Editorial: Providential-A A +A
Thursday, July 3, 2014
IT’S been over a week now, but we’re still not over the euphoria of having a World Heritage Site in the region. Moreso, because it is in Davao Oriental.
Davao Oriental is very rich.
Although it has stayed in the doldrums for so long, with its people satisfied with waiting for the quarterly harvest of coconuts, of late, Davao Oriental has realized its vast potentials in tourism thanks to the vision of local leaders like San Isidro Mayor Justina B. Yu, who even in the 1990s was already preaching of the vast potentials for tourism of Mt. Hamiguitan, Governor Generoso Mayor Vicente Orencia who sees sustainable forest management by fanning livelihood that do not rely on cutting down trees, and Gov. Corazon N. Malanyaon who realized that her province’s wealth is in not extracting from the earth but nurturing from the ground.
We say the inscription is providential because in the past five years that the local government was working to get Unesco’s approval, mining companies were also working double-time to extract the most minerals from the mineral-rich land of Davao Oriental.
Why do you think Mt. Hamiguitan would host a pygmy forest? What makes a pygmy forest? Minerals. There are already a few mining companies in place, digging up the mountains and shipping off soil, ore, rocks and stone alike. A few more years and one or two more mining companies and Davao Oriental will be very much like the provinces of Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte. Half of Davao Oriental shares the eastern coast with the two Surigao provinces, facing the Pacific Ocean. As such, they have beautiful beaches. But the local governments of Surigao opted to have these turned to brown because they prefer the riches of what lies beneath the earth. It will not be long before Surigao will be a wasteland. All this just because of its rich mineral resources.
Davao Oriental is just as rich, but now they have the greater pride of hosting a World Heritage Site. This should be a stern warning against all those lining up in the national office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to dig up its mountains and ship these all to China. The people of Davao oriental have found a source of pride, and it is not in allowing you to flatten their biodiverse lands.
For this, we have a good idea whose people will be in a better shape a generation or two from now.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 03, 2014.