The deployment of over 600 police and 200 military personnel to Boracay to enforce President Duterte’s controversial closure and rehabilitation order is overkill.
Since when did bullets and bombs become cleaning agents for coliform, or conservation tools for flying foxes, sea turtles, and coral reefs?
Ironically, this is done under the pretext of “providing security and peace” and “making tourists feel safe.”
In reality, a fact-finding solidarity mission held by our affiliated local organizations last April 18-20 found that police threatened residents that they will turn Boracay into a “new Marawi.”
What the island needs instead are environmental specialists who could study the ecological situation and properly implement the rehabilitation of the island.
The coliform outbreak, coral reef bleaching, and habitat loss of important flora and fauna cannot be driven away by riot drills and live-fire exercises.
The people have suffered enough already from the loss of their livelihood (at least 36,000 lost jobs) and neglect by the government. Locals have been forced to flee the island by the hundreds.
Now they are threatened by virtual “martial law,” with restriction on movement and even suppression of media coverage.
Why is Mr. Duterte not deploying these armed forces instead to West Philippine Sea, Philippine Rise, and other areas where our national patrimony and sovereignty are being blatantly undermined?
Boracay needs scientists, engineers, development planners, social workers, and community organizers, not hundreds of troops and police.
These armed personnel must be pulled out of the island immediately.
LEON DULCE, national coordinator, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, [email protected]
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