FOR exactly the same reasons that government shut Boracay down yesterday, it should also shut down the whole Philippines. You would most definitely be right to consider this absurd as there is simply no way the Philippines can be shut down. Nevertheless, it does not mean the same reasons for shutting down Boracay are non-existent in the rest of the country. They actually exist in more numerous and worse ways.
I have travelled the whole length of the archipelago to know that streets especially those fronting public places like markets, churches, and yes, even schools are littered with plastic bags, wrappers, bottles and other non-biodegradable trash. These are eventually washed by floodwaters down and away into drainage canals that are already clogged with trash tossed there by ill-disciplined folks.
Which coastal or river-bank city, town or barangay has a water treatment facility and is not throwing waste directly into our rivers and seas? In how many of these places do we have settlers that lack sanitary toilets and make of water bodies a convenience outlet for human waste?
We only need to look around us. The cities of Metro Cebu, as well as Lapu-Lapu, are as dirty as dirty can be. Their effluents go untreated directly into the sea. Litter is strewn everywhere and garbage disposal is as efficient as a cat chasing its tail. Result? Folk toss their trash into vacant lots or leave them to rot in not-so-obscure street corners.
Of course, I am exaggerating for effect but not by much. OFWs who work in environmentally clean cities in Taiwan and Japan would know. I am also generalizing but the exceptions if any and if we are to be honest with ourselves are few and far between. Because of lack of discipline, the Philippines is one big trash bin, a wasteland waiting to happen.
We are cleaning up resorts to provide rich domestic and foreign tourists with a healthy environment. How about cleaning up barangays, towns and cities not just on Earth Day but regularly every day so they become more livable for ordinary folks?
A telling clue that points to the root of our lack of discipline is the depressing everyday sight of school children tossing candy wrappers to the streets from the jeepney, tricycle or family car they are riding. These children are evidently not learning discipline and care of the environment at home and their school is not filling the gap either.
The result is a nation of litterers. But we cannot shut PH down. So, how about our educators instilling discipline in students? How about breaking the parental lack-of-discipline-cycle by injecting a dose of discipline on students big enough to share with their undisciplined parents? How about it, Teach, Prof?