I believe that part of the reasons why there’s some deficit in the government income is because President Duterte is spending some of the money to clean up such huge messes. You can’t have a major clean-up without spending tons of money to do it, right? Much revenue had to be compromised in order to clean up Boracay — yet it’s badly needed if you want more long-term revenue from said island than instantaneous revenue that was turning the island into a cesspool. Now it’s time to launch yet another imagined scenario of what could have happened to Boracay under the rule of President Roxas and Vice President Trillanes.
It was revealed in an expose by Rigoberto Tiglao concerning Boracay that Mar Roxas backed Boracay elites. If he won as president (and in extension Antonio Trillanes IV as vice president). Here’s what it said that should really make you facedesk to the max:
However, sources in the resort island claimed that Mar Roxas—whom President Benigno Aquino 3rd planned would succeed him—took up the cudgelsfor the Boracay elites who claimed to be landowners there.
With Boracay just off the coast of the Panay island, most of them after all were from that region consisting of Aklan, Capiz, Antique, and Iloilo that was Roxas’ political and economic fiefdom. (Roxas’clan was from Capiz whose capital is even named after his grandfather, the country’s fourth president, Manuel Roxas.)
Just three months after Arroyo issued the proclamation, the Boracay landholders—led by Jose Yap, the then mayor of Malay town of which the island was part of, and former Estrada official Orlando Sacay—and allegedly with Roxas’ help, filed two cases at the Supreme Court asking it to declare null and void Arroyo’s Proclamation1064.
Because of the case, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) could not do anything to implement Proclamation 1064, particularly its order for it to undertake a cadastral survey to determine which exactly were the forest reserves and which were agricultural lands.
It was only two years later that the 15-man high court issued its unanimous decision, in October 2008 (G.R. No. 167707). The court upheld Arroyo’s move to save the island. It declared that all of Boracay was state property, and all the ownership claims of individuals and companies in the island were invalid.
The high court explained that for a land to be “alienable,” or subject to private ownership, the state must declare it as such. But in the case of Boracay, the high tribunal pointed out, “no such proclamation, executive order, administrative action, report, statute, or certification was presented to the Supreme Court. The records are bereft of evidence showing that, prior to 2006, the portions of Boracay occupied by private claimants were subject of a government proclamation that the land is alienable and disposable.”
So imagine what if Roxas won and Trillanes won. Chances are both of them will back Boracay elites because it gives them easy money. True, money is very important in the government coffers but what will money do if nature is destroyed? You need money to buy food but you can’t eat it. Chances are these guys will refuse to shut down the deteriorated island of Boracay for rehabilitation in spite of clear warning signs. Tourism is good for the Philippine economy yet too much of anything beneficial can turn into junk. Going to the beaches contribute to the consumption of resources such as marine life and not to mention some people are too lazy to throw their garbage in the proper place. That’s why there’s the need for clean-up rehabilitation when it’s off-season.
The chances are President Roxas and Vice President Trillanes will most likely keep backing up greedy Boracay elites who ignore the need for sustainable development in doing business. Rather than teach them about it — they would rather forego sustainable development for the sake of their pockets without thinking about the long-term consequences. The results would be that by foregoing sustainable development so they can “save money” — all that easy short-term money would be gone in the long run. It’s like business isn’t always about inflows — sometimes you need to spend for development in order for the business to be sustainable such as the need to spend money to comply with safety rules so the business can keep going on in the long run.
I could imagine the scenario where algae will cover the sea, the sand will turn black and the whole island will be sinking in mire thanks to their short-term thinking. Chances are neighboring Asian countries will be complaining at how Boracay has become a zombie island. It may even end up in an ASEAN agreement to nuke Boracay all thanks to President Roxas and Vice President Trillanes.