“A true community is not just about being geographically close to someone or part of the same social web network. It’s about feeling connected and responsible for what happens. Humanity is our ultimate community, and everyone plays a crucial role.”
— Yehuda Berg
By Alex P. Vidal
NEWARK, New Jersey –– Political will ba ang kailangan, Sec. Roy Cimatu?
Close down Boracay.
This may have been the most “stupid” and “weird” suggestion, nay solution, ever offered to the island’s gnawing environmental and sanitation problems, but it’s how the much-abused line “political will” should be best illustrated if we are really serious in curving the problem and not merely doing a lip service.
A mere expression of “sadness”, “worry”, and “concern” is no longer viable and effective to assuage the stakeholders, especially the residents of Malay, Aklan.
The Romans will tell us, “Nos postulo moventur eundemque” or we need a concrete move.
After an age-old peroration, there must now be dramatic results.
It was Sec. Cimatu himself who reshuffled the monotonous “political will” line as the supposed solution to arrest the environmental fiasco in the 1,032-hectare premier tourist destination.
Past Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department of Tourism (DOT) appointees of former presidents have overused and abused those forlorn expressions to the point that they have sounded corny and become phonies in the eyes of the public when nothing has really happened to lift Boracay from the nadir.
So many DENR and DOT officials in the past have performed the same hokey and theatrical show for Boracay’s woes in front of Malay residents since the time of Tita Cory, FVR, Erap, Ate Glo, and P-Noy.
Secretaries Cimatu and Wanda Tulfo-Teo were not the first and last Famas awardees.
We can only hope their twin-department Boracay rendezvous on January 9, 2018, capped by an amazing aerial inspection, dialogue with local officials and investors, and press conference to boot, will not be buried in the statistics of junkets and end up as another case of ningas cogon like what their predecessors did in the past.
Closing Boracay can be done if that is the only way to discipline or punish insensitive resort and hotel owners who violate environmental laws with impunity.
When the island is restricted, profits of greedy and callous investors will nosedive.
Sporadic construction of buildings and houses in beach areas prone to surges of the sea and in mountain slopes that produce pollution and sanitation problems will be regulated if will not come to a screeching halt.
Impact on local economy may be catastrophic, but residents must learn to adapt and become self enterprising for the time being. It won’t be the end of the world.
Business must be accompanied with respect and responsibility, commitment to protect and improve the residents’ health and quality of life, and respect for environmental laws as a paramount concern.
The move will anger a lot of stakeholders and may be sneered at by the municipal and provincial governments, Boracay Foundation Inc. (BFI), and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Boracay as harsh and counter-productive.
As the population in the world-famous island increases, so does the intensity of destruction to environment and rapid decline of the residents’ quality of life.
Political will, isn’t it?