Pandan Antique Philippines

Appeal to Dateline

January 8, 2001

Dateline Viewer Mail
Dateline NBC
New York, NY


I like watching your news on TV because your scope of coverage is extensive which also includes news around the world.

There is a situation right now in the Philippines that merits your attention which the Philippine media has pushed into the background because of the impeachment trial of Philippine President Estrada. Besides, the insignificance of the place and its residents doesn’t seem to hold much priority.

I’m referring to a small island which is part of Antique province in the big island of Panay. This island, called SEMIRARA, is one of a group of several small islands between Panay island, Mindoro island, and Romblon island in the Visayan region of the Philippines.

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) defied the will of the residents of the islands and of the whole province of Antique by sending two barges containing more than 4,000 tons of garbage from Metro Manila to its proposed dumpsite on Semirara island. There is a people blockade with a Temporary Restraining Order waiting on the shores of Semirara to ward off the dumping attempt. These people have been there since January 3rd, keeping vigil while the barges are afloat two kilometers away from the shoreline. The uncovered garbage on the barges have started to stink and some of their watery sediments are already polluting the waters.

Since we are natives of Pandan, Antique, we are outraged at MMDA’s blatant disregard for the islanders’ rights to protect their environment and their property. Just because the Semirara residents are less educated and underprivileged, MMDA has decided to overpower them with their political clout. Aventajado and Binay, the two masterminds of the dumpsite plan hold influential positions in the government.

One of your missions is to help expose corruption and injustice going on in all parts of the world. Semirara is choking right now under the clutches of unscrupulous and manipulative people. My fear is that the protesters, made up of the islanders and the people of Antique, may not be able to sustain their resistance forces against a formidable enemy (MMDA).

Please help them by airing their plight. This may be one way MMDA would finally give up its dumpsite plan and leave the islanders alone to continue their peaceful existence.

Thank you so much for your consideration and attention in this matter.

Truly yours,

PRO, Pandan Antique Foundation