Senator Loren Legarda today said that an effective and collaborative management of the Cagayan de Oro river basin is key to preventing loss of lives and livelihoods in times of natural hazards as she spearheads a Collaboration Workshop for local government units and stakeholders to be held in Cagayan de Oro City on July 19.
This initiative is in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Local Government Academy and the Spanish Cooperation Agency.
“Through this workshop, local government officials can affirm their commitment that never again will we bear witness to the death and destruction we endured during Typhoon Sendong, and have an opportunity to coordinate with each other and learn about the best practices they can emulate,” she said.
Legarda, who is United Nations Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, earlier led similar workshops covering the Greater Metro Manila Area, and the Pampanga River and Bicol River Basins.
“We are focusing on the river basins because while many livelihoods and ecosystems depend on them, the unique hazards their inundation presents have been understated. We have not been keen on urban and land use planning in the areas surrounding the basins, and overall, we have had a reactive stance to disasters. But we can no longer be victims of circumstance. The money we spend on rehabilitation will be much better spent on preventing the damage in the first place,” she explained.
The Cagayan de Oro River Basin, one of the four major river basins in Region 10, drains an area of approximately 1,521 sq. kms. About 80% of the drainage basin is located in the Province of Bukidnon and the rest is in Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City.
In December 2011, heavy rains brought by Typhoon Sendong caused the overflow of the Cagayan de Oro River, swept away whole villages, and left more than a thousand deaths.
“The fusion of socio-economic realities and extreme climatic events demand scaled up efforts in reducing disaster and climate risks. I am hopeful that the workshop will serve as a platform for local leaders and decision-makers to collaborate in managing the Cagayan de Oro river basin, fully aware of the opportunity to build back better communities and to make the right choices for our people in Mindanao,” Legarda concluded.***