Tag Archives: climate change

Bishop urges faithful to support TreeVolution: Greening MindaNOW

September 17, 2014
The Manila Bulletin
Mike Crismundo

For a greener future… and a world record

Butuan City – The former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Most Rev. Juan De Dios Pueblos of the diocese of Butuan has called on the faithful to be ready and actively involved in the Mindanao-wide tree planting activity on September 26, 2014.

With or without an attempt to break the Guiness World Record of the most number of tree seedlings planted in a span of one hour, Bishop Pueblos appealed to parents to lead their children in joining the continuing tree planting activity dubbed as “TreeVolution Greening MindaNOW.

The activity aims to have 4,636,000 tree seedlings planted in a span of one hour from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. covering 9,200 hectares all over Mindanao.

India currently holds the world record of the most number of tree seedlings planted in one hour when the 340,200 participants planted 1,945,535 from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on August 15, 2011.

Tree planting and tree growing for future generations

Bishop Pueblos, who is also the father of Caraga Conference for Peace and Development (CCPD) urged the more than two million citizens of Caraga region to take responsibility in the stewardship of the environment as it will also save people from any disaster while also preparing for the future generation.

“By planting more trees, we will also be able to save more lives,” the soft-spoken prelate stressed.

Bishop Pueblos urged planters to focus not only on tree planting but on tree growing as well.

More than 23.000 participants from five provinces in the Caraga region are set to participate in the unprecedented Mindanao-wide tree planting initiative.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Caraga disclosed that each of the five provinces in the region will allocate 200 hectares of land where 100,000 seedlings will be planted to meet the region’s target of planting 500,000 seedlings in 1,000 hectares of land.

The Federation of Caraga Tree Planters started preparing tree seeds in their respective nurseries in an effort to have ample tree seedlings to plant in various areas in the region next week. The group is also planning to utilize all idle and vacant lands for the tree planting activity.

“We are not only targeting India’s Guinness World Record (GWR) here but this will surely help fight global warming and climate change mitigation for future generations,” an official from a tree planters’ group in Agusan del Sur said.

Private sector and LGU support

The private sector and local government units are also lending much needed support and backing. Philsaga Mining Corporation / Mindanao Mineral Processing and Refining Corporation President Atty. Raul C. Villanueva and company’s Resident Manager Engr. Ferdinand A. Cortes said the company is set to plant 130,000 budded rubber trees in the municipalities of Rosario and Bunawan, both in Agusan del Sur province.

Governors, mayors, lawmakers from various LGUs, religious leaders throughout Caraga region likewise reiterated their full commitment and their strong support to the ‘TreeVolution: Greening MindaNOW’ project.

Agusan del Sur Gov. Adolph Edward G. Plaza already directed all municipal and city mayors to prepare big number of tree seedlings for the big event.

“I already called on all the municipalities to take an active part so we can give our share in mitigating climate change,” Gov. Plaza said.

“We do not only intend to break the world record for the number of trees planted within our province but we also wish to manifest that Surigaonons are one with the rest of the world in its effort to protect and preserve the environment,” said Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol F. Matugas, chairperson of the Regional Development Council.

Land use planning: Key to disaster risk management

The Philippine Star
Updated Jan 22, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – The issue of poor land use planning is being left out in the current discussions on why disasters keep happening in the Philippines.

According to Dr. Walter Salzer, director and principal advisor of the ?Environment and Rural Development Program (ERDP) of the ?Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), increasing threat of climate change and the effects of disasters being felt every year in almost all areas of the country highlight that land use planning, use and management, is not only about physical planning, but also makes sense on the social and human aspect.

Land use planning, Salzer insists, is a very important instrument in disaster risk management.

The goal of land use planning for disaster risk management, he explained, is to achieve a utilization of land and natural resources which is adapted to local conditions and needs, and takes into account disaster risks.

Natural hazards such as floods, landslides or even earthquakes become disasters when people and physical infrastructures are not able to cope with it.

The devastation, Salzer said, is explained not only because of the country’s exposure, but also by the vulnerability of the Philippine society.

This vulnerability is further worsened by the lack of prevention and preparedness, or appropriate emergency management systems which leads to various losses – human life, structural and financial.

The resulting loss, ranging from minimal to life-changing, Salzer said, depends on the capacity or resilience of the affected communities to support or resist the hazard.

Land use planning and management, or lack thereof, Salzer stressed, is a key underlying cause that needs to be brought to the forefront.

The poor’s existence, Salzer elaborated, is greatly interlinked with their environment. Their options of where to settle and obtain their livelihood from are limited. Their options of settlement are often limited to marginalized locations like riverbanks, steep slopes or near coastal shores. When disaster strikes, they usually do not have the resources to recover quickly.

Salzer pointed out that there are nearly 100 million Filipinos of whom close to 30 million reside in rural areas in a state of poverty.

The resilience of the lands, from which they depend on for food, shelter, water and livelihood are, thus, weakened, Salzer observed.

Natural protections such as forests and mangrove swamps may be destroyed or damaged through unsustainable resource exploitation.

Poverty, hunger and settlement on hazardous land are induced by increasing demand on water sources, soil fertility and natural resources.

Land administration, Salzer pointed out, involves protecting the remaining forest cover of the country.

But “land” in its broadest definition, Salzer said, extends from “ridge to reef”, and each type of land, from forest land, lowlands and coastal areas, require mandated plans, that determine these areas optimal use and management.

To minimize flooding risks, Salzer said, the whole watershed area needs to be looked at. In order to minimize water run-off, forests or forest-like land use systems needs to be restored or other adequate water conservation measures need to be put in place.

At river deltas, like the ones in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, Salzer said, a good portion need to be reserved for the undisturbed water flow or the river beds need to be regulated in a way that excess water can easily drain into the sea.

Unprotected settlements close to rivers must be avoided by all means or adequate protection wall should be established.

Good land use and planning, the ERDP director said, are essential for the prevention of disasters. Good land use planning is comprehensive, it determines various sites in a city and municipalities: boundaries of different types of lands, settlements, livelihoods (agriculture and economic areas) and provides the means for services and infrastructure.

Absence of a comprehensive land use plan, Salzer warned, can lead quite literally to a disaster: socially, economically and environmentally.

Good land use and planning brings many other benefits. It provides the best investment options for land and water use; helps preserve ecological balance to sustain food security and economic growth, and provides for local revenue generation, investment budgeting and expenditure management, and monitoring to implement projects.

Most importantly, Salzer said, in light of typhoon Sendong and various other calamities that have caused great losses, good land use and planning reduces illegal use of land, conversion and destruction.

GIZ is a federally-owned enterprise that supports the German government in the field of international development cooperation.

For more than 30 years now, GIZ has been cooperating with Philippine partners in strengthening the capacity of people and institutions to improve the lives of Filipinos in this generation and generations to come.

New Davao land use plan completed

BusinessWorld Online
November 23, 2012

DAVAO CITY — This city’s planning and development office has completed a new comprehensive land use plan that will be submitted to Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for approval before the end of the month.
Chief city planner Roberto P. Alabado III said the plan, to be observed for the next 10 years, addresses four concerns, namely: disaster risk reduction, climate change impact mitigation, transport system integration and sustainable development.

“Once you apply for… clearance, you are instructed to build your house or building according to the level where the floods rise the highest,” Mr. Alabado explained, noting that the city has seen floods as much as a meter deep.

The new plan, Mr. Alabado added, also requires commercial establishments to provide easements for loading and unloading of passengers in order not to impede vehicular traffic along main roads.

He said the envisioned new zoning ordinance will likely take effect early next year. — J. B. Escovilla

Climate change not a big problem among Bukidnon farmers

The Philippine Star
Mereyll Kyla Irader
June 12, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Though typhoons are not considered a major problem in Bukidnon, calamities such as drought, pests and diseases did not spare the crops of farmers from damages.

When El Niño hit Bukidnon in 2003 and 2005, indemnity paid for drought reached the highest.

What the farmers did

Subsistence farmers have their share of traditional farming practices that served them well when drought hit the province. Among these are using organic fertilizer from manure and compost; observing proper timing in planting crops; using crop residues as mulch in vegetable gardens to conserve water; planting drought-tolerant crops; and constructing reservoir to collect rainwater.

Water-saving technologies like rainwater harvesting using small reservoirs, drip irrigation, shallow tube wells, and other irrigation development and services are present in Bukidnon.

Small farm reservoir (SFR) is an impounding structure that harvests rain and collects runoff. SFR provides irrigation for dry season crops and supplements water for wet season cropping. It also enables farmers to raise fish and grow livestock for food and additional income.

Drip irrigation is a process of applying irrigation water into the base of the plant like a leaking bucket. Minimal soil surface is wetted through this method; thus, amount of direct evaporation and excess percolation through the root zone will be reduced. Bananas are among crops which rely on drip irrigation in the province.

Shallow tube wells and irrigation development are commonly used for rice irrigation. In 2003, DA-Region 10 provided the province with shallow tube wells and irrigation development support.

Government initiatives

Government institutions in Bukidnon do not have explicitly labeled programs on climate change.

There are existing programs, however, undertaken to capacitate people to adapt on the impacts of climate change. Programs applied are on organic farming, diversified integrated farming systems, and water saving technologies for agriculture. On lean seasons, farming communities have alternative income sources.

For lowland rice production, the Sustainable System of Irrigated Agriculture (SSIA) Technology is applied. It employs intermittent water application in rice farming; applies organic fertilizers and pesticides as agricultural inputs; and follows prescribed crop management procedures.

Through SSIA, early transplanting and straight row planting at one plant per hill is required to enable seedlings to grow better in lesser competition. Also, it specifies the cropping calendar and lowers the water application requirement.

The Department of Agriculture-Region 10, through a study, modified SSIA and showed that the technology performs better during dry season because of the organic matter’s carry-over effect for the next cropping in a lower production cost.

Contour farming and diversified integrated farming systems resulting in better yield, and reduction of bacterial  wilt population  and water  runoff over monoculture  proved to be suitable technologies  for  upland and  hilly land farming. Runoffs are reduced in contour farming; thus, protecting the top soil against soil erosion. Top soil contains nutrients for plants and also serves as reservoir for soil water during dry periods.

Meanwhile, crop diversification augments the income of farmers as any crop, which grows well, can be tapped as another way to earn a living. An example for is the ipil-ipil tree which is used for firewood, charcoal as well as fruit trees, root crops, vegetables and other plants that are feed sources for livestock.

Another strategy is through organic farming where even marginal lands can be brought back to life as organic matter is essential for the sustainability of subsistence agriculture. Nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur are released in the decomposition stage, thus, supplying carbon and energy in the soil. Organic matter binds the soil mineral particles and improves the soil structure for moisture retention.

Through intervention of local government, agriculture input subsidies are given to farmers to increase agricultural production. In Valencia City, Bukidnon, an ordinance, which espouses sustainable agriculture through organic farming, was passed to provide assistance in farming communities. Through Valencia City Ordinance No. 2008-09, the city aims to stability of food supplies for its constituents.

Identifying existing strategies

All because of climate change, an agricultural province like Bukidnon is threatened of losing its productivity. As agriculture relies on climatic conditions in order to flourish, agricultural practices shall then cope with the climatic changes.

Unlabeled programs on climate change are already in place. These are on research, extension, policy information, subsidies and grants. However, these programs must be properly identified for efficient facilitation and employment.

With explicitly identified programs to address the phenomenon, it will be easier for subsistence farmers to apply techniques and adjust on the impacts. Hence, economic loss among the farming sector will be avoided.

Mindanao watersheds in bad shape

By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Three major watersheds in Mindanao are in dire condition, which could affect food production in the region, according to a Department of Agriculture (DA) official.

Dr. Silvino Tejada, chief of the DA’s Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), urged the department and the local governments concerned to rehabilitate the watersheds in Linamon, Lanao del Norte; Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte, and Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.

Tejada said the three watersheds support small-time farmers and help mitigate floods and landslides. The watersheds, with a total of about 22,000 hectares, are also a source of water for local residents.

“Climate change or weather occurrences like La Niña and El Niño have presented many challenges to the small farmers who rely on watersheds for many things like their water supply and protection from soil erosion. If a watershed is not in good condition, it would be impossible for it to support a farming community, especially with climate change and excessive rainfall caused by La Niña,” Tejada said.

A BSWM survey showed that the soil and water resources of the Kinabangan watershed in Nasipit had been “exploited beyond its capacity resulting in low productivity in various farm areas.”

The two other watersheds were underutilized, the survey found. The farmers near the watersheds also planted the wrong crops and used farming methods that harmed the soil.

If the watersheds were used properly, the farmers could grow high-value crops which would mean a higher income for them, the survey showed.

“Mindanao has always been called the land of promise but its potential, especially in agriculture, would only be realized if its watershed areas were rehabilitated and well-maintained,” Tejada said.

He said the watersheds needed immediate intervention and the farmers needed to be taught the best crops to plant and proper organic and inorganic balance fertilization, and composting.