M’nao development can be achieved without sacrificing environment

BUTUAN City, PH, August 30-31 — Transforming Mindanao into a developed and progressive island-region can be done wthout necessarily sacrificing the environment.

Agusan del Norte Governor Maria Angelica Rosedell Malbas Amante-Matba admitted that “keeping the delicate balance between area development and upholding the integrity of our environment is an arduous task.“ But she added that economic development can be done without requiring “ecological and environmental degradation as collateral.“

Agusan del Norte Governor Maria Angelica Rosedell Malbas Amante-Matba (2L) during a medical mission in one of the barangays of the province. (Photo lifted from her official Facebook page)

The formula, the lady governor said, is “an uncompromised and unbiased working partnership among the government, civil society organizations, peoples organizations and the private sector.“

And since Mindanao, the “Land of Promise“ is now the focus of various government and private sector development initiatives, it is becoming imperative for local government units, government agencies, CSOs and POs, and partners in the private sector to work together to keep the “precarious balance“ of economic development and upholding the integrity of our environment.

“Economic boom in Mindanao has threatened the ecological and environmental balance. There is therefore required concerted effort to ensure that our ecoogy and environment is protected and not sacrificed,“ she said.

The lady governor signed last month documents that make Agusan del Norte province an official partner of the COSERAM Programme, which is being implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and in partnership with the Philippine government.

The GIZ COSERAM-Agusan del Norte partnership is focused on the training of the province’s key staff and personnel on development planning that appropriately responds to local needs and addresses various development challenges and conflicts, through approaches that are participatory, inclusive, bottom-up, integrative, comprehensive, and sensitive to conflict, gender, indigenous peoples’ culture and rights, and issues on disaster risk reduction as well as climate change.

Among the planning approaches to be taught are Conflict Sensitive Peace Promotion and the Do No Harm approach. The learnings will be used in the formulation and updating of Agusan del Norte’s Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plan, Comprehensive Land Use Plan, Barangay Development Plan, City Development Plan, and Forest Land Use Plan.

Amante-Matba explained that with the various threats brought by so-called development and climate change, it is of paramount importance to protect our environment and biodiversity while at the same time make communities resilient.

“Ensuring that our communities remain resilient is a challenge that must continually be met if we are to secure the future…And one way to that bright future is to protect our environment. Only when we are able to do this can we be able to deliver social justice to our people,“ she added.

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