Boracay as an example PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 March 2018 11:54

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

This month Pres Duterte saw red when he learned that the coliform level in  the water of the swimming areas of Boracay was way too high – not in  violation of the standard but most certainly high enough to raise red flags. Not only that, but there were structures  in  the no-build zones along the beach of the popular resort which attracts thousands of tourists to the country.

Mr Duterte is not in my list of favorite people but I must say I totally supported him in this particular case. Not too long after the Boracay case, it turned out that in Panglao (Bohol) the same situation was prevailing. The President was so disturbed that these two cases became a special assignment for DENR Secretary Cimatu to address.

I looked at the Boracay and Panglao cases from two perspectives – (1)  the responsibility of the LGU concerned and (2)  how these might be treated if we were already having a federal type of government.

There is a  rule regarding how much bacteria there can be in beach waters used for swimming by the public. The specific bacteria in this case is escherichia  coli which comes from the intestines of mammals like us. Its presence then in the water is an indication that there is contamination from human ( or other mammals’) feces. The coli in the water is also indicating that sewage is directly emptied into the sea rather than being treated beforehand. It appears that there is a local ordinance regarding this. And if it is to be believed there is also  a water treatment plant in Boracay. My question though is “What was the local office responsible for this doing? Why does it take for the office of the President to act on something like this and for him to instruct the DENR Secretary to address the matter?”

As for building on “ no build zones” again my question would be “What was the relevant office doing about this? What did it do when the structures were just going up?”

We cannot have a situation in our country continue to prevail where an office is supposed to be responsible for a given area and that area is simply allowed to hit an undesirable situation to the detriment  of the general public. Something like people “sleeping on the job”, they continue to get their salaries from the public purse, and in the end it is the public that suffers.

Suppose we were already in the federal form of government that this administration is pushing so hard. Would  situations like this get even worse when you have officials who simply sleep on the job? What would be our recourse?