In this article, you will get all information regarding Bridging mayors | Inquirer Opinion – Vigour Times

It is well known that the Philippines ranks among the most vulnerable countries to the adverse effects of climate change. Climate resilience is best achieved from the bottom up, and even as we have a Climate Change Commission at the national level, it is actions taken on the ground at the local levels that would spell our ability to withstand the escalating effects of climate change. For this reason, municipal and city mayors can be critical linchpins toward achieving climate resilience.

With the above in mind, the Asian Institute of Management TeaM Energy Center for Bridging Leadership focused its recent cohort of bridging leadership fellows on mayors in coastal municipalities and cities faced with environmental challenges. The bridging leadership program was conceived over two decades ago to develop leaders who will address and diminish societal divides, which are particularly challenging in the Philippines. Its initial focus was on Mindanao, given the history of violent conflict in the island. But the whole country is marked by a high degree of inequality in terms of income distribution and access to basic social services such as health and education. Later runs of the program thus widened its geographical scope nationwide, and further on to Asia.

Bridging Leaders’ Initiative for Climate Resilience or BLICR is its latest program, which brought together eight mayors and 10 private sector development professionals to “co-create entrepreneurial ecosystems for the country’s vulnerable coastal municipalities.” Past programs focused on young professionals, mid-career public servants, leaders in conflict-affected areas, and others. This time, the year-long course chose local chief executives from San Roque in Northern Samar, Barugo in Leyte, Borongan City in Eastern Samar, Del Carmen in Surigao del Norte, Bayabas in Surigao del Sur, Pagbilao in Quezon, Sipalay City in Negros Occidental, and Cagayancillo in Palawan—areas with both shared and peculiar environmental challenges associated with their marine ecosystems.

In San Roque, Mayor Don Abalon has pursued mangrove conservation through capacity building for mangrove restoration, mangrove-friendly aquaculture, and community-based ecotourism, along with tighter enforcement of conservation laws, rules, and regulations. In Barugo, Mayor Maria Rosario Avestruz is applying scientific methods to increase the survival rates of mangroves against changing tides and violent weather, while providing alternative livelihoods to coastal dwellers. Mayor Jose Ivan Agda of Borongan City has focused on diminishing hazardous e-waste in his city. He pursues this with creation of an e-waste management plan focused on sustainable livelihood, establishment of a community-based recycling facility, and partnerships with the private sector on e-waste initiatives. In Del Carmen, Mayor Alfredo Coro II harnesses private sector and civil society partnerships to apply nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches in pursuit of sustainable livelihoods for his constituents.

Mayor Maria Clarita Limbaro has created a multistakeholder body in Bayabas to plan and execute mangrove protection and conservation initiatives, including livelihood and enterprise development that will enhance community climate adaptation benefits. In Pagbilao, former mayor and now Vice Mayor Shierre Ann Palicpic aims to turn her municipality into a center of excellence in mangrove conservation, research and development of medicinal and pharmaceutical products, with a gene pool of 48 mangrove species. Mayor Gina Lizares of Sipalay aims to establish a local conservation area and identify and promote alternative livelihood sources for displaced households. In Cagayancillo, Mayor Sergio Tapalla is managing the municipality’s nine marine protected areas through community empowerment, skills improvement, and harnessing synergy among social and ecological networks.

With technical and resource support from major companies’ development officers they’ve been paired with, the eight mayors are showing that with a bridging kind of leadership, climate resilience can be achieved. May we see many more mayors like them in 2023!


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