The Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners – Northern Mindanao (PIEP-NM), in partnership with the National Economic and Development Authority – X, conducted the first Regional Planners’ Forum on August 23 and 24 at the VIP Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City.
The forum with the theme “Forging Partnerships in Advocating the Building and Provision of Decent and Climate-Resilient Shelters to homeless Filipinos” had Cabinet Secretary Leoncio B. Evasco Jr. as keynote speaker. The forum also featured talks from resource persons on the national and regional development priorities, international commitments and national policies on safe and resilient housing and urban development, and the current administration’s thrusts in Marawi City’s rehabilitation.
In his keynote message, Secretary Evasco stressed that the government must consult the local leaders, residents, and particularly the evacuees in planning for Marawi City’s rehabilitation and reconstruction. He added that plans and projects must be culture-sensitive to reflect the context of Marawi as center of Islam, and consider religious practices and local customs, including issues on land tenure.
“We are not just building houses, but communities”, Evasco said as he stressed the need to build back better.
For his part, NEDA-X Regional Director Leon M. Dacanay, Jr. shared the salient features of the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, the Northern Mindanao Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2017-2022. He said that the plans, which serve as development blueprints for the country and the region, are anchored on the 0+10 Socioeconomic Agenda of the Duterte Administration, and are the first of the four medium-term plans that will work towards realizing AmBisyon Natin 2040, the collective vision of Filipinos over the next 25 years.
The plans also espouses for a national spatial strategy which foresees Metro Cagayan de Oro to become the country’s fourth metropolitan center by 2025, next to Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao. This is based on its projected population growth, functional role as a principal gateway and trans-shipment hub in Northern Mindanao, and as a key educational center in the region.
Other speakers include Environmental Planner (EnP) Casimira V. Balandra, CESO II, founding President of the PIEP-NM and forum organizer (“The Metropolitanization of Cagayan de Oro City and its contribution to the surrounding LGUs, and the role of Environmental Planners in its actualization); Ar./EnP Josefina M. Ramos, PhD (Positioning the Environment Planners in Light of the ASEAN Integration); and Atty. Avelino D. Tolentino III (Towards Urban Resilience and Inclusive Development). EnP Jeanette Elevado-Cruz (National Housing Policies); and EnP Harvey A. Villegas (Climate Vulnerability and Disaster Risk Assessment).
Also gracing the occasion were Arch/EnP Maria Theresa L. Quimpo, PIEP National President, and Hon. Lirio T. Abuyuan, member of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Board of Environmental Planning.
Side events included the induction of the interim PIEP-NM Officers 2016-2018, oath taking of the new EnPs, and General Membership Meeting of PIEP-NM Chapter.