MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/19 November) President Benigno Aquino III is expected to lead launching rites of the Mindanao Development Authority’s Nurturing Our Waters (MindaNOW) program here tentatively on November 28, MinDA Sec. Luwalhati R. Antonino told Bukidnon Gov. Alex Calingasan in her letter on November 17.
Antonino requested Calingasan for the provincial government to be a partner and to initiate the organization of a tree growing activity with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as part of the launching highlights.
MindaNOW or the Mindanao Integrated Watershed and River Basin Management Program, she added, is a response to the urgent call to take action on the impacts of “our deteriorating ecosystems.” Mindanao’s major production areas have become high risk or prone to flooding problems and related environmental threats, according to statement from MinDA.
According to a DENR study, in 2010, Mindanao only has 21 percent forest cover including six percent natural forest cover.
Mindanao has 13 major river basins and 262 watersheds. The program, according to MinDA, would look into the condition of Mindanao’s forests, river basins and watersheds.
Antonino explained that the program promotes “economic and ecological integration” and “inclusive wealth creation.”
“Ecological integration is anchored on planning Mindanao’s sustainable development based on its rich ecosystems. It takes cognizance of the carrying capacity of the environment and natural resource base,” she added.
Antonino said the program will be “historically launched” in Bukidnon because it is home to most of the headwaters of Mindanao’s river basins.
Bukidnon provincial administrator Provo Antipasado Jr. told Bukidnon News Friday the province is preparing to host the launching and the Presidential visit where they expect Aquino to plant a tree beside that planted by his mother, President Corazon Aquino in 1991 and at least 10 trees for the DENR tree growing activity.
Aquino is also expected to sign a memorandum of understanding by public and private environment-conscious agencies indicating their involvements and responsibilities in protecting and conserving the river basins and watersheds of Mindanao.
According to MinDA, they will also hold a “Concert for Mother Earth” in Malaybalay City.
Cecil Trino, MinDA technical staff, said via telephone Saturday the launching schedule is still tentative.
“It is not likely that we pursue the launching if the President could not make it,” she added.
The program, Trino said, is designed to integrate, harmonize, and rationalize plans, programs, policies, and processes for the protection and rehabilitation of Mindanao’s water resources.
Trino said the program uses ecosystems integration approach to strike a balance between economy and environment in Mindanao.
Trino said simultaneous launching activities will be held in the cities of Koronadal, Davao, General Santos, Zamboanga, Butuan, and Iligan; also in the provinces of Davao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Zamboanga del Norte, Lanao del Norte, and Maguindanao.
Antonino cited in her letter that among their government partners include the departments of environment and natural resource, national defense, agriculture, public works and highways, agrarian reform, interior and local government, energy, science and technology, social welfare and development, and education. The other agencies include National Irrigation Administration, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Climate Change Commission, National Economic Development Authority, Commission on Higher Education, the local government units, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao regional government. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)