Parties ink Cagayan River Management Agreement

The rehabilitation, protection and conservation of one of the most important river basins in the Philippines have been ensured following the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) of the Cagayan River Basin Management Council (CRBMC).

The signing of the MOC has formalized and operationalized the management council for Cagayan River Basin which covers the Cordillera Administrative Region and Regions 2 and 3.

Led by DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations Demetrio L. Ignacio Jr., the ceremonial signing was held on June 7, this year at the Crown Pavilion, Tuguegarao City.

Representing Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje, chair of the CRBMC, USEC Ignacio underlined the national impact of the Cagayan Riverbasin as one among the 18 priority major river basins in the country.“Power generation, agricultural and industrial production, tourism and biodiversitynot only impact regionally but also outside the three regions,” he explained.With these important roles, the Cagayan River should be conserved and protected according to the DENR field operations chief.

The top official also stressed the critical role of the local government units in the implementation of the Cagayan River Basin Integrated Management and Development Master Plan (CRBIMDMP) being the managers on the ground and having jurisdiction over the River Basin.

Four years in the making, the CRBIMDMP addresses four thematic areas, namely; water resource management, watershed management, climate change adaptation/disaster risk reduction management; and coastal and freshwater resources management.

The Master Plan has recommended the creation of an organization as the governing body that shall oversee and coordinate all relevant departments, agencies, non-government organizations, state universities and colleges and all other stakeholders for the proper management of the Cagayan River basin and its resources.

According to USEC Ignacio, the ridge to reef approach was adopted in the preparation of the Plan. He emphasized that the programs and projects as indicated in the Master Plan should be integrated in the budget of the national government agencies starting 2017.

The official pinned his hopes that the stakeholders will continue joining hands in the conservation of the environment and natural resources as he thanked themfor working on the Master Plan. # (CCC)