It’s nearly October and we’re all feeling a little drained, a little irritable and a little beach-y from being stuck with a suffocating routine—it’s like we were thrown into the fifth circle of hell. But when I said I wanted to live my campy deserted island fantasy, I meant that I wanted to simultaneously go nuts and look cute in a beach in an alternate universe without a pandemic. Instead, we’ve got President Rodrigo Duterte plastering a version of the iconic “Temptation Island” line “Walang tubig, walang pagkain. Eh ‘di magsayaw na lang tayo” on a gaping hole in our COVID-19 response which includes the extension the period state of calamity to Sept. 12, 2021.
Speaking of beaches, I would give anything (this is definitely a hyperbole, I don’t have much of anything at the moment) to hear the late director Joey Gosiengfiao and screenwriter Toto Belano’s thoughts on the brand-spanking-new white sand beach in Manila Bay. Would they find it a worthy stage for the “Miss Manila Sunshine” contestants? Is it ripe material for another critique on a Manila Bay reclamation project (the Marcos-era parallells!) and other hollow illusions of social mobility? Would they simply throw something along the lines of Azenith Briones’ “Nanganganib na nga buhay natin, pabeach-beach ka pa diyan!” at Deparment of Natural Resources (DENR)?
For anyone looking to live their “Temptation Island” dreams, we’ve prepared some tips for achieving this while still opposing ecosystem damage. We can be funny and sexy while being critical after all.
Sing Barbra Streisand’s “Somewhere” while bemoaning the bar set low by the president
To save you a Google, here’s DENR’s mission statement: “To mobilize our citizenry in protecting, conserving, and managing the environment and natural resources for the present and future generations.” It would seem that their so called “beach nourishment program” would earn a reprimand for damaging the marine ecosystem in Alcoy, Cebu through its dolomite extraction.
An Environmental Management Bureau report states that “particles from the crushed dolomite fell to the sea when transported to the bulk carrier vessels. Initial reports indicated that corals were destroyed within 500 m of seawater because of heavy siltation, causing the corals and the seabed to turn white.”
But instead of a slap on the wrist, Duterte congratulated (retired Philippine Army general and) DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu for bringing crushed dolomite turned artificial sand to a crowd of people who weren’t able to practice social distancing while waiting for the Manila Bay beach to open. He added that “people are now enjoying the benefits of the determined action of a Cabinet member to do good.”
Azenith said in the movie, “Kumanta kaya tayo para mas madali natin malunok.” If we sing Barbra Streisand’s “Somewhere,” would it be easier to swallow this too?
Leave the fish (and their habitat) alone
President of the Baseco Seaside Neighborhood Association Regine Nequia and several people online were worried that the project is the cause for the fishkill (around 10 kilos of dead fish were recovered) in Baseco near Tondo, Manila.
According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the fish died due to lack of oxygen in the water. DENR has since denied the connection by citing the results of BFAR’s water quality test results.
In the movie, one of the beauty queens threw the fish, which Alfie Anido’s character had caught, back into the water. We could probably take pointers from her. Take just what you need and don’t bother marine life if you don’t need to. It’s a step towards practicing sustainability and minimizing ecological damage. Ask DENR…or not.
Dance like there’s no tomorrow because there won’t be one if we keep this up
Greenpeace Philippines campaigner Marian Ledesma stated that we’ve had a plastic surge in the past few months. “The pandemic has really increased plastic pollution. Just because there’s a lot more people using disposables now, due to misconceptions and fears around transmitting the virus,” she said.
We propose that DENR focus their energies on combatting this problem instead of adding to our environmental concerns. The dolomite beach was supposed to be a rehabilitation project but with little to no regard to ecological balance, it did the opposite of what it was supposed to do. Enough with hollow beautification plans.
Magsayaw na lang tayo. And by let’s dance, I mean we should pull ourselves together to focus on more pressing issues and fight for tangible plans with the people and environment in mind.