P200M sought for development of Mindanao watersheds, river basins
DAVAO CITY — The Mindanao Development Authority (MINDA) is seeking an annual budget of P200 million for the management and development of Mindanao’s watersheds and river basins.
MINDA is Malacañang’s development arm in the south.
Romeo Montenegro, Minda spokesman, said water management was considered a long-term solution to power problems in Mindanao.
More than half of the island’s energy needs is being provided by hydropower facilities in Bukidnon and the two provinces of Lanao.
Montenegro said in line with MINDA’s thrust to protect Mindanao’s watersheds and rivers, an economy and environment summit would be held here from June 4-5.
Montenegro said the summit would become a venue for discussing issues affecting the island’s watersheds and river basins.
Environmental groups said that deforestation due to illegal logging activities was the main culprit behind the degradation of the island’s watershed.
Because there are now less forest cover, top soil from forests are eroded during rains and end up as silt in rivers.
MINDA chairperson Luwalhati Antonino said one way of ensuring sustainability of the hydropower facilities was the restoration and better management of major watersheds and river basins in the island.
Antonino said it was hoped that the two day summit would end with multi-sectoral “integrated and harmonized efforts to manage Mindanao’s watersheds and river basins.”
“We need to work together to address environmental concerns that confront Mindanao as it affects us in several other aspects including the island-region’s power supply,” she said.
Antonino said that economic development and responsible stewardship of environment were mutually reinforcing objectives.
“One without the other is short-sighted and of limited benefit,” she said.
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