Davao City Councilor Marissa Salvador-Abella with children of Paquibato District




As the chairperson of the Davao City Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, it is a pleasure to be involved in proactive activities on environment and natural resources. I consider them as continuing experiences for me to learn and grow as an effective policy-maker for the people of Davao.

I recently visited Barangay Tapak, Paquibato District, together with my active staff to facilitate a cacao production training. We left the City on February 3 at 1PM and arrived at Sitio Laak, Barangay Tapak at 3PM. Then we walked for two hours to reach Barangay Tapak Proper. On the second day, February 4, the lecture proper began regarding cacao farming and its big importance to agri-business not only in Davao City but also in the Philippines.

Cacao is widely used around the world. It is in fact, the soul of our all time favorite – chocolates. Not only that, by-products of cacao are also used for cosmetics. These are among the numerous reasons why cacao farming should be cultivated in the Philippines as an income-generating asset. The income adds up to the environmental benefits that we and our future generations will receive. The ultimate reward would be greener surroundings, fresher air to breathe and sustainable development.

I given the opportunity to lecture on solid waste management to children and parents and likewise taught them proper waste segregation.

As a personal observation, I noticed that there are no more big trees in Paquibato to absorb water. Assuming there are still trees, the frequency of rainfall that we have been experiencing makes these trees inadequate to accommodate the increase in the volume of water on the ground. Thus, the problem on flooding and soil erosion which endangers the life and limb of the community.

To aggravate the situation, the hanging bridge which is one of means to reach their Barangay is in a much deteriorated state. This bridge is used by residents of Tapak when the water of Tipakis River rises making it dangerous for the residents to pass through. However, we found out that the alternative route, which is the hanging bridge, is equally as dangerous as the River. Its wooden floor is brittle and most of the woods are detached from the metal trusses. An immediate repair of the same must be done to protect the lives of those who depend on it for access.
Going home was very challenging as we took a 3-hour uphill walk which is definitely not easy for first timers.
My visit to Barangay Tapak was indeed a learning experience, not only as a policy-maker but also as a responsible Dabawenya. The problems of the barangay should be addressed as the lives of our fellow Dabawenyos are clearly at stake. Also, more trees should be planted as some parts of our City are critical areas prone to flashfloods.

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