Sunday, May 20, 2012

Make Davao Shrine Hills an Eco-Park and Eco Tourism Site

Make Davao Shrine Hills an Eco-Park and Eco Tourism Site

Hon. Mayor Sara Duterte

City of Davao


Our beloved Mayor,

Our earth is "the garden planet of the universe...What might be our human role in this context"? ~ Thomas Berry, geologian (geologist cum theologian), author of "The Great Work: Our Way into the Future."  In 1995, it was said by Matthew Fox that we have 16 years left to change our ways as a species if we were to save ourselves from the changes Mother Earth is undergoing and undertaking. 16 years hence was the year 2011.

Warm greetings! First of all, we, the members of Women CORE would like to commend you for your veto of the coal-fired plant in Binugao, even as we note in deep sadness and utter dismay its overturning by the vice mayor & the S.P., especially when we hear reports on the ill-effects of other coal plants e.g. in Laguna, not only an increase of respiratory and other forms of illness due to air pollution have been observed, but also decreasing fish size and less fish catch because of the water pollution and possibly due to the constant vibration of the turbines on the water.

This letter is mainly to express our support for the Save the Davao Shrine Hills movement and councilor Rachel Zozobrado et al, in their call to "Make Shrine Hills a Conservation  Area, a Protected Green Space". We understand that Shrine Hills, in the light of diminishing environmentally sound areas of our beloved city--and the 25-year plan for increases in commerce and industry that seem to oddly supersede plans for green and protected spaces in the city--plays a very central role in (re)greening our environs. We say this because we believe that this concern affects the health, the lives of not only a few i.e. the surrounding communities of Shrine Hills, but all of us Davao residents.

                 We are aware that the Shrine Hills, as attested by studies from government agencies themselves, is an endangered or geo-hazard area, which makes the said hills extremely unfit for massive subdivision development. This is why we laud the move to rezone Shrine Hills as a protected area, as it has the well-being of our people, our children, and our grandchildren at heart. A green Shrine Hills, given its central location in the now-expanding urbanization of our city, can further serve important ecological roles, i.e. that of a natural sponge for excessive rain water, and as the green lungs of our city—i.e. substantially absorbing the increasing pollution (from the coal-fired plant as well). The alarming rising waters of our seas—including Davao Gulf itself--the flash flood nightmares like the ones of Matina Pangi and Cagayan de Oro city (still recent in that its traumatic effects—psychological and socio-economic—are still palpable among Cagayanons), are very clear environmental warnings that all of us, the human species of Davao, must take heed of NOW.

Thus we are calling upon, nay, urging the city government to fulfill their part in ensuring that Davao city remains among the most inhabitable cities for the people they vowed to serve. The political will of our city government in making this sane proposal /move /dream a reality is imperative in the light of ecological catastrophes we can no longer risk abetting. We hope that this time, the Vice Mayor and the S.P. will  not fail us, our future grand children, and Mother Earth. We hope that they will listen more to those whose interests serve the majority poor and powerless, instead of a few who hide their business /economic interests, barely disguised as service, i.e. cheaper energy, when sustainability and sanity dictate that we instead take a hard look and re-examine our lifestyles.

"The future can exist only when we understand the universe as composed of subjects to be communed with, not as objects to be exploited." We close this letter with that quote from Thomas  Berry, in the hope that we be true to our God-decreed stewardship role of our garden planet earth, and fulfill that sacred task here and now, in Davao.

Daghang salamat for giving attention to this plea. God bless you!

                                                                            Yours sincerely, for the ecological health of Davao,

                                                          Women CORE (Collective Resourcing for Empowerment)


                                               Mary Lou Caharian        Agnes Miclat – Cacayan         Chic S. Ramoso      


                                                         Maria Yap- Morales               Ethel Sucgang - Apuzen