Tagoloan river basin stakeholders in Bukidnon, MisOr ink pact

IMPASUG-ONG, Bukidnon (MindaNews/7 December)— Stakeholders from different sectors signed Friday the creation of the Tagoloan River Basin Management Council (TRBMC), which will serve as an oversight body for the river basin covering eight towns in the provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental.

The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) they signed embodies the commitments of each sector to the council.

Malaybalay Bishop Jose Cabantan, who was named TRMBC chair, stressed the role of the people to be stewards of God’s creations in his inspirational message.

The council will oversee the overall implementation of plans and programs for the protection, rehabilitation and management of the river basin.

Three meetings have been held previously to prepare for the signing and the formal organization of the council for the river basin, which is one of the 18 major river basins in the country. It has a total land area of 1,704 square kilometers in 94 barangays.

Dr. Felix Mirasol, Department of Environment and Natural Resources chief for Bukidnon, said the Tagoloan River Basin is even bigger than the Cagayan de Oro River basin.

Four technical working groups (TWG) involving government agencies, local government units, universities and non-governmental organizations form part of the council.

The TWG was tasked to come up with an inter-agency work and financial plan in 2014.

Mayor Mario Okinlay of Impasug-ong, one of the towns covered by the river basin, welcomed the MOA signing as he cited his town’s interventions for environmental protection.

Mayors from the towns of Tagoloan, Claveria and Villanueva in Misamis Oriental, which straddle the river basin, attended the signing. On the side of the Bukidnon mayors, only Okinlay was present.

The other towns for Bukidnon in the river basin include Sumilao, Manolo Fortich, Malaybalay and Malitbog.

Bukidnon Gov. Joe Ma. R . Zubiri Jr. was unable to come.

Bukidnon representatives Florencio Flores Jr. (2nd district) and Malou Acosta (1st district), and the representative of Misamis Oriental 1st District, Juliet Uy, did not make it to the signing ceremony. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)