CANTILAN Bank has gathered together private and public sector stakeholders from the five Surigao del Sur communities of Carrascal, Cantilan, Madrid, Carmen, and Lanuza (CarCanMadCarLan) for the Convergence on Sustainable Watersheds held at the Cantilan Bank Training Center on August 20, 2019.
“As a community bank, we believe that our business sustainability completely depends on the sustainability of our communities and the environment. Our clients are mostly farmers and fisherfolk whose livelihoods mainly depend on natural resources. We are initiating this Public-Private Partnership that would help ensure the sustainability of our communities and the protection of our watersheds against destruction. And, the best way to achieve this goal is to partner with stakeholders who share the same vision as ours,” said CANBNK Chairman Lieutenant General William K. Hotchkiss.
“Environmental degradation is the greatest threat to our national security... and therefore, environmental sustainability is everybody’s concern in the same manner as defense of the Philippines,” he added.
The Convergence on Sustainable Watersheds (CSW) was kicked off by the signing of a Statement of Commitment, proclaiming all critical watersheds as "No Go Zone" for extractive industries -- be it mineral production or timber harvesting. The five neighboring communities of CarCanMadCarLan were represented by their respective municipal mayors and other local government representatives.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary (DILG) Eduardo M. Año were among the top guns who joined the convergence by witnessing the signing of the Statement of Commitment and by swearing in the members of the CSW Governing Board.
“The watersheds of Surigao del Sur are crucial not only as water resources, but also as habitats of biodiversity and homelands indigenous peoples. They are among the 140 watersheds nationwide that have been identified by the national convergence initiative for sustainable rural development as convergence sites,” said Cimatu in his speech.
Año, for his part, said: “It is therefore commendable that Cantilan Bank bore on its shoulders the corporate social responsibility of defending Mother Nature from degradation -- thanks to the chairmanship of Lieutenant General William K. Hotchkiss III, who holds the torch of public service and love of the country.”
In his speech, Año enjoined the Convergence for Sustainable Watersheds Governing Board to continue partnering with the public sector for their advocacy to designate the four core river basins of Carrascal, Cantilan, and Madrid, and the critical watersheds in Lanuza and Carmen, as one single Water Quality Management Area (WAQMA) and to declare all critical watershed areas as “No Go Zones.”
Meanwhile, all other CarCanMadCarLan leaders expressed their support by signing the commitment affirming their support for the development and enforcement of more effective local policies and ordinance to protect, defend, and conserve our watersheds.
“My constituents have my commitment to champion the protection of our watersheds,” said Cantilan Mayor Maria Carla Lopez-Pichay.
Cantilan’s CENR Officer, Ruel E. Efren, shared to participating stakeholders the environmental interventionsthey regularly do together with various civic organizations to promote the protection of Cantilan’s rivers and water systems.
The Cantilan Water District General Manager, Vicente Cirilo A. Iriberri, cited the Plea for Action that the CSW Governing Board has crafted with its stakeholders in order to address the issues that affect the well-being of the watersheds and the communities that depend on it.
Cantilan Bank will continue to have a dialogue with local and national stakeholders to realize what has been envisioned during the convergence for the benefit of the environment and the communities that it serves.
Founded in 1980, Cantilan Bank Inc. (CANBNK) is one of the leading community banks in the country with corporate headquarters in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur.
At present, it has P2.1 billion in total assets and provides financial services through its network of 45 branches and branch lites, and 14 ATMs that are strategically located across Caraga, Misamis Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Bukidnon, Leyte, and Southern Leyte.
One of Cantilan Bank’s missions is to develop and support financial inclusion and environmental protection programs. (PR)