Sus­pended op­er­a­tions

The Freeman - - Opinion -

One of my clos­est friends posted a photo of me on a swing by the beach side-by-side with the vi­ral photo of pho­tog­ra­phers and cit­i­zens tak­ing pic­tures. She cap­tioned it that there was a com­mo­tion be­cause of my pose. I laughed be­cause it was full of hu­mor, but the truth is there are a lot who went against quar­an­tine pro­to­col in that pic­ture be­cause of the new Manila Bay. It fea­tured white sand that was ex­tracted from no less than our province. It was dolomite, from the town of Al­coy.

Re­cently, in what seemed to be dam­age con­trol, En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Roy Ci­matu made an in­spec­tion of the area where the ex­trac­tion of dolomite was done. He then or­dered a sus­pen­sion of the op­er­a­tions pend­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion and re­view of the doc­u­ments. My only ques­tion was, why now? Res­i­dents of Al­coy have been say­ing that the ex­trac­tion has al­ready been go­ing on for quite some time. The con­tro­versy has sprung so many is­sues, in­clud­ing the in­com­pe­tence of the many agen­cies in­volved in this is­sue.

Yet oth­ers are com­plain­ing that in­stead of mak­ing is­sues about the sand, it is bet­ter to ap­pre­ci­ate the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion that was done. Yes, it is true that Manila Bay is now more beau­ti­ful than it was then and is a prom­ise ful­filled, but it is one that we don’t need at the mo­ment. Our coun­try is fac­ing far more press­ing prob­lems with the COVID sit­u­a­tion still on­go­ing. A lot of peo­ple are los­ing their jobs. In Cebu, old-school fa­vorite restau­rants are clos­ing their doors be­cause they can no longer af­ford to pay and con­tinue the busi­ness any­more. While those who are start­ing a new busi­ness are also risk­ing a lot just to sur­vive this pan­demic.

Where is the prom­ise to look af­ter the wel­fare of the Filipinos and give them aid? I per­son­ally feel like a per­son left in the air with no place to go. I guess we shouldn’t rely so much on prom­ises only to be dis­ap­pointed. Well, the dolomite is­sue is a re­minder to all of us that there are pri­or­i­ties made by the govern­ment which aren’t what we need.

Sug­gest­ing to them what could have been seems moot, but we could all hope for change. Change that would not only con­cern the way things would be done but also take care of the en­vi­ron­ment. The sus­pen­sion of the op­er­a­tions seem to very ironic com­pared to the promised re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. I could only shrug and sigh. What’s next now? It is re­ally hard to tell.

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