
does this, the more they will come. The more the danger, the more the

So says Albay Governor Joey Salceda, after Mount Mayon gave a 73-second explosion killing five climbers on 7th May 2013.

MayonThe state seismologist said the explosion was triggered when the
rainwater made contact with hot ash deposits on the crater mouth. That makes
sense - a bit like adding water to a sizzling frying pan.

It's rather unfortunate that Governor Salceda couldn't have
chosen his words more appropriately. eg "This is a terrible tragedy. My
sympathies go out to the victims and their families. We will do everything to
learn from this, and investigate how this appalling accident occurred."
– it's a stock response, in the files of
every person in a high position of public service – but not in Salceda's. No, to him it
will bring more tourists. If that’s not what he meant it’s certainly how it

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May 8, 2013 Posted by | Conservation, Current Affairs, Education, History, Mount Mayon Volcano, Politics, The Philippines, Travel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Water water everywhere, and not a drop to drink…..

WaterAid_logoI've just received my half-yearly water bill of £200 from Thames Water, which works out at £1.00 per day.

I don't know if I live in an average household (I suspect not) but the shower is used at least three times a day, the dishes washed twice, the washing machine used once, the bog flushed at least ten times, and the kettle filled at least twice, and maybe some veggies boiled once.

Strangely enough, the amount of direct tap water drunk is minuscule in comparison. I haven't included watering the plants or the garden, because that's not everyday, nor even the number of times a day the molars get brushed and gargled. 

As for dripping taps (faucets) there may be a wasted pint here or there, but that's nothing that a good rubber-washer couldn't stop. I certainly don't waste water washing the car because that's what car washes are for, and besides, you get a polish and buff thrown in. And who uses water for washing windows nowadays? That's what Mr Muscle is for. In fact, I doubt I have seen a window cleaner cycling around with a ladder, bucket and shammy for over twenty years. 

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October 17, 2011 Posted by | Conservation, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Science, The Philippines, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gerry Ortega…just another statistic?

Campaigning journalists, particularly those which threaten big business, who stand up to self-interested conglomerates pursuing agendas exploiting areas of conservation, ecology and environment are severely at risk of assassination.

One man cannot be allowed to obstruct the lucrative returns of mining for instance, which will result in deforestation, coral reef destruction, the extinction of natural wildlife, marine and coral decimation and the displacement of local people. The hunger for riches by a few powerful cartels or individuals will always ride roughshod over the many insignificant people who only want a fair crack at life.

It's not too much to ask. Why shouldn't indigenous people have a right to live in harmony with their surroundings, and sustainably manage their environment so that they, and visitors can benefit from it?

Sadly that is not the way of the world, and corrupt, ruthless organizations will continue to exploit the weak, and if by chance they appreciate the earth's natural resources, they will view them only in dollar signs.

Corruption is a cancer, and that cancer is malignant in the Philippines.

The news that another journalist has been killed in the Philippines is just another statistic. The third since the new president came to power, and the 142nd since 1986. Indeed 30 journalists were murdered in a massacre only 14 months ago. If it happened anywhere else in the world it would have been a global outrage – but it happened in the Philippines – so no big deal then?

Gerry Ortega, a radio broadcaster on DWAR Palawan, was shot in the head whilst he was shopping at a stall. The arrested gunman just said he was intending to rob him. There are many foreign tourists visiting Palawan, who would more likely be targets for robbery, but this guy chose a well known environmental activist. Coincidence?

Ortega was an outspoken and active member of the Puerto Princesa citizens group, which sought to declare as unconstitutional an anomalous sharing agreement between Palawan's provincial government and the national government over a $10 billion natural gas project off the coast of the islands – regarded by Jacques Cousteau as one of the worlds last natural frontiers.

Yet he had his brains blown out because he looked like he had a few pesos in his pocket!

A wife has lost a husband and five children have lost a father. Police sources are trying to verify reports that the "hit" was contracted for 100,000 pesos with a 10,000 down payment. That's less than £1500 with a £142 deposit. The Philippines is the cheapest place on Earth to arrange a contract killing.

The new president of the Philippines needs to get a grip. For every day he is in power he grows weaker, and influential powerful factors will exploit him – just as they exploit the country's resources with impunity.

This somnambulant nation needs to get off its arse. There are great people there, but they are served very badly indeed. When will they wake up?

January 24, 2011 Posted by | Culture, Politics, The Philippines, Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments


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