CLIMATE CHANGE AND GEOHAZARD: A political challenge
Nothing is permanent except change. This time-proven declaration accurately sums up the fickle character of Mother Nature. Climate Change connotes transient episodes in the earth’s history yet geohazards have fixed locations. Two different sides to the same coin.
Climate change is a hot and polarizing issue, with people divided into two (2) camps: either believing it is already upon us or adamantly denying it is happening. If we look back long enough in time, we can see that the earth has already experienced many climate changes. It was warm when the dinosaurs ruled the earth and then turned cold for the wooly mammoths. Climate change is a certainty; it is not a matter of if but more of a matter of when. It may not be anthropomorphic or caused by man, but we can and do aggravate the situation.
As stated before, Climate change and geohazards are two (2) sides to one coin. Experts foresee increased flooding and storms with Climate Change. We hasten to add that prolonged heavy rainfall will trigger landslides. Areas prone to flooding and landslides can be predicted and mapped out, that’s what we in the DENR call geohazard assessment and mapping.
We already have this program in place for years, our Mines and Geosciences people has been toiling silently to create maps and provide them to Local Government Units. In the very near future, the DENR will put up a website specifically for these geohazard maps, where they can be accessed by everybody.
We already have the tools, in the form of the maps, to avoid extensive loss of lives and properties in case of natural catastrophes but we still need to hurdle political obstacles. Unknown to many, we have already provided geohazard maps to several LGUs and have been advocating for its inclusion in their development planning. However, our is the voice in the wilderness, loud but unheard.
The DENR has already made headway in partnering with private entities, LGUs, NGOs, OGAs, and the academe in our effort to green and clean-up our countries, we also need help in mitigating possible loss from geohazards and nature’s wrath. Recently, in the aftermath of “Sendong,” the Honorable Congressman Loreto S. Ocampos of the Second District of Misamis Occidental and the Municipality of Naawan, Misamis Oritnal has sent request for assistance strengthening their geohazard capabilities. We are always ready to serve the people, let us prioritize their welfare more than politics.
In our haste for “development,” we have often taken forcibly from Mother Nature areas that should be left for her. She will retake them.
Provincial, Sub-watersheds Management Councils organized for Lake Lanao River Basin
Planning and implementation of the different phases of the Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Project (INREMP) will soon commence with the recent creation of the Watershed Management Councils for Lake Lanao River Basin.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Region 10 (DENR 10) and the Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur recently conducted a meeting with stakeholders for the organization of the watershed management councils for Lake Lanao River Basin.
The Watershed Management Council is composed of representatives from the provincial and municipal government units, government agencies/institutions, academe, civil society organizations and the private sector.
INREMP aims to address unsustainable watershed management in the project site. It focuses on indigenous people and resource-poor communities by reducing watershed degradation, forest denudation, and unsustainable farming practices by generating sufficient and tangible economic benefits.
Lanao del Sur Provincial Governor Bedjoria Soraya A. Adiong called on participants to cooperate for the proper management and implementation of INREMP.
She further said that failure to protect the lake will have a negative impact on the lives not only of the Maranaos but also to all Mindanaoans.
Governor Adiong stressed the economic, recreational, aesthetic, cultural, educational, scientific and ecological benefits of Lake Lanao.
For her part, DENR 10 Regional Director Ruth M. Tawantawan sought the help of the Maranaos to successfully implement INREMP. She said the Watershed Management Council has a “very crucial role because it is the governing body in the decision making process and project’s planning and implementation activities.”
The Provincial and five sub-watershed management councils were installed into office by Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Dangcal Alonto represented by Lourdile S. Enjambre.
The Provincial Watershed Management Council is chaired by Governor Adiong and co-chaired by DENR 10 Regional Director Tawantawan with members coming from other government entities/organizations and civil society organizations and the chairpersons of the five sub-watershed management councils.
The Lake Lanao River Basin comprises 27 municipalities of Lanao del Sur and Marawi City.
The meeting was an offshoot of the Memorandum of Agreement signed in September 21, 2016 between DENR 10 and the Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur for the implementation of INREMP. It was also attended by Vice Governor Mamintal Adiong, Jr., municipal mayors and representatives from various sectors of society.
INREMP is a seven year (2013-2020) project of DENR with funding support from Asian Development Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Global Environmental Facility and Climate Change Fund. The project sites of INREMP are Chico River Basin in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Wahig-Inabanga River Basin in Bohol, Bukidnon River Basin in Northern Mindanao and Lake Lanao Watershed in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. (RSCIS # 01-02-2017)
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