Communicating the Impact of Climate Change is 9th Mindanao Media Summit’s theme

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 24 April) – Mindanawon experts will discuss with Mindanawon media executives the impact of climate change in Mindanao, the theme for the 9th Mindanao Media Summit on April 25 and 26.

Secretary Mary Ann Lucille Sering, vice chair and executive director of the country’s Climate Change Commission, will talk on “Reducing Vulnerabilities to Climate Change Impacts.”

Sering hails from Surigao del Norte.

MindaNews chair H. Marcos C. Mordeno will deliver the welcome address. Based in Malaybalay City, Mordeno worked with the environment group Kitanglad Integrated NGOs as policy analyst and wrote the protected area management plan for the Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park.

Director Efren Elbanbuena, Regional Director of the Philippine Information Agency in Southern Mindanao, will keynote the Summit.

Sering will speak after Mordeno and Elbanbuena and will be followed by Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., of the Presidential Communication Operations Office.

Fr. Daniel McNamara, SJ, an astro geophysicist who chairs the Environmental Science
Department of the Ateneo de Davao University will discuss how “Science can help save the day”
in coping with climate change.

Barely three weeks after super typhoon Yolanda struck Leyte and other parts of the Visayas, McNamara spoke in a forum “Don’t be blown away, Science will save the day” at the Ateneo de Davao on November 26.

Can Davao City experience a storm surge? McNamar was asked. “Very definitely yes,” he said.

McNamara spoke about “new rules, new weather, new expectations. And that’s why we’re having this talk, to make people aware this could happen,” he said.

Thirteen days after super typhoon Pablo struck Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley and neighboring provinces, Fr. McNamara told MindaNews that “with modern science, we don’t have to sit back and wait for the next storm.”

“As we have been saying for years now, with climate change, with more energies in the atmosphere, which is basically what it means, there’s gonna be bigger storms, there’s gonna be frequent storms… We can’t just sit back and say alright, that was just unfortunate, you know. No, no. It’s the energy in the atmosphere that causes what we call extreme events…. There’ll be things like that – extreme rainfall. The other part of that is drought. There won’t be enough rain in times of what we normally would expect. In short, I’m saying that there is no normal anymore,” he said.

“Have we learned? Bakit di na tayo natuto?” is the title of the presentation of Dr. Leah Vidal, Director of the Ateneo Institute of Anthropology and chair of the Department of Anthropology at the Ateneo de Davao University.

In the same forum at the Ateneo on November 26, Vidal said: “Trust us to be extremely self-disparaging, never mind if Japan, the country most familiar to and most prepared to handle disaster, was still caught unaware and so badly devastated by their own magnitude 9 earthquake experience in 2011. We are fond of putting ourselves down and afterwards blame those in authority and put them down. A sort of coping with emotional stress and trauma, and though it relieves pain temporarily, may have become a national neurosis already. For me, this is the primary area where we have not learned. If something is wrong, blame it on the Filipino culture.”

Vidal cited an international team led by Dr. Neil Adger of the University of Exeter that said “effective responses and adaptation to climate change are jeopardized by a lack of attention in research and policymaking on cultural factors.”

She recalled how McNamara once shared that more than just an inconvenience for city residents, the very warm nights we are “affecting rice growing since the grains need the cool nights to gestate.”

“Imagine losing the richness of rice growing culture?” Vidal asked.

Nehjima Faye Mantosa, corporate environment officer of Holcim Philippines will discuss the company’s best practic on implementing the Clean Air Act.

Assistant Secreary Romeo Montenegro of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will speak on the second day on renewable energy in Mindanao while Darrel Blatchley, curator of D’Bone Museum, will speak on the impact of the changing climate on marine biodiversity.

Another Mindanawon, former Press Secretary Jesus Dureza, will deliver the closing remarks. Dureza, who hails from Davao del Sur, has served as Presidential Adviser on Mindanao in the last months of the Ramos administration and served in various capacities under the Arroyo administration from 2001 to 2010. He is currently publisher of the Mindanao Times and concurrently President and Chair of the Philippine Press Institute.

Before the Summit closes in the afternoon, participants will revisit the covenant “Our Mindanao” which was signed during the first summit in May 2002.

The summit is organized by the Mindanao Media Forum, the organizational expression of the 1st summit, whose secretariat is MindaNews; with the support of the Mindanao Development Authority, Philippine Information Agency, Philippine Press Institute and Canadian Embassy. (MindaNews)