04 February 2015

Obando folks do fertility dance at SC, file petition versus landfill


City of Manila. In a bid to put a stop to the construction and subsequent operation of a long-criticized landfill in the Manila Bay - Obando area, concerned citizens of Obando this afternoon performed the famed fertility dance ritual on their way to the Supreme Court to file anew their petition against the huge garbage dump.

“The rich culture of Obando, highlighted by the world famous fertility dance in honor of Our Lady of Salambao and Sta. Clara of Assisi literally emanated from our waters, comprised of the river systems in the town and the Manila Bay,” said Ma.Teresa Bondoc, lead petitioner.

“If you put a huge garbage dump in these waters, such as the so-called Obando Sanitary Landfill by the EcoShield Development Corp. (EDC), it is tantamount to trashing this long-held tradition and explicitly violating the people’s heart and culture,” she continued.

Further, in the group’s flyers, which they distributed during the event, they claimed that “[the people’s constitutional right to a healthy and balanced ecology] has been violated by the destruction of mangroves to accommodate the dumping site.”

“The toxic fluids from the garbage… will poison the waters, the air, the fish, the plants, and ultimately, the residents, not only of Obando, but of all the communities surrounding Manila Bay,” the group continued in the document.

Last year, a similar petition filed by concerned citizens’ of Obando before the Court of Appeals challenging the Obando landfill was denied by the CA, favoring instead the construction and operation of the P600-million landfill project at a 45-hectare land area in a fishing village in the Manila Bay area in Obando, Bulacan.

“This time, we hope the SC will see the clear merits of our petition and have the justice’s arm tilt in favor of the people’s and the environment’s rights and health,” the group said.

For its part, the zero waste, anti-dumping, campaign network EcoWaste Coalition said that “Obando’s long time battle against dumping in their waters is more than a decade old, one of which they won by the people’s own mass actions to stop the operation of another huge dump in their river.”

“This time, they seek justice from the SC. We hope the court will listen and favor genuine environmental justice over profit,” the Coalition continued.

From Taft Avenue near Padre Faura, the Obando folks, comprising of some 160 individuals sung and danced their way to the SC gate to the tune of the fertility ritual hymn with the music played by the famed musikong bumbong (literally bamboo band).

Obando is visited by hundreds of tourists every May of each year to celebrate the colorful fertility festival, either to witness or participate in the dancing ritual performed in the town’s streets.

The petitioners believed that this should not become a thing of the past, which could possibly happen once the landfill becomes operational resulting in the rivers further contamination.

-end-

For information: Ma. Teresa Bondoc, cellphone no. 09175660120.

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