On February 17, 2013, a Myanmar flagged ship sank off the coast of Bolinao. A few days later splatters of coagulated oil were found in the coastal municipalities of La Union and Ilocos.
“As more people use social media to tell the story of the future, the wants and needs of more people will be reflected”- S.Mainwaring
To describe the gravity of the situation, a state of calamity was even declared in La Union.
Consistent with the current norms of this country, those who are directly affected are left to sort out the problem on their own while the rest continue on with their own lives.
Damage to livelihood and people’s living conditions would be forever irreparable.
(Effects of oil spill felt on La Union beaches. Photo by:Colleen Curran )
It is frustrating that major news broadcast companies would rather allocate relevant minutes on isolated common street incidents like robbery, pickpocketing and even domestic violence caused by gossip.
It is borderline crappy to the extent it’s already funny that most of what can be considered as really important issues would at worst be alloted with a small portion on rolling news ticker in the bottom of the television broadcast.
Well major broadcast company may rebut my claims by stating that they have entire shows solely focused on covering such incidents.
True, but these show air close to midnight when most people are already too sleepy to care, if not already asleep.
It wouldn’t be too much to ask these companies to allot at least 5 minutes of primetime broadcast in order to cover the stories of these topics. If it can’t be helped, I suggest that these companies just consider such a deed as part corporate social responsibility program, which they always publicly proclaim to have.
Easily important issues fall behind the curtains and forgotten once the story becomes a few weeks old.
Guimaras Oil Spill
Tubatha Reef, a world heritage site, damaged heavily by an American Navy Ship.
The same trend everytime.
Broadcasting companies cannot be completely blamed. Tight competition forces them to fight for ratings, which ultimately determines how much they earn from advertisements.
Their daily programming is catered to provide what they perceive people want.
It can be said that we ourselves are to blame. We just don’t care. Even if we do, we lose interest quickly.
But amidst the rating war, they have forgotten how powerful media has really become in the 20th century, that it can be used as a tool to change the culture and dictate what people should want.
Media, now, more strongly influences people than the other way around.
If Hollywood is able to make a fuss out of Lady Gaga’s bizarre fashion sense and Bieber’s uhmmmmm nothing, I don’t know why they can’t make environmentalism the in thing in the Philippines. Certainly it can be done, take Australia as an example, where the first environmental political movement was established. Like us, most of them initially didn’t care. Through the small actions of ordinary men like Steve Irwin, environmental conservation is now a big thing in their country.
( Steve Irwin, Australian environmental advocate and adventurer)
I bet people can be easily convinced to care about issues which may destroy the serene beaches and other locations which surely they love for vacations, summer getaways and family reunions.
Fad is the name of the game. With persistence and a little bit of entertainment spices, having a personal environmental advocacy can be considered “ THE IN THING”.
(La Union surfer girls getting ready)
So what am I really trying to convey here?
Although it would be great if broadcasting companies change their ways on their own, chances are they won’t. They care too much about what we like (which is also nice by the way).
So rather than waiting for others to spark change, we must act ourselves first.
So what can you do?
Visit La Union, its neighboring provinces and the entire Philippines.
Be the spark to the change we dream of.
Unconsciously influence people to do the same by sharing your incredible travel stories and pictures.
(Surfers enjoying La Union waves)
If people greatly care about the natural wonders of the Philippines then it wouldn’t be too long before broadcasting companies follow suit.
As important as rating are, they would have no choice but to cave in to the demands of people and allot relevant prime time to vital issues plaguing our country, such as topics about the environment.
Also doing so will be a crucial step in changing this country’s culture of:
“If it doesn’t involve me, it must not concern me”
As one country we are one body what affects one part affects us wholly.
Travel now and chances are no child, man, woman, family, barangay, municipality, province, region and country gets abandoned in time of crisis to sort their own problems.
(La Union community conducting an oil spill clean up Photo by: Colleen Curan)
Cover photo by: Colleen Curan
(Nicco Lampa has regularly been visiting La Union Philippines to surf, since 2009)