February 18, 2016 81 Days to Go to May 9, 2016
Green Warriors…Manila Seedling Bank ornamental plants and trees vendors. This is what they were and still are for plants, trees, greenery lush, vibrant and full of life is their life, passion and livelihood. Warriors, for they fought not only for their rights but for that of nature, on which humans whether they know it or not are deeply connected and dependent. Thomas Berry’s famous quote is most relevant here: “If we lose the forest, we lose our souls.” For the longest time, whenever I drove or rode through EDSA, it was always a pleasing and refreshing respite to gaze at the trees and plants of Manila Seedling Bank at the corner of EDSA and Quezon Avenue. After rows and rows of gray and lifeless walls, windows, roofs, at last weary passengers are greeted by forests trees and both local and exotic plants. There is an automatic inner shift that brings a positive and expansive feeling. This is what nature is all about. This is what plants, trees, flowers, flora and fauna are all about. This is our primordial unity with all creation. Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hahn speaks of this unity using the word “INTER-ARE.” Indeed, we are not alone in this world. We are among countless others sharing the air, water, earth and the fruits of the earth for survival. We cannot continue just thinking and behaving as though we are the only ones on this earth. Thanks to plants, trees, flowers, wild animals and fish, we are reminded that we inter-are.
Recently these Green Warriors scored an important victory when the Ombudsman recommended the removal of the Quezon City Treasurer from his office. He was found guilty of misusing his authority in the closure and take over of Manila Seedling Bank in favour of the Quezon City Government which will ultimately favour Ayala Land Corporation which has been pushing the entire block which includes the area where Manila Seedling Bank stands to become a mini-Makati in Quezon City. The Quezon City Treasurer had wrongly used the failure to pay taxes and issuance of notices thereof to the vendors of Manila Seedling Bank when the property belongs to the National Housing Authority or NHA which is exempt from real estate tax.
The Green Warriors of Manila Seedling Bank suffered all kinds of harassment from the notices of delinquency of payment to notices of eviction and finally forceful eviction itself. I was witness to all these and lamented the sad collusion between the three agencies of National Housing Authority; the Quezon City Government and Ayala Land Corporation. T
The illegal and inhuman eviction of little plant and tree vendors happened under P Noy’s watch. During the entire unjust episode, Malacanang stood silent as it stood silent while the DPWH carried out the DENR sanctioned cutting of trees in Pangasinan, Baguio, Cebu and many parts of the Philippines as part of the “collateral damage” of nationwide road widening.
Thanks to Green Warriors like the little plant and tree vendors of Manila Seedling Bank, we will not lose the forest and eventually lose our souls. More Green Warriors are needed to fight anti-green, anti-nature politics.
Shouldn’t we asked then whether those colors standing for political parties have even a drop of green? Is there Green in Yellow…Red…Orange…White…Blue…or hidden beneath the deceivingly bright and colourful veneer is something not quite green…something rather dark, ashen…death, night like…black!!!