Political will in KawasanBy Jobers Bersales
Cebu Daily News
It was vintage Gwendolyn F. Garcia that everyone saw last Monday as she led the dismantling of illegal structures that had spoiled the once-beautiful vista of Kawasan Falls.
Before this, she already showed how far she would go should anyone spoil the province’s natural heritage. In Malapascua a few months before the 2010 elections, she ordered the immediate dismantling of resort huts and other structures that were blocking the magnificent view of the white- sand beaches there. She also did this last year at Sta. Fe when 11 or so resort owners nonchalantly constructed barriers and structures that encroached on the 20-meter easement zone where the seas hug the shores.
When everyone felt so enamored by bikini opens that they forgot it was happening during the holiest week of the year, she not only called attention to the sacrilege but also haled everyone, including Manila actress Aubrey Miles, to court.
The Kawasan cleanup, if one may call it, is therefore but one in a long list of the bold exercise of political will and committed decision-making that has characterized the leadership style of the governor. It therefore came as a surprise that even the local government unit there did not seem to realize how quickly the governor would move to restore order and impose the law, even if it means a public reprimand of one of her own local political allies.
My attention had already been called by a friend from a town near Badian that the situation in Kawasan was becoming untenable and that soon the governor would hear of it. That was about four weeks ago. We were still in the final leg of our archaeological excavations here when news, via this newspaper, arrived bannering the event in Kawasan.
I must admit I was quite surprised why the resort owners there did not seem to know the governor’s long record of exercising political will even it means a loss of votes. They probably thought this would be the politics of the usual. Well, they got what they deserved. They were given time to heed the call to clean up and restore Kawasan to its regal beauty but they just went on as if government was not serious.
Unfortunately for them, the governor is extremely serious about her resolve to clean up and shape up all the local government under the province, made manifest in the annual Expanded Green and Wholesome Environment that Nurtures (eGwen), which measures the performance of local government units in every aspect of public service, most notably in this case, respect and care for natural and cultural heritage.
This is on lesson learned not just for the resort owners of Kawasan but also for those aspiring to be governor next year. Will they have the same resolve and committed leadership as Governor Garcia has shown time and again during the past eight years of her three-term administration? More importantly for the Cebuanos, will they choose the right one who will exercise the same political will that she has shown time and again? I am sure if the governor will run for whatever office next year, she has lost the votes of some of those unscrupulous resort owners, but in doing the right thing, she has also won the votes of the many who see that the way forward is for politicians to exercise power to do what is good and what is fair to all.
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The third round of the San Remigio Archaeological Project, carried out by the University of San Carlos Museum and the National Museum with the support of the Cebu Provincial Tourism and Heritage Council and the municipality of San Remigio will come to a close on Sunday, April 22, as we pack up and go back to the city. Laboratory work and the analysis of our finds will proceed thereafter. The record: six burials, six earthenware pots, one jar burial and two evidences of hitherto unreported (probably ritualized) practices of overturning one large pot to cover another pot. Of the six burials, we found one with the frontal bone of the skull clearly flattened, a practice called artificial cranial deformation or reformation, perhaps due to aesthetics or beauty. The next move now is to publish our work and also to write more lengthily about this in the heritage section of CDN.
More from this Column:
- Rejoinder from non-pigs in the pigsty
- Cebuanos in a pigsty
- Culture and heritage: The unfinished agenda
- Ka Bino’s diapers
- Digging San Remigio anew