Light at the end of the tunnel?

By: Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos December 02,2018 - 08:47 PM

Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos

Taking on an advocacy that aims for many to be instilled with knowledge, awareness and action to protect and save our planet sounds easy as we should all care for our only home planet, right? Nothing could be more wrong.

Our way of life of wanting to have more of material riches which we call “progress” has blinded us to the reality that the more we want to have more of them, money, most of all, the more we are destroying our natural life support system including the species dependent on them for survival.

That of course includes us.

“The destruction of wild habitat for farming, logging and development has resulted in the start of what many scientists consider the sixth mass extinction of life to occur in the Earth’s four billion year history. About half the Earth’s animals are thought to have been lost in the last 50 years.” A study on assessment of all life revealed that we, humans, “form just 0.01% of all life but have destroyed 83% of wild mammals.”
Look at Cebu, we have lost our forests a long time ago, and all the consequences such as lack of water and air pollution, apart from the loss of biodiversity does not seem to bother many.

Our oceans are terribly overfished, fish populations are plummeting, with an estimated 85% of global fish stocks that are under heavy pressure, in decline, or have already collapsed. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is humanity’s scourge that should be given focus. Ever wonder why our fisherfolks are considered the poorest of the poor?

Great developments are, however, appearing in the governance landscape and seascape. We take particular note on the progressive evolution of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) since its establishment. It is mandated to exercise supervision over local governments upon which rests the devolved mandate of environmental protection as a service to be delivered to the constituents.

The protection of our environment is a shared responsibility for both national and local governments, with the latter having the principal duty, except for some exceptions. Alas, there was lack of a sense of accountability lodged in the minds of local authorities and supervising entities including the DILG.

How many officials have been suspended or dismissed for failure to enforce our world-class but largely unprioritized environmental laws?

What a relief that we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

DILG under the leadership of Secretary Eduardo Ano is focused in exercising its power and duty of supervising our local governments. Who would have thought that strong accountability measures are henceforth going to be in place under RA 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, and the Fisheries Code, RA 8550, as amended by RA 10654?

If both laws are fully implemented under this administration, we are seeing food security and pollution being addressed which are two of the biggest issues humanity faces.

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