A master plan aiming to conserve and rehabilitate rivers in Mindanao has been given a big boost by the support of the Regional Development Council (RDC) of three regions in the Philippine southern island.
The RDCs of Regions X (Northern Mindanao) and XII (Soccsksargen), and the Regional Economic Development and Planning Board (REDPB) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) have endorsed the implementation of the Mindanao River Basin (MRD) Master Plan and the creation of the MRB Management Council.
The RDCs expressed in separate resolutions their support for the implementation of the master plan and the creation of the MRB Management Council, which will manage, rehabilitate, and develop the river basin and its resources.
“These developments will concretize efforts to come up with sustainable but environmentally-sound solutions to the recurring problems within the river basin such as the perennial flooding of the towns and provinces in the area,” said Luwalhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda).
She added that the MRB master plan is a result of a two-year study conducted from 2010-2012 by Woodfields Consultants Inc. (WCI) with the support of the departments of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Interior and Local Government, National Irrigation Administration, and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD). The study sought for the long-term rehabilitation and development of the river basin.
The DENR-River Basin Coordinating Office (DENR-RBCO) commissioned the study, while MinDA, through MindaNOW! Nurturing Our Waters Program facilitated for the approval and endorsement of the master plan by the regional development councils.
In July 2011, Executive Order 50 transferred the tasks and functions of the Presidential Task Force on Mindanao River Basin Rehabilitation and Development to regular government agencies which include Minda, DENR-RBCO, and the National Risk Reduction Management Council-OCD.
With a total catchment area of 21,503 square kilometers, the MRB is the second largest river basin in the country encompassing large areas of three regions in Central Mindanao.
Recognizing the fact that the MRB spans multiple regions and provinces, the master plan also recommends the creation of the MRB management council to coordinate and provide directions on the effective and efficient management and development of the river basin and its resources.
The proposed river basin council will be composed of representatives from the concerned provincial and local government units, national government agencies, river basin and LGU alliances, non-government organizations and the private sector. (with PNA report)