November 14, 2012
DAVAO CITY, Philippinesâ€”A new official map of Mindanao, which will replace the old version in use for the last 50 years, will soon be released and is seen as a support document for the peace process, the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) said in a statement.
Luwalhati Antonino, Minda chair, said the new topographic map of Mindanao, made on a scale of 1:50,000 compared with the scale of 1:200,000 of the old map drawn in 1960s, is already on the final stage of its completion and is expected to be rolled out this year.
The map was undertaken by Minda along with the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (Namria) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).
â€œIt will serve as support mechanism for a more enabling environment for peace and development in Mindanao, especially with the firming up of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement,â€ Antonino said.
â€œThis updated map is crucial in our planning and programming of strategic and sustainable peace and development initiatives across the island,â€ Antonino said. She said the map will also become an essential tool for ensuring integrated disaster planning and management, land use planning, urban planning, environment management, and socio-economic planning.
â€œThe final outputs of the topographic mapping project can be used to improve and protect the lives and properties of the people in Mindanao through accurate and integrated planning,â€ said Kazunobu Kamimura of the Jica project team.
Namria director Ruel Belen said they will not stop at the 1:50,000 scale topographic map.
â€œThere are plans for a larger scale of the maps, but we are taking it one step at a time,â€ he said.
Namria initially conceptualized the topographic mapping project back in 2009 to update the 50- to 60-year-old topographic map of Mindanao, including the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, and the remote islands of Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi, Turtle Island, and Mambahenauhan Island.
The P500-million project was launched in 2010 as one of the largest grants from Jica in the country.
â€œWe are glad that with the grant from the Japan government, we are about to complete this important project,â€ Antonino said.