Town Mayor Vows to Continuously Protect Mount Hamiguitan World Heritage Site

DAVAO ORIENTAL— San Isidro Town Mayor Justina Yu vowed to continue to become a steward of Davao Oriental’s pride – the Mount Hamiguitan World Heritage Site.

During her guesting on a media forum called the Kapihan sang Kapitolyo on Wednesday, June 14, Mayor Yu said her care for the environment has driven her to help protect and safeguard the rich biodiversity of the mountain.

Inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014, the Mount Hamiguitan is the 6th in the Philippines and first and only in Mindanao inscribed on the list.

 The successful inscription of Mount Hamiguitan to the UNESCO Wrold Heritage List in Doha, Qatar in 2014. In the photo are members of the Philippine delegation: Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO (2nd from left); Former Davao Oriental Governor, now first district Representative, Cong.Corazon N. Malanyon (seated 2nd from right); San Isidro Mayor Justina B. Yu (seated far right); Crescente R. Relacion, Philippine Ambassador to Qatar; and Ambassador Cristina G. Ortega.

Making this possible are the many actors who contributed to the successful inscription, including Mayor Yu who is considered to be one of the pillars for the successful inscription.

Caring for the environment is among the noble passion Mayor Yu strongly shares with Davao Oriental’s Former Governor, now Representative of the province’s first district, Cong. Corazon N. Malanyaon, who initiated and strongly pushed for the inscription and the property’s protection. Malanyaon’s initiative has not only helped in safeguarding the rich biodiversity of the site but also provided livelihood for the locals.

When Malanyaon built the Mount Hamiguitan World Heritage Park and the Natural Science Museum, locals have been given a new source of income, said Yu.

Opening its doors to tourists, the mayor said that the construction of the park is a welcome development as it has not only provided livelihood but also become a new source of revenue for the local government.

Mount Hamiguitan World Heritage Park and Natural Science Museum, one of the famous landmarks in the province, serves as a representation of the mountain’s rich biodiversity.

Aside from being the biggest source of the town’s revenue, the establishment of the park and museum has been providing direct income to locals who accept homestay to both foreign and Filipino tourists.

Meanwhile, serious on her mission on environment protection, Mayor Yu has cited various initiatives of the municipal government under her leadership including the total ban of mining, illegal logging, and other activities which might destroy the ecological balance. She prohibited catching of spiders used in gambling and turned down the establishment of a banana plantation to prevent the use of pesticides that are toxic to the flora and fauna of the Mount Hamiguitan.

As an advocate of the environment, the mayor said that protecting nature outweighs large investments that pose danger to the environment as these may result to long-term negative effects to the land and people.

“We only have our environment to boast that is why we are very strict in preserving and conserving it. We protect anything that grows, anything that flows, and everything from the sea”, she says.

She added that she is “already at peace” with what she has done but will see to it that her successors will continue her environmental advocacies.

“For as long as there is no greed, San Isidro and Davao Oriental as a whole will continuously flourish,” she said.

As the town will be celebrating its 51st Founding Anniversary this June 18, the rich flora and fauna in Mount Hamiguitan will be showcased, including the Bonsai Festival, among others. The town mayor is expecting that this will attract more tourists especially that the “Dragon Boat” race will gather the participation of both local and national boat racers. Moreover, they have invited personalities from the national entertainment industry, thus generating income for their municipal-owned hotel, and convention center, among many others. By Riza Golez

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