By Jessica M. Bacud
SANTIAGO CITY, Isabela – Isabela Governor Rodito T. Albano, as Cagayan River Basin Management Council (CBRMC) Chairman, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Japan Water Agency (JWA) during the Stakeholders Forum on Integrated Flood Risk Management in Cagayan River Basin held at Zen Hotel, Santiago, City, Isabela from July 14-15.
The signing of the MOU aims to establish a partnership in conducting collaborative activities and projects on flood and sedimentation and management in the Cagayan River Basin and the Magat Dam, Gov Albano said.
In his keynote message, Gov. Rodito Albano emphasized that the Cagayan River Basin and the province of Isabela will considerably benefit from the undertaking, citing Magat Dam procedures that will address loopholes and the missing links.
“Also, for the locale to gain from the presentation, study, and interventions of world-renowned experts from Japan would also be a good take-off to revisit, in a collaborative and coordinated manner,” he said.
Mr. Akinobu Nishida, Mission Team Leader, represented Toshiro Suzuki and JWA Director General for International Affairs during the MOU signing.
Nishida expounded on the integrated water resource management concepts in river basins while introducing the role of the Japan Water Agency in the enhancement of people’s lives and its impact on economic development.
He highlighted the concept of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in response to increasing pressures on water resource allocations from various users, the recognition of ecosystem requirements, pollution, and the risk of water availability due to climate change.
Isabela State University President Dr. Ricmar P. Aquino and Professor Tetsuya Sumi of Kyoto University witnessed the signing of the MOU.
The ISU and Kyoto University, both members of the Network of Asian River Basin Organizations, are major proponents of this collaborative undertaking.
Meanwhile, Prof. Tetsuya Sumi illustrated various work plans for Japan-Philippines collaboration in the Cagayan River Basin, stressing several projects for 2020-2025, the challenges of dams in the 21st century, and dam asset transfer to the next generation, Japan’s dam flood control situation and pre-release operation practices.
“Japan will proactively contribute to the solution of water-related social issues faced by the Asia-Pacific region by developing “quality infrastructure” capitalizing on Japan’s advanced technologies…and public-private partnerships, and fostering digitization and innovation to solve social issues as a growth engine for sustainable development and the formation of a resilient society and economy,” he stressed.
The JWA and the CRBMC together with its multi-sectoral stakeholders which includes 13 core national government agencies, various state universities and colleges, provincial, city, and municipal local government units, private sector representatives, and civil society groups, advocate and adopt the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) approach in the development and management of river basins and promote knowledge sharing and exchange of information and experience among river basin organizations throughout Asia.
The Stakeholders’ Forum was attended by officials from the JWA, Japan-ASEAN Science, Technology and Innovation Platform (JASTIP), Kyoto University, Asia-Pacific Network (APN) for Global Change Research, and representatives from the 13 core government agencies composing the Cagayan River Basin Management Council.