The NEDA Regional Office (NRO) X gathered experts on River Basin Master Planning and Flood  Modelling at  a research  forum on April 16-17  at the VIP Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City.

The conduct of the activity is in collaboration with the DENR X and the Climate Change Commission (CCC) under the Project Climate Twin Phoenix. In her message read by Ms. Helena Gaddi, Secretary Ma. Lucille L. Sering of the CCC thanked the regional offices of NEDA and DENR for holding the forum aimed  at further refining the Climate and Disaster Risk-Sensitive Regional Physical Framework Plan (RPFP) using new methodologies from the master plans of the four river basins in Region X and the results of flood models prepared by the University of the Philippines and Xavier University.

“We are doing this because we do not want another  Sendong to happen. We need to take a step further to improve our plans and identify strategies to combat climate change, which is making extreme weather events into the new normal, ” NRO X Regional Director Leon M. Dacanay, said in his welcome remarks. He also presented the highlights of Northern Mindanao’s DRR/CCA-enhanced RPFP, 2013-2040 with emphasis on the regional development and competitiveness frameworks.

Mr. Cesar P. Odi  of  the DENR X gave an overview on  the Integrated River Basin Management and Development Master Plan.  This was followed by  presentations  of  the salient features of the River Basin Master Plans, namely: Cagayan de Oro River Basin by Dr. Diomedes A. Racelis of the Center for Environmental Study and Management, Inc.; Tagoloan River Basin by Dr. Rex victor O. Cruz of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources-UPLB; and Davao River Basin by Engr. Lemuel Perino of  the Orient Integrated Development Consultants, Inc..

Also presented were the River Basin and Flood Modelling Study of the Four River Systems Affecting Flooding in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan Cities by Dr. Enrico C. Paringit of the UP National Engineering Center; the Deterministic Flood Inundation Mapping Along the Proposed Dike System of the Cagayan de Oro River: The Sendong Scale Flood by Engr. Dexter S. Lo of the Xavier University-Engineering Resource Center (XU-ERC); and the Cagayan de Oro-Flood Risk Management Project (CDO-FRIMP) by Engr. Aldrin S. Albano of DPWH X.

Dr. Nilo B. Oponda of the UP-Mindanao and Dr. Hussein S. Lidasan of the  UP-School of Urban and Regional Planning served as panel of reactors.  Dr. Oponda shared the Natural Resource Management Implications of the River Basin Flood Modelling. “One of the major gaps in development planning is the need for high-resolution hazard maps and an inventory of capacities in the preparation of vulnerability and disaster-risk assessment,” Dr. Opunda emphasized.  Dr. Lidasan, on the other hand, presented  the Mindanao Transport Plan: Region X Component  and stressed that  the impact of development planning should not deteriorate the environment.  He also recognized the RPFP as the blueprint in making decisions on how land and other related natural resources are put to most beneficial use.

To enhance the RPFP, the panel of reactors and workshop participants provided the following recommendations: (a) assess natural resources using the “ridge-to-reef” approach; (b) consider human logistics as part of land use planning; (c)  include the cost of preparing master plans in the local government’s budget; (d) establish vertical and horizontal institutional arrangements among governance structures; (e) make the RPFP IP-sensitive; (f) ensure active participation in the creation and operationalization of river councils; (g) establish biodiversity key sites and corresponding monitoring mechanisms; (g) update information using high resolution images, digital elevation models and river basin characteristics; (h) consider “dry spell” scenarios; (i) simulate future hazard strengths that could happen downstream if mitigation measures are done upstream; (j) “climate-proof” the various infrastructures considering “new climate change scenarios;” and (k) consider scenario-building on increasing demand for land resources due to expanding residential, recreational/tourism, industrial and agri-business growth.