eastwind journals 101


By Bernie Lopez


as if Yolanda was not enough
the people of Sicogon face
a new more powerful storm
Yolanda triggered an economic vacuum
now powerful forces are moving in


A new storm called Ayala is brewing which promises to make Yolanda look like a drizzle. Ayala Land Inc. is partnering with the Sicogon Investors Development Corp. (SIDECO), owned by the Sarrosa Family, for a staggering P10-billion mega-tourism project which will displace almost all of the resident farmers and fishermen of Sicogon. The project area encompasses 70% of the entire island, 809 hectares out of the total 1,160-hectares. It will have a 1.2 km airport, longer than that in Caticlan, to bring in development for outsiders and devastation for residents.


The powerful Ayala-SIDECO tandem is supported by a host of government agencies, such as NEDA, DAR, Iloilo Provincial Government, and its RDC. Because they are so confident they will get their way, they have started building 800 resettlement houses in Estancia town for informal settlers, in spite of the absence of an ECC, Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC), conflicts with 259 Agrarian Reform beneficiaries, and a growing people-power protest germinating from a large campout of the Federation of Sicogon Farmers and Fisherfolk Association (FESIFFA) in Barangay Buaya. The powerful private-public consortium faces a formidable civil group headed by FESIFFA, the Non-government Organization for Fisheries Reform (NFR), and journalists from Vera Files, The Daily Guardian, and Iloilo Metropolitan Times.


Jose Emmanuel “Junie” Jalandoni, senior vice president of Ayala Land promised 20,000 jobs but failed to mention that about one half of the entire island residents may be displaced in return.


The people of Sicogon need to have a quick and proactive disaster response against this new storm. Facing Godzilla, their best and only weapon is to achieve people power, to be united totally, and to get outside support, from the Church, lawmakers, international groups, media, because the next logical step of Godzilla is to use force to get their way. They must pre-empt way in advance demolition of homes, forced relocation, denial of access to fishing and farming, and the militarization of Sicogon, which is happening right this moment in other places near Boracay, like Caluya Island. Most critical is – the airport must not rise, because that would be the beginning of the end. As Boracay wanes, the pressure for new places mounts.




they wait for me to stumble and err
so that they can pounce on me
take their vengeance and prevail
but the Lord is with me, my mighty Champion
my enemies will not triumph
they will be put to shame
and wallow in confusion forever


jeremiah 20:10-11


there is a time for everything
a time to weep a time to laugh
a time to scatter a time to gather
a time to tear down a time to build
a time to love a time to hate
a time to kill a time to heal
a time to be born a time to die


ecclesiastes 3:1-8


I shall gather the remnants of My flock
from all the lands to which I have driven them
so that they need no longer fear nor tremble
and none shall get lost


jeremiah 23:3-4


His favors are limitless
His mercy unbounded
His love ardent
i am renewed each morning
my soul abides in Him


lamentations 3:22-24


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