By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
Increasingly our government argues that tourism is a means to overcome underdevelopment and the economic crisis that the country is sunk-into today. It is said that it is a venue for getting foreign investments and more jobs to strengthen the country’s economy.
Tourism is seen as a “greener pasture” for employment, but like in other third world countries, tourism-related jobs and employment are seasonal, uncertain, part-time and the turnover of staff positions is very fast.
On the other hand, the loss of more sustainable livelihood to the takeover of tourism – such as agriculture, fishery – has not been subject to real study and subsidy or support from the government as the tourism industry does.
The experience of tourism in the Cordillera, especially in Baguio has made the culture and tradition of the local natives into a saleable commodity. A commodity! That is all it is in the tourist industry like the different colored candies on the store counter.
Tourism has also established an infamous reputation of ushering-in prostitution and a good exposure to Sexually Transmitted Diseases especially HIV/AIDS, and eventually bird-flu, and the like.
And there has not been a place tourism has touched that was not left ravaged, worn and torn by social disease. How much will it cost to rebuild human lives, communities, forests and broken homes, compared to the cost of the sale lost if the quickie-big time tourism industry envisioned by government didn’t touch our mountain homes? Whether it be in a micro or macro level of view… it has not been proven to be sustainable or in real terms profitable for a nation like ours. Keep it down, it is healthier and safer to be able to cope.
Walk for health… Where?
Our city was a very healthy and safe place to grow-up and then retire to.
In the hope to contribute to keeping our population strong and healthy, to contribute to the reduction of global warming and climate change, all along those healthy lines. The city leadership is encouraging its constituents to walk to work but it is looking like it is more hazardous to do just that – good and worthwhile contribution – for the individual citizen. Why?
The city population has grown too fast for City Hall management to come up with support services a growing population like ours would need. It can be because of the lack of foresight, lack of imagination, lack of care or simply absence of purpose to serve or even lack of support.
Whatever it was, and no matter how late it is, the effort to take care of its constituents is showing and so it grows well, good citizens have to support it. Whether it be to criticize its weakness or help rectify its errors, it is part of growing healthy to talk about it, then see and do however we can to collectively help.
Maybe, soon we may have sidewalks wide and clean enough to keep us (especially the children and grand oldies) safe from vehicular traffic along every roadway. Adequate canals and drainage systems to keep us from the rush of (now very dirty) rainwater on the streets and sidewalks. More vegetation to absorb as much pollution while we try to clean the air of lead, grime, fumes, etc. and lesser humongous structures in the central districts that break the flow of Chi – the healthy unseen that, according to oriental medicine, makes us alive. #