Disaster risk report: Anti flood interventions ‘urgent’ in Malaybalay, Bukidnon towns

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 3 Dec) – Anti-flood programs, projects and activities in this city and in the towns of Cabanglasan, Lantapan, Libona, Manolo Fortich, and Talakag were classified as “urgent” as the areas have been considered at a high risk in events of flooding, according to Bukidnon’s Disaster Risk Assessment Report, presented to the public for the first time on Nov. 28.

The six localities obtained high estimates of damages computed for lost of lives, damage to agriculture, forestry, and fisheries; and damage to urban assets to include roads, bridges, and other infrastructures.

The risks estimated in those areas were considered from “moderate to highly intolerable” needing “extensive detailed investigation and implementation” of options essential to reduce it to acceptable levels.

The options “may be too expensive and not practicable,” the report added.

Valencia City and 10 other Bukidnon towns were under the next category “high priority.” Only the towns of Damulog, Impasug-ong, Kitaotao, Malitbog, and Pangantucan obtained estimates in the three risk groups considered to be “priority.”

The DRA report was developed with the support of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), as part of the project to integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation (DRR/CCA) in local development planning and decision-making processes.

Rebecca Capistrano, planning officer IV of the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO), which is the provincial government’s counterpart agency, said the reports from both DRR and CCA will be integrated into the Provincial Development Physical Framework Plan (PDPFP) crafted in 2008.

Leonila Cajarte, chief of NEDA-10’s plan and policy formulation division, said the integration of DRR and CCA to local development planning and decision making processes are important. She cited that the integration can be basis for lower level LGU and sectoral plans. Also, it can be a tool to reconcile and rationalize land use proposals and as a guide for government agencies and private developers.

“(It is also) a basis for adjudicating conflicts arising from the implementation of land use plans,” she added in her presentation.

Rio Yonson, senior economic development specialist of NEDA-10’s plan and policy formulation division, said Bukidnon’s DRA report is the first they received among 52 pilot provinces in the country.

The report identified natural disaster hazards in Bukidnon, estimated risks, and plotted risk evaluation values for priorities. Aside from flood, the PPDO technical team also estimated risks for other hazards, including rain-induced landslides, ground shaking, liquefaction, and earthquake induced landslides. For the sectoral climate change vulnerability assessment report, estimated were computed for forestry and biodiversity, water, agriculture, and health.

The estimates were plotted in three different levels of flood incidence: frequent, likely, and rare.

According to the initial version of the report, from 1999 to June 2011, Bukidnon incurred a total of P425 million estimated cost of damage to disasters, P70 million of which was attributed to floods. About 81 percent of the damage or P345.6 million is attributed to drought.

The report, however, did not mention any details about the drought.

Floods, including flashfloods, affected a total of 55,027 persons in 11 and half years.

Risk to urban assets, including roads and bridges and other infrastructure, was estimated at P99.7 billion. For agriculture, forestry, and fisheries in the province, the risk was estimated at P3.28 billion.

The DRA and CCA reports will be presented to the Provincial Development Council on December 9 and to other sectors in subsequent presentations, Capistrano said.

NEDA and PPDO officials admitted that whether the reports will be integrated in local development planning and decision making depends on the local chief executives. The mainstreaming project is still at the disaster risk assessment stage.

“But the reports have to be made ready for integration. The planners will do their share of the work,” she added. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)