CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Mabuhay) – The national government is setting aside P289 million for infrastructure projects in the Kalabugao Plain, the tri-boundary of the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, and Agusan Del Sur, a senior local government official said Tuesday.
Rene K. Burdeos, regional director of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Region 10, said that the Kalabugao Plain has seven barangays and a total land area of about 51,000 hectares.
He said that a provincial road that would traverse the Damay-Kalabugao lines in Bukidnon would be constructed in the area in 2015.
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has committed the amount for the road project in the Kalabugao Plain, Burdeos said.
He said that the development of the Kalabugao Plain is important because it affects other parts of Mindanao.
“The bulk of the flood waters in the cities of Gingoog, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and Cotabato usually originate from the Kalabugao Plain, home of the Higaonon tribes and a strategic watershed area of Pulangi River,” he said.
The 320-kilometer Pulangi River, the longest in Bukidnon, provides approximately 25 percent of Mindanao’s power needs and the main water source of Bukidnon both for drinking and irrigation.
The development of the Kalabugao Plain would also benefit the indigenous people, the most vulnerable target of the insurgency movement in the region, because of the feeling that the government has not taken care of them, Burdeos said.
For the project known as the Peace and Development Convergence Program for Kalabugao Plain, the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Regional Peace and Order Council in Region 10 (RPOC-10) has conceptualized the program aimed to develop Kalabugao Plain into an economically, environmentally, and culturally developed community.
Based on the existing Ancestral Domain Sustainable Protection Plan and Barangay Development Plans (BDP), the project has identified various sectors which the convergence intends to be developed. One is the economic sector where livelihood, organic agriculture production, agro forestry, irrigation canal, animal dispersal, fisheries, or fishponds among others, are seen to provide sustainable income to community members.
Second is the environment sector. Under this classification would be the purchase of land for farmers, establishment of barangay nursery, maintenance of crops, medicine for animals, and rejuvenation of coffee production and others.
There is also a proposed greening program or reforestation, landfill for solid waste, tree growing and greening program, establishment of dump site, and eco-tourism and community awareness of environmental protection.
This project also aims to preserve Pulangi and Kalabugao River by regulating fishing activities, reforestation along watershed areas and barangay water source, assist natural regeneration (ANR) and National Greening Program (NGP), develop eco-tourism along Pulangi River and the preservation of the Philippine Eagle.
TWG has recently revisited Kalabugao Plain as an affirmation of the government’s commitments to the Peace and Development Convergence Program to spur further action from various stakeholders, Burdeos said. (MNS)