Editorial: Hurray to the Filipinos… who are leaving the Philippines-A A +A
Sunday, July 15, 2012
FILIPINO students of marine biology elicited special mention from Australia’s foremost marine biologist on coral ecosystems in the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) Forum held at Cairns in Australia.
“(F)rom the rich exchange between scientists in Australia and Filipino marine biologists for the last three decades, I believe that your youth has what it takes to reverse current trends and contribute greatly towards better understanding of coral ecosystems and their impacts not just on marine life, but on the lives and livelihoods of Filipinos and other peoples,” said Terry Hughes. The next generation of Filipinos holds so much promise, he said.
We applaud. We feel proud, and then suddenly remember that we have been applauding and feeling proud of Filipinos who have made it big abroad. Easily, we can blame our colonial mentality for that. We are enamored by people who make it big outside our own ramshackled backyard. We can also blame our continued disregard and abuse of the riches and talents nature has been so generous with us such that we never learned to nurture them right here where they should belong.
True, the next generation Filipino marine biologists hold so much promise, but have we even checked on how much they are receiving as professors and researchers of state universities? Try asking how much a policeman earns and feel the value we give to the brains honed to understand the universe.
True, the Philippines is the most bio-diverse not just on its land resources but also in marine resources, but our government cannot even have the balls to say no to destructive and extractive industries or at least learn to quantify how much is really lost when one full-grown indigenous tree is cut or one mountain is flattened; accepting the pittance that these industries give in terms of taxes and employment while loudly applauding them.
True, the next generation Filipino marine biologists “has what it takes to reverse the current trends and contribute greatly towards better understanding of coral ecosystems and their impact not just on marine life, but on the lives and livelihoods of Filipinos and other peoples”, but most likely they will be doing this somewhere in Australia or even in America, as our country lies in shambles, looted and exploited by the greedy few and their cohorts in government.
For as long as we as a people remain blind to the wealth that all generations to come stand to enjoy by preserving the environment that we have, everything that our country has will be lost, while our people’s superior achievements will shine and be well-compensated and utilized by industries abroad. We the Filipinos, who are left behind, will be relegated as the kibitzers, cheering and shouting, “Proud to be Pinoy”, basking in the borrowed glory of those who have left because here they have no value.
Terry Hughes, Australia’s foremost marine biologist on coral ecosystems, said that marinebiology students in the Philippines may just be the next agents of change to reverse the threats faced by coral reefs, the effects of which impact on all life on Earth.
“The Philippines has very rich marine biodiversity that is intrinsically linked to all other marine ecosystems in the Pacific and elsewhere. They face grave threats right now and Filipino marine biology students have their work cut out for them even before they venture out of school,” said Hughes.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 16, 2012.