The best gift

By: Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos December 18,2016 - 07:38 PM

At this time of the year, many are filled with one thought in mind — finding the best gifts for loved ones. The malls are filled to capacity, and of course, the roads are clogged with vehicles loaded with our happy shoppers as well as travellers, from near and far, to be reunited with families and friends. Parties are endless and so are the dishes and wines that go with them.

Indeed we are in the season of giving, joy and laughter. As each year unfolds, we want the merriment not just to be festive but to be memorable and meaningful.

Unfortunately, more than the usual load of used materials known as “discards”, notably plastics and Styrofoam’s, have become a natural consequence for each celebration. This reveals a manifest disregard of our individual and collective impacts on our already polluted environment.

Can we engage in revelry without trashing our planet? Definitely, we can. But, it does not happen by chance. First and foremost, it requires a sustainability-filled heart, and a well-crafted plan on the entire phase of the activity, from the materials to be utilized to the end of the pipe phase, and of course, a serious execution of the plan.

A look at the Christmas tree at the Cebu Parklane International Hotel, which got a well-deserved media coverage, proves the point. The tree and angels are made of recycled materials — cardboard from toilet paper rolls which a hotel would have tons of. By being creatively reused, the materials were diverted from the overloaded disposal facility at Inayawan, which is now barred from accepting more discards. At the same time, the tree served a very noble purpose: proceeds of the tree lighting and donation from hotel guests were donated to cancer-stricken children. That Christmas tree is likewise an enormous symbol of hope that more members from the private sector are standing up to be counted as highly responsible and conscious of their responsibility to be good stewards of our planet.

Congratulations to the management led by its ecologically minded general manager, Cenelyn Manguilimotan. Ms. Manguilimotan was also instrumental in pushing for the commitment of restaurant and hotel operators not to include shark fins in their menu.

Let us do our share in lessening what EcoWaste Coalition calls as “holitrash’.” Its zero waste campaigner Ochie Tolentino urges every waste generators, from households to shopping malls, to make it a point to lessen the “holitrash” to the least possible.

EcoWaste Coalition adds that “If we don’t exert any effort to responsibly consume and willfully segregate, reuse, recycle or compost our discards, our throw-outs would surely end up in street corners, empty lots, dumpsites, landfills, incinerators or even in the rivers, seas and oceans.”

Now that the continuing garbage crisis in the City of Cebu is making headlines once more, it is the best time to push for a culture of waste minimization in each one. We hope the city is now compelled to craft the 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan for approval of the National Solid Waste Management Commission. This is long overdue as each local government unit is mandated to do under RA 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

The law is one of the most neglected environmental laws in our country. It is most unfortunate as those that have implemented it such as the municipality of San Francisco, in Camotes Island, Cebu have citizens with tremendous sense of ownership and pride in their individual contribution to make their place worthy of emulation and respect.

Goodness, RA 9003 is sixteen years old and we are still in a painful process of looking for scapegoats to answer for this ecological nightmare. Blaming is kids’ stuff. The only solution is to exact from each resident the responsibility and discipline to deal with her or his used materials as stewards, and for all barangay officials to do their job of managing the biodegradables and recyclable materials. 80% of waste materials are biodegradables and recyclables that have no place in dumpsites.

Imagine, if our barangay leaders are held up to a high standard of accountability, we would have a healthier community, where a sense of order, unity, pride and responsibility prevails.

It is time to evolve and do away with politics, which is really a bane in Cebu’s dream and direction to be a sustainable city.

Let us revive the bayanihan spirit and inculcate the spirit of giving of one’s skills and talents to help the city stand up to the challenge of consumerism and its ugly consequence.

As the people behind the “Story of Stuff” movement aptly declares, “Together, we can build a society based on better not more, sharing not selfishness, community not division.” (

That is the best gift of all.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: best, Cebu Parklane International Hotel, celebration, Christmas, gift, giving, hotel, Joy, laughter, meaning, Parklane, parties, party
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our regional newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.