By Sec Manny Piñol
ISRAEL TO TRAIN MINDANAO LGUs
ON WATER Management CONSERVATION
Two weeks after I wrote Ambassador Rafael Harpaz of Israel through our Department of Foreign Affairs asking for the Israel Government's technical assistance on the Mindanao Development Authority's Water Management and Conservation Program, I received a positive response yesterday.
In the letter I sent to Ambassador Harpaz, I sought the help of the Mashav, Israel's Agriculture Agency, in conducting a short on-line course for Mindanao Governors and Mayors on Water Management and Conservation, an area which Israel has developed modern technology.
A message received from the Israel Embassy in Manila yesterday asked for a coordinative meeting with the Mindanao Development Authority to discuss the details of the short course.
Israel has perfected their water recycling process to the point that the wastewater from their toilets are used for agricultural production and even filtered to be potable.
The Philippines is one of the countries in the world blessed with a pronounced wet season when heavy rains would cause the rivers and creeks to overflow causing floods.
Our rainfall pattern is heavy ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 mm compared to Israel's 360mm.
But in the few months of summer or occasional long dry spell, our agricultural production suffers because of the lack of water.
When I was Agriculture Secretary, I had advocated the adoption of a water conservation and management program to sustain and boost agricultural production.
When I resigned from the DA and moved to the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) two years ago, I crafted the Mindanao Water Supply Program which seeks to enhance awareness on the importance of water for agriculture and human consumption.
In pursuit of this advocacy, MinDA will engage Local Government Units by introducing the concept of Water Management and Conservation, which involves the establishment of small dams and water catchments, and the non-conventional systems of irrigation like the Solar-Powered irrigation System and others.
Knowing of the advancements of Israel in these fields, I officially wrote the Israel Embassy to request for technical support from the Israeli Agriculture Agency, Mashav, to conduct a Short Course on Water Management and Conservation, Solar Powered Irrigation and Fertigation, for local chief executives of Mindanao.
The Short-Course would be conducted virtually via ZOOM or Google Meet and the participants would include Governors, Mayors and Village Chiefs, along with the heads of their planning and agriculture office.
I believe the Short Course would broaden the understanding of our local officials on the importance of Water Conservation and Irrigation for Agriculture and human health and well-being.
With the allocation by the national government of bigger development funds for local government units, I believe that these programs could be very well implemented by the LGUs with the Israel government’s technical support.
The end result of this would be sustainable agriculture and sufficient water supply in the provinces and municipalities of Mindanao.
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