AS I write this, the summer heat has manifested itself in full force.
And it is only the beginning.
In Mt. Apo, tourists are not allowed to enter the park due to the drought and the possibility of a forest fire.
In Boracay, the water has turned green due to Algae Bloom caused by the organic waste of the tourist.
In Anilao, Batangas, the diving center of the country and partly the center of the Coral Triangle, the reefs are bleaching due to climate change and are being destroyed by the many tourist divers who do not follow the proper care of coral reefs.
What good is all our natural resources if we are promoting the tourists to come and investors to enter our country without proper guidelines on how to protect and conserve our environment.
Who would want to swim in the world’s most popular beach -- Boracay -- when the waters are green and polluted?
Already, the tourists have spread a lot of havoc on the marine ecosystem; this must be controlled and guided accordingly.
What good are the millions of tourists and their dollars if they just destroy our natural environment?
The summer heat will get worse.
We need to stop illegal logging once and for all.
We need to reforest in a massive scale.
We need proper guidelines in going scuba diving to protect our coral reefs.
We need to protect our mountains and forest.
Imagine Mount Apo, our tallest mountain, under siege and in the brink of fire due to the drought.
We will eventually lose tourists as all our natural sites will be gone and destroyed.
We have warned against the over-development of Boracay and Palawan and yet our calls go unheeded as more and more development goes on.
The sustainability of an island resort or a scuba diving site is limited.
We have to have controlled, responsible and sustainable tourism, or none at all.
Last month, our group in Mindanao had to call off the activity in Mt. Apo due to the drought and so we decided to reforest the area instead.
This is the job and responsibility of government as we cannot do it alone.
Let us protect our environment. It is worth more than the destructive tourists dollar.
It is time to review our strategy and learn from the past and the present so our future will be secured.
(By: Antonio M. Claparols – President ESP)