Water resource management advocates, stakeholders and members of the academe together with Northern Mindanao LGU leaders on Tuesday agreed on the urgent need to increase local participation in formulating and implementing policies that affect water rights, water use and waste water management, stressing these are key factors to ensuring the continued development of Mindanao.
Speaking before the “Local Development means Local Involvement: The Role of LGUs in Water and Wastewater Management” roundtable discussion (RTD) at the N Hotel in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippine Water Partnership (PWP) Chairperson lawyer Nathaniel Santos said that “tapping local expertise and knowledge would ensure that Mindanao’s path to progress remains on course. The best solutions are always indigenous and homegrown.”
PWP is a non-government organization affiliated with the Global Water Partnership. It assists the government and provides a neutral venue for discussions on integrated water resources management.
“Water is life and the availability of water will define the success of our generation and those that come afterwards. On a local level, providing water and wisely managing water resources is a key component to Northern Mindanao’s continued robust growth. In particular, Cagayan de Oro’s success as an emerging metropolitan center and a commercial gateway and logistics hub depends a lot on how it manages its precious water supply for local residents and business, and for increased demands from increased trade and investments coming from outside of Mindanao.”
“In short, this is a role to be fulfilled by the LGUs in the area. Effective local involvement vis-a-vis water resources management is a crucial element in proper local sustainable development.” Santos emphasized.
Figures from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) show that Northern Mindanao’s economy registered a robust growth in 2016 by ending the year with a Gross Regional Domestic Product worth P305 million or equivalent to a 7.6 percent growth, the highest recorded growth in the last six years.
The region is also the second largest economy in Mindanao, accounting for 26.2 percent of the total output in Mindanao.
During the discussions, DILG Chief Project Officer Marisia Naybe stressed the need for exercising devolved powers for local water management under the Local Government Code down to the barangays.
Engr. Susan Abano of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) and Engr. Alex Tacbobo of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), meanwhile, both stressed effective working relationships between local leaders, business and residents in order to balance preservation and use of precious water resources.
The Cagayan de Oro RTD is part of a series of workshops organized in key areas throughout Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao as vital consultative and feedback fora for LGU officials, local water district (LWD) executives and stakeholders. The added aim is to better understand and define the role of the LGUs in local water resources management and development.
Attendees to the discussions included members of various local agencies, the Philippine Watershed Management Coalition and staff from the Xavier University Science Institute.
LGU officers from Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte likewise participated.
The convenors of the project include the PWP, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), and ISTRATEHIYA.