073021 2

by Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol

Chairman, MinDA

With only 6% left out of the original Philippine forest cover since 1900, water will be a major issue and concern for Mindanao and the whole country in the next 10 years.

Failure to act on this emerging problem could spell disaster for both food and human security starting 2030 and beyond.

There are clear manifestations of the problem like when Metro Manila suffered a water shortage last year and when Cagayan Valley experienced flooding of unprecedented magnitude recently.

In the face of this threat, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), a small agency with an annual budget of less than P200-M, is taking the initiative by increasing the awareness of the region's decision makers on the importance of conserving and managing the water resources of Mindanao.

As part of the Green Mindanao Project and the MinDA Water Supply Program, the agency has sought technical support from the Mashav Agricultural Training Institute for the conduct of an On-Line Course on Water Conservation and Management for Mindanao's Governors and Mayors.

This proposal was submitted to the Israeli Embassy in the Philippines prior to the re-assignment of Ambassador Rafael Harpaz and was forwarded to Mashav which granted the request as part of Israel's technical assistance to MinDA.

Yesterday, MinDA met on-line with the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Israeli Embassy, Nir Malzam, and Israeli Honorary Consul for Davao Jorge Marquez to finalize the program.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) through its Mindanao Regional Offices will also be involved in the program.

The 4-weekly session course will involve lectures to be deliveed by experts in the following areas:

1. Water Conservation Management: The Israel Experience - This will cover both the general concept of water management for general appreciation and also how water management agenda has become one of the strategic drivers behind the development transformation of Israel;

2. Critical Role of Water in Food Security - This would include discussions on the crucial link between water management and sustainability of food supply, sustainable water management for continuing survival amidst the threats of climate change impact, among others;

3. Available options for Water Management Systems and Technologies - This would include the various available technologies now for Irrigation systems (for rain type systems, for Solar-Powered Irrigation Systems, for drip systems, etc) and actual case studies or documented community experiences;

4. Different Models for Water Management - This would include presentation of various models used in Israel or actual projects done in other countries assisted by Israel, with actual costs based on actual project expereince, what elements are needed to ensure viability of the models and other practical insights from Israel's experiences.

Target participants for this course will be 60-70 local government officials from Mindanao to include Governors, Mayors and their Agriculture officers or Planning officers.

The course will start first week of August 2021 and the sessions will e held every 6:00-8:00pm once a week.

Only those who will commit to attend the four full sessions will be enrolled in the course and would receive Certificates of Completion.

Selected graduates of the Short Course will also be able to join the validation trip to Israel in October of this year where they would be able to see first hand the different technologies utilized for Water Conservation and Management and Modern Irrigation Systems.

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