By Jullie Y. Daza
On the calendar hanging on the wall on this “first day of spring,” the Little Prince teaches that “it is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
Welcome to Boracay, where the flow of tourists and vacationists has not stopped despite the calamitous state of its sea and shore, sand and sights. “There’s no longer a low or high season,” Sen. Cynthia Villar told “Bulong Pulungan” at Sofitel. “And did you know that every single person who arrives on the island is charged a P75 fee?” Arrival fee? Welcome fee?
That’s right. Pay the local government to do its thing, including degrade the environment. At 2 million visitors a year, that’s a P150-million bonus. Where has the money gone in all these years if Boracay could not afford a simple sewage system? Gone to the pockets of the destroyers of paradise, via mysterious tolls and fees paid without an authentic receipt to show BIR? It’s not a mystery how some people can create misery for others while they grow rich.
You don’t have to go to Boracay to witness how we are slowly killing ourselves. Senator Villar warns that “by 2050 there will be more plastics in the sea than fish, and the fish will die after they eat the plastic.” Seafood lovers and food trippers will be forced to depend on “cultured” seafood, but in the meantime we have to stomach the information that PH is No. 3 – after China and Indonesia – in the amount of plastics that end up in bodies of water.
Not only are our waters endangered, 38 percent of the soil is degraded. Not only are our sources of water in danger, there’s little or no water for drinking and for cleaning for millions living in both rural and urban areas. In Baseco compound in the belly of Manila’s teeming masses, 5,000 out of 10,000 families who live there make do without toilets. The senator has tapped government agencies and the private sector to supply water to the residents, and to build a factory costing P3 million that will turn out chairs made from recycled plastic. From the plastic chairs, costing P400 each (compared to those used in public schools that are priced at P700), will come jobs and income for the community.
Cynthia Villar has got it all figured out. Just look at her family’s entrepreneurial talents, on full display in 25 malls and counting.