THE Interface Development Interventions (Idis) has urged the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) to make sure that the recently created riverway task force will look into the initiatives imposed in local government units (LGUs).
MinDa created the Mindanao Riverways Reconstruction Task Force in a bid to assess the actual condition of major river systems after several parts of Mindanao was flooded when rivers overflowed last weekend.
But Idis Executive Director Ann Fuertes, in a statement, said: “There is really a need to assess the island’s river systems, particularly from Bukidnon down to Davao in order to come up with an integrated plan for management and rehabilitation.”
“However, the integrated plan should also include the community-drawn watershed action plans so that there will be synchronization of the efforts of all stakeholders towards solving this problem,” Fuertes added.
She was referring to the Davao Watershed Action Planning Workshop, which was implemented by the Watershed Management Council last October 2012.
The workshop gathered representatives from upland barangays and various sectors to draft action plans for the Talomo-Lipadas and Panigan-Tamugan watershed areas, the latter being a sub-catchment of Davao River.
Fuertes said among the urgent points in the action plans is the need to establish a buffer zone along the river system to minimize flooding.
Relocating informal communities away from riverbanks remains to be a costly but necessary option, Fuertes said.
Joan Barrera, Minda’s project development chief, said the task force will be composed of various key agencies of the government, including the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, National Economic and Development Authority, and Department of Interior and Local Government, among others.
The project, which will start next month and will run until November this year, will be composed of three phases, with each phase covering specific regions across Mindanao.
For the first phase, which will start in February 1, the team will assess 11 rivers in Davao Region, including five pre-identified rivers in Compostela Valley, and three rivers each in Davao Oriental and Davao del Norte. (ARIANNE CARYL N. CASAS, SUNSTAR DAVAO)