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Divilacan watershed is priority site for SIAD


A watershed in the forest-rich province of Isabela is one of the 29 priority sites in the implementation of the Sustainable Integrated Area Development (SIAD) in the Philippines.

Located within the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, the watershed where the “Divilacan Agroforestry and Bamboo Plantation Project” will be implemented consists of several sub-watersheds located at the mid section and upper portion of Divilacan.

The site has an aggregate area of 12,045 hectares covering six barangays and basin length of approximately 12,500 meters.

The SIAD project will be managed by the Asosasyon ng Nagmamalasakit ng Kalikasan (ANAK) and Divilacan Agta Rattan Gatherers Association (DARAGAT) in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Divilacan, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and the Department of Trade and Industry.

A new approach in project implementation, SIAD aims to apply area-based interventions, concepts on its natural resources development programs including but not limited to national greening program and integrated island development. It takes into consideration Marginalized civil society organization (CSO) Sectors including, but not limited to Indigenous Peoples (IPs), urban poor, farmers and fisherfolk, Muslim Filipinos, rebel returnees, youth, vocational work force, and men and women stakeholders.

The adoption of SIAD as a strategy is authorized by Memorandum Circular No. 2017-02 issued by Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez on Feb. 15, 2017.

In an interview aired over Bombo Radyo Tuguegarao, DENR Regional Director Gil A. Aromin said: “The Divilacan Watershed is a home for endemic plants; abundant rattan and nito for handicraft making. These livelihood opportunities were considered in selecting the site.”

“While they (Dumagats) are there to plant trees, we also capacitate them to provide livelihood for them,” Atty. Aromin added.

The Divilacan Agroforestry and Bamboo Plantation Project according to Director Aromin employs the ridge to reef concept considering that water from the watershed flows down to the sea.

The area where the project is located is known to have three species of Makabuhay used to treat stomach ache and dysmenorrhoea according to the Dumagats or Agtas, the Indigenous People in Divilacan. Tsaang gubat also thrives in the area.

Within the site, a 100-hectare area in Barangay Ditarum will be developed for the Enhanced National Greening Program.

After the identification of the site as priority for integrated development, a meeting with Divilacan Mayor Venturito C. Bulan, Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer Arthur V. Umengan and DARAGAT IP Chairperson Floro Flores was conducted.

The DENR will also deputize 27 Forest Protection Officers for the six barangays.

To develop business enterprise, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office of Isabela conducted the Training on Bee Keeping on March 30-31, this year in Barangay Dicaruyan.

Using SIAD as a strategy for the project, the DENR envisions the sustainable multiple-use of the natural resources within the watershed in a manner that is environmentally sound, economically viable and socially acceptable.

It aims to rehabilitate through enrichment planting and reforestation of the idle and open areas, and safeguard and preserve the natural tropical forests of the watershed while improving the quality of life of people in the area.# CCC