By Ali G. Macabalang
KIDAPAWAN CITY – Governors Nancy Catamco of Cotabato and Wilter Yap Palma of Zamboanga Sibugay have led 20 counterparts in Mindanao to enroll in a five-session course on “water management and conservation” launched on Tuesday by the Mashav Agricultural Center of Israel, according to event facilitators.
Twenty other governors followed Catamco’s and Palma’s registration, bringing to 22 the number of provincial chief executives to have enrolled for participation in the course, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chairperson Manny F. Piñol said in a statement.
Catamco and Palma will also lead the delegation of Mindanao governors and mayors who will be invited by the Israeli government through its Embassy in the Philippines to visit the tiny but agriculturally advanced country to inspect Water Management and Conservation facilities before the end of the year, Piñol said.
Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines, Nir Balzam, who has engaged the MinDA in the conduct of the online course, would lead the simple opening ceremonies Tuesday evening, he said.
“I have also enrolled myself in the program along with several key subordinates in pursuit of MinDA’s advocacy for Water Conservation and Management in Mindanao,” Piñol said.
He said the MinDA through him requested former Ambassador to Israel Rafael Harpaz for the conduct of the short course for Mindanao governors and mayors before the envoy left the Philippines for a new assignment.
He said the course’s first lecturer on Tuesday was Dr. Amir Givati, chief scientific officer of the Asgard Systems who would speak on “The Climate Crisis in the World, in South-East Asia and in the Philippines.”
The next speaker on Tuesday was Adv. Omer Vardi, commissioner of Water and Sewage Corporations Unit, Israel Water Authority, with his topic – “The Water Sector in Israel and Urban Water Management.”
The second session is scheduled next week, Aug. 24, according to Piñol.
At least 80 participants, including the 22 governors and decision-makers as well as University of the Philippines Professor Clarita Carlos, have enrolled in the course.
While MinDA is Mindanao’s top policy-direction setting agency, it has been pushing for the development of a modern waterworks system for both irrigation and potable drink supply alongside other life-enhancing projects, Dr. Adrian Tamayo, agency’s media relations head, said.
“Water is the most basic need of man,” Tamayo told the Philippine Muslim Today news. (AGM)