I cant help but feel sad and helpless after watching the Presidential Debates last night.
Palawan has been considered as the country’s last ecological frontier due to its natural resources. But for the past few years, the province has been dealing with poor ecological services. The Malampaya is situated in the province and it provides electricity to the entire country but the local people is not getting anything from it. Everyday we have power cuts due to insufficient supply and Puerto Princesa City is now under state of calamity due to drought and water scarcity.
The entire province is undoubtedly rich in natural resources. Environmental protection and conservation should have not been an issue because we have RA 7611 or the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan Act. It is a legislation enacted for the province alone that regulates the usage and extraction of natural resources. One of the aims of this act is to protect highly sensitive areas or core zones. Despite of this, numerous mining companies have been issued with environmental compliance certificates.
The problems and environmental concerns cannot be addressed by enacting the Bangsamoro Basic Law. We feel our rights were violated when Palawan was involuntarily included in the BBL. Our natural resources obviously are the targets of selfish politicians and businessmen. In addition, there is a standing proposal for the establishment of a coal powerplant in the province. Selfish politicians believed that the answer to the electricity problems is a coal powerplant. There is no such thing as clean coal. The by products of converting coal into energy are the same, particulate matters.
Unfortunately, the presidential aspirants showed lesser importance on environmental protection and conservation. It was only Senator Miriam Santiago who was eager to stop coal powerplants and mining operations.
With this, I am afraid what will become of us in the next few years? Palawan shall no longer be the last ecological frontier but a lost paradise.