Saturday, October 09, 2010

Protect Mactan marine life – WWF

Protect Mactan marine life – WWF
By Candeze R. Mongaya
Cebu Daily News
October 9, 2010

Communal partnership is the best way to protect Mactan’s marine life.

Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, president and chief executive officer of the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) Philippines, said busines, government and private sector stakeholders should come together and make an environmetnal protocol that all parties observe.

“The problem with local government units and stakeholders is the lack of communication and understanding with the policy-making body,” said Tan at the sidelines of the Go Green Cebu Fair at Shangri-La Mactan, where he was a forum speaker.

In a separate interview, Tan said he was outraged by the discovery in Mactan where a sewage pipe of the Imperial Palace Water Park and Spa, was found discharging untreated wastewater into the sea.

He said one of the hindrances of enforcing environmental laws like the Solid Waste Management Act and the Clean Water Act is the lack of familiarity with legal requirements.

Tan said local divers and fisherfolk should be familiar with environment laws because they know the area best and can spot violations.

“Now is the time to accept that government cannot do this alone,” he said.

If the private sector is involved, there’s a better chance that agreements can be sustained beyond the three-year term of local government officials.

The discovery by local divers in April led to the issuance of a cease-and-desist order by the Lapu-Lapu city government against the hotel’s sewage treatment plant.

The hotel last Monday said it sealed the underwater pipe over the weekend and removed all eight discharge pipes. Water quality tests by the DENR are ongoing.

Tan said the WWF had no plans of organizing a protest over the hotel's act. “We’re always interested in building consensus and collective decision making,” he said.

However, he said local authorities should mete sanctions against violators who destroy marine life in Mactan, where tourism is a major enterprise.

“We shouldn’t care what their nationalities are. If they break the law, throw them in jail.”