Three representatives from Mindanao recently completed a water resources management course in Japan, one of the programs under the Japan International Cooperation Agency Knowledge Co-Creation Program.
Makmod Pasawilan of the Mindanao Development Authority, Ardi Abril Layugue of the National Economic and Development Authority Region IX, and Arvilyn Omblero of the Iligan City Waterworks System joined 15 other young leaders from the Philippines for a month-long classroom and on-site training in Tokyo and Hokkaido.
The program aims to share knowledge on laws, policies, mechanisms, strategies, programs and projects, river systems, and best practices in the entire spectrum of water resources management.
“As an environmental planner and development manager for Mindanao, I saw the need to learn more on water resources management to address the current and future issues concerning water such as scarcity, ground water subsidence, salt water intrusion, sediment disasters, and flooding,” said Pasawilan, who is the lone Bangsamoro representative to the program.
Pasawilan who is also involved with MinDA’s resource management and planning programs, added that he will apply his learning in dealing with the water resources particularly in the Mindanao River Basin.
“Japan’s experience provided me the opportunity to value water - and by valuing water, we are indeed valuing life,” he added, citing the country’s effective policies, mechanism and flood control measures in Japan that can be considered in MRB and other river basins.
Mindanao is home to eight major river basins, namely the Agus River Basin, Cagayan de Oro River Basin, Tagoloan River Basin, Agusan River Basin, Mindanao River Basin (MRB-Cotabato), Tagum-Libuganon river basin, Davao river basin and Buayan-Malungan river basin. The MRB-Cotabato and the Agusan River Basin in the Caraga region are two of the largest river basins in Mindanao.
MinDA Secretary Khayr Alonto also lauded the Mindanawons’ representation in the program, citing the need for more planners who will put into consideration the island-region’s inherent wealth including its watersheds, forests, and river basins.
“Water is essential for broad-based agricultural production and rural development. The sustainable management of our waters will result to ensuring food security and eradicating poverty,” Alonto said, while adding that he hopes for more Mindanawons to be able to take part in learning and technical sessions on sectors that are relevant to Mindanao, include peace and development, environment, and infrastructure planning.
The JICA Knowledge Co-Creation Program aims to capacitate young leaders in the development sectors through specialized technical training. The Water Resource Management course is the second program to be completed this year.