The government shuttered Boracay for 6 months from late April to late October of this year, to give way to a massive cleanup after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte called the island a cesspool prompting many to call for its immediate rehabilitation.
Recently, just a few months ago, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has proposed building a bridge between Boracay Island and Caticlan, and said they can finish the project within 2 years.
The unsolicited proposal has already been submitted to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) somewhere around August or earlier.
Tourists at present get to Boracay from the Aklan mainland only by ferry. SMC President Ramon Ang said that this 3 billion bridge project, the government would not have to rehabilitate Boracay regularly as there would be a pipe that can handle the sewage and waste from the tourist island.
It all sounds so good it seems, but if you consider what else the bridge will bring, and take away, with it's existence, you may reconsider going along with SMC's and Ramon Ang's plans.
Now comes former Congressman Teodorico "Nonong" Haresco of Aklan from the former Kasangga partylist, now running for Congressman in the 2nd district of Aklan. He is a firm believer that the bridge will bring more problems rather than help Boracay. He also believes that it will take away the jobs of micro-entrepreneurship and community-based businesses. From the ferry operators and restaurants, to souvenir shops and entertainers. Because, once the bridge gives access to more foreign or commercialized investors, the LGU of the newly-rehabilitated island may find it harder to stop opportunists with immoral intents.
Take note that to regain SMC's P3-billion investment, SMC will charge a users’ fee for vehicles and pedestrians who will use the bridge, as well as the waste, sewage, fresh water, and power lines that will be passing through it.
SMC already had earlier investments in the area. TransAire Development Holdings Corporation, a unit owned by SMC, renovated the Caticlan Airport, which was opened to jet aircraft for the first time in 2016.
I had an opportunity to meet the former Congressman andaeven had a selfie with the man of the hour during a lunch treat held at Dad's World Buffet in its West Avenue branch.
To be honest, Teodorico "Nonong" Haresco is not really a household name. In fact, it is the first time I've heard of his name or even seen his face.
But we learned that he has quite a number of recognitions under his sleeves, based on what he said during his talk at the event, and several pages of a list of house bills he authored and some press releases or write-ups about him.
Unlike the traditional politician, he doesn't frequently holds presscons or sends out press releases to document his accomplishments, and seemingly just works hard enough to come up with several house bills, all 60 of them, under his name as author or co-author. Special mention perhaps to House Bill HB00111, an act establishing a mechanism for the sustainable development and use of the island of Boracay.
Now you would understand why the man is Keen on opposing the bridge project of SMC and Ramon Ang. The man has a soft spot in the heart for the less privileged. The bridge connecting Caticlan to Boracay would have repercussions that would eventually ruin the community-based livelihood of it's people. Perhaps the main reason why Boracay is supposedly the best beach in the world is because it has not been thoroughly touched by commercialism. However, many would react to this since we've seen how many investments, many of foreign background, have already stepped into it's shores, and which could have been the reason behind the cesspool issue.
The real question is, are we ready to take a chance to subject the island into further molestation, or will the bridge actually bring more fruitful development and more opportunities to it's residents?
But who is Nonong Haresco, based from a press release, he is a happily married father of four Ilonggo who graduated with honors in Economics and Accounting from De La Salle University who developed a little start-up into a 50-hectare prawn-farming venture. But before that, his little start-up was a buy and sell of shrimps he will purchase from his hometown Aklan, and sell in Manila. He then completed his Masteral of Arts in International Economics at the McGill University in Canada. He then went on to participate in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development- International Trade Center in Switzerland where his business acumen led to the formation of the Haresco Trade Specialists Co., and Silver Thread Inc., which exported local capiz shells to the European country.
Still advocating micro-entrepreneurship as the best way to improve our economic development, he is a staunch detractor of those influential people who even threaten him of many stuff just to discourage him in doing good.
Now that he is running for Congressman at District 2, he implores members of the media to ally with him in going against the affluent giants who may soon cause further deplorable acts in Aklan.
He is thankful that the President made efforts to order the rehabilitation of the cesspool-like Boracay as he reveals how 43 hidden pipes led waste to the waters of Boracay.
Imagine that we've been swimming in a water filled with waste coming from the business establishments. Yuck indeed!
We need more men like him who's willing to go against powerful people, and through the help of media, most especially the bloggers, he urges us to help him expose the truth in order to win this war.
Yup! It is actually a war since any opposing forces must be subdued by the power of awareness initiated by media and bloggers.
If we believe that any form of development where the community is not a part would ruin sustainable livelihood and tourism, maybe you should advocate against the building of the bridge and support Nonong Haresco in his run for Aklan Congressman.
If you believe that Boracay must remain pristine by keeping it the property of it's people, then by all means, support Nonong Haresco by voting for him on May 2019.
#WazzupPilipinas #PambansangBlogger #Haresco #Aklan #Congressman #Nonong #Teddy #TeodoricoHaresco #NonongHaresco