Another topic that Estante discusses at the Kape kag Isyu TV talk show, is the sad state of the Iloilo River, a fake river actually, since it is just and extension of the sea. The river used to be navigable and a favorite place for swimming by kids in the past, according to Sen. Franklin Drilon who grew up in Molo district, Iloilo City. Now, it is unsafe for recreation. though anglers still crowd the sides of bridges dropping lines to hook fish, marine life in Iloilo River is a poor shadow of its rich past.
“The river still abounds with shrimps, especially white shrimps, trout, shells and many more; it is a source of livelihood for families,” notes Estante. “But it is much degraded now.”
In mid four years ago, Estante, chaired the committee that conducted a study on the Iloilo River. Among the recommendations of the committee is to declare the river from its mouth at Fort San Pedro up to Carpenter’s Bridge, a “sports and recreation area”, that is, for boating and hook-and-line fishing only. Beyond that, people may set up fishtraps, like “pailigan”.
Mayor Jedd Patrick Mabilog, lately claims the credit that could have been Estante’s. At any rate, Estante, says he doesn’t mind so long as the recommendations in his report is implemented.
|Panelists, from L-R: FRancis Tiania, Nitz Gobuyan, Larry Locara,
Kgd. Ely Estante, Peter Jimenea, Joel Estuche and Pet Melliza
Mabilog says over 200 structures encroach on the river that must be demolished. He says he has the political will to carry that out, “regardless of who gets hurt and of political considerations”. He seems to have backtrack though. While palying it tough on the owner of Sulu resto and Roy’s Manokan who he ordered to cease-and-desist from reclaming a portion of the river, he misses to see the brazen violation of another restaurant right across the street.
|From L-R: Nitz Gobuyan, LarryLocara, Ely Estante, Peter Jimenea, Joel
Estuche and Pet Melliza
Barbeque Park, sitting on a foreshore mangrove stand which is a public property and “beyond the commerce of man”, wiped out mangroves on a 400-square meter embankment, which is illegal, but the Mabilog administration just doesn’t care to lift a finger. The other violation of the resto is that it empties all its liquid wastes directly into the river, when it should have passed through a liquid waste treatment facility before being disposed to the river.
The owner of Barbeque Park, Edward Yee, incidentally, is a member of the city council, thus, addressed to as “honorable” and in Mabilog’s slate in the May 2010 elections.
Ti, may reklamo kamo?