Council backs stand to make Shrine Hills protected area-A A +A
Sunday, March 10, 2013
THE City Council of Davao passed a resolution supporting the stand of an organization declaring the Shrine Hills as protected area.
Councilor Pilar Braga, proponent of the measure, said she believes that the move of the Save Davao Shrine Hills Advocates is "the proper and correct direction to take."
She said since the 15th Council up to the present, she has been consistently supported the crusade to declare Shrine Hills as protected area.
Braga recalled that during the 15th Council, the City Council Technical Working Group was tasked to review the 1996 Zoning Ordinance, and among the major recommendations include reclassifying the Shrine Hills from residential into a protected zone; developing more urban parks and create a city-wide urban park system; and reclassifying residential zones located in flood-prone areas into green open spaces like parks and playgrounds.
The Shrine Hills advocates wrote her a letter expressing their concern over the matter, according to Braga.
A copy of the draft of her resolution read that the Bank of the Philippines Islands Foundation, in coordination with the World Wildlife Fund, has a major study in 2011, assessing the city’s situation and the challenges it faces to manage its environment and climate change.
"Typhoon will become more intense and will originate also in areas where this did not happen before. The study warns that Davao City will emerge as a site of refuge for an increasing number of migrants," Braga said in her resolution.
The Shrine Hills advocates, in their letter addressed to Braga, said the area must be preserved, prohibiting land developers from building new subdivisions.
"They (land developers) should be inspired to engage in alternative forms of green development include among others: eco-tourism sites, botanical gardens, plant nurseries, hiking paths, bicycle and jogging lanes, open air exercise and physical fitness sites, campaign sites, green and open yoga and meditation sites, nature walking tours, etc," said Norma T. Javellana, of the Save Davao Shrine Hills Advocates.
In behalf of the group, she urged the City Council "to provide appropriate zoning for private developer to turn their lands in Shrine Hills into green zones and thus leave a lasting green legacy for the city and for generations to come."
She said people who signed the petition to protect the Shrine Hills reached 18,000, sharing the same insight that the place is a “geo-hazard with cracks, unstable slopes, sinkholes, and erosion.”
Javellana added that the subdivisions along Ma-a road have been affected by water run-off and mud flows as a result of infrastructure developments instead of green development on Shrine Hills.
"Davaoeños want and need a green Shrine Hills. Indeed, given Shrine Hills’ unstable geological conditions and the need to make Davao a livable city, Shrine Hills should be the prime target for green development in a climate-change defined Davao," the group said. (Arianne Caryl N. Casas)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 11, 2013.