Meet Davao’s ‘Watershed Warriors’

Apr. 25, 2007

They’re young, intelligent, committed — and they have the world on their shoulders.

Starting ‘Em Young. Using a net, these two children try to catch some fish and clean up some debris at the Malagos dam during the youth camp. Apart from having fun, they were taught how to help protect the city’s watershed, which is being abused both by humans and companies. ( photo by Alberto P. Egot Jr.)

By Alberto P. Egot Jr.

DAVAO CITY — They’re young, intelligent, committed — and they have the world on their shoulders.

Meet Davao City’s “Watershed Warriors.”

They are select students from different schools in the city. They are members of the Watershed Management Youth Council (WMYC), a group founded six years ago that aims to protect the city’s watershed, which produces what some said is the best tap water in the country and one of the best tasting in the world.

Early this month, they participated in commemorating Earth Month through a youth camp, which was organized by the group and sponsored by the Davao City Water District. The theme was “A Call for Action on Climate Change.”

One of the activities was an orientation for the youth on how to protect the watershed, which is suffering from abuse by human and industrial activities.

Gone Camping. The participants had a good time communing with nature. ( photo by Alberto P. Egot Jr.)

At the Malagos Park, the WMYC conducted an environment forum with the theme, “Think Crave for Change Act Smarter… Be Different.” During the forum, members expressd their ideas and contributions to the problems affecting the watershed and climate change in general.

“I learned so much and became more mature because I participated in this important mission,” said Jeremiah Caballero, a WMYC member.

“Wherever I go, I try to impart to my fellow youths the importance of the watershed,” said Shenna Maranguit, 20, a WMYC facilitator.

The youth environmentalists also tackled the issue of banana plantations and their aerial spraying of pesticides near the Lipada

Watershed. Residents and other environmentalists have likewise complained about these sprayings. The WMYC says it is committed to fight aerial spraying and determined to work for changes at the environment department.

“Davao’s water is the second cleanest water all over the country,” said Betty Cabazares, executive director of the Kinaiyahan Foundation, an environment NGO. “There must be an aggressive learning about the watershed because only few knows about it.”

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