Bukidnon forum tackles impact of development to watershed, river basin

MALAYBALAY CITY – A Bukidnon forum organized as a follow up to the Bukidnon Environment Summit of 2008 is meant to assess the impact of development activities like the expansion on the sectors of agriculture, industries, and the recent entry of mining operations in the province.

Scheduled on April 27 to 28 at the Bukidnon State University, the forum aims to further assess the impact of these development activities on the watersheds and the river systems.The two-day forum was jointly organized by the Citizen’s Volunteer Assembly- Bukidnon People Power Volunteers for  Reform (PPVR), the Provincial Government of Bukidnon, the Diocese of Malaybalay, and the Bukidnon State University.

President Benigno Aquino III was scheduled to attend the forum to give the keynote speech, based on the program released by BSU to MindaNews Saturday.

The forum was previously scheduled in March but was postponed pending the availability of the President.

According to organizers, considering that Bukidnon is the headwater of the major watersheds in Mindanao, its condition has corresponding effects not just in Bukidnon but on the neighboring provinces and cities.

“The flash floods in Cagayan de Oro City, Butuan, and other neighboring provinces have its source in the watersheds of Bukidnon,” the organizers said in a statement.

The organizers also cited the increasing instances of conflicts over water rights; water is getting scarce in Bukidnon.

Furthermore, they said, there is the need to assess the worsening impact of climate change in Bukidnon, the worsening poverty in the upland and forest denudation that aggravated the deteriorating conditions of the watersheds and river systems.

But unlike the Bukidnon Environment Summit of 2008, the forum seeks to expand the scope of participants by including the different representatives/stakeholders from neighboring cities and provinces of Mindanao, NGOs, Peoples Organizations, Church, LGUs, Indigenous Peoples, Business Groups, Farmers and the Academe.

“Thus, the forum is a Mindanao-wide event with participation from practically the important sectors and stakeholders. This is meant to emphasize that the watersheds of Bukidnon is a concern of all Mindanaoans,” organizers added.

Among the objectives is to raise awareness among the stakeholders as to the critical status of the river systems in Bukidnon in relation to Mindanao island ecosystems and to review and strengthen the Bukidnon Watershed Development and Protection Council and to pass law or policy pertaining to this effect.

They also wanted to secure commitment from the stakeholders of Bukidnon and neighboring provinces and cities for the rehabilitation of said river basins and to institute a support and monitoring mechanism for the continued protection and sustainability of said watersheds.

On Day 1, Dr. Guillermo Q. Tabios III of the University of the Philippines Institute of Civil Engineering will speak on the “Need for climate change studies and parameters prior to climate change adaptation efforts in the Philippines.”

Tabios, whose family is from Bukidnon, is director of the UP-based National Hydraulic Research Center. He was one of those asked to conduct a study on the proposed dredging of the Pulangi IV hydroelectric channel in southern Bukidnon.

He will also be the presenter of another topic, “Watershed and reservoir sedimentation modeling: Case of San Roque Reservoir of Agno River Basin in Northern Luzon.”

BSU’s Dr. Joy Molina will also speak on climate change adaptation in Bukidnon.

Myrna Decipulo of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Ecosystem Research and Development will lead discussion on the carbon stock assessment of the Manupali River Watershed.

On the second day, Ms. Cecille Egnar of the Bukidnon Environment and Natural Resources Office will provide forum participants with a situationer on watershed and river systems in Bukidnon and its effects to the neighboring provinces. Wao, Lanao del Sur mayor Elvino Balicao Jr. will be a reactor to the presentation.

Environment Secretary-in waiting former Bukidnon Rep. Nereus O. Acosta will also provide a situation on environmental laws and policies in Bukidnon. Datu Migketay Vic Saway, Talaandig tribal leader and Felix Mirasol of the DENR Malaybalay unit will provide reactions.

Among the key features of the forum is the formulation of forum resolutions and the holding of the civil society-executive-legislative forum. It will then be presented to legislators in the province, who will be among the 150 participants to the forum, Prof. Christian Inovejas of BSU said.

Bukidnon Gov. Alex Calingasan and Malaybalay bishop Jose A. Cabantan were slated to grace the gathering, too. (Walter I. Balane)


2 Responses

  1. […] Bukidnon forum tackles impact of development to watershed, river basin (bukidnonews.wordpress.com) […]

  2. […] Bukidnon forum tackles impact of development to watershed, river basin (bukidnonews.wordpress.com) […]

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