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That Lonely Combado Causeway

Eerie in its silence and loneliness, that speechless causeway in barangay Combado has nowhere to go. There is now a memo from DPWH-Tacloban stipulating that no government projects should be funded and implemented without the necessary mandatory Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and Area Clearance from the DENR as recommended by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA)
It must be noted here that on August 11, 2021 a convoy of six or seven vehicles inspected the causeway in Combado, as mentioned in DENR’s letter to BARUG Maasin.
Combado causeway’s idleness amid the cool and sometime stormy seawaters reminds us of how that causeway buried the breeding places of sea cucumbers that produce lokot, a sea food delicacy of countless Maasinhons. The varied shellfish (kinhason) like saang, liswi, tagmarok, aninikad, and countless more. It sent to oblivion various urchins like suwaki, tujom, sijok, paja-paja, etc. And, most importantly, it buried the hopes and dreams of subsistence fishermen and poor fisherfolk whose free food resources is the coastal area they commonly call honasan. Honasan, a name which already spells culture and tradition for Maasinhons.
As I have already mentioned in my past issue of Peerscope, honasan is life for the poor coastal dwellers of Maasin. The late Dr. Jesus Bacala, one of Maasin’s most prominent people in the medical profession had this to say about the honasan, “Kun honas manginhas, kung taob mangahoy.” Doctor Bacala truly experienced poverty in daily sustenance and he valued honasan’s worth to poor fisherfolk. He is among some Maasinhons who made it to “Who’s Who in America” magazine. He had his Bacala Scholarship at Saint Joseph College which produced many professionals from Maasin’s poor but deserving students.
Honasan sustained Doctor Bacala and his family for years and he regarded it with great value for generations of our young to cherish and treasure.
Combado’s causeway is still there wallowing in the uncertainties of weather and waves. But still it is a fact that Maasin’s marine ecosystem and biodiversity had been destroyed.
In its eerie loneliness and abandonment, Combado’s idle causeway is a monument to man’s disregard towards the limitless value of marine food resources for generations to come.
Public officials who wield power from their positions of influence should be circumspect in their impletation of government projects that ultimately destroy the food resources of the poor Maasinhons and Southern Leyteños.

by Joe Mancera

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