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Honoring My Mother | Paving paradise

Progress. A little at a time but steadily, my city, has been on the cusp of a changeover that is only unnoticeable if seen through the eyes of those who have not lived here for very long. For the rest who have been around since the 80s down to the 60s, the transformation of Davao has been unyielding in its dogged stride towards its present status as a metropolis.

Our once-sleepy and narrow main street used to be decorated with an assortment of old wooden houses and simple retail stores. It had now become a wider and fully-cemented roadway, complete with expanded sidewalks and alas, modern buildings for business, with some of which already qualifying as skyscrapers.

Some accept this wholeheartedly and proudly hail it as the direct consequence of urbanization and growth. Be that as it may, this assessment seems too simplistic in its observation because one cannot just blindly attribute everything to the demands and results of modern times, and then free-ride from there. At any juncture, there is a payback.

With this, mixed feelings of approval and aversion, tolerance and dissent invariably come to mind. While on one hand, addressing the needs of its growing population may have logically been a valid reason for the city’s stepped-up goals at development, a lingering gut feel, that too much of this development may have also compromised other areas of concern, ones not necessarily related to and in sync with the pursuit of modernization.

Oddly enough, this seems to fall within Newton’s tenet that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. By another jargon, it could simply read as, something has got to give.

After all, even noble intentions cannot just trailblaze their way blindly through everything in its path, in the name of progress without repercussions. Look at what is now happening in the jungles of the Amazon in Brazil, or in the Malaysian and Indonesian forests.

A balanced approach has to be reached somehow to serve the interests of all. In the same way that a city needs well-paved roads to facilitate good business, it also needs to preserve parks and trees to ensure a healthy and livable environment for its residents, and its next generations.

In a nutshell, city planners and visionaries should not only consider progress alone as their building blocks. They should likewise keep in mind, posterity. Aiming for progress and modernization, at the expense of several equally-important concerns, they be environmental conservation and protection, or cultural preservation and promotion, without so much as a backup plan that incorporates these, is foolhardy.

Finally, to impart this brand of accomplishment for future generations to build up on later, despite its flaws, is akin to handing them your mistakes to carry when their turn comes.

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