Public, private stakeholders hold 1st Integrated Water Security Summit in NorthMin 

Moved by a shared desire to secure the water future of Northern Mindanao, more than 450 engaged stakeholders including legislators and governors gathered for the 1st Integrated Water Security Summit at the Seven Seas Waterpark and Resort in Opol, Misamis Oriental on May 25-26, 2023. The Summit was endorsed by Regional Development Council Resolution 19 Series of 2023.

The Oro Chamber of Commerce led the Technical Working Group together with the National Economic Development Authority, Department of Science and Technology, Environmental Management Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Participants attentively listen and engage in the workshop-conference on the summit’s 1st day.

The Summit enjoys the strong support of the provincial government of Misamis Oriental, and the Local Government Unit of Cagayan de Oro City and Opol, as well as by the Seven Seas Waterpark CEO, Engr. Elpidio Paras.

Aligned with Sustainable Development Goal No. 6, the summit centers around the theme “Securing the Region’s Water Future”. Its primary objectives are to identify water security issues, develop effective interventions, establish partnerships, and establish Provincial Integrated Water Security Committees in each province of Northern Mindanao.

In his speech, Mr. Ruben A. Vegafria stated that  he is confident that the output of the conference-workshop will significantly aid in securing the region’s water future. “I hope that this summit today will help us identify development interventions, policies, programs, and projects, institutional mechanisms, legislative reforms, and LGU devolved functions to address water security issues”, he said. Currently, Vegafria is the Vice Chairman of RDC-X InfraCom and PCCI Regional Governor of Northern Mindanao. He led the Technical Working Group for the conduct of this event.

Participants from various sectors such as the local water districts, local government units, regional-line agencies, the five provinces, academe, NGOs, civil society organizations, and the private sector experience insightful talks, presentations, and interactive discussions, shedding light on water-related issues. The summit also features an exhibition showcasing services and technologies from various agencies. It displays innovative solutions present in Northern Mindanao.

Resource speakers present key topics including the regional water demand scenario, the national water security roadmap with a specific focus on Northern Mindanao, salient features of the Philippine water supply and sanitation master plan, formulation of provincial integrated water security plans, the current situation of integrated wastewater management in Northern Mindanao, and the national sewerage and septage management program.

Notably, DOST displayed their cutting-edge and appropriate level technologies  such as the Compact Wastewater Treatment System and Mobile Water Disinfection System, offering practical and scalable solutions to water-related challenges in the region.

Other stakeholders include Promote NorMin, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bureau of Investment, USAID, Development Bank of the Philippines and Landbank of the Philippines.

450 participants from various sectors such as the local water districts, local government units, regional-line agencies, the five provinces, academe, NGOs, civil society organizations, and the private sector.

Two governors  were also present during the event and have expressed their full support to the initiatives concerning water security, Governor Peter M. Unabia of Misamis Oriental and Governor Rogelio Neil P. Roque of Bukidnon. The representatives present were Congressman Jurdin Jesus Romualdo of Camiguin, Congressman Yevgeny Vincente Emano of the 2nd district of Misamis Oriental, and Congressman Jose Manuel Alba of the 1st district of Bukidnon.

The event marks a significant step forward in securing a sustainable water future for Northern Mindanao. With the knowledge gained, partnerships formed, and innovative solutions showcased, the region is better equipped to address its water challenges and ensure a prosperous and resilient future for all. (Efraem O. Egoc/DOST10)