Skip to main content

The Philippines at war

Yes, the Philippines is at war. I am not kidding. This is according to Natural Resources and Environment Secretary, General Angelo Reyes. In the recent national workshop on invasive species two week ago, the General sounded the call to arms. And the enemy is the alien and invasive species. Invasive species have the potential to wreck havoc on our ecology, disrupting farming activities and causing disease among farm animals and of course humans.

Well as in all wars go, recognizing the enemy is THE problem. The question is what is really an invasive or introduced species? People have been introducing species to different countries for the purposes of increasing food production, controlling pests and diseases and ornamental uses. People also introduce species as pets and companions.

There are a lot of introduced species that have been part of the Philippine environment for so long that they are considered “native”. The example is the stately acacia tree that lines many roads and that defines the University of the Philippines Campus in Diliman. These trees were introduced by the Spanish early in their colonization of the Philippines. The tree is native to the American dry tropics where it can still be found in the savannah. The tree is introduced but is not invasive in the Philippines since the seedlings are easily eaten by grazing animals and the tree is only found where humans have planted it.

Thus species that got here with human intervention are definitely introduced. But how long should they be here in order to become naturalized. The Australian Dingo or wild dog was definitely introduced by humans and had probably contributed to the extinction of the Tasmanian Devil and Thylacine on the Australian mainland. But it was introduced about 4000 Years ago and now figures prominently in Aboriginal myths. So is the Dingo invasive?

The question may be answered by how damaging the introduced species is to the environment. The invasive species workshop was hosted by Marikina City, a river city invaded by the plecostomus or Janitor Fish. We don’t know how damaging this fish really is except that it has multiplied in the Marikina river. But this river has been relatively polluted. So who’s to blame?

And so the problem really is us. We have to be more aware of the fragility of our environment in this issue.


Popular posts from this blog

President Manuel Luis Quezon's Code of Ethics

Being a denizen of Kyusi, in honour of the man who gave my city its name and for being the most colourful prez the Philippines ever had, I have the pleasure to post Manuel L Quezon's Code of Ethics on his birthday. Let us profit from the wisdom of the Kastila.

1. Have Faith in the Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations.

2. Love your country for it is the home of your people, the seat of your affection and the source of your happiness and well-being. It's defense is your primary duty. Be ready to sacrifice and die for it if necessary.

3. Respect the Constitution which is the expression of your sovereign will. The government is your government. It has been established for your safety and welfare. Obey the laws and see that they are observed by all and that public officials comply with their duties.

4. Pay your taxes willingly and promptly. Citizenship implies not only rights but obligations.

5. Safeguard the purity of suffrage and abide by the decisions of the…

Simoun's lamp has been lit, finally.. not by one but by the many!

"So often have we been haunted by the spectre of subversion which, with some fostering, has come to be a positive and real being, whose very name steals our serenity and makes us commit the greatest blunders... If before the reality, instead of changing the fear of one is increased, and the confusion of the other is exacerbated, then they must be left in the hands of time..."
Dr Jose Rizal "To the Filipino People and their Government"
Jose Rizal dominates the Luneta, which is sacred to the Philippine nation as a place of martyrdom. And many perhaps all of those executed in the Luneta, with the exception of the three Filipino secular priests martyred in 1872, have read Rizal's El Filibusterismo. Dr Rizal's second novel is a darker and more sinister one that its prequel but has much significance across the century and more after it was published for it preaches the need for revolution with caveats,  which are when the time is right and who will instigate it.

Flame trees in bloom

The hottest summer courtesy of El Nino in at least 10 years gave runners and walkers in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus a visual treat. This year the flame trees Delonix regia are in full bloom!
In past summers it wasn't as hot and dry so the trees did not shed their leaves and few blooms were produced.
It is the tropical version of the Japanese Hanami or the Cherry blossom viewing season. While Hanami tells us the fragile impermanence of beauty, the flame tree hanami tells us that summer burns but soon it will all be over.