Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Editorial: Pondering amid the festivities

IT’S the Kadayawan weekend where the highlights are all happening. It’s time to get out there and really enjoy what the festival is all about.

But beyond just gawking at the dancers and the flowery (and fruity?) floats, let us all remember what Kadayawan is all about. Bounty, celebration, thanksgiving, and the indigenous peoples.

This is not just a party. This is all about pondering and we cannot afford to just party if we are truly Dabawenyos.

Just look around us, just about everyone is drooling over our posts of a bumper harvest of fruits that had us overdosing on sugar and potassium (and a lot of vitamins of course) for the past weeks.

We ourselves can hardly believe the race to rock-bottom prices that these fruits are taking.

Stop and ponder. We are lucky for nature has gifted us with fertile soil and vast land. Think and ponder, agriculture is what has been feeding our people for generations on end. Think and ponder, ergo, never allow massive conversion of agricultural lands, especially the small-scale farm lots, for other purposes.

Agriculture remains the backbone of our economy. We may not be as rich as Makati City, but we are all well-fed, and everyone can afford to indulge in fresh produce. They can’t say the same of their people.

Nature’s bounty is the gift Dabawenyos have been given, the least that we can do is ensure that this is not sold off to miners and monocrop plantations that despoil the very soil that nurtures life.

This is where we stop and look at our indigenous tribes, the people who have for so long been living in the fringes of hinterland areas. It may be ill-advised to draw them in and turn them into the “civilized” persons that we are – civilized in such a way that we have long lost our connection to the forests and the trees and the earth – but we should exert utmost effort to ensure that they live on, well aware of their roots and culture, to nurture the ancestral lands that they have dominion of.

How? By ensuring that they get the health and educational services they deserve, where schools of living traditions prosper and families thrive in healthy states because of appropriate farming technologies like sloping land agriculture and organic farming to upgrade their indigenous knowledge of the earth.

Poverty, after all, is what drives them away from their homes to try to fit in the cement jungle we live in where they all but forget their roots and their culture.

By ensuring that the services intended for them, truly reach them, we are actually managing a city that is protected by people who have closer and true appreciation of the earth and its natural gifts in the forests and rivers surrounding it; people who see the value of the earth in the plants and creatures that it nurtures and not the hectares per cost of money as we lowlanders and new investors do.

It’s the Kadayawan weekend and let us be deafened by the sounds of agongs and kulintangs to remind us that Davao has been blessed long before anyone has thought of pillaging Surigao del Sur and del Norte’s mountains for its mineral resources, and long before Metro Manila became the traffic hell it has become.

Let us all dance to the music of Kadayawan and affirm our commitment to ensure that Davao remains on a sustainable growth path, guided by our collective love for the environment, and not some road to eternal perdition paved with the promises of gold and short-lived development prospects.

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