As the chairman of Batasan Island’s Marine Protected Area Management Council, Eduard is concerned about the health of the marine environment. Eduard appeals to the more fortunate members of his community to refrain from mining corals in fishing grounds, which has become rampant in response to tidal flooding. He encourages the community to build more stilted houses instead, as these are more environmentally sensitive, effective and economical.
Historically, as the community gradually grew, people have mined coral stones in order to reclaim land. After the earthquake, however, many households simultaneously resorted to coral mining to elevate their floors. Coral mining is actually expensive, although alternative materials for building stilted houses are also scarce on the island. Excessive coral mining does not only negatively impact fish population, but also endangers people’s lives. Corals serve as natural barriers against waves, protecting the island from typhoons and storm surges.
While NGOs have donated stilted houses to a good number of residents in response to damages caused by the earthquake, the rest of the communities are still exploring how to elevate their floors responsibly, using limited financial and natural resources.