Climate change battleground for CDO local bets

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Climate change battleground for CDO local bets
A forum for candidates in Cagayan de Oro puts a spotlight on climate change and environmental issues

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Is the environment on the national agenda? What about in your local government?

A forum hosted by Xavier University on April 11 put climate change in the spotlight of the local campaign.

Candidates gunning to be Cagayan de Oro City’s mayor participated in the forum and shared their views and platforms that hope to address climate change.

CDO has been at the frontlines of disasters. Typhoon Sendong (Washi), which flooded the city, was one of the deadliest storms to hit the Philippines in 2011.

‘Sustainable power’

For former mayor Vicente Emano, represented by Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya, effective coordination is key to addressing climate change and its effects.

“The Emano administration will create a [local] Climate Change Commission that would be responsible for formulating and implementing the developmental strategies that would mitigate the impact of climate change in the city,” Nacaya said.

Meanwhile, reelectionist mayor Oscar Moreno said his plans to help combat climate change include the promotion of “sustainable power” to attract investors, vowing to rehabilitate the Agus and Pulangi hydroelectric power complexes, the two major energy sources of CDO.

“Let’s make CDO competitive, attractive, and livable,” Moreno said.

Maxie Rodriguez, a candidate for the second district representative of CDO, also eyes the improvement of hydro-resources in the area.

Maxie is looking to replace his brother, Rufus, who is a mayoral candidate. Rufus’ environmental platform is centered on creating a city free of illegal mining and logging.

Edgar Cabanlas and Ramon Tabor, Maxie Rodriguez’ opponents, also presented their platform for the environment. Cabanlas said he is pushing for the transition to renewable energy, and even the possibility for agri-tourism. Meanwhile, Tabor wanted to introduce garbage collection at the barangay level and green infrastructure across the district.

Disasters and leadership

Because of the worsening effects of climate change, how the candidates plan to ensure local disaster preparedness has also been an election issue in CDO.

Nacaya highlighted Emano’s stand on disaster risk reduction (DRR), which included educating the city’s residents on the issue and its adverse effects.

Rufus, on the other hand, wanted to strengthen the city’s DRR team, adding that he “will also relocate those in geo-hazard, disaster-prone areas.”

Three-way statistical tie

A survey on voters’ preference in CDO conducted on March 12 to 16 indicated Moreno, Rodriguez, and Emano were locked in a three-way statistical tie for the city’s mayoral seat.

According to XU’s Kinaadman Research Center (KRC) survey, Emano is the preferred choice of 31.75% of the voters. Moreno got 30.50% of the votes while Rodriguez, 25.75%. Undecided voters accounted for 11.88%. The poll had a sample size of 800 and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points at the city level.

The other three independent mayoral candidates who were not able to attend the forum were Felix Borres Jr., Romer Cabildo, and Ric Saarenas.

Known as the “Gateway to Northern Mindanao,” the vote-rich city of CDO boasted an 80.61% voter turnout in 2013. The capital city of Misamis Oriental, CDO has 305,321 registered voters for the May 2016 elections.

Known as the “City of Golden Friendship,” it also serves as the regional center and central business hub of Region X (Northern Mindanao), the second most vote-rich region in Mindanao with 2.46 million registered voters.

The “Kalambuan para sa Kalambagohan: CDO Local Candidates’ Forum” was led by the XU Social Sciences cluster, Germanwatch, and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC).

XU president Fr Roberto Yap, SJ said that the forum hoped to provide candidates a venue “to share with us their views, platforms, policies, and principles concerning the important issues to help us make principled and informed choices for our city.” with reports from Stephen Pedroza, Alyssa Michelle Viado, and Timothy Justin Emata/

A Rappler contributor from Cagayan de Oro City, Stephen Pedroza is a graduate of Development Communication major in Development Journalism at Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan.

Alyssa Michelle Viado is a Rappler intern from CDO, studying Development Communication at Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan.

Timothy Justin Emata, a Development Communication student from Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, is a MovePH intern. 

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