“Dubbed as the Paradise Island, Boracay is one of the most popular and ranks No. 8 among the Top Ten Beaches in the world. Its magnetic appeal is attributed to its relaxing coconut groves, white, talcum-fine beaches, gentle weather, and warm, crystalline waters. Days can be spent lazily on the beach while nights are for invigorating tropical party experience,” so says researcher Lope A. Calanog, Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau-Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ERDB-DENR).
How true! How true! How true! Unfortunately, that was perhaps 10 years, correct us if we are wrong. Today, it’s a “cesspool” described no less than by our very own crusading, fighting, fire-breathing no-holds-bar head of state— President Rodrigo Roa Duterte— the first Mindanaoan-Davaweno leader to occupy the highest position.

Surely, the six-month closure order implemented by DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu upon order PDU30 is the only option left. No ifs, no buts could stop it. No doubt, that six months would seriously affect the livelihood of hundreds of thousand employed in that world-famous first class resort in Akla.

Truly the entrepreneurs greed had prevailed over the prestine, virgin ecosystem Boracay used to enjoy and possess before man-made activities led to its being so dirty and polluted.

This environmental degradation which perhaps included deterioration of man’s morality and values is tragic —emotionally, financially etc. Who are culprits behind these environmental, socio-economic, political problems rolled into one. Who else but the LGU leaders and worse, DENR officials of the previous administration before Duterte’s six-year term commenced two years ago.

Be that as it may, the “Polluter-Pays Principle” should be applied without distinction or favour. Simply stated, this principle simply means—those who pollutes the environment should pay. This can be immediately and strongly enforced now with the Writ of Kalikasan now enforced worldwide, our country’s contribution to international jurisprudence like the Writ of Habeas Corpus and Writ of Kalikasan.This is one of the legacies brought forth by the sterling stewardship of former Chief Justice Renato Puno.

Nevertheless, we hope and pray that the general welfare of the affected workers would be given sufficient attention and priorities by the national government. The consoling point is that the Philippines is not alone in this transcendental environmental problem. Our co ASEAN countries—Thailand and Indonesia, to mention some, are having the same problem.

The main difference, however, is that their economies are brighter and stable than ours. However, that is not the end of tourism as a major dollar earner and source of employment. Boracay is not the Philippines tourist-wise. There are other beautiful tourist-destinations in the country.

May our policymakers, government instrumentalities, entrepreneurs and stakeholders learn lessons from these environmental debacle. It’s time to look seriously at our mandated role as caring, nurturing, responsible stewards of God-given natural resource.