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Cleaning should be a habit

05:02 AM March 21, 2018

Did it have to take the highest elected official in the land to notice that there was something not quite right in Boracay? Boracay, Panglao and Palawan did not turn into a cesspool overnight. It took a long time with people turning a blind eye when they could see what was happening, shutting their ears when they could hear what was going on, and keeping their mouth shut when they should have been saying something.

These sins of omission are now coming home to roost, but let’s look at the positive side of it.

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Now that it has been brought to everyone’s attention by President Duterte himself, continuing to ignore the situation is no longer an option. So this ought to give reckless developers and resort owners a sense of urgency that was previously lacking so things can be rectified in six months or less.

(I have never been to any of those places, and I have even less motivation now to go there after all the bad news.)

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What made me write this letter was an interview on ABS-CBN earlier this month by Karen Davila with Sen. Cynthia Villar on this topic. When asked for a time frame, Villar simply said: “Every day … forever.” In other words, cleaning up after ourselves is something we do every day, after every meal, etc. and should not wait until it’s too late.

It seems a simple observation, but profound in its obviousness. It reminds me of that famous line from Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s “The Leopard” that if we want things to remain the same, then things will have to change. And we were, after all, promised change. But this is the sort of change that is being forced on us because of our neglect of the environment.

There is a saying that man is the only animal that poops in its own nest.

Boracay, Panglao, and Palawan are the crown jewels of our tourist industry, but this is not about tourism anymore, but about our reputation.

“A good name is more desirable than great riches, and high esteem, than gold and silver.” (Prov. 22:1)

Our good reputation as a pristine tourist environment will take longer than six months to rehabilitate and install a modern efficient sewage system. But it has to start now.

Pope Francis wrote this in “Laudato Si” and it seems to apply here:

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“God always forgives.
Man sometimes forgives.
Nature never forgives.”

Why not allow the original people of Boracay to be the paid environmental guardians of the place? They would probably do a far better job of caring for the environment because they wouldn’t be driven by greed, but by love.

WALTER P. KOMARNICKI, [email protected]

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TAGS: Boracay cleanup, Cynthia Villar, Inquirer letters, Rodrigo Duterte, Walter P. Komarnicki
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