By Rey Anthony Chiu/PIA-Bohol | 03:08 PM July 26, 2021
Bohol 1st District Rep. Edgar Chatto calls on local government units in Bohol to contemplate on declaring environmental and climate change emergency, in a bid to get communities into putting up clear and doable environmental climate plans they can effectively address as soon as possible.
Running against time, the Boholano solon who chairs the House Committee on Climate Change rang the urgency alarm as islands in Bohol have reported unusual rise in sea water levels that the impacting on lives, livelihood and the future of island residents.
In the islands off Calape, Tubigon, Clarin, Inabanga, Talibon, Bien Unido and Carlos P. Garcia, sea water rise during high tides have been recorded to reach at nearly a meter from the usual tide marks a decade ago.
While some residents notice the rising tides coming after the 2013 earthquake which caused subsidence in islands off Calape, Tubigon and Clarin, a different case is reported in the islands off Talibon, Bien Unido and Carlso P. Garcia.
The sea-lever rise data and documentation as gathered by Rice Watch Action Network (Rice WAN) and Green Peace Philippines, in coordination with the House Committee on Climate Change, are all contained in Bohol Island Climate Emergency Roadmap which the study initiators through the Boholano solon, turned over to Bohol Governor Arthur Yap, in fitting online turn-over ceremonies July 14, 2021.
“I would like to personally commend Rice WAN and GreenPeace Philippines for the initiative of putting in place a roadmap for environmental and climate change adaptation and mitigation for Bohol small islands that are vulnerable to tidal floods and sea-water level rise,” the Boholano chair of the house committee said.
According to Cong Chatto, Bohol has 75 out-laying islands which make it naturally vulnerable to sea-water rise, despite the fact that the islands also lie in the paths of natural calamities.
Climate change has also affected the livelihood of island communities, as the rising sea temperatures have changed the migration patterns of pelagic fish, caused seaweeds diseases and coral bleaching which rendered vast coral reef areas dead.
The Philippine archipelago, which lies in the midst of the tropics, has recorded thrice higher sea-level rise compared to the global average, according to environmental groups studying the effects of the melting polar caps due to climate change.
Apart from the rising sea levels, the salt-water intrusion into the drinking water wells is yet another issue that would soon be all over island communities, they continued.
Climate change has affected marine ecology which impacts on sustainable fisheries, island community survival, these modern day problems have been tagged to environmental abuse and pollution that has caused the ruin of the ozone layer that normally screens and filters the brutal rays of the sun.
While international groups demand accountability form large countries and companies or corporations that largely contribute to the sea-level rise, a parallel initiative to involve communities and governments is being done in Bohol.
With the roadmap now in the hands of local government officials, communities are hopeful that things could be done as fast before the floods eat up all the islands including the communities there.
Governor Arthur Yap, upon receipt of the documents, called it invaluable and is a starting point directing the government and communities can do in very short time.
Now that we have a plan, let us move together to implement the plan, the governor said. (rahchiu/PIA-7/Bohol)