Fifteen (15) media practitioners from different local radio stations and newspapers in Bukidnon convened for the Press Conference of the Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Project (INREMP) last July 3, 2014 at the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
The media conference was aimed at creating public awareness and drawing close cooperation among the news outlets in the province for the upcoming implementation of the Project amounting to US$ 42.5 million (approximately PhP 2 billion at current exchange) financed by the Asian Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, with counterpart resources from the Government of the Philippines.
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO), Dr. Felix S. Mirasol, Jr. welcomed the participating media practitioners and commended their endearing support in all the environmental endeavors of the province.
Dr. Urooj S. Malik, Chairman and CEO of Hineleban Foundation, in his capacity as the Special Adviser for Environment and Watershed Conservation to the Province of Bukidnon delivered the opening remarks. He noted that “Bukidnon is at the heart of Mindanao and home to some of the major watersheds which supply a significant portion of the water for drinking, irrigation and hydro power for the entire island. The Upper Bukidnon River Basin was lucky to be chosen as one of the four projects sites in the country”.
Dr. Malik also remarked that the Project eyes to introduce livelihood and other institutional investments to the 14 municipalities and two (2) cities of the province, which will be implemented over a seven-year period. Further, he encouraged close cooperation among the various stakeholders in the province.
One of the highlights of the conference was the acknowledgement of the indigenous communities and their participation in the Project. It was stressed that attending to the needs of the IPs is of paramount importance as they served as guardians and protectors of the forests. The Project aims to prepare specific interventions for providing sustainable livelihood for the tribal communities.
INREMP will also address the looming and gathering danger of climate change through reforestation and other adaptation and mitigations activities, and aim to foster closer cooperation with the private sector.
INREMP Regional Focal Person Forester Arnulfo Osio presented the overall project implementation and management arrangement while Forester Raquel Doydoy of PENRO reported the Approved INREMP Work and Financial Plan for 2014.
The Bukidnon press expressed their commitment and support through active participation in mobilizing Information, Education and Awareness (IEC) Campaigns to create public awareness and provide relevant information about the Project to the public from time to time. (Emmilou R. Gonzaga-HFI).