Ilocos Norte holds 2nd Water Summit, presents practical strategies against climate change


Mar. 23, 2016 ...

In an effort to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change (CC), the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) together with the Ilocos Norte Water District (INWD) conducted the 2nd Provincial Water Summit yesterday, March 22, 2016 at the Plaza del Norte Convention Center.

The summit gathered more than 500 Ilocanos representing the agriculture sector, academe and local government units including planning and disaster risk and reduction officers.

Governor Imee R. Marcos said that, "the challenge for the next 15 years will no doubt be rising to the challenge of water, sapagka't ang katotohanan ay nauubos ang tubig… talagang nagbago ang panahon, kaya ito nga, another effort to open our minds and our hearts to new and better ways of farming."

Notable speakers from various government agencies discussed topics on “addressing climate change, potable water, environmental protection and water management and conservations, good agricultural practices and solid waste management.”

Ms. Erika Erro, People's Survival Fund (PSF) Technical Assistant of the Philippine Climate Change Commission, pointed out the alarming effects of CC in agriculture “if stakeholders, especially farmers, fail to effectively adapt and mitigate the situation.”

As Ilocos Norte is gripped by a 21-60% dry spell, the overall effect of climate change draws on reduced agricultural productivity, said Erro.

Praising Ilocos Norte for its major strides on mitigating CC through its renewable energy facilities, Erro mentioned several ways to lessen its impacts to the partipants.

She emphasized the important role of developing multi hazard maps for every municipality as well as the mainstreaming of CC adaptation and mitigation in agriculture.

“With this, it is important that we come up with climate resilient agriculture infrastructure like our farm-to-market roads…if we create infrastructure not adapting to CC then we expect that they will be destroyed in disasters,” added Erro.

Meanwhile, Engr. Juan De Los Reyes of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office highlighted the progress of the Greenwall of Ilocos Norte which was launched by Governor Marcos during her State of the Province Address in 2014.

The project involves building a massive watershed of forest along the eastern mountains of Ilocos Norte aiming to protect the province’s dams and fertile plains.

As of now, the said green wall covers around 21,000 hectares across the province wherein over 12 million seedlings have been planted, revealed Engr. De Los Reyes as he ensured that the seedlings planted have a high average of survival rate at 85%.

He also pushed for the need to protect Ilocos Norte watersheds among efforts to conserve water and mitigate environmental degradation, noting that the problem of CC requires a response from every resident of the province.

Underscoring the participatory nature of the summit, Erro conducted a round-table discussion with the planning officers of every municipality as she aimed to enlighten them on how to avail of funding for CC-mitigation projects through the PSF.

In addition, the half part of the one-day summit focused on a workshop spearheaded by Mr. Edwin Cariño, Sustainable Center for Development Officer of PGIN, and Mr. John Teodoro, INWD General Manager.

The workshop centered on policy-formulation and submission of proposals directly from the various sectors which contributed to the enhancement of the Provincial Water Management Plan firstly formulated during the first installment of the summit in 2014.

"Kinakailangan talagang pag-isipan at pagplanuhan na ang klima ay hindi na talagang magbabago, hindi na talaga maintindihan, kung kaya't the only thing we can do is to be prepared, to adapt our traditional methods of agricultural, and finally, to be resilient as Ilocanos are everywhere,” said Governor Marcos.

During the summit, Zanjeras also received water pumps and other agricultural equipment in line with Paspas Dur-as Biag ti Away!, the agriculture program of Governor Marcos.

“This really is a beneficial program of our Governor, especially for those of us limited in financial resources, as well as for me and my fellow farmers," Bangui farmer Mr. Dominador Umbay expressed in Ilocano.