Pandan Antique Philippines

Appeal to the Mayor of Caluya

December 10, 2000

Mayor of Caluya
Caluya, Antique

Dear Sir:

In January 2001, ANTIQUE WILL BE THE NEXT PEARL HARBOR with a slight difference. The deafening sounds of the bombs will not be heard, but the destruction will be worse. There won’t be 8 battleships and 10 naval ships that will sink, but the businesses in Aklan and Antique will sink. There won’t be 3,000 naval and military personnel killed, but millions of civilian men, women and children will slowly die of toxic waste poisoning, bacterial infections and malnutrition.

Just like PEARL HARBOR, the destruction of Antique and Aklan will be proven as a “result of the failure of the government to effect a state of readiness commensurate with the realization that war was at hand.” The American government placed the blame on General Short and Admiral Kimmel who were declared to be guilty of “errors of judgment.” In the same way, the government of the Philippines will put the blame on mayors, the governor and congressmen who are guilty of “errors of judgment.” The errors in Antique will be this: not paying enough attention to the effects of garbage dumping in the island of Semirara.

I heard from a reliable source that the mayor of Semirara Island was the one who offered the use of the island for the dumpsite. In the initial stage of finding an alternate site for Metro-Manila’s garbage, out of the six sites being considered, Semirara was the only one that did not object to the use of their island.

As you very well know, Semirara is only 2 kilometers from Pandan and a stone throw from Caluya. The mayor of Semirara has not realized that he is signing an approval of the “bombing ” of his island and the people within. He does not realize that dumping garbage in Semirara will destroy the ecosystem and kill all the marine life in the neighboring Pandan Bay. With the destruction of corals, seaweed, seashells, and the killing of schools of fish goes the loss of livelihood of all the fishermen, loss of food for the people, and loss of tourist attraction in the area. The contamination of the sea will eliminate all the businesses in Boracay Island, the world-famous vacation place.

I have been practicing pediatrics in New Jersey, U.S.A., the past 35 years but my heart and my roots are still in Pandan, the town of my birth and my childhood. As a doctor of children, my heart bleeds for the children of Antique who will be born with congenital defects because of their mothers’ exposure to toxic waste during their pregnancies. I cry over the children who will not have enough food to eat from the sea where their parents get their food because the sea is destroyed and contaminated. My tears pour out when I come to think that the beautiful, clean, and pristine beaches where I spent the happiest days of my life will be dirty and polluted when I go back.

I am one of the officers of the Pandan Antique Foundation, an organization formed by professionals who spent their early childhood in Pandan but who are now living in different countries of the world. Environmental preservation is one of our many missions. We are not going to allow this outrageous act to happen without a fight!

As the mayor of your town, we look to you for support. Please join us in our cause. Let our voices be heard! Let us say NO to the Semirara dumping. LET US NOT LET HISTORY REPEAT ITSELF!

Respectfully yours,

New Jersey, USA