Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Recent Calamity in Mindanao

“NCotabato officials declare state of calamity due to flood damage…caused millions worth of damage to crops and infrastructure.” This was the headline on the ABS-CBN News online under the regional dated April 29, 2008. Same headline seen in a Local Newspapers like Sunstar davao today (May 1, 2008).

You will read more of these headlines and devastating damages soon if we continue to cut trees, continues land conversion, and continue to ignore the call to protect our soil.

The call to protect soil erosion decades ago are still the call for today. When I was 6 years old, I remember Rev. Harold Watson and Dr. Warlito Laquihon advocating sustainable agriculture in uplands and urging all to restore the degraded soil by using Sloping Agricultural Land Technology. In 2004, I myself was calling to help prevent soil erosion during the Vegetable Congress sponsored by VICSMin in Davao City. Today, I believe the same call I pose to all Filipinos.

Pardon my words but what recently happened in Cotabato is an effect of ill planning in sustainable land use and continued ignorance in soil conservation and environmental protection. I see hills with more than 40 degrees slope used without any soil erosion control for vegetables, corn and even sugarcane farming. Likewise, uplands in Cotabato, Davao, and Bukidnon, are vastly converted to plantation crops like banana, sugarcane, and pineapple (later will include jathropa) without any soil erosion measures but rather large canals for irrigation and drainage. As a result, we are experiencing flash floods.

It seems we have not learned at all from the tragedy of Leyte to the damages in Cotabato lately. Does our government have interventions or political will to protect damages in uplands and low land areas? Should the agencies like DENR and DA look into this? Should we wait for more damages? What can you do?

I wish to call the attention of all government officials, all agencies concerned, academe, NGOs, civic sector, farmers, friends and you. Let’s not wait for another tragedy and more damages to come, act now.

I wish I could help more by sharing my knowledge in agriculture, for today, I just wrote this article to start the journey of protecting our life. If you think you can make a difference, let join hands and think of a better way. Share this to a friend.

1 comment:

Fernando C. Zamora said...

Bay, there is so much to be done down there - in the communities in terms of troubleshooting our farming system. the standard to use when assessing the success or failure of our farming system, i venture to say, is the farmers themselves. if their farm cannot cannot support themselves - there is no point that the entire agriculture can provide us with food security. that is to say that every effort, endeavour, support, etc should be geared towards enabling farming to support the farmer families.