There is no justification, to pay a price for “Progress and Development” and compromise, life, eco-system, environment , and Nature in general.
We who are involved in Real Estate development, Tourism, Housing and Urbanization, must learn how to respect, nurture, and preserve the precious gift of life, in all its forms, being vegetative, animal and most important, human.
We owe it to the next generations to come. We are but stewards of the beautiful gifts of nature. Yet, I am aware that motivated by greed, profit, selfish ends and with no concern of the welfare and good of our grandchildren, there are those who are identified as ” developers” are instead , in reality “destroyers”.
Using “price for progress” in a term that may seem more like “sugar counted passion”. In no way can “economic growth” or the bottom line GDP, take over long term effects of habitat preservation and the Eco-system protection.
In the Compendium of the Catholic Church No. 470, we read:
470. “Programs of economic development must carefully consider “the need to
respect the integrity and the cycles of nature”  because natural resources
are limited and some are not renewable. The present rhythm of exploitation is
seriously compromising the availability of some natural resources for both the
present and the future. Solutions to the ecological problem require that
economic activity respect the environment to a greater degree, reconciling the
needs of economic development with those of environmental protection. Every economic activity making use of natural resources must also be concerned with safeguarding the environment and should foresee the costs involved, which are “an essential element of the actual cost of economic activity”. In this context, one considers relations between human activity and climate change which, given their extreme complexity, must be opportunely and constantly monitored at the scientific, political and juridical, national and international levels. The climate is a good that must be protected and reminds consumers and those engaged in industrial activity to develop a greater sense of responsibility for their behavior.”
TOURISM DEVELOPMENT & PHILIPPINES GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT
According to TradingEconomics.com, Gross National Product in Philippines increased to 207,5531 PHP Million in the fourth quarter of 2013 from 2,047,706 PHP Million in the third quarter of 2013. Gross National Product in Philippines is reported by the Philippine National Statistical Coordination Board. From 1998 until 2013, Philippines Gross National Product averaged 1,474,924.20 PHP Million reaching an all time high of 2,080,585.0 PHP Million in August of 2012 and a record low of 939,555.00 PHP Million in May of 1998. This page provides – Philippines Gross National Product – actual values, historical data, forecast, chart, statistics, economic calendar and news.
Base on statistics, tourist arrival here in the Philippines reached 3,000,000 tourists from January to August, 2013. Philippine Star wrote about economic growth of the Philippines reached 7.2 % and it is second fastest in Asia. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, who is also director general of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) said the country remains one of the best performing economies in the Asia region in the fourth quarter of 2013, next to china, which grew by 7.7 %. He said tourism also drove the sector’s strong performance. For 2013, tourism gross value added reached P748.3 billion, 15 percent higher than in 2012.
TOURISM DEVELOPMENT & ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Some development projects done with no concern for the environment, have caused devastation to endangered species, marine life, our corrals, mangroves, and so much more indigenous animals, plants, birds and fishes. Irresponsible development destroys the natural echo system, natural habitat of animals, plants, and the environment.
I have seen the horrors of dynamite fishing being done in Batangas during the 1960s. I have witnessed the destruction of beautiful coral reefs. That lead to killing of rich and abundant marine life. This was specifically at the MATABUNKAY beach in Batangas, were as a child, I used to swim, snorkel and enjoy observing colorful fishes of all types of species, funny looking sea horses, star fishes, colorful shells and the rich marine life found in mangroves are now all gone!
The Matabungkay beach in Batangas was a favorite tourists destination, but today, it looks more like a garbage dump. It’s dirty, no coral reefs, dead marine life. No thanks to dynamite fishing and sale of our natural RESOURCES to selfish criminals, who out of greed, and with no concern for life, have used and abused these very rare gifts of GOD.
There are laws, more laws and ordinances that what we can imagine. But to issue laws is one thing, but to implement them is another story. It is easy just to ignore the laws. Sad to say, and even shocking, that authorities who were appointed to protect and preserve the environment, were the same officers and government employees behind the syndicate of selling these precious gifts of nature like our exotic fishes, sea turtles and other extinct animal species.
For example, Philippine Daily Inquirer wrote about “Greenhills for bargain hunters, Las Farolas for fish hobbyists”, and stated that, “La Farolas fish world complex on Frontera Verde beside Tiendesitas in Ortigas Ave., has been capturing every tourist’s fancy by offering a one-of-kind experience. La Farolas is one kind in the world… only in the Philippines.”
“Bernie Repalbor, Las Farolas COO, says Las Farolas is a totally different adventure. It showcases rare and monstrous species from the freshwater habitat. ‘Although the ‘river monsters’ are not entirely endemic, as most of them have been acquired from breeding farms overseas, Las Farolas is a testament to what is 100% Filipino because the concept and design reflect much of the Philippines in terms of history, culture and heritage.’ Adds Repalbor.”
“Since its opening last April 25, over 100,000 visitors from Metro Manila and were able to acquire the unique experience of ‘Interacting’ with over 3,000 weird and monstrous-looking yet gentle freshwater species collected from parts of the globe.”
“Tourists who are fish hobbyists can get the best value for their money for fish items and aquarium accessories from the stores with the sprawling Las Farolas.”
Although I see the “business and profit merits” of having a rare exhibits of endangered species, I can’t seem to understand how the collecting of these unique endangered fishes would be allowed. The mere fact that these fishes are to end up in some aquarium, and qualified as “accessories” makes me feel sick with a sense of shock. I have compelled to sound a warning and even questioned the integrity of “fish hobbyist” who must realize that the best place for these unique fishes is in their natural habitat.
If we implement the law on the writ of Kalikasan, then we may have reasons to have these Las Farolas event questioned. For to my mind, it is a showcase that compromises our endangered species.
What is a Writ of Kalikasan?
In a nutshell, a writ of kalikasan is a legal remedy designed for the protection of one’s constitutional right to a healthy environment.
The Writ of Kalikasan means a legal remedy available to any natural or juridical person, entity authorized by law, people’s organization, non-governmental organization, or any public interest group accredited by or registered with any government agency, on behalf of persons whose constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated, or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or private individual or entity, involving environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces. (Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases A.M. No. 09-6-8-SC Rule 7, Sec. 1)
A Writ of Kalikasan is a legal remedy under Philippine law which provides for the protection one’s right to “a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature,” as provided for in Section 16, Article II of the Philippine Constitution. It is compared with the writ of amparo but protects one’s right for a healthy environment rather than constitutional rights.
Provision for the Writ of Kaliksaan was made in 2010 by the Supreme Court of the Philippines under Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases as a Special Civil Action. The Supreme Court under Chief Justice Reynato Puno took the initiative and issued Rules of Procedure for Environmental Case because Section 16, Article II of the Philippines’ 1986 Constitution was not a self-executing provision.
The writ of Kailkasan may be sought to deal with environmental damage of such magnitude that it threatens life, health, or property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces.
At present, there are at least two (2) instances wherein the writ of kalikasan were availed of. The first one was directed against an electric power distribution company and the second one was against an oil pipeline operator. The first case is still pending trial while the latter was successfully granted by the Philippine Supreme Court.
Political will, we need political will.. But is there such a thing when as soon as an election is done, some Politicians is already preparing for the next election.
What we need are Leaders, who think long term. We need to privatize the role of Nature Conservation and Preservation. We need Technocrats, Professional Managers, and Scientists from the Private sector, who has the expertise in setting up a Road Map and Master Plan for the Development, Management, Control and proper use of our Natural Resources, Marine life and endangered species.
Now is the time to act decisively, with conviction and commitment, with the future in mind. The next generations depends on our positive actions now. There can be no compromise. We need to act now, “because now is already too late”.