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Eco-town programs steered for Rizal LGUs

DISASTER-prone areas in Rizal have adopted climate change policies in an “eco-town” program covering five LGUs in Rizal province.

An ecotown is an environmentally sustainable community that is developing to have zero emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG), according to a Climate Change Commission.

Dr. Ancha Srinivasan, ADB climate change specialist, in a statement said that among specific measures piloted in the Protected Area Management Board of the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL) will primarily include bio-charcoal briquetting for Marikina, San Mateo, Rodriguez, Tanay, and Baras, species establishment and rehabilitation in Tanay, Rodriguez, and Baras, and check dams piloted in Antipolo City and San Mateo.

Commissioned by the Asian Development Bank to the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), the project dubbed as “Marikina Watershed,” has adopted the Climate Resilience and Green Growth Road Map developed under the ADB-funded “Climate Resilience and Green Growth in UMRBPL: Demonstrating the Ecotown Framework.” 

The project is by and large a realization--of previously thought of--as vague or unreal concept of climate change as LGUs implement proper agricultural and environmental management practices. 

These activities prevent the disastrous effects of climate change such as flooding and landslides. 

Instead of cutting trees in the protected area to produce charcoal, natives turn to bio-charcoal briquetting as livelihood. Check dams also prevent soil erosion and excessive flooding as these become water storage and source of irrigation for farming, too.

Dr. Lope B. Santos III, SEARCA program specialist, cited specific activities and undertakings involved in the eco-town development planning process.

These include baseline analysis, natural resources assessment, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission inventory, sectoral vulnerability and risk assessment, cost benefit analysis of identified priority adaptation and mitigation measures, preparation of climate resilience and green growth road map and local climate change action plan .”

Another ADB and CCCC, Climate Resilience and Green Growth in Critical Watersheds were also commissioned to SEARCA and applied the same eco-town development planning process. 

This project covers Camarines Sur (Milaor, San Fernando, Naga City), Davao Oriental (Banganga, Boston, Cateel), and Lower Marikina (Cainta, Marikina City, Quezon City)  

In a related development, another project commissioned to SEARCA by the Department of Agriculture, to help strengthen the program called Adaptation and Mitigation Initiatives in Agriculture (AMIA), a landscape planning approach being pushed for sustainable agriculture and environmental management.

SEARCA Director Dr. Gil C.Saguiguit Jr turned over last Dec 5, 2016 the outputs of the AMIA project to Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel Pinol.

“Now, with the tools developed and technologies identified, you can (schedule planting), and you know where to avoid putting certain crops because erosion is rampant there.  It’s a whole thing about environmental management and even bigger than climate change,” Saguiguit said. 

Another collaborator in AMIA is the University of the Philippines Los Banos Foundation Inc.

“We should overlay (with agricultural plans) what is likely to happen in terms of disasters like typhoon,” said Saguiguit.

“Our hope is that our LGUs will use and maximize results of these projects in updating their Comprehensive Land Use Plan and in preparing local climate change action plan.”Saguitsit stressed.

Topics: Rizal province , “Eco-town” program , Climate change policies
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