A few years back, 1995 I think, I was one of those people who were given the task and the chance to explain and cascade down to the people who themselves formulated the Vision of the province of Bohol. The Vision states-
Bohol is a prime eco-cultural tourist destination and a strong agro-industrial province with an empowered and self-reliant people who are God-loving, law-abiding, proud of their cultural heritage and committed to the growth and protection of the environment.It was a turning point of the province of Bohol since the vision became a unifying element among the various sectors of the province, noting the Boholanos' love and desire in the preservation of its unique ecological and cultural environment.
The young governor Rene Relampagos and head of legislation vice-governor Edgar Chatto fought for it and made waves stirring their own kind by introducing a human touch to the not so famous government procedures. Until now, no one can deny the fact that Bohol still is in the limelight because of the introduction of this Vision, Mission, Goals and Strategies to the people.
Bohol made headlines again when it formulated and made into law the Bohol Environment Code. Later, Bohol applied and was the first local government unit in the Philippines accredited to the pesky Environmental Management Standards (ISO 14001).
But right now, as the political leadership changes every elections, the Vision of Bohol is starting to get clouded by selfish motives other than the preservation of Bohol's environment. In fact, I have seen through my own eyes the burning of plastic materials right at the Governor's Mansion, a clear indication that the Bohol provincial government already abandons their ISO 14001 certification.
Sadly, the news of a plan to setup five islets on Panglao (Island) Bay for leisure and recreation as Panglao is noted to be, has been approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (the provincial law-making body) and authorized the governor to sign for a joint-venture with a private developer for this project.
Call this ridiculous but the only place I know who made artificial islands is Dubai and they were a rich country. But my argument is not on the economics of such a crazy idea. My concern is Bohol's, specifically Panglao's environment and the effect of those islets when they are constructed. I am sure, the proponents don't care if hundreds of people will be displaced and their livelihood like fishing will become history. Their arguments will of course lead us to believe that Bohol will become financially rich with those islands.
What has become of the Vision of the province of Bohol? Has it become obsolete? Where are the proponents of the VMGS? What have the concerned organizations done to stop this idea?
My vision might be blurred but I still have the mind to think of the impact this project will give.
Funny that I happened to read present governor of Bohol Erico Aumentado's stirring speech titled The Bohol Environment Code: Anchor of Development Initiatives given during the workshop-forum Policy Review and Reform towards Participatory ENR Governance sponsored by the Ateneo School of Government. In his ending speech Aumentado emphasized-
But in all their aspects, including conflict of interest, political will is the key to the success of any environmental program. This element must underlie and anchor the initiatives to PROTECT, CONSERVE AND HARNESS THE ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES (emphasis mine) for the well being of the province and our people.A statement with good intent but no teeth? Well- if Boholanos really are still "proud of their cultural heritage and committed to the growth and protection of the environment," the coming elections in May should elect a standard-bearer who would push for what the people believes and not just someone out for some award-grabbing paper works.
Related articles can be read here-
- BoholAnalysis: The Problem with Representative Democracy
- Stop reclamation plan
- Speech of Gov. Erico Aumentado during the Ateneo-sponsored forum on Policy Review and Reform towards Participatory ENR Governance
Picture grabbed from www.panglaoisland.com, www.flickr.com