Open Line Column by Bobby Ricohermoso
Open Line

Saving our natural resources

Oct 24, 2021, 10:14 AM
Bobby Ricohermoso

Bobby Ricohermoso

Editor

JUST recently, the World Travel Awards has bestowed the Philippines with the honor of being THE leading beach and diving destination in Asia.

Actually, it was the fifth time that the country was named as Asia's Leading Beach Destination, and the third time in a row that it bagged the Asia's Leading Dive Destination Award.

It seems like the efforts of the Duterte government to take care of the country’s prized tourist spots with Environment and Natural Secretary Roy Cimatu as the main implementer, are finally paying off.

Cimatu and his people at the DENR for more than two years now have been at the forefront of ensuring the preservation and conservation of some of our more popular tourist spots.

The initiatives started with the rehabilitation of Boracay followed by other destinations like, Bohol, Palawan, Baguio, Cebu and many more.

It’s no wonder that Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat was so happy with the developments at the tourism front.

"We are elated that the country's pristine beaches and mesmerizing dive spots have once again been cited as the best in Asia by the prestigious 2021 World Travel Awards,” she said.
“We share this recognition with our tourism stakeholders, local government units, partner agencies, and all Filipinos who have been helping us promote our country's attractions, products, and culture," Puyat continued.

As we all know, tourism which employs and sustains the livelihood of millions of people throughout the country through direct and ancillary employments and services, is one of the sectors hardest hit by the still ongoing pandemic.

Therefore, recognitions like this one must be a huge source of inspiration not only for those in the tourism industry but for all Filipinos.

We must be proud that despite all the unpleasant and trying experiences that we are undergoing because of the contagion, there are still bright spots left for our country which should inspire us to persevere.

But earning the award for being the leading beach and diving destination in Asia is one thing, and maintaining that distinction is another.

Indeed, there are countless ways that our environment and most-cherished natural resources could be destroyed, if we are not careful and mindful of taking care of them.

Therefore, it was a welcome news that the Asian Development Bank has finally approved a new energy policy that includes its exit from coal financing, as it pushes for a low-carbon transition in the Philippines and in the Asia-Pacific amid worsening climate change.

This, as the Manila-based multilateral bank on Wednesday has approved its 2021 Energy Policy that aims to support universal access to reliable and affordable energy services.

Indeed, that was a step in the right direction.

ADB apparently has finally realized that taking care of the environment is infinitely more important than making oodles and oodles of cash in profits.

In a briefing late Wednesday, ADB chief of energy sector group Priyantha Wijayatunga explained that ADB would no longer fund new coal mining, oil and natural gas field exploration, drilling or extraction.

Wow! That was some real answered prayers for many of climate activists who have been asking ADB for the longest time to stop funding coal-related projects.

In fact, prior to ADB’s announcement of its policy shift, groups advocating for energy transformation, led by the Power for People Coalition (P4P) trooped to the bank’s headquarters in Mandaluyong to call for a stop of funding on coal- related mining.

The groups charged that for over a decade, the ADB allowed itself to be guided by an energy policy that massively supported fossil fuel development in its member countries in Asia-Pacific, driving the world to exacerbated climate change.

In fact, had the ADB continued with its policy of funding coal mining projects, the survival of climate-vulnerable countries like the Philippines would be severely compromised, and that would include our beautiful beaches and tourist spots.

The good thing is ADB went even one step farther by promising to help developing member countries, including the Philippines, increase their energy efficiency, deploy more renewable and low-carbon energy, and integrate climate and disaster resilience into energy sector operations, by providing with necessary funding.

With this encouraging developments, we can be assured that the Philippines ranking as a top destination for foreign tourists will continue for years to come.


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