It is one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world and thus has been identified by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as one of the priority areas within the Coral Triangle. It is the Davao Gulf — a 308,000-hectare body of water surrounded by Davao City, the 3 Davao provinces and Compostela Valley.
Unfortunately, it is also under threat from such activities as destructive fishing and improper waste disposal.
Last July, thousands of runners came to the aid of the gulf, converging in Davao City for the PLDT-Smart 10-Miler Run. Organized by the country’s leading telecoms provider, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), the event — consisting of 3k, 5k, 10k and 10-mile categories — sought to raise awareness of the conditions at the gulf.
In addition, Smart has also partnered with WWF-Philippines to launch the international environmental group’s first-ever SMS-based micro-donation service called Text to Donate (TTD). Smart subscribers anywhere in the Philippines can use their cellphone and airtime load to make a donation by simply texting
WWF <amount> to
4483. Valid amounts (in pesos) are 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 300, 500 and 1000.
Funds raised through this service will be used by WWF-Philippines to rehabilitate and preserve the fisheries within the Davao Gulf and to protect its endangered dugongs and sea turtles.
In its website, the Davao Gulf Management Council notes the variety of mangroves, seaweeds, sea grasses and coral that enrich the gulf’s ecosystem and sustain several marine species, especially tuna. Dolphins, whales, and shorebirds are also found in the area.
The gulf is best known as home to rare species of sea turtles and sea cows, more popularly known as dugong.
Thousands of people living along the Davao region shoreline benefit from the gulf. Its coast runs from the southernmost tip of Davao del Sur through to Davao City and Davao del Norte and continues on to Compostela Valley and Davao del Sur.
Certain activities of marine-related industries, however, have caused the degradation of the gulf, threatening its marine life and its ecosystem in general. (Please read this article — and others on that site — to see some of what’s been happening in the Davao Gulf.)
The council has cited the incidence of illegal and destructive fishing, biophysical deterioration of mangrove, seagrass and coral habitats, as well as the presence of domestic and agro-industrial wastes among other threats.
The WWF further reiterates that ports, oil depots, factories and other industries are perceived to put pressure on the quality of the water, the natural habitats and the productivity of the gulf’s fisheries.
Thankfully, local government units, non-governmental organizations and even private entities are joining hands to protect and preserve the gulf.
“We are glad to have led this event that rallies not only Davao residents but anyone from all over the country to combine their passion for running with their desire to help protect one of the country’s richest yet highly threatened marine ecosystems. Participants gladly did it for a worthwhile cause.”
Atty. Jane Paredes
Public Affairs Senior Manager (Visayas & Mindanao)
The advocacy run and the TTD project are part of the environmental initiatives of Smart’s corporate social responsibility and community service program, Kabalikat sa Kalikasan.
Remember, you can do your part anytime, anywhere! Text
WWF <amount> to
4483 today and help secure the future of the Davao Gulf.