The NEDA Regional Office (NRO) in  MIMAROPA, in partnership with the region’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR),  conducted an action planning workshop for the formulation of the MIMAROPA La Niña Action Plan on December 16 through  Zoom video conference platform.

The workshop was participated in by the members of the technical working group (TWG) on water resources management from different regional line agencies (RLAs) and state universities and colleges (SUCs), and local government units. The workshop aimed to formulate an action plan which will set the priority strategies and interventions to mitigate the impact of La Niña in the region specifically on the flood-prone and vulnerable areas.

In her opening message, OIC-Regional Director Susan A. Sumbeling of NRO MIMAROPA  commended the TWG for spearheading the conduct of the workshop. She informed the participants that rainfall forecast from October 2020 to March 2021 suggests that most parts of the country will likely receive near to above normal rainfall conditions which may result to flooding and can damage the region’s man-made and natural assets. She stressed the need to craft the La Niña Action Plan to address the possible effects of the phenomenon. She also encouraged everyone to think of long-term and sustainable solutions to address problems associated with La Niña. Further, she advocated the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the region’s development programs, activities, and projects. She emphasized that the task of reducing disaster risks and adapting to climate change should be a shared responsibility among all stakeholders.

The planning workshop was divided into plenary and breakout sessions. During the plenary session, representatives from PAGASA, Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB) MIMAROPA, and DENR MIMAROPA presented the La Niña climate outlook in the region, situational analysis of flood and landslide-prone areas in MIMAROPA, and framework of the MIMAROPA La Niña Action Plan, respectively.

After the presentations, the participants were divided into four breakout groups based on the four pillars of the action plan namely: (a) food security; (b) health; (c) safety; and (d) water and energy management group. Each group reviewed and validated the proposed programs, activities, and projects (PAPs); funding requirements; and the timeline of implementation.  Among the identified PAPs in the action plan were agricultural production support, water supply management, enhanced market or price monitoring activities, emergency employment and livelihood assistance, training for farmers, construction of evacuation centers, provision of the early warning system, flood control measures, watershed management, and IEC campaign, among others.

In her closing message, Director Ma. Lourdes G. Ferrer of DENR MIMAROPA thanked everyone for their active participation during the workshop. She added that  DENR  will consolidate all the submitted outputs and come up with an implementable and efficient La Niña Action Plan for MIMAROPA.