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.