Pandan Antique Philippines

Appeal to the Media and Senators

Note: Sent to the media and senators

January 14, 2001


I watch your program and read your newspapers regularly. Your in-depth and objective coverage of events have led me to write you about our problem regarding an island paradise named Semirara in Antique, Philippines; planned to be the dumpsite for Metro Manila’s garbage of 4,000 tons daily.

I am a native of Pandan, a town in the northernmost part of Antique, and Semirara Island is just a few kilometers away by sea from our town. Semirara is an island paradise. White sands, abundant corals, rare birds, sea turtle sanctuary, seashells, and rich fishing grounds; it’s a flora and fauna sanctuary.

We would like to invite your good selves to see visit our island paradise Semirara that is in danger of becoming the dumpsite of Metro Manila’s garbage. Our people from Antique and the surrounding provinces of Aklan, Mindoro, Romblon and Palawan are strongly and vehemently opposing such plan of Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) headed by Mr. Robert Aventajado and J. Binay of making Semirara a dumpsite. The impracticality of such plan, the destruction it will do to the ecology of the surrounding islands, and the fishing grounds, the source of food of our people.

Despite the widespread and unanimous objections, MMDA still pursued it intent to dump the garbage on the island. At present there are two barges near the island with no net covering the garbage, its juice leaking into our pristine waters, poisoning the Marine life. The barges have been there since Dec. 29, 2000, waiting for the Temporary Restraining Order to expire on January 18, 2001. As of now, we do not know what will happen to the island after January 18, 2001. Our people in Antique are no match to the power of the central government, especially the corrupt public officials. We know that we are no match to the planned $19 tip per metric ton of garbage shipped to Semirara. Our only hope is that there are still people who believe in a democratic form of the government where the WILL of the people is at the top of the totem pole.

We are therefore bringing our case to the highest court, the court of public opinion of which you are the mediums. With your help, we can bring our case to the people, and to the whole world, that it is INSANITY to destroy an island as beautiful as Semirara. And that, the people living there should not be trampled upon by forcing on them the trash or garbage of far away Manila. And through you, hopefully, our Government will relent on their plan.

Thank you.

Aurora I. Toldoya
California, USA