by Ronna Marie A. Badua
02 February 2017 - Due to the excessive rains that triggered massive flooding in Northern Mindanao, notably Cagayan de Oro City, the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD) was quick to respond to the directives of DA Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol to exert all efforts in helping the community during the ManCom meeting held last 18 January 2017. The total damage cost brought by the flooding for the Department of Agriculture alone was estimated at P100.12M. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) of the Department of Agriculture specifically reported an estimated P5.3M damage cost.
The NCI-SRD (represented by the Dr. Oscar O. Parawan, Senior Technical Adviser and Head Secretariat Ms. Clare Fevidal), together with the Regional Convergence Initiative X (RCI X), and representatives from the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) sat down in a meeting last 24 January 2017 held in Cagayan de Oro City, to discuss the immediate and possible interventions that will address the issues of the damaged areas. The meeting also revisited existing integrated ecosystems management plans and river basin development plans in order to identify the gaps during the implementation of interventions. In general, the NCI-SRD is tasked to come up with priority interventions to prevent and mitigate the occurrence of flooding in Northern Mindanao.
Engr. Samuel F. Contreras of the BSWM, presented a characterization of the Cagayan de Oro River Basin, which explains the flash floods within the area. He said, “Thirty-seven percent (37%) of the total land area of Cagayan de Oro City is vulnerable to Land Degradation, while 16% of the total land area is identified under Land Degradation Hotspots or areas which require immediate interventions or priority areas for land conservation measures”. Engr. Contreras further emphasized the need for developing an Integrated Watershed Management Plan (IWMP) as part of a larger Convergence Area Development Plan (CADP). The development of CADP, includes a long-term integrated watershed management program and the establishment of livelihood opportunities to watershed tenured occupants, while protecting its natural capital through sustainable land management (SLM).
“There is a need for RCI X to revisit the existing studies and plans before crafting the CADP particularly those that concern the flooding in the area. This includes revisiting the Flood Hazard Maps by Rainfall Return Period, Flood Forecasting and Warning System, Integrated River Basin Management and Development Master Plan for Cagayan de Oro River Basin by RBCO and Guidelines Prescribing Technical Details for Climate Change Adaptation Practices supplementing Memorandum Circular (MC) 2011-005 to incorporate DRR and CCA concerns in the Philippine Environmental Statement (EIS) System among others”, he further supplemented.
The next RCI X meeting is scheduled on the second week of February to discuss the following: a. Establishment of the Muleta-Kulaman Bukidnon convergence area; b. Submission of the reports and initial interventions to be provided by the agencies; and
c. Inventory and assessment of the Cagayan De Oro Riverbasin Management Plan and other comprehensive plan for integration to CADP based on the existing plans.