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« on: January 18, 2017, 12:22:29 PM »
Published: November 26, 2006 by The Bohol Standard

We said our piece about a year ago when we wrote why the Panglao International Airport should not be built. I also read that a Panglao official himself quoted some studies showing that Panglao is not an environmentally and commercially feasible airport site because Panglao is sitting on caves.

But, until now, our pleas have fallen on deaf ears and the plan is as feverish as ever.

Hoping to give some sense to our public officials who cannot see beyond consumerism and infrastructure, I am sharing with you a letter written by Fil-Am cousin James, son of Dodong and Susan Dompor. He is in second year pre-med at University of California-Irvine in California, USA. He loves Bohol and is worried that an international airport in Panglao will bring more harm than good to the place.

The letter was attached to the email sent by James’ aunt, Dayel:

“To those whose hearts lie in Bohol, Imagine an area overrun by chaos: rampant crime, widespread corruption and unbearable air, water, and noise pollution. Thousands suffer a life of poverty, living their lives in uninhabitable slums.

The “successful” citizens hold exorbitant amounts of money. Although they live the high life, their lack of focus places them on the fast track towards disaster – working hard for material luxuries but going nowhere fast. Throughout the day, the people of this city daydream of a better place.

Now, envision a different scene: pristine land filled with lush vegetation, crisp air, tropical beaches and fresh water. Crime and corruption are virtually non-existent because a culture of kindness, social/environmental responsibility, simplicity, and spirituality fills the hearts of the few people lucky enough to inhabit the region. These people live in peace with themselves and their environment, carrying out their lives one day at a time.

Here in America, the “land of the free,” workers slave away at their jobs forty hours a week, fifty weeks a year dreaming of a chance to catch a glimpse of paradise.

On the other hand, I was lucky enough to find such a place. I found paradise in an island called Bohol.

Last summer, I traveled to the Philippines for a vacation. Manila stood as a high-tech mecca with many attractions – malls the size of a behemoth, movie houses mightier than any in the United States, and all the conveniences of a modern lifestyle. Although a modern allure shines in Manila, injustice and pollution tarnish its streets. High-class skyscrapers and malls juxtapose the suffering and poverty of the slums. Heaviness floats through the polluted air as square cars spit diesel fumes. Contaminated brown water flows through Manila’s rivers and emits a stench of social decay.

The pollution of this city overwhelmed me to such an extent that I collapsed and was rushed to the hospital due to poor air quality and a respiratory viral infection.

After Manila, I left on a plane for a different place: Bohol, the land of my father. The moment I arrived there, I felt the difference. Clean air filled my lungs, fresh food brought a satisfaction to my stomach that I never experienced, and the scenery gave serenity to my eyes. Most importantly, the openness, spirituality, simplicity, and generosity of the people generated peace in my soul. Not once in Bohol did I feel sick or sluggish. From the river of Loboc to the many Chocolate Hills, the land of Bohol served as an example of paradise on earth: people living simple lives in harmony with their surroundings.

If an additional airport is constructed in Bohol (specifically in Panglao, Bohol), I promise that money, technology, and luxuries will flow into the island faster than a waterfall, but something far greater will be lost – the sense of what it means to be a Boholano.

The airport would serve as a gateway to increased commercial endeavors. However, the noise and fuel pollution brought about by airplanes, tourists, and selfish businessmen would consume the land and corrupt the culture of this wonderful island. The unspoiled landscape would be rotten by the woes of society. Consumerism and commercialism would replace simplicity, and above all, peace and serenity would vanish from this island. A new airport, especially an international airport in Panglao, would destroy the fabric of Boholano society.

I ask every Boholano to defend this land with all of your body, all of your mind, and all of your soul from widespread and uncontrolled growth so that your way of life would not be sacrificed. Controlled tourism and limited growth/development are the keys to saving the uniqueness and serenity of a green island paradise called Bohol.

James Anthony Punzalan Dompor
Romans 10:9-10
"If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

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