Editorial: Raping mangroves

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

IN our cover story yesterday, August 31, 2014, we tackled the rape of mangroves for a commercial fishpond operations rehabilitation in barangay Libuak, Island Garden City of Samal.

From answers by government officials sought out to comment, there is left a frustration of sorts as it is apparent that even when the flattening of a mangrove forest is very apparent, and even if it is there for all to see that the reforestation project of the mangrove is a joint endeavor of national government agencies and local government units, nothing will be done if there is no formal complaint filed.

This is not just for agencies that have something to do with the environment. This goes for every government agency sought out to respond.


“File a formal complaint so we can act on it,” is a reply so often repeated, it is as if they do not have eyes of their own and see what’s wrong.

Granted, there will be no one to prosecute because no one has filed a complaint against a specific person, but cannot government officials just use their power to say, stop.

If you’re witnessing someone being battered, isn’t it your responsibility to call the police to break up the fight? Or will we just stand around to wait for someone to formally file a complaint before calling the police to break up the fight?

That said, it’s sad that while the whole world is now appreciating the economic benefits of lush mangroves – in terms of tourism, fishery, and environmental protection – we only see the value of the land these trees stand on. Crazy, really. Because it is not only in barangay Libuak where mangroves are being raped. The story there just came easier because it’s closer and linkage with the council was easily found.

There’s a bigger mangrove stand in Mati City, Davao Oriental that is being deforested, and the national government agencies tasked to put a stop to the activity are content with saying, the investigation is ongoing.

As the weeks, months, and soon, years go by, the concerned government agency will continue to be content with having embarked on an investigation as if a century-old mangrove tree can be return back to life in its full glory once already cut.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 01, 2014.


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