Distorted Advocacy

Distorted Advocacy

Feb 27, 2024, 2:58 AM
OpinYon Editorial

OpinYon Editorial


FOR the longest time, trees symbolize life, for which many groups claiming to be environmental activists are dipping into. In the Philippines, there is a long list of advocacy groups clinging to the issue of forest conservation and absolute restrictions on mining.

For one, Rizal isn’t just a lakeshore province located in the immediate east of Metro Manila, but a host of breath-taking scenic places including the upland portion of Tanay where the climate is much colder as compared to Tagaytay.

More than its cool climate, Tanay is also home to agro-forestry areas where livelihood and forest conservation co-exist – until a family behind a construction company masquerading as protectors of the environment came and started setting up fences around a 2,700-hectare area referred to as Masungi Georeserve.

Equipped with a Memorandum of Agreement signed by the late Environment Secretary Gina Lopez in 2017, this family has been lording it over an area as big as Pasig City. They decide on who can stay and who should go, which businesses may operate or close down, and worse, tell the government which flagship projects should push through.

This is exactly the case of the government renewable energy project which according to Masungi Georeserve Foundation Inc. should transfer somewhere else – but not to an area they have developed into a high-end tourist attraction where visitors are made to pay a hefty price just to take a glimpse of the natural wonders.

There’s nothing wrong with conservation. What’s wrong though is the authoritarianism and the usurpation of power drawn from an agreement they sealed with just one person who doesn’t even have the authority to decide on behalf of the government.

Under what legal authority does MGFI stand to stop a renewable energy project that would produce energy without actually using coal and fuel? To be perfectly honest, the wind farm that would rise in Tanay will not only be cheaper but is also deemed clean and sustainable.

It all boils down to so-called sustainable development. That’s what it is – a compassionate sharing of Earth’s precious ecosystems and an end to the overexploitation of our natural world.

Amid serious dents on the ecological biodiversity, the last thing we need is preponderance.

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