[ philstar.com ]
Updated December 27, 2008 12:00 AM
A management group has criticized the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) for allowing a Korean investor to destroy a two-hectare internationally famous rain forest to give way to the building of a gambling facility in Subic, Zambales.
In a statement, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) said “such an act by the SBMA in today’s challenged times is irresponsible and unconscionable.”
“We at MAP welcome foreign investors. However, as a developing nation, we are hard pressed to devise win-win solutions that promote our priorities of environment protection, investor profit, and government/community benefit.”
“To simply destroy two hectares of the Subic Tree Park for the gain of a single investor just doesn’t make sense. It is easier to relocate the project than grow a tree,” the MAP said.
It pointed out that the Philippine government signed on Dec. 11, 1997 its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement that essentially addresses the global concern of climate change. Among the key measures of the protocol, it said, is the conservation of forests and plant life.
“Why is climate change of interest to all of us? As an agricultural and island nation, the Philippines and its people are particularly vulnerable to weather conditions. Increased earth surface temperatures that have been observed in recent decades contribute to extreme weather patterns.”
“As a people, we have been experiencing unusually long hot summers, ferocious and frequent typhoons, and persistent respiratory conditions that ail our population.”
“Climate change is destructive to our crops and food supply, lethal to inter-island transport, contributory to abject provincial poverty. It fuels higher social costs that are borne by the government, the private sector, and the individual.”
The group called on the SBMA to reconsider its approval of the “wanton destruction” of the Tree Park and urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to disallow the project on the basis of the Philippine Government’s formal commitment to the Kyoto agreement to protect the country’s forests in the wake of global warming concerns.
The MAP also lauded its member Felino Palafox Jr. for openly opposing the destruction of the Subic Tree Park.
“His inspiring act is a sacrifice, and deserves the support and emulation of every Filipino,” the Map statement said.