Upland, Lowland, Sea-A A +A
As I See It
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
JUNE is Environment Month. It’s good to know that. Again, our television programs and newspaper pages will be loaded with environment news. Government officials will be reporting to the nation and their constituents on their role in saving Mother Nature. You will see smiling faces while planting trees. You will distinguish government employees releasing sea turtles. You will recognize agents of persons in authority apprehending cargo trucks loaded with sacks of charcoal. More press releases will flood media outlets.
Environment Month is also fiesta month because in our LGUs there will be programs on forest conservation, waste management, eco diversity, recycling of garbage, production of compost fertilizer, photo exhibit, poster-slogan making and invited guests from Imperial Manila will be coming over to let us hear their lucubration. Of course, there will be cash awards, trophies, certificates of recognition and free meal. Fishermen, farmers, and cultural minorities will be brought to the center of civilization to feast with the technocrats.
All these are very good. We can be excellent if we try hard and be more serious than what we just do. Look at our forest. We are provided statistics by government offices that our trees and other population under the green mantle are gradually becoming extinct. Is it not alarming? During heavy rains, we always have cases of landslide and erosion. Poachers are getting into the forest to cut trees. We see smoke and when there is smoke, there is a group burning trees for charcoal; or there are farmers engaging in the kaingin system at the mountain slopes.
We do not discount also that there are orchid and rattan gatherers. Villagers who have nothing to eat just get inside the forest to hunt for wild animals or capture monkeys and lizards to be sold to interested parties. Our holders of lands under the Integrated Socialized Forestry may not have capital to buy a carabao, fertilizer or plow. They don’t even have money to purchase seeds. We are talking “As I See It.” Some lots of ISF holders have beautiful vacation houses, mini swimming pools and beautifully landscaped gardens. Common sense tells us that these farmers cannot afford such a wonderful improvement in his lot.
We can only speculate that a rich man has managed to make a bargain with the farmer. For a sum of money, the farmer is willing to be an employee of a rich man. His lot is at the disposal of a rich man. We have several cases like this. The government agency (national government) should have started investigation long time ago. I hope this will be included in the investigative reporting of the agency concerned.
Our lowland with streams and rivers has been converted into a garbage dumping site by some residents nearby. Several comfort rooms are lining up in their banks. When there is heavy rain all the spilt are brought to the shoreline to be enjoyed by the oyster, crabs, shrimps, squid and other sea life. Fishermen catch them to be sold at the market and to be eaten by the people. That is the garbage cycle story and now we complain that many of us do not enjoy good health. This is no longer fun!
Our shoreline should have mangrove protection. We congratulate LGUs with estimable mangrove rehabilitation program. The mangrove area can protect our shoreline from big waves during typhoons. The trees in there can filter the garbage donated by LGUs with poor waste management program. Caring for the environment will include also our political will to stop illegal fishing in the area. It is a public knowledge that hulbot-hulbot, dynamite fishing and crablet catching are rampant in some areas.
If we are for matuwid na daan, then let’s all become participants in the moral recovery program starting from ourselves. We cannot expect positive results if we are passive. We cannot protect the environment by having photo ops and press releases only. We have to be guided by our conscience, by our common sense. Our environment is a part of nature. Nature gives us a role to play.
If we do not know how to play our role well, we will be dead before the end of the play. Dear friend, play your part well. Cheers!
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 20, 2012.