By Yolando Rosauro
We all know what Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is, but does Asean knows of Caraga region and what it can offer to the 10-nation regional block?
Mindanao plays an important part of the Philippine’s participation to Asean. But it seems only Davao, Cotabato and Zamboanga regions are accepted players in the economic front.
The question is: What can Caraga give to Asean to assure its contribution to the progress on both economic sides at least.
There are two options actually. Mining and Ecotourism. But one plus one cannot be because only one is ideal and maybe acceptable, at least morally, if Caraga flourish and be of “use” to the aspirations of Asean.
Let’s expound on these two. With large-scale mining natural minerals from gold to nickel to cooper to chromite has been for a while the subjects and fruits of multinational mining from Japan, China and even Australia. The resources are extracted and shipped out until the mined areas, rather the whole mountain ranges and islands are wiped out and left useless for eternity.
The so-called responsible mining needs to be seen how concretely sustainable it can be. Will it ever work or is it just like “icing of the cake?”
As of yet, the attitude is wait-and-see and not just five, 10, 20 years but till the end of time or there’ll be no future to talk about. If it then works out, then it be taken seriously and respectfully by all.
The we have the Ecotourism potential which is a component of the general term-green economy. It is the utilization and careful use of “external” natural resources and harness them for natural growth and promote outdoor leisure/educational activity which transform economic vibrance.
Once a known mining developer said that Caraga is ugly there is nothing to develop in terms of tourism. How wrong he was.
He was ignorant and has not seen the variety of natural attractions from the seas and mountain ranges to the rivers lakes and marshes. In fact, Caraga can compete with other destinations in Asean when it comes to the diversity of tourism potentials.
What is good thing about this industry is people-based.
Any local environment-conscious business entity can invest with the assistance and support of the banking industry and government, both local and national. It just need creativity and imagination to make this venture grow and work so that the whole world and not just Asean can experience the beauty of the region.
But the people and the visionary men and women with biased on embracing nature’s gift to the full and not destruction in the end, must decide on this because they hold the stakes.
In the end it’s all about “more fun,” connectivity and nurture. Caraga, it might turn out, can lead the way.