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Opinion

EDITORIAL - Saving Tañon Strait

The Freeman

The urgent need to protect the Tañon Strait has taken an ugly turn when a municipal mayor called on stakeholders to take steps in controlling the growing population of what he calls "parasites" in the area.

Dumanjug town Major Nelson Garcia has taken a combative stand against those whales, sharks, and dolphins in the Tañon Strait, claiming they have become a major burden for fishermen in the area.

Because they now aggressively compete with fishermen for fish, Garcia is seeking for measures that would control those sea animals to protect the people who depend upon the Tañon Strait for their livelihood.        

Of course, Garcia's odd statement would then hog the headlines. And the fact that he delivered it during a summit aimed at finding ways to save the Tañon Strait has caught environmentalists by surprise.

Now Garcia, who became an instant social media celebrity, has been the subject of intense criticisms from environmental advocates. Those behind the move to protect the huge body of water separating Cebu and Negros islands said the mayor should remember that there are laws that protect those kinds of marine species.

This controversy only showed a major crack in the campaign to protect the strait from environmental degradation. This is a serious concern that the government should immediately address.

By calling for the need to regulate the population of these "parasites," Garcia is undeniably supporting the idea of slaughtering some whales, sharks, and dolphins in order to protect the thousands who rely upon the Tañon Strait for a living.

But his remark also revives the serious issue about the blatant disregard of the environment. In a country where environmental abuse is rampant, going after those violators has always been a problem because some of those who are supposed to be protectors are, themselves, involved.

The real issue here lies in the absence of a united stand among the Tañon Strait stakeholders. If they are really serious about preserving the country's largest marine protected area, a cohesive approach toward conserving every life is needed.

CEBU AND NEGROS

DUMANJUG

GARCIA

MAJOR NELSON GARCIA

NOW GARCIA

PLUSMN

PROTECT

STRAIT

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