The Philippine Teens Media duo, Princess and yours truly, Kevin volunteered to promote the cause “Save Davao Shrine Hills“. Read through the petition letter to know why we feel that it’s utmost important to save Shrine Hills and why you should too.

“Do you know that less than one percent (0.78%) of Davao City’s urban area is set aside for parks and green spaces? And yet, we seek to promote Davao City as a destination for eco-tourism.

Here in Davao City, we can achieve this and more, if our city-council shows political will. Unlike Manila and Cebu, we are not yet overly urbanized. Places for preservation of green zones are still available. With careful and conscientious zoning, we can preserve green corridors and areas throughout the urban center. We can realize this if we apply the laws that protect our environment conscientiously and creatively.

The starting point of this new challenge should of course be Shrine Hills. If declared a protected nature area, the trees in Shine Hills will help to keep Davao cool, produce oxygen, reduce pollution and serve as the Green Lungs of the City. Shrine Hills could forever be the landmark of our city and a testimony to the foresight of our City Council. Shrine Hills could be like the “Central Park of Davao City”. But it’s time to wake up! If not strictly protected by law and proper city ordinances now, this option will be lost forever. We have to act now and not leave the future of Shrine Hills to the self-interest of subdivision developers whose main interest is to make money.

In addition to losing its unique beauty and benefits from the center of the City, subdivision development of Shrine Hills poses many hidden dangers:

  • The core of the hill is mainly unconsolidated soft limestone that dissolves when exposed to water, causing sinkholes. Sinkholes are a high risk for developments and future homeowners, and are very expensive to repair.
  • The top and most of the hillside flanks are covered with sediments, between 3 and 30 meters thick. These layers of soil can easily slide down the Hill, if not held in place by trees and greenery. Many of the Shrine Hills slopes are extremely steep, steeper than 18% Philippine laws forbid developments in unstable areas on hills steeper than 18%.
  • By cutting trees and greenery, and changing the natural slopes for roads and housing, the hill becomes much more unstable. Even mitigating measures will not be able to make Shrine Hills stable. Mitigating measures are costly and unpredictable.
  • Bugac Ma-a contains many natural springs. Cutting, digging and quarrying for subdivision development in Shrine Hills will redirect the natural waterways and create new sinkholes or unexpected flooding in the older subdivisions along the foot of the hill, as already happened in Ma-a.

Instead of fenced-off high-end subdivisions, let’s be creative and visionary. Open up Shrine Hills for the general public of Davao for uses such as jogging trails, bike trails, camping-grounds, picnic areas, biodiversity parks, forests and simple contemplation. Let’s leave Shrine Hills as a green legacy for our children and grandchildren. We can all help protect Shrine Hills!

We call upon the City Council of Davao for an Ordinance declaring Shrine Hills a Natural Resource and Protected Nature Reserve. It is not yet too late. Let it be the beginning of green corridors throughout the City with forested neighborhood parks, protected riverbanks pathways and protected coastal mangroves, arboretum of indigenous trees in natural catchments for rain and water run offs.

You can support the Save Davao Shrine Hills campaign by visiting our booth located at the immediate right side after you enter the People’s Park (behind the big durian or dome). Inform the people at the booth that you wish to sign the petition and that you have been invited by Pinoy Teens Online to do so. Please spread the word(!) and yes, you may reblog!