Environmental groups are calling on Catholics to reflect on the sorry state of watersheds
in the southern city of Davao while observing Holy Week. “The redemptive nature of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is not only for healing our broken relationships with God and our fellow men but also for restoring our damaged relationship with the rest of God’s creation," said Lia Jasmin Esquillo, executive director of Interface Development Interventions,
an environmental advocacy group. Esquillo urged Catholics to pray and hope that Davao’s mayor reconstitutes the Watershed Management Council and enforce a code to protect the city’s water sources. The Watershed Code
identifies areas under threat in the city’s upland watersheds that must be protected, conserved and managed. The absence of definite boundaries has sowed confusion among farmers and plantation owners that have conflicting views as to where the areas under threat are. Redemptorist Brother Karl Gaspar
also joined calls to include “eco-centered reflection” of Christ’s passion and death this Holy Week. “How do we translate having a full life in Davao today, considering we are surrounded by a lot of threats that have implications on public health?” he asked. Local environmentalists have voiced alarm at the diminishing quality of upland watersheds that are slowly being replaced by “monocrop” plantations. The poor quality of the watersheds has been blamed as one of the causes of the flooding that hit Davao during torrential rains earlier this month.