Editorial: Taking heed, taking stock

WITH the closure of Boracay for six months, everyone has a say in it; the noisy oppositors shouting foul, the residents asking, "What’s the plan?", the bleeding heart-inclined critics rapping the government for the dire straits ordinary workers will be facing for the next six months.

Not one is saying how the sewers are.

It has always been about the environment, the most stupid argument we've yet heard is that for Davao City to be closed as well because its beaches are not pristine. Reality check: Davao City's revenues and businesses do not rely on the state of its beaches. That is the big difference.

That does not mean that the city is not spared from its commitments to the environments, in fact, the city has been very active in its environmental programs -- both private and public. The Philippine Eagle Foundation distinguishes itself as among the world's most advanced raptor research and conservation center. There are as many guards in the forests as there are guards on the rivers.

Admittedly, a lot still has to be done, especially about the informal settlements along the city's beachlines, which is actually why the city does not boast of its beaches.

The city's coastlines are settlements of the poor, where solid waste management and sanitary sewerage has been a problem. But City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio has been cracking the whip. The city is not wanting in environmental consciousness and actions.

Out there in Cebu Province, a positive action has been done.

As reported, the sandbar and diving site on Sumilon Island in Southern Cebu will also be closed to visitors temporarily from April 10-16, 2018, as ordered this time by the municipal government of Oslob for cleanup and rehabilitation.

Sumilon Island, situated off the southeastern tip of Cebu, is under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Oslob, but the island is being managed by Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort.

According to the resort's website, the 24-hectare island is within the first marine protected area in the Philippines that was made a fish sanctuary in 1974 under the guidance of Silliman University Marine Reserve, the report said.

There is not much detail, however, on what cleanup and rehabilitation means. Cleanup can be as simple as picking garbage without any regard for solid waste management, that is not the type of cleanup that we need.

We're hoping that other destinations banking on the tourism draw of their natural resources follow suit.
The foundations of ecotourism are environmental sustainability and local income generation. But once the big players come in and are allowed to do whatever they want to do with the environment in sheer disregard of the need to conserve it and sustain it for generations, that is where the problems arise. That is how Boracay came to be.

Boracay ignored all warnings. It has been in the news several times long before the Duterte Administration came, for illegal constructions, for the green algae, for untreated sewage. It ignored them all.

Boracay did not become the "cesspool" that it really is overnight.

Let all other local governments that are earning substantial revenue from the environment take stock of how their environment has become and check if environmental rules are still being followed, and if not, then let them crack down on the violators and demand real rehabilitation and environmental compliance.

Let not this be the season for mayors or councilors being photographed picking up garbage along the shore while the sewage spew out untreated unattended.

Meanwhile, we wait... Will barriers along the beachline in the Island Garden City of Samal be next in the chopping block? Let's see.
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