Out With Redundant, Unproductive Gov’t Offices

Photo courtesy of SunStar

By Fernan J. Angeles


WHILE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is on a rampage against those who are significantly contributing to the destruction of our environment, Malacañang is on a purge for non-functional -- if not totally inutile --  presidential commissions and task forces.

In fact, an environmental task force created during the term of former President Benigno Aquino III was dissolved by his successor after finding out that government funds spent on its creation and operation went to waste. 

Its seven long years of existence didn’t produce results. No outcome on investigations (Was there any?) on the environmental issues hounding two of the country’s top tourist destinations. No recommendations. No accomplishments. Totally nothing.

The task force, which had marching orders to rehabilitate Baguio City and Boracay Island, had been dissolved because it was no longer feasible to keep a non-functional office in operation.


Political Compromise

Presidential commissions and government task forces created by the past and current chief executives are supposedly formed for the purpose of delivering results and tangible outputs on specific concerns. 

The practice of political compromise and patronage in the country has turned these offices into place “to accommodate political supporters”.

The 2013 redevelopment project for Baguio and Boracay, described as national assets, could have solved problems now plaguing the two popular tourist destinations if not for the inability of the environmental task force to deliver.

As it were, the President was compelled to put in effect a crackdown on unregulated sanitation and uncontrolled infrastructure build-up in Boracay, which reports say was “in deep environmental shit”.


Hounding Issues

The tourist destinations wouldn’t have reached the critical level if this presidential task force on the ecological concerns of Baguio and Boracay was able to address the hounding issues.

In 2013, Baguio City trended in the social media on the issue of over-development.

In the same year, Baguio City was named as an integral part of the task force. 

The marching order was specific – to review the conditions of Baguio City and produce new comprehensive development plans.

Boracay Island in the Visayas was also the focus of Aquino’s special attention through a memorandum circular citing the need to abate “rapid growth, commercialization and the lack of comprehensive development and zoning plans”.


High-Risk Zones

Sadly though, this task force failed to halt the environmental destruction of Baguio and Boracay. 

No measures were put in place to restore the ecological balance of these sites making these top two tourist destinations high-risk zones.

Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan supported Malacañang’s decision to dissolve the environmental task force on Baguio and Boracay.

“I have attended Baguio-Boracay task force meetings many times but there were no final reports or updates until it was finally dissolved,” Domogan said in a news posted in the net.

Environmental compliance was “not a serious discussion” at that time, although the circular required an examination of Boracay and Baguio’s “environmental, commercial, tourism, and law and order situation,” he said.

To top it all, nothing about the redevelopment initiative on these places were turned over to the Department of Tourism when President Duterte assumed office in 2016.

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Friday, 21 September 2018
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