'Save our mountain' plea in Philippines

Posted: 20 January 2006

In a petition to the Philippine Government an environmental e-group, , is calling for action to save Mount Mayapay, a heavily eroded mountain in Mindanao, from complete destruction. We publish their plea here in the hope that People & the Planet readers will sign and support this initiative.

To: Philippine Government and Congress

Mt. Mayapay is a denuded mountain that towers majestically above Butuan City, in northern Mindanao, the Philippines, one of the oldest "civilizations" in Southeast Asia.

The Philippine eagle, the rarest and largest eagle in the world, is only found in The Philippines. Photo: Henrylito Tacio
The Philippine eagle, the rarest and largest eagle in the world, is only found in The Philippines. Photo: Henrylito Tacio
The Philippine eagle, the rarest and largest eagle in the world, is only found in The Philippines.© Henrylito Tacio
Once the habitat of rare flora and fauna, all wildlife are now gone. The Philippine eagle, one of the largest of eagles that is now on the endangered list, used to visit the mountain but is seen no more. The hornbills, hawks, parrots; deer, monkeys, wild pigs, flying lemurs, and other wild animals that inhabited the majestic mountain at the turn of the century are now nowhere to be found.

Mt. Mayapay, a critical watershed, used to feed a number of rivers and creeks. One of these, the Bonbon River, where the city's more than 200,000 residents used to bathe and swim, is now reduced to a trickle.

Because the mountain is almost totally bald, flash floods in the city are now a normal occurrence during the monsoon months and whenever there's heavy precipitation during other times of the year because no more trees can catch and hold these rushing waters.

Landslide dangers

It's clear that if nothing is done to stop total denudation of the mountain, it will put Butuan open to catastrophic landslides equal to if not greater than the occurrences in Ormoc, Leyte in the 1990s and Aurora, Quezon province two years ago where tens of thousands died and millions of dollars worth of property wiped out.

It will also put at risk the life of a historically, geomorphologically and archaeologically vital site, Masao River, which is among the tentative World Heritage Site nominations, due to uncontrolled sedimentation and siltation from Mt. Mayapay's eroded soil. We are reaching out to all-to the world at large-to help us open the eyes of the Philippine government to the need for action YESTERDAY! We are asking President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her government especially the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to take immediate action, draw up concrete plans, and make money available to protect, regreen and restore Mt. Mayapay, and avert an ecological disaster that's waiting to happen.

We are asking the Philippine Congress to act fast on a pending bill authored by Cong. Leovigildo Banaag that seeks to achieve the above ends: restore the crown of greenery that used to adorn Mt. Mayapay, and thus ensure the safety of Butuan and its people.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

To add your signature to this global petition please go to the Save Mountain, Save People Below It website.