The 4th International River Summit was held on November 22 to 24 at Radisson Blu Hotel, Cebu City. The participants were welcomed with a Mandaue Cultural performance followed by the opening plenary of the summit with remarks and messages by the mayor of Mandaue City, Mayor Gabriel Luis Quisimbing and the National President of League of Cities in the Philippines, Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan. The summit overview was then presented by Atty. Carlo Pontico Fortuna, Vice Mayor and Summit Director of Mandaue City. Messages of support were then given by Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III, His Eminence Archbishop Jose Serofia Palma; Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Stanley Go; and University of San Carlos Cebu President, Rev. Fr. Dionisio Miranda, Svd, Std. Atty.Antonio Oposa, Jr. then gave an interactive inspirational speech. The morning and opening plenary ended with a keynote speech given by the DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu where he accepted the challenge to clean all rivers in the Philippines and directed to all regional executive directors to make sure all rivers in their areas are clean and will give awards and promotions to the area with the cleanest river.
Four plenary topics started of the afternoon session focusing on raising awareness for rivers with presentation of case studies on transformed rivers as well as approaches to protect and enrich rivers and streams. The afternoon session went on with the five breakout sessions with case studies presented by several local and international speakers. The first day of the summit ended with a welcome dinner hosted by Mandaue City highlighted by outstanding performances of best performers of Mandaue and awarding tokens of appreciation to speakers.
The second day of the summit started with more plenary sessions focusing on the sharing of best practices,sustainable river governance and infrastructure development. Facilitated discussion followed the presentations to further elaborate and clarify some points discussed by the plenary speakers. The summit resumed with five more breakout sessions in the afternoon wherein RBCO was the session manager of breakout session 6 entitled: ‘Water Security in Today’s Evolving River Environment’. RBCO Executive Director Antonio M. Daño started the breakout session by welcoming participants and shared information related to water security globally and stated that the issue Cebu is facing has something to do with water security. He then encouraged active participation and fruitful discussion amongst participants and speakers. The first speaker, Ms. Annadel Cabanban, Country Representative and Program Manager of Wetlands International,Philippines talked about the ‘Integrated Risk Management (IRM) – a Management Approach for Water Security in a Changing Climate’; Engr. Noel R. Dalena,Assistant General Manager, Pipelines Maintenance Group of Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) then talked about the service areas and distribution network system of MCWD. He also presented MCWD’s Septage Management Program which will serve its concessionaires of Mactan and Cordova as well to extend its service to non-concessionaires.
Dr. Monisha Isaac Kumar, talked about a study of Namami Gange Project in India focusing on role of communication and public outreach in rehabilitating the Ganga River. Fourth presenters were Bart Wiederhold and Tom Lichtenberg who discussed their research work on saltwater intrusion in Iloilo City. Ms. Dewi Dimyati, PhD. then presented ‘Sign of Water Resources Management or Water Security in Kapuas River, Indonesia’. Last to present was Engr. Subijoy Dutta, P.E., who presented on behalf of Dr. Anup Samantaray on the village-level outreach program to monitor and protect the groundwater. The breakout session ended successfully with the closing remarks delivered by the RBCO Executive Director Antonio M. Daño who expressed his gratitude towards the speakers and congratulated everyone who attended the breakout session for the active participation during the open forum.The last day of the summit started with the presentation of the overall event report and highlights of all breakout sessions. Presentation of the Mandaue Mandamus where a Memorandum of Understanding on the creation Philippine River Ecosystem Network was signed. Ending the 3-day summit is the announcement of the next host city and message of acceptance and ceremonial turnover of IRS Symbol of Commitment was then presented to the LGU of Legazpi City, Albay – the next host city for the upcoming 5th International River Summit.