DAVAO City, PH, November 27 — To ensure the sustainability of the cooperation as well as to identify possibilities and challenges for COSERAM’s last year of implementation in 2018, members of the programme’s National Steering Committee (NSC) and Regional Steering Committees (RSCs) held a joint meeting that was chaired by Usec. Rolando G. Tungpalan of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
The Conflict Sensitive Resource and Asset Management Program (COSERAM) that is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and in partnership with the Philippine government since 2011 will end by end December 2018 after seven years.
Discussions of the joint NSC-RSCs meeting focused on the joint management and cooperation in terms of program achievements in the focal regions of 10 (Northern Mindanao), 11 (Davao Region), and 13 (Caraga Region).
Highlighting the meeting was the learning visit to Barangay Kapatagan, Digos City, Davao del Sur by the members of the Joint Steering Committee (JSC), which feed into the discussion of the meeting at the NEDA-11 office conference hall.
During the learning visit, the three region’s representatives from NEDA, DILG, OPAPP, DENR, MinDA and NCIP as well as their counterparts from these agencies’ national offices, discussed with officials of Kapatagan, led by Barangay Chairman Santiago Morales Jr., the issues, concerns and challenges in Mt. Apo, especially the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP) and how this interfaces with Digos City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) and/or Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP).
They also visited the Mt. Apo Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) office and admired the nursery for endemic tree species and enjoyed the beautiful view of the country’s highest peak.
During the joint NSC-RSCs meeting, every region was given the opportunity to present their sustainability plan, which also identified areas where close cooperation with other regions and/or the national level is needed. Region 11, for example, expressed the need for convergence in the planning processes and stronger coherence in policy enforcement to ensure that COSERAM’s processes and mechanisms are sustained beyond 2018.
Mt. Apo straddles the cities of Davao, Digos and Kidapawan and the four municipalities of Bansalan, Sta. Cruz, Makilala, and Magpet, all within the regions of Davao and SOCCSKSARGEN. It is considered the center of endemism in Mindanao while several tribes like the Manobos, Bagobos and Kata consider Mt. Apo as a sacred mountain and burial ground of their common ancestor Apo Sandawa.
Mt. Apo is included in the UN List of National Parks and Equivalent Reserves and acknowledged as an ASEAN Heritage Site. A Key Biodiversity Area, it is home to over 272 bird species, 111 of which are endemic. The mountain is also home to one of the world’s largest eagles, the critically-endangered Philippine Eagle or monkey-eating eagle. Mt. Apo was declared a Protected Area under Republic Act 9237 on February 3, 2004. (With Jesus Villardo III)