The BOND. Coalition members held on to the bond as they renewed their personal commitments and reflected on the future of the two river basins. Dr Dixon Yasay (center) facilitated the engagement.
Leader-representatives from civil society organizations, religious sector and state higher educational institutions across the two river basins in Northern Mindanao - Tagoloan and Cagayan de Oro, joined forces January 17 and 18 at Country Village Hotel, Carmen, this city.
This is the sixth in a series of conventions within a span of two years. The previous conferences were held in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon; Opol, Misamis Oriental; and Cagayan de Oro City.
This event aims to finalize the draft of the Constitution and By-Laws and plot their first quarter plan of action. The CBL is due for Assembly ratification this February.
The coalition commits to advocating and lobbying for the sustainable protection, conservation and rehabilitation of the environment from the ridges of Mts Kalatungan and Kitanglad, through Tagoloan and Cagayan de Oro rivers, Agusan-Cugman cluster of watersheds; and down to the reefs of Macajalar Bay.
These stewards of the environment are supported by a program of the Green Livelihood Alliance (GLA) consisting of Milieudefensie, IUCN NL and Tropenbos International.
In the Philippines, the program is led by several local organizations, among them the Samdhana Institute (TSI). This project is called SHIELD - Sustainable Healthy and Integrated Ecosystem for Lobbying and aDvocacy.
The series of engagements is under the facilitation and watch of two Public Administration and Environmental Landscape Restoration activists - EnP Dixon Q. Yasay and Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC) Executive Director Dr. Hilly Ann Roa-Quiaoit, respectively.
Coalition participants and partners are composed of chieftains, datus, baes, presidents, directors, teachers, women, IPRs, pastors/priests, environmental advocates and youth leaders from Balaod Mindanao, Barog Bukidnon, Bukidnon State University, CDORBMC, DENR RBMO, DOSE, Higaonon Bantay Kinaiyahan, Kaugmaon sa Kababayen-an, TAKASAMA, KAGDUMA, Kitanglad Integrated NGOs (KIN), LandCare, LIBOTRICA, LIMUTRICA, MAFC, MAMASILA, MBDA, MCFDAI, MILALITTRA, MSU-IIT, Non-Timber Forest Products Philippines (NTFPP), PhilMais, PhTrees, Sugaan Upland Growers Association, R2R, Safe River Life Saver Foundation, TOUCH, TSI,USTP-EO and many others.
Looking back at Project Climate Twin Phoenix (UNDP, n.d.), it was reported that the calamities in CDO and Iligan cities were not unexpected; they were disasters waiting to happen.
For Pastor Marcelino Patindol of MAFC Claveria, humanity should take care for the environment and this task is already in Genesis 2:15, “… garden [for us] to care and oversee”. “Ok ra kaayo ko anang peso o singko basta dili lang Sendongon [pag-usab]”.
Chai Canoy of KIN added: “Nalipay ang tribo sa pag protekta sak atubigan ugk alasangan”…whatever is given back, “dili kini bayad. Kini pag pasalamat sa mga espiritu nga nagbantay ug kananuhay gahatag niini nga gasa” (ecosystem services).
[The author is a student of Public Administration at Xavier University. His dissertation on Green Policies and Enforcement of the two river basins is on-going.]
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