HomeProgressio Journal on Human Developmentvol. 10 no. 1 (2016)

Globalization and Environmental Decay: Mindanao During the 20th Century¹

Federico V. Magdalena



This paper argues that environmental degradation in Mindanao during the past 100 years was positively linked to the global process. Globalization is not new in the Philippines. It began  in 1565 when Spain took possession of the Philippine islands. But the impact of the global process on the environment became pronounced only during the 20th century when Mindanao, the second largest island next to Luzon, was annexed to the Philippine territory under the aegis of the American colonial administration. When the United States released the country in 1945, the fledgling Philippine state became quite active as agent of globalization, putting Mindanao even more clearly on the world map. But the price of making Mindanao part of the global community is devastating. Its lush vegetation and virginal forests have quickly and surely disappeared with it. Worse, this ecological degradation has backfired. It has created havoc, endangering food security, increasing the risk of damage to life and human property due to flashflood and soil erosion, radicalizing some indigenous populations, and more. Effective governance may offer some answers, but it needs complementation from the global community to avert greater environmental disasters in Mindanao.