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Govt agencies back MinDA flagship program on environment

COTABATO CITY, June 8 – The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA's) flagship program has been getting the necessary support, the latest of which came from national government line agencies.

The program, known as "MindaNOW: Nurturing Our Waters Program," had the commitment of government agencies to collaborate in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluation.

A memorandum of understand to this effect was signed recently in Davao City, according to MinDA chair Secretary Luwalhati Antonino.

The MindaNOW Program is a concrete response of MinDA to calls for ensuring sustainable economic development and ecological integrity of Mindanao.

It also seeks to fulfill the vision of sustainable development under the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan.

Antonino said the MOA was significant in coordination work that cuts across geo-political boundaries.

“This will ensure a continuing coordination across sectors and across river basin units," she said.

"We will have to organize our coordination flow in a way that can provide focus on each unique requirement of every basin while ensuring convergence across watershed units,” she added.

Antonino explained that the MindNOW program primarily aims to enhance the policy environment for harmonized policies, plans, programs, and structures; facilitate the integration of plans and programs; and harmonize approaches and processes to rationalize resources, programs, projects, and mechanisms for the development and management of river basins and watersheds in Mindanao.

This developed as Mr. Lory Tan, chief executive officer and director of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the Philippines lauded the firming of Mindanao collaboration.

“For the longest time, too many people have looked at environmental concerns in a “stand-alone” manner. This thinking is outdated. Current thinking looks at the physical environment, and the ecological services that come from it, in a cross cutting manner,” he said in a statement released by MinDA.

“The opportunity is to establish climate smart, economic convergence at meso-scale. If natural ecosystems are used as development anchors, this strategy will probably involve multi-regional zones defined by economic consonance,” he added.

MinDA being the lead agency, it will coordinate a Mindanao-wide mechanism along with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Under the MindaNOW program, MinDA will coordinate the implementation of MindaNOW projects and activities in collaboration with the technical units of partner agencies to effectively coordinate project implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

The participating agencies will also provide technical service support to the river basin management units which, in turn, will coordinate the various local resource councils and local government unit alliances for the sustainable management of their respective watersheds.

Signatories to the MOU were Sec. Antonino, Sec. Mary Ann Lucille Sering of Climate Change Commission, Sec. Prospero Alcala of the Department of Agriculture, Usec. Demetrio Ignacio of DENR, Usec. Benito Ramos of the Office of Civil Defense, Asec. Dimas Suguilon of Public Works and Highways, Director Anthony Sales of the Department of Science and Technology, Asec. Abdullah Salic of DOST-ARMM, Dir. Art Boncato of the Department of Tourism, Dir. Ma. Lourdes Lim of the National Economic Development Authority, Commissioner Santos Unsad of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Dir. Francisco Jose of the Interior and Local Government, and Asst. Dir. Fe delos Reyes of the Department of Education.

The MOU signing was one of the highlights of the MinDA-led two-day summit dubbed as the Mindanao Economy and Environment Summit held earlier this week at Grand Regal Hotel in Davao City which coincided with the celebration of World Environment Day.

With the theme, Building Constituency, Managing River Basins: Achieving Green Economy, the summit ended with a presentation of the workshop outputs of various river basin-based groups, sharing best practices and citing steps and suggestions for way forward in addressing issues within their respective river basin units across Mindanao. (PNA)

LAP/NYP/EOF

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